Approximately one month into my three month stay in Costa Rica and I am starting to miss home. Oddly enough it took about one week and a terrible sunburn to miss the cold snowy tundra I call home, but until recently the inability to get a sunburn was all I really missed. Today was the first day my friends started classes at my home university, meaning the first day everyone was back on campus from winter break, clubs were meeting again, and the dorm buildings were buzzing with people dying to hear about their friends adventures. Being in Costa Rica means that I am having so many wonderful adventures, I went whitewater rafting, slept in a tent, hiked, and stayed up all night playing cards in Spanish with my roommate all in the course of a weekend, but it doesn’t mean I am not missing things at home.
Culture shock is different for everyone. My roommate experienced culture shock on the first night we landed in San Jose. I am missing home now, and my other roommate, as of right now she might never leave Costa Rica; it’s almost as if she was meant to be here all along. The terrible part about my culture shock is that I almost feel guilty about it, like I shouldn’t admit it because if I did it would mean I wasn’t independent enough to be away from my parents for three months, or that I wasn’t grateful enough for my adventures here. I know I am having so much fun here, but it doesn’t mean I don’t miss what I am missing at home.
It didn’t help that my dog hurt his back this week and needed to go to the vet, or a few weeks ago when my sister got a concussion playing a soccer game, or that I missed my sister buying her Sandie Hawkins dress, or that my mock trial team is preparing for regionals. I am missing events in my friends and family’s lives. I am missing my dorm room. I am missing a lot. However, that is part of the culture shock I am working to avoid. I don’t want to let myself be mentally isolated, so I am not focusing on what I am missing.
I am focusing on the cooking class I am taking, the Spanish play I am going to see, the wonderful food I am excited to eat every day, and the fieldtrip I have tomorrow. Although, when I do miss home I call my parents or my best friend, maybe even just send her a snap, and message my mock team family. Just because I miss home doesn’t mean I am not independent or that I am ungrateful, it just means I am courageous enough to try something new and grow as an individual, so I can be even more independent and truly understand what it means to be grateful.