Category: Stories

Learning about myself

The last few days have been eye opening for me. I realized that when it comes to meeting new people I am not as I used to be. I used to start chatting with whoever I thought would be friendly. Now, it’s hard to just talk to someone I don’t know. It’s not just because they speak a language different from mine. It’s because I am not the person I used to be. I like to have my space. I like to have time to myself. Although, it is great to meet new people because you learn something new about yourself you didn’t know before.

The last few days I’ve been showing a new friend around the area where I live. It’s been so fun yet new for me. I had to learn to balance the time to myself and the time with my new friend. They came to the area to visit me so it seemed as though I needed to spend all my time with them. This doesn’t always have to be the case though. There is a way to balance the time spent with or without someone. Plus, if you’re getting to know someone it might not be wise to spend every minute with them. It was a great time exploring how the bus works, trying to find postcards for a good price, negotiating a taxi ride home while it’s pouring rain outside and spending time on the beach is an amazing way to get to know someone.

 

Today was a really fun and out of my comfort zone kind of day. I met my new friend at the beach down the road in the afternoon. We set up my cabana on the beach and went looking for seashells. We got a lobster that we picked out right there. It was cooked and brought to our little cabana. It was so good and cheap!! After an hour or so his new friend and daughter showed up with their driver. We talked and relaxed on the beach until it was time to go to dinner. I was told about a place near buy you can go for dinner and a swim. As long as you spend over a certain amount of money you can use the infinite pool and see an amazing view of the ocean! So, we headed there for the rest of the evening. It was quite an adventure given the driver kept hitting on me and I believe he asked me on a date tomorrow (he has 3 girlfriends). He doesn’t speak much English so the conversation may have gotten lost in translation.

 

I don’t do well when people hit on me or ask me out. I don’t like the attention and I have a fiancé that I love so much. This was an uncomfortable situation I had to get out of a few times. He knew I had a fiancé and kept at it. I guess he thought that since I was here and my fiancé was in the US that it wouldn’t matter so he persisted a few times. I was very excited with myself because I didn’t react the way I would have in the past. In the past, I would have been all excited and my self-esteem would have skyrocketed. Then I would feel miserable the shortly after. I feel like I kept my dignity and self-esteem. It is such an amazing feeling!

change

Writing

writing

Writing is something that I am not that good at. It’s a way for me to push myself to write about my life. I never thought it would be this rewarding. When I started writing my blog I was scared. I didn’t want the whole world to see my writing and think things about me. I started off writing about recipes and my exercising. The exercising posts didn’t last because I have trouble keeping a workout regimen. Th recipes stopped when I got busy with my course in CR. I kept going though. I Kept writing about what’s on my mind. I kept writing about what I am feeling. It’s getting easier and easier to write about what my heart tells me to write. It has been a great journey of seeing where this will go and who I become.

Writing is a way to help me process certain situations. It gets things off my mind so I can see the situation in a different light. I love being able to use writing as a way to get a different perspective on what is happening in my life. I am exciting to see where this writing takes me. Who knows one day maybe I will write a book about my life story. I have thought about it a few times yet never thought I was a good enough writer. I have a long way to go and it will be a few years before that happens.

I encourage you to write about what’s in your life. Write like you can’t stop. Don’t think about it or edit it, just write. It can be in a journal, a word document, or a random piece of paper. It is meant to help you get all the stuff on your mind out. It is something that gets the emotions out. It may not help like it does with me so see what you get. See how it helps you or how it doesn’t. Experiment with your writing see what it does for you!

What is marriage?

Being home has given me a lot to think about over the next few months. There are so many things that I have yet to learn about myself. Getting married is one of them. Getting married is a huge deal. It’s not something that someone should take lightly. I learned this the hard way. I’ve been married once before and thinking about getting married scares the crap out of me. I love my fiancé and he is the most amazing man in the world to me. The things I learn from him are beyond anything I could ever ask for. He pushes me in ways no one else could. He sees things that I don’t see within myself and pushes me to be better. It’s amazing.

So, this brings me to the point of getting married and it being a huge deal. He asked me to marry him last year. We are planning to get married in Costa Rica next year. This is scary. I want to start planning and getting things started. At the same time, I am not ready. I am not ready to start planning and getting things ready because I am not sure. I am absolutely, sure I want to marry Jon. There is no question in my mind that he is the perfect one for me. In fact, I don’t have any questions. There are things about myself that I am not ready to deal with. I am not in a place where I want to be mentally.

