There are thousands of people we meet throughout our lifetimes. Some of these meetings can make an impact on us. Depending on how strong that impact is, a relationship can form. One of the first kinds of relationships we experience is that from our families. But what exactly defines someone to be categorized as family? Is it the fact that we come from the same heritage and blood line? Or is it how they impact our life that puts them in this classification? One thing I’ve learned is that to be considered family one doesn’t exactly have to share a chromosome, it’s the love and impression shared that brings this formation to life.

This fall I was blessed with the chance to study in a different country, but little did I know that more blessings awaited me. Though my first host-family was a struggle, the second family was a gift. Having the chance of meeting them through a mutual friend, they adopted me but a few weeks later. The very first thing I noticed was the compassionate feeling the instant of walking through the door. The house was filled with person after person of all ages. Echoes of laughter and loud chatter could be heard from room to room. This was a very different environment than I am normally accustomed to. Eventually immersing myself in to them I was able to see the joy that came from their atmosphere.

There isn’t one day I don’t hear them laughing. No matter how chaotic the day has been they still manage to find time to come together and hang. My mamatica loves to have people over. She is the definition of the old saying the more the merrier. I believe she understands the power of laughter. It isn’t very hard to make her laugh. The more time I spend with them the easier I find it to crack open a few chuckle rounds. Laughter is as contagious as the flu in this house. When one person laughs it spreads like a wave. During the great Costa Rica v. Mexico soccer game someone broke a stool on accident after the excitement of making a goal. In my house my mother probably would have made me pay for that but here, my mamatica laughed her ass off. In fact so did my papatico he laughed so hard he started to wheeze and make girl like squeaks. Lol! It was after that moment I spoke to myself “Damn girl! You need to start living this rare relaxed pura vida lifestyle.”

This pura vida lifestyle is an amazing family-raising concept; I notice this in my mamatica. She is both a nurturer and boss-lady. Her kids including myself have the upmost respect for her. When she asks them to do something they are right on it. But I also notice when they need her she too is right on the ball. This form of mutual respect towards one another is very admiral to me. Something a lot of people struggle with these days.

The moment I walked in to my mamatica’s house not only did I walk in to open arms I walked in to an experience. I have not had a single regret since. Every day I learn something new and find it easier to smile. The pressures of daily life seem to melt away the moment I walk through her door. I know that as years will go by I’ll look back at her and remember the way she and her family embraced me and hope I too can spread this kind of love. No matter what sea or boarders one has to cross loving relationships like these are permanent and solid as stone.

 Written By Joelee Schafer, Social Media Journalist

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