Leaving is weird…Part I don’t know anymore.

I know I’ve posted a couple of these. Maybe only two or three. So I’m probably at four for the count but I’m not sure and I don’t want to be dishonest with you guys so we’ll just keep it like this. I could have written this tomorrow. I could have written this at the airport when I’m waiting for my flight for a few hours. I figure there’s no time like the present though. Costa Rica, you’ve been fun. You’ve had your ups and downs just like any place but as always, (always being one country beforehand) it was more ups than downs. These last few weeks were definitely more difficult as I’ve mentioned a couple of times with less support from the staff of the placement and less structure in general, but hey, it’s done! And at the very least, I can say that I left a positive mark on those kids. Maybe I didn’t teach them the english alphabet and maybe they aren’t going to be famous mathematicians because of me but they had a good time. And sometimes, I think that’s the most important thing. When you’re there for a few weeks, you can’t really enact sweeping changes. You can make small changes but you’re not going to change a core of someone’s being. In the case of these kids, they just wanted someone that would treat them like they deserved to be treated and who seemed to enjoy being around them. I know I won’t go down as the best volunteer ever, that sure I could have been a bit harsher on them at times, and I could have spent a little more time preparing activities but I made sure that when I was there, or when were there that the kids were having fun and that they were doing something. I just didn’t want them to be bored. I see how the Tias treat them, or ignore them, and I just made sure that that wouldn’t happen. My main goal when I was a volunteer, at least in situations like these is that when I arrive the kids are happy and when I leave the kids are sad. And I want to be in that same boat. Arrive happy, leave sad. I did that. I managed that. When a kid came back from school, and chanted my name because he was so excited to see me, ignoring another volunteer just to get to me, I knew I was doing things the right way. Or at least the way that I wanted to do them. I cater my techniques to the situation I’m in. If I’m at a school, I taught, I was more the bad guy, but when I’m in a free for all, let’s just make sure these kids have fun in their own house situation, I’m gonna do that. Doing now three different placements, it’s been good to know that I can cater my style to the others ones. I did clash a couple of times with my laissez-faire attitude but I don’t regret the ways I handled myself. I wanted to make sure the kids had a positive experience and I feel comfortable in that I did so. Sure, we started off with hanging baby dolls and stoning them but we ended with art projects and sports. Plus, I feel good. Which is also a big part of what I’m doing this. Of course working with children and helping in these dilapidated communities is a rewarding experience and it’s nice to reap some of those rewards. I wish that I could be completely altruistic but I can’t. No one can. So I’m glad that I’ve had these experiences, I’m glad I’m continuing to have them, and I’m glad they’re seemingly making a positive experience on me too. It’s a good feeling. It’s just a sad feeling to go. I mean, I’m not done. I still got a few more months left. It’s sad but it’s exciting. I’ve really enjoyed Costa Rica and I’m going to miss it. But I am ready to go. Yes, it’ll be nice to have a week long break in Spain and connect with some actual family and see some sights that I’ve never seen but I’m also just as ready to continue the next leg of the journey in Africa. Each place I’m finding more out about myself, growing as a person, and growing just as a volunteer. It’s been good, it’s been great, and I expect it just to get better. I’m not perfect. I’m going to make mistakes. Like for instance, I have no idea where I was going with that thought. Maybe it would have worked far better earlier in the piece? I don’t even know. Yet I’ll leave it. Just cause. I’ll just end with saying it’s been a damn good four months so far. I’ve experienced more than I thought, and learned more than I imagined I would. I’m not sad to be leaving Costa Rica (okay, again I kinda am), I’m excited to be starting the next part. I’m ready for it. I’m being redundant making this same point over and over. I’m also going to feel stupid when I end up waiting at the airport tomorrow and wish I could have done this as a way to pass the time. That doesn’t matter. Spain, here we come. Then Morocco. Let’s do this. So it goes.

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