Some of the things I want to come to understand is that I don’t need to get married for everyone else. I don’t need to have a fancy ceremony or go to an exotic place to one up my previous wedding. I need to get married when I am ready and he is ready. Marriage is about the laws of nature. It doesn’t matter what papers you have, it matters what you do to grow yourself into a more aware and honest person.

One of the things that I really love about Jon is his sense of what marriage is. It is something that I never thought of. It is something that doesn’t make sense to people. It didn’t make sense to me at first either. It took me a while to get to the point of understanding I have now. I still have a long way to go to understand how he sees marriage, yet I think it is important.

Marriage is deep. Marriage is not just a piece of paper. Marriage is not a fancy wedding. Marriage is between two people and nature. I am not sure how to explain it in words that would make sense. So here is the only way I know how to explain it. I found an article online called “The nature of sacred marriage”. It gives the best explanation possible.

“When Nature is not included in the marriage covenant and in its purpose, then marriage is no longer sacred. It becomes a vehicle with which to measure personal happiness, and if and when this happiness disappears in the face of difficulty, it is not surprising that many marriages end. A sacrament partakes of the Eternal – of the order of Life.  It cannot be altered by law or edict, even though its sacred nature may be forgotten or abused. Marriage, as sacrament, reflects Nature’s intention to share the gifts of love and the joy of love with two, who, through their love, will bring the fruits of their joining to the world for the benefit of the world as well as for themselves. These fruits include but go far beyond the bearing of children. They are the fruits of the soul, the expressions of the soul, bringing what is Divine in each partner into greater manifestation, making each one a truer reflection of their inner being. The sacramental nature of marriage makes it more than a physical bond, more than an emotional bond. It is, in its deepest meaning, a spiritual bond, built out of the depth of love between two souls. To consecrate a marriage is to bring it into concordance not with two wills but with three – that of the two souls involved and that of nature.” (they used God. I changed it to nature)(http://lightomega.org/Ind/Pure/Sacred_Marriage.html)

This is what I am learning to understand because I want a happy and long-lasting marriage. I want something that is a whole lot more than my last marriage. I want something that has depth and meaning. With Jon, I have that. I have someone who will push me to think differently. I have someone who will tell me the truth. He and I both know that the depth can be deeper. He and I both know that we have to grow more in tune with nature’s laws to have a lasting and fruitful marriage. That is what we are striving for. Until we feel in tune to nature’s laws marriage will be put on hold. We may have a five-year engagement, who knows. It is okay because MARRIAGE takes work so we will do some work now to make sure it we are doing it for the right reasons.

image1

Falling into Place

It has been an adventure of trusting myself. From the beginning, I have been taking risks and seeing what time brings. Since I quit my job back in February things have been falling into place. Once I quit my job, I started looking for other options. I had plenty of job offers from babysitting to teaching pre-kindergarten. Nothing seemed like the right fit. Since coming to Costa Rica last year I knew I was bound to go back and work there. Something told me to look into getting my TEFL certification. I looked at the prices and the options. After talking with my fiancé, I decided to make it happen. I gave myself 45 days to get ready for the next step in trusting myself. I made the decision to go and nothing was stopping me except my passport. So, I sent my passport in for a name change back to my maiden name. Since it was a month away I wasn’t going to work because why work for such a short time. The next day an old employer sent me a text asking how my job search was going. I told her I was moving to Costa Rica and stopped looking for jobs.  She asked me if I could work for them again until I left. Since they were moving in a few months it was perfect for them. It was a blessing to work for them for the short time before I left. Everything was falling into place. I got my passport back two weeks later and applied to the course.

 

I wanted to stay in Costa Rica for 6 months when I first decided to go. It has since changed to an undetermined time. I fell in love with Monteverde last year when we came, so I looked up schools I could work for. I found the Friends School to be the only one that I am qualified for in the area. After doing research I fell in love with the school. I wasn’t going to apply because it is a two year commitment. After going within myself, I realized I can’t sell myself short. I need to try. This school became my number one school for employment.

