Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Culture Shock USA

I didn't think I'd been gone that long, but coming home definitely made me realize how much I've gotten used to life in Costa Rica. The first thing I noticed when I got off the plane was how tall some people were here! There were some black men in the airport that seemed like GIANTS! I mean basketball player tall. They don't make 'em like that in Costa Rica. I got home and took a hot shower...que rico! Not only was the water epically warm, but the soap was super luxurious, and the Q-tips actually had cotton on the ends! And when I went to blow my nose with a Kleenex (wait, there's another type of tissue besides TP?), I closed my eyes in enjoyment at how soft it was. Oh, the simple pleasures.

The first day home was the day my girlfriends were having a Moon Circle, which is like a spiritual gathering for females only, and my plan was to surprise them all when I showed up completely unannounced. So I got ready and cruised over in my Dad's car in an attempt to be uber incog. After a little confusion as to where I was going (slightly disoriented back in a car and back in Atlanta), I found my way to Bridget's house, parked outside, and quietly approached the house. I didn't see anyone around, so I slipped in through the front door and realized they were all out back starting the ritual sharing circle. I didn't want to interrupt, but Bridget must have seen a shadow moving inside the house because she came up to the side door, and to her surprise there I was in her kitchen with a bottle of Lizano in my hand! She couldn't quite process that I was actually standing there...and I was so excited about seeing all my girls that my heart was racing! We finally walked outside and everyone's mouths dropped open in shock! Waves of "Oh my God!" and "What are you doing here?" filled the air as I made my way to each of my friends for a big hug and an even bigger smile. What a fun way to start my trip home!

My girlfriends are such special people in my life…they are nothing less than sisters to me! I have been super close with most of these ladies since college, and with friends like these, it never really feels like you've missed a beat. Sure, there is a lot of catching up to do, but it doesn't ever feel like I've been gone that long, and our relationships pick up right where we left off, full of love and laughter and plenty of girl talk. It was amazing to be around all of these beautiful women, and once again I felt extremely blessed by the life I've been given. We had a very exciting and emotional circle that day, followed by wine, snacks, and essential oil mixing to make sprays and perfumes. Oh, and some of the best food I've had in quite some time!!! Love you GA goddesses!

Sunday I enjoyed a delicious birthday dinner with my family and shared stories of life and travels. I love that my parents are so supportive of my adventures, and we are all really close. We pretty much talk about everything and I love that openness. Thanks Mom and Dad!

The next few days in ATL involved the dreaded Visa paperwork. I literally spent all day Monday and Tuesday and part of the day on Wednesday running all over the city obtaining papers and certificates, getting things notarized and authenticated by the state, buying money orders and taking passport size photos. It was a bit of a headache, but I think it will be worth it once I get the Volunteer Visa. And I did get a chance to use my Spanish at the Vital Records Office when a Mexican guy needed some translating!

One thing I noticed while I was driving all over creation is the stress that traffic brings on...yuck. I hadn't felt that in a while and I didn't like it at all. In general the pace here in the city seems a lot faster, people are speeding around in their little bubble cars, and everywhere is too cold with A/C. Four days in, and I was already missing Costa Rica. Take me back to the simple life!!!

The week at home flew by as I stayed busy running errands and visiting with friends and family. It didn't really feel like a vacation in the relaxing sense of the word, but I did get in some great food and drinks with the people that I care about. I stocked up on the things I needed that I can't get down here or that are simply way cheaper in the States. But by the end of the week, I was super ready to get back to Costa Rica. When I got off the plane in San Jose I exhaled………ahhhhh, back to tranquilo ticolandia :)

I have a lot of work to do and classes to teach this week, so I'll leave you with that and write more next week. Again, great to see everyone at home and thanks for all the sweet birthday wishes! Ciao!!!


  1. Jamie,

    Lovely blog, nice work! I've added you to my favorites list on my blog (A Dull Roar). Anticipating your next post!

  2. I fear/relish my return trip to the U.S. I fear that the things don't like in comparison to Costa Rica will outshine the things I'm glad to have back. I think I'm enough of a city boy at heart to not be *too* rocked, but you never know ...