_____I am spending 23 days of January in Costa Rica studying Spanish language at a missionary Spanish school there. I am a very home-oriented person, and this experience is the first time that I have ever been out of the country except to a small part of Canada years ago. I had never been away from home for more than a week before I went to college. I just adjusted to the last semester of college, which was my first. I just got used to having my friends around 24 hours a day, then had to readjust to life here where I knew exactly zero people. It was my first time flying as well, and I did not really know any of the other 9 people I came here with, or even know the teacher that brought us very well.
_____I am also someone who loves small town life, and live in the country more or less. But here, I am in the middle of a huge city (San Jose) that is foreign to me. While staying here, we are all living with Tican (Costa Rican) families, and this was a very challenging thing for me too. My family here speaks no English at all, so whenever I communicate with them it has to be all in Spanish. This was very hard at first, and I’m still never 100% sure what I say is right all the time, or that I am understanding all of what they say. But it has been good for me, since I had to get used to using Spanish almost all day every day, except when I’m with someone else from the group I came here with. I can notice a huge difference in my comprehension and speaking ability even in just the days I have been here.
_____To go further, I could go into the food. At home, I eat a ton of cereal, milk, wheat bread, peanut butter, fruits, and vegetables. My family here never eats any of this, except the occasional fruits and veggies. They do, like all Ticans, eat a ton of rice (Which I don’t eat much of at home), sometimes two to three meals a day! This was another thing I had to adjust to.
_____Basically, everything I ever knew to be comfortable around was taken away in one trip. Without the internet and being able to contact home, I don’t know what I could have done. It was very hard to adjust to the changes all at once, and go to Spanish class (Spanish taught in Spanish) for 2.5 hours a day as well. I struggled a lot, and still struggle at times. I really wanted to go home, and I still honestly can’t wait to get my old life back. But I found that God is trying to reach me here. To read the story of how I came to be coming here, see my other post, “God’s Guidance”. Since then, a further encouraging sign that coming here was the right thing was a gift of financial support from the church I attend while at college, which I had only been going to for about 3 months. They told me they wanted to help me, and I was totally amazed. God’s gifts are incredible!
_____The Spanish school here is Christian, and so is my university, so here there is a focus on God as well. Through talking to some people, I realized that God indeed brought me here for a reason, and I am trying to use the relaxed life of the culture here (resulting in lots of down time) and the times of quiet to get away from the stuff that takes up all my time and just thank God for giving me this chance. I was so busy during school my relationship with God was not as good as it could be. I want to change that during the time I am here.
Chapel the other day was about trusting God, and the leader talked about Joseph being sold into slavery and then putting his trust in God. I need to use these hardships (Certainly easier than being enslaved) to put my trust in God. He will help me. I just need to realize that, and relax. He put a lot of good people in my life, and my awesome friends and family back home have put a lot of effort into supporting me while I am here. I am thankful for that.
_____As a Spanish major, I will have to return here for an entire semester in two years. I know that one of the reasons God brought me here for these 3.5 weeks now was to help me to be more comfortable when I come back. The return will be so much easier now that I have experienced life here this time. I don’t know if I could have survived this knowing I had to stay for almost four months the first time I came here. I am incredibly thankful for that. Also, the next time I will have at least one close friend from school coming on the trip here, and some others that I at least know a tiny bit. God uses our difficulties for good, and I have come to realize that all the things I complained about here are nothing in comparison to what some people have to go through in their lives. I have it easy, and will be returning home in about 10 days.