Remembering Costa Rica

One year ago today, my best friend and I bid farewell to our second family, one of my favorite places on Earth, and what had been our home for 32 days:

Costa Rica.

Having lived, learned, and explored during our short stay in the cheerful little country, leaving is never easy.

The following words–originally posted on brookrakow.wordpress.com August 3, 2015–still ring true today, and my heart is full as I remember the time spent in this country with these people.

So, for that reason, the next few weeks will be devoted to remembering the people, the adventures, and the lessons learned during the time I have spent in Costa Rica over the last two years. 

To the best of my ability, nothing will be changed from the original thoughts written as the events occurred–however, if for some reason I find it appropriate to add or alter anything, I’ll let you know by changing the font color.

I am a firm believer that God best teaches us through what often appears to be mundane and basic. Yes, it most definitely can feel like He is more present in places where we are considered outsiders and are definitely out of our comfort zones–but we serve a limitless God.

So, as you read, I pray you are inspired to search for God at work in your own day-to-day life!

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It’s that time–time to come home.

The month is over; at time it felt as if it would never reach it’s end, yet, in retrospect, time appears to have grown wings and taken flight.

As I sit here people watching, laptop on lap, $4 small coffee in hand (that Jill so kindly bought me because it’s her turn to play “mom” again), I can’t help but have a little bit of fun pretending I’m a travel blogger (because how cool would that job be?!)

But I’m not.

I’m just a college student–stressed about everything I need to get done between landing in Omaha at 6:30 this evening and driving back to Omaha tomorrow for soccer two-a-days (yay for 10 hours at home!).

I’m excited to start this next chapter of life, yet missing my second home already. Silvia and Brauner confirmed and reaffirmed that Jill and I will always be welcomed in their home at any time, and Brauner is 100% certain that I will be back again, but it’s always hard to say good bye.

As I (not so creepily?) watch the passengers around me, I can’t help but let my curiosity get the best of me.

Why is he in Costa Rica?

Where are they going?

What is her story?

Are they missing people too?

Are they ready to go home, or sad to be leaving?

What are those worry lines for?

Hopes? Dreams? Aspirations?

I think we need to get an Airport Aspirations Anonymous group going here.

“Hi, I’m Brook” (hi Brook) “And I’m tired of adult-ing.”

Okay, maybe not.

But for real: there are times when I honestly wish I could be a kid again–to have someone else in charge of the important decisions of my life (like, oh, for instance, a career plan would be nice as I start my third to last semester of college…just throwing that out there. No pressure.) <— currently starting my last semester of college and still open to suggestions….

Because, you see, I enjoy comfort. I enjoy security. I enjoy knowing what’s going to happen next. But life doesn’t work that way (or so people tell me).

And traveling is teaching me this.

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Sometimes, you just have to pull out the cliche sayings and “go with the flow.” Sometimes you have to break down the pride and remaining bits of dignity to ask for help (or keep struggling until someone *hopefully* takes pity on you).

And sometimes the only thing you can do is keep walking forward and trust that God isn’t going to let go of your childlike death grip of fear in new situations. (He never does, just fyi).

Yesterday evening, after spending the day with our host family, Silvia and Brauner presented us with thoughtful gifts: wooden coffee mugs engraved with our names. Each mug is hand painted with an animal native to Costa Rica, and mine displays a beautiful orange butterfly.

Silvia quickly explained that the animals had a meaning specifically for us from God.

She went on to paint me as the butterfly, telling me that God is going to push me out of my comfort zone (wait. You mean He hasn’t already?) and it won’t always be easy.

In fact, at times, it may seem better to stay a caterpillar, but she encouraged me to stay strong, trust God, and not backpedal from what He is pushing me towards because she is confident that God will do great things in my life.

Have I mentioned how much I love these people?

I know that, technically, the Bible doesn’t have a specific verse about God placing people in our lives for a reason (although there are plenty of examples of it!), but I believe with all of my heart that God placed me in Brauner and Silvia’s casa last year with the intent of creating a lifelong friendship that allows us to love and encourage each other, even when we are over 2,000 miles apart. I can’t tell you how blessed I am to know them.

“Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created…”

-Esther 4:14speech-marks copycostarica4

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