Two weeks in, about 3,000 pictures later, and after watching the majority of my summer earnings disappear on souvenirs, I think it is only right to say I have achieved the proper stereotypical tourist status. Costa Rica has yet to disappoint me with its beautiful and well preserved environment, its endless adventures, its hospitable natives, and let’s not forget its scrumptious cuisine. This full cultural emersion has brought out a different side of me. An alter ego I guess you could say. I’d like to think of her as a taller, more dark and mysterious version of myself, who speaks fluent Spanglish. Let’s call her Lola. Yes, I like Lola, I think it suits her well.

When I first arrived in Costa Rica, my friends and I were discussing how sleep was going to become a thing of the past. We only have one month to experience a foreign culture and we were determined to make the most of it. However, with this lack of sleep and all the activity weighing down on me, I realized I was starting to become “someone else.” And that’s when Lola stepped in.

Lola is energetic, eager and willing. She is boiling with so much energy that sometimes she becomes a bit disoriented because she can’t find balance among all her excitement. She wants to explore the country, get good grades and take on every opportunity. Lola’s one of those people who likes to squeeze too much on her plate, and when it catches up to her, it can get ugly.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Lola. She has become one of my very best friends on this trip for she pushes me to make the most of my time here in Costa Rica.  However, just as in any healthy relationship, time must be spent apart. Balance is key, and will always be the key to living a jam-packed, adventurous life. So remember, don’t forget about who you are, and what you need. Stay in touch with your loved ones back at home, call your friends, get some rest, and don’t try to overwhelm yourself with too much, because stress is bound to ensue if you do. Take on what you can, find happiness in your accomplishments, and keep your cultural spirits alive.

Buena suerte,

Maggie… and Lola

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