This place is not a paradise. The wood in my house is peeling and chipped and cracked. There is no airconditioning, and I'm constantly sweating. Plates fill the tiny kitchen counter and the sink. They attract an abundance of fruit flies. My pillow feels like it is made of packing peanuts and my comforter has a single dark stain. The front door is almost always open.
My family is kind. It took less than a day for the youngest of three daughters to start referring to me as "La hermana mayor". My mother cooks something fresh for breakfast every morning and every evening. I have yet to be in want for food. My father always smiles. He is unafraid to show his family love.
This is not a world of new convenience and luxury. Things which are broken are fixed and kept. Things which are cracked are used again and again. The people here do not move like the people at home. There is no rush or overwhelming fear of tardiness. They walk, but not for exercise. They wait, but not impatiently. Every time I try to rush or worry I am met with the phrase "Tranquilla".
The bugs are ferocious and the sun is demanding. The air is thick and damp. I can never seem to keep my forehead dry. There is no sidewalk. I walk thirty minutes to access the internet which used to be at my beck and call. I walk thirty minutes back home to eat. I walk to catch a glimpse of something beautiful.
This place is not a paradise, but I love it more so because it is imperfect and small and hot. There is a slow moving persistence which fills the hearts of the people here. Kindness fills their hands and their hearts. The forest is robust and overflowing with life. It moves beneath your feet, heedless of your steps or your intentions. It doesn't care about you. It moves on. Costa Rica is filled with people and animals and plants that simply move on. Maybe they don't move quickly. Maybe they don't move like anything you've ever seen before, but they move on regardless.
This place is not a paradise, but if you kept your eyes open it would be impossible not to see something amazing.