"Buenos dias," I heard. I turned my head and caught a wiff of sweet humid air that held the faintest scent of cinnamon.
"It smells so good," I said. "What is that?"
"It's Costa Rica," Jake said matter of factly. What a wonderful aroma that snaked up my back, through my frizzy hair and into my face. I breathed in deep and couldn't wait to step into this Wonderland. Finally we were walking through the stuffy tunnel that lead to a rather large cinnabon stand right outside our gate. As I joined our group of seven other tired looking individuals I couldn't help but feel the tiniest hint of disappointment that Costa Rica wasn't the Wonderland I had in my head just moments ago.
We rode a large bus headed towards the hostel in San Jose, Costa Rica. It was slightly humid with a soft breeze, a perfect combination after having spent all day in an airport and a stuffy plane. I watched everything whizzing past wishing there was time to take it in. The signs that read in Spanish were fun to try to decipher and I was impressed by the rich vegetation that seemed to engulf this city. We drove through what seemed to be some down town areas. I was astonished at the amount of people walking in the streets in the midst of heavy traffic. I was definitely not in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho anymore.
Every one of us spent the day walking in smelly, sweaty clothes around the city and campus. It was exhausting, equally exhilerating and I found challenges immediately. First of all, I found that I was in need of a serious attitude check. Ummm complain much? Yes, in fact I do. Even though I realized this early on, my outlook didn't get much better. I found myself going from complaining about being tired and not knowing enough Spanish to being uber excited about running across busy intersections with Jodi by my side. Crazy much? Yes, I am indeed.
We came on this trip to be a servant to those around us and learn about a new culture that would take us out of our comfort zone. I didn't know this three days ago, but this is going to be quite the challenge for me. I may be outgoing at home, but here, in a new country full of new smells, sounds and people, I am not comfortable. To top it off, we were sent out to share our faith on campus. Our first day. Our eyes were bloodshot. We hadn't showered in two days. Whose idea was this again?
I felt pretty insecure which I often try to cover up with silly chitter chatter which usually backfires and makes me sound dumb. Today was no exception. Thus, I learned a lot and am equipped for a new day tomorrow to do it all over again. Jodi and I paired up for sharing today and I'm glad for that. She showed me some sights on campus including the TV studio on campus. I had a bit of fiasco when it came to ordering lunch - quite simply I froze and looked to Jodi to talk for me in the lunch line. Yeah, lame-O (me). Jodi was great trying to get me a little more comfortable in this new world.
I sometimes think I should be in the amazon what with being covered in light humidity and hearing strange squawking sounds in the unfamiliar trees towering over my head. I think that's one of my favorite aspects about Costa Rica so far. The sounds. I've heard them on the movies, but here I am in real life. I wish I knew how to describe it. As for right now I'm not even going to try because I don't even know how to begin. But it's rich, deep, melodic to the rhythm of this place.
The day is not over and I'm sitting in the backyard of the hostel listening to Jodi have a conversation with another guy that is staying here. I love it out here. There's a cool breeze, grass, cactus trees, a tiled table and benches, even a hammock in back corner half surrounded by plants and a large tree (Jodi is swinging in it now). It's relaxing and a perfect way to spend an evening or morning - before or after the sun has been high in the sky.
Until next time, thank you for joining me on this journey. Please pray that we are bold in our faith, speaking only through the power of the Holy Spirit. Theft is a huge issue in this area as well so please pray that we remember to be careful and that nothing gets stole. :)