Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

This is my personal blog and a space that I try to make sense of my wandering life. Depending on the day it could be a helpful resource for the country I'm in, or a self-help guide. We'll just have to see ;)

Learning to live, and how I ended up in Costa Rica

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My new home.


Here we go again. Even though I’ve been here for over a month already, I thought it might be time to give a proper update. For those of you who don’t know, I’m working abroad. That’s right, working! Not interning, or volunteering, or vacationing. Better yet I landed a job as the marketing manager for Outward Bound Costa Rica. I wasn’t exactly looking, but when the offer came up on idealist (an AMAZING resource for working with NGO’s both in the US and out) I knew I had to apply. Four interviews and a personality test later – I was in.

Maybe if I had written this earlier I could focus on the relief I felt as I sold my belongings on Craigslist, donated clothes to Goodwill or said “adios” to my rough-around-the-edges little Camry. With all of my belongings in the world reduced to a corner of my mom’s garage and the bags I could carry, it was shocking how “right” it felt to finally be going somewhere for longer than a few months.

Everyone who knew me assumed I would take the job anyways, based on its location but the truth is that the decision took a lot of soul-searching. I knew this situation wouldn’t necessarily be easy coming in, and I knew that it meant some huge lifestyle changes and serious budgeting would have to happen to make it sustainable. But I also knew that, despite being only 23 years old…I would probably never do this kind of thing again.

This was my chance to work a career-related job, shape my own life and habits and live in a place with weekend access to volcanoes, world famous surf breaks and national parks. It felt like a no-brainer. I realized that I may not always be comfortable living in close-quarters with 3 other girls, cohabitating with giant bugs, or taking bumpy bus rides at 3am to the nearest beach. But life has a way of speeding up the more obligations and things you have, and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t getting too fast for me to keep up.

A month later, that notion is laughable. Life is slow here, and it’s an adjustment. It gets dark at 6pm and it’s not safe to leave our base after nightfall. Hobbies, it turns out, are crucial. My first weekend here, as friends and family imagined me frolicking in the waves, I discovered the harsh reality of the rainy season and spent my time holed up in my bright yellow room. I hadn’t owned a TV in 5 years, yet I finished the entire season of Orange is the New Black in between staring at my ceiling and deep talks with my room mates about what it means to live isolated, in a rainforest.

It means cold showers, tarantulas under the couch and relying on an unreliable bus system to offer any escape from the bubble that we work, play and sleep in. But it also means weekend markets with the most delicious, fresh, cheap produce. It means having time to read or practice yoga and not feel like you should be doing something “more productive.” It means being able to perfect a soup recipe for hours on end or pick up a guitar and pluck the strings without people there to tell you if your doing it wrong. It’s having to dissect your own thoughts, to confront solitude and decide whether or not you will be happy that day (and have no one else to blame it on if you’re not.) Living in the jungle means being face-to-face with nature and yourself, and learning to live with both.

This is different than anything I’ve ever done, but I think I did the right thing. I’m excited for what these next 13 months will bring, what recipes I’ll perfect, and the relationships I’ll form. Wish me luck and stay tuned for more posts on working my 9-5 in the jungle!

 

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This entry was posted on September 5, 2013 by in Uncategorized.
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