Abby and Me facing our fear of the bus.

Abby and Me facing our fear of the bus.

Giving up control. It’s easier said than done. I hate having to give up control and having to trust others. Being in Costa Rica, I’ve been learning to let go more and more. Pretty much nothing is in my control. I don’t have control over when I wake up, I don’t have control over the language I can speak in my own (temporary) home, I don’t have control over how much rice and beans I eat, Heck I don’t even have control over what my name is here. My host mom still thinks my name it’s Hellen! (I don’t know what’s worse, being called Hellen or getting to a point where I actually respond to it…). Yet, life here has been so good to me. I’m learning simple lessons, but honestly those are the lessons we need to be reminded of.

Today, I’ve actually realized that I’m more “go with the flow” than I was when I got here. Usually when I need to get somewhere fast, I don’t stop for anyone or anything. Today while I was feeling a bit rushed to get where I needed to go, a woman stopped me and asked if I spoke english. Rather than pushing her aside and ignoring her, I actually listened to what she had to say. She’s looking to host students from the university and I just so happen to have a friend looking for a new homestay. I had her jot down her number and that was that. We’ll see what happens but it made me think about how easy it is to just ignore people and just block them out. You never know what they need unless you give them the time of day. Everyone’s worth your time. Had it been a creepy old man though, that would be a different story-I don’t want to get taken or anything.

For anyone who doesn’t know anything about San Jose, one thing you should know is that the streets are busy. Traffic laws may or may not exist here, I’m still trying to figure that one out. There are no speed limits, at least that I know of. People don’t always stop at stop signs. Traffic laws are taken more as suggestions. My first week living here, it would take a ridiculous amount of time to cross just one street. I’d stand at the curb wondering if crossing this street would be the last thing I ever did. Now, crossing the busy streets of San Jose is childs play. Although I may or may not have had a few near-death accidents with red taxis (the movie Elf is right about taxis, the red ones here don’t stop), I’m not even phased by the absurd traffic here at all. I can tell how used to it I am by seeing the new students and how it freaks them out to cross the streets. I’ll be walking casually across the street and realize that my friends are still waiting on the other side for an opportunity to cross. It’s definitely something to get used to, but hey, you just gotta trust you’ll make it across. I really don’t believe that God sent me here to get hit by a car. Just look both ways, right?

Traffic is one thing I’ve faced with no problem, buses on the other hand… that’s a different story. When I was told we were going to have to take the bus in order to get to the YWAM (Youth with a Mission) base, I told myself I’d rather walk. Turns out, it’s a bit too far of a walk for this young gal. Even the distance runner in me doesn’t want to try. Guess what we did today? That’s right, we took the bus! I know it probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but here in Costa Rica that was something that stressed me. Buses and taxis. If you could only see how many buses come through here, it’s very overwhelming. Do you have any idea where you could end up if you got on the wrong bus? Not only that, you could be dropped off in the middle of some strange city you’ve never heard of and surrounded by a population of people who don’t speak your native language. I’d have to rely on my basic spanish to try and get home. Granted, I am more confident in my spanish than I was when I first arrived but I still wouldn’t want to take my chances. In order to get to the base though, I have to do it. So I got over myself and decided to just trust. Trust that God wants me to get to the YWAM base and that he’ll make sure I get on the right bus at the right stop.

Surprisingly, it was much easier than I thought it would be. When people give you directions here, it’s really confusing to get used to. Places don’t have distinct addresses. They use landmarks to pinpoint locations. For instance, my address is actually just a sentence of directions from the university. So, in order to get to this bus stop we were told to get on the Santa Maria bus across from the KFC which is past two stoplights, up a hill, around the corner from the ISA office and blah blah blah, you get my point. You have to pay attention when you walk. Although a bit overwhelming, we found our bus right where we were told. Without even questioning the bus driver, I hopped on the bus and prayed that God would reveal where we ought to get off. Abby hasn’t been here for as long and so she was relying on me to lead us to the base. Why in the world anyone would trust me with getting us somewhere beats me. If I didn’t have God to rely on, I would be hospitalized for anxiety. The only thing that gets me through is reminding myself that God is in control and He brings us where he wants us. He wanted us to go to the base today and so He led us there. We got off right where we needed to and actually got there 45 minutes early. Moral of the story? Be willing to give up control. Just trust.

Written by Halle Marr, Social Media Journalist


  1. I just want to say I love your story/essay you really have a way with humor and simply the way you express yourself all in a funny way but keeping it all real. My son in now in CR for a semester and loving it. Your picture is perfect match facial expression to go along with your story of frustrations being in a foreign country and all…I love it! Thank you for your story it’s helped me know what my son may be going through since this is his first time ever being outside of the state/USA!

  2. Thank you all for your stories I found them very informative and well written. One thing I would suggest is that you should have written it in Spanish as well proof how much you learned the language while in CR! lol

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