You know that saying “time flies when you are having fun?”
Well, it’s stupid. I’m changing it. It is exactly the opposite of what it should be.
It should be more like “Time flies when you are busy doing everyday things.” Or maybe “Time flies when you are preoccupied and unaware of your surroundings.” At home, in my everyday life and routine, time seems to go by very quickly. I rarely remember what I did a few days before and the days just sort of run together. I have a schedule and an environment that stays more-or-less the same and the comfort and ease this stability provides makes it easy to move about my day without paying much attention to much of anything at all. The days, the weeks, the months sort of rush by me and I barely take the time to say hello.
I have noticed, however, that time moves very, very slowly when I am (having fun) traveling in places far away from home. There is just so much to pay attention to and to absorb – every experience is new and exciting and challenging and every minute is memorable. So I remember it! (Which is a feat for me). I walk slowly along, without a care in the world, taking it all in. For instance, I have only spent a few weeks in Costa Rica, but I already feel like I’ve been here for months. And this doesn’t mean I am not having fun. Because I am. And a lot of it.
Here are a few memories I have from my slow-moving, fun-filled adventures:
-Visiting a woman David knows at the small hotel on a mountainside where she
works as a cook. She made us lunch and we stayed for several hours, the only
people in the entire hotel, looking out through the giant windows out towards the
Arenal Volcano while sipping home-roasted coffee she grows on the hillside behind
-Swimming in the “piscina natural” – a ridiculously perfect tide pool created by the
Caribbean sea pouring its waters into a series of natural, enclosed circular rock
formations surrounded by lush tropical plants. The water rocked back and forth
due to the waves and the tide so it was pretty much the most relaxing thing ever.
-David picking coconuts from trees and whacking off the tops with a machete so we
could drink the sweet water with our breakfast.
-Rolling around in the sand at “Playa Negra” – a beach with dark black sand and
crystal clear water. And nothing else. No shells, no jellyfish, no algae, no bugs… and
practically no other people.
-Hiking through the Cahuita National forest listening to the howler monkeys screech
and watching iguanas stand up on their hind legs and awkwardly wobble back and
forth, running away from us as fast as they could.
-Going to the central market in San José where we ate a breakfast of gallo pinto
(beans and rice), fried eggs, fried plantains, fried hotdog and coffee after walking
around through butcher booths full of hanging cow-carcass parts and fish heads.
It was all pretty spectacular.
Then, last Tuesday, we went to the airport where I said goodbye to David and hello to the group of 19 yr old students I will be living with for the next 7 weeks. I climbed into a bus with them and we made our way to San Luis - a small community right down the road from the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve – the site of the University of Georgia Costa Rica campus.
Since Tuesday I have been helping with orientation sessions, going on educational hikes, preparing/teaching classes, and eating 3 delicious helpings of beans and rice/day in the school’s cafeteria. I don’t really know why I have ever taught anywhere else. Here I have 2-5 students in each class (as opposed to 30), I walk through the woods to class accompanied by hummingbirds and baby cows and coatis and morphos butterflies, and I get to listen this sound while preparing my lectures:
Right now I am laying in a hammock on the porch of my “cabina” listening to the sounds of the forest, resting after our most recent hike through the cloudforest. And I get to do this for 6 more weeks! And with me having so much fun, and time moving so slowly, if I’m lucky it will feel like even longer.