In English, sueño means dream. Towards the end of my week in Costa Rica, while stopping for a cafecita (small cup of coffee) on our way back from Limon, our bus driver Randall (pronounced ren-DAHL) asked me how I enjoying Costa Rica thus far, to which I replied, "Es como un sueño."
Its like a dream. And my week in Costa Rica, in Santa Ana was dreamlike. There may be more buildings in Santa Ana now, more Ticos riding motocicletas, but the mountains have not changed, the amazing vistas are the same, the air still smells like summer.
The people also seem the same, especially my amazing old professor and his wife, Don Jorge and Doña Ana. Jorge is a reknowned opera singer, sociologist, author, carpenter, and environmentalist. He is, quite simply, the most interesting man alive.
Anyway, as I mentioned in my previous entry, my sister Nora has been studying there these past several months on the same program I did six years ago. My friend Matt and I decided to take a week's vacation and visit her group. I thought it would be a great chance to relive some of my "glory" days in Costa Rica, as well as catch up with some of my favorite professors. Also, Anna Eggleston, a dear friend of mine and fellow Costa Rica alum from my group was living in Santa Ana, which was an added bonus. (Anna and I were each other's partners in Salsa class--we were awesome)
I had a great time. Pura vida is how they say it in Costa Rica, and it was a week's worth of pura vida for me. We hiked through the mountains, planted trees for reforestation, did pottery, danced salsa, went snorkeling, ate delicious food, saw ancient ruins.
One of the best aspects of the trip were the people I was with. Nora is, of course, always fun to hang out with (hey, she's a Hurley!) as is Matt, and it was awesome to see Anna. But the rest of Nora's group were strangers to me, besides a little conversations I'd had with Nora about them on the phone. They are an amazing bunch of students, funny, kind, and always up for an adventure. I'm lucky to have met them.
Some of my favorite memories from the week were hiking up the mountains, then hiking back down in the dark, stopping at a bar called Buena Vista halfway down for the best beer, 80's music, and french fries ever, seeing a giant school of silver fish snorkeling, relaxing on a motor boat to an awesome view, relaxing at Jorge and Ana's awesome house, drinking games in the hotel, conversations with Gabriel, another awesome professor, in his class, the farewell party at the bar, and simply playing cards on the beach or chatting in a coffee shop. It may sound corny, but I felt truly blessed to have had this experience, to "relive" for one week one of my favorite semesters in college.
My week back in Costa Rica was una semana perfecta, a perfect week, almost too good to be true. And, like all the best dreams, it ended too quickly.