As the days came closer to departing to Costa Rica, I found myself becoming more anxious and doubtful about my decision to study abroad. My mind raced with hundreds of different thoughts. For example, “Do you think this a good idea?”, “You are about to leave your son for two months, please do not leave him.”, and “Are you really sure you want to do this?” Eventually, I calmed down and silenced the ongoing rant in my mind. I spoked positivity and inspiration to myself as I boarded the plane. Once I arrived in the Costa Rica, I was happy and excited that I did not allow my anxiety prevent me from experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Over the past several weeks in Costa Rica , I have noticed major growth and maturation within myself. I have stepped out my comfort zones and stretched myself far beyond what I thought was “ok”. Costa Rica has taught me to “go with the flow”. Life is not about being perfect and always making the right moves. As a single parent and a full-time student, I always focused on the small details of every situation. I created a life that was so structured and repetitive. If I missed a single note or an event on the calendar, I would stress until I was able to figure out a solution. I could not relax, smile, or simply be happy because I worried so much. I struggled with “living in the moment” because I was always thinking about my next move. I seldomly made time to be with my family or friends, or just enjoy a day of rest. My life seemed totally consumed with home, school, and work.
My Tico mom always say “tranquila”, which reminds me to take a step back, relax, and realize that everything is ok. So in the future, when I get overwhelmed, I can say “tranquila” and send positive vibes to the situation. If things do not go as planned, I should not become upset or stressed over it, but instead, say that everything will be ok and remain calm in order to resolve the issue.
Also, I have learned that I am stronger and more courageous than I believed. When I first arrived in Costa Rica, I was worried about how I was going to handle being away from my son for two months. During the first two weeks, it was really tough because I could not talk to him as much as I hoped. Going from seeing my child everyday to once a week (maybe) on a video chat was really challenging for me. According to Bob Marley, “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.” After being in Costa Rica for almost two months, I have gained the strength to push through the long, hard days until it is time for us to meet again. My friends always tell me that I am very strong and courageous to study abroad, eventhough I am a single parent. Most of them said that they would not have done what I did-leave a child to study abroad in a new country. Because of all the inspirational talks and friendly conversations with my friends, I have gained the strength and courage to continue program until the end.
In addition, my faith, motivation, and determination has been renewed. Prior to studying abroad, I was discouraged about some choices I made in life. I was looking for ways to rebound from my disappointments, and prove my worth. However, I have learned to appreciate my past mistakes and use them as opportunities of growth. Mistakes are inevitable because I am human. Now, instead of being sad about my failures, I use them as motivation and inspiration to move foward in life. Life is a journey made of trials and errors, so eventually, I will find the solution to my success if I do not give up. I am determined to work hard and continue to prepare a better life for myself, my son, and my family.
I will always remember Costa Rica as the place of my “rebirth”. This is the place where I am found myself, figured out my goals in life, stepped out of my comfort zones, and learned how to be truly happy.