 

During the tefl course I was able to see some other schools and received a job offer from a school in Liberia. I drove to Liberia Costa Rica to see if I liked the place. I do like Liberia. I just didn’t find the school to be the right fit for me. I contacted the Friends School and they told me that there was a possible position depending on the teacher. I told them I would come by after my course ended. I sent them an email a week after speaking with them to thank them for their time and the dates I would be coming. I never looked at other schools because I really want this one.

 

I passed my course and now I am in Monteverde. I went by the school to get a tour and reiterate how much I would love to work there. The teacher who I would replace has some medical issues the directors are worried about. She left school early today while we were there for medical reasons. They offered the schools apartment for us to use while we are in town. I am staying in town until Thursday at the earliest. They directors told us to come to their end of the school year meetings Wednesday morning and hopefully we can speak after about the position. If he gets busy we will speak on Thursday.

 

This is a true test of listening to myself. I fell that his place is where I am supposed to be. I feel at home here for so many reasons. It a small quiet town. It has lots of hiking trails for exercise. It’s in the mountain so the temperature is perfect. The school is a Quaker school with great ties to the community. They do a lot of volunteering in the neighborhood which is fantastic. It is perfect for my growth and where I am headed.

 

I will be patient and trust that things will fall into place the way they are supposed to. I will live for the now and the right things will fall into place. 18644694_10213368932117405_483205279_n

Pura Vida

I finished my course. I am now certified to teach English. My final grades were A’s. The course was absolutely amazing! If you ever want to learn to teach English as a foreign language TESOL Costa Rica is the place to go. Melanie and Luke are amazing teachers. They prepare you to succeed. They give you help and guidance. I came away with so many games, fillers, and fun activities to use in the classroom. It is by means not an easy course. I can guarantee, you will be far more prepared leaving this course than you would taking it online. I am so happy I made the choice to come here to take the course.

I am off to find a job now. I would like a teaching job where I teach children in a normal school setting. I don’t want to teach English in a language school if I don’t have too. I am looking in the Monteverde area as well as Guanacaste.  Since I am looking for a particular type of school I have limited options. I do have plenty of experience from home so hopefully I won’t have a problem.

My fiancé came two days ago to spend time with me and help me find the right school. We also plan to scout out wedding venues while we are here. It will be a busy week! So far we have gone to Isla Tortuga and La Paz Waterfall and Gardens. We took a catamaran to Isla Tortuga which was super fun. It was a huge boat with 83 people on board not including the staff. They served fresh fruit and drinks while onboard. Once we got to the island they provided a snorkeling adventure. We took another boat out farther in the water. It was a great spot to snorkel. A sunken ship and lots of fish! When we got back to the beach they had a four course meal ready and waiting for us. After lunch we had plenty of time to swim. It was fun. I would have explored the island more if we could. Since the island is protected you have to stay on the beach. I am not sure I would visit again. It’s a great one time thing. Beautiful place, it just needs more to do.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens is really nice. I have been twice now. They have a butterfly garden, a toucan house, waterfalls, and lunch. It is nice to go with a guide rather than the self guided tour. You get more information with the guide. I had a guide the first time and learned a lot. This place is near Poas Volcano. Since the volcano is erupting I was having eye issues. If you go and you wear contacts do not wear them. You can mess up your contacts from the ash in the air. I made this mistake the first time. I learned the second time and wore my glasses. I am so glad I did because the ash this time was bad.

We are off to Monteverde tomorrow to explore and try to convince my favorite school to hire me! More to come soon! Pura Vida! “Dare to live the life you’ve always wanted”

What is Culture Shock?

There are many myths about culture shock. I want to explain some of them so everyone can truly understand what culture shock is. It is important to understand what culture shock is so that when it happens to you, you can take the right steps to overcoming it.

Myth #1 Culture Shock happens all at once.

Fact #1 Culture Shock happens slowly and gradually. What happens is your defenses are weakened until it is at zero.

Myth #2 Culture Shock is noticing difference. Example: “I almost got hit by a car today. What a culture shock it is to walk across the streets in Costa Rica.”

Fact #2 Culture Shock is you going crazy. When you have a mental breakdown due to the weakened defenses of being in another country.

Myth #3 Culture Shock can happen on a one week vacation.

Fact #3 You must live in a country for a long period to experience culture shock. It can take weeks or a few months for this to take place. It depends on your situation and environment.

Myth #4 It won’t happen to me.

Myth #4 Culture Shock happens to everyone.

I realize I am going through Culture Shock right now. It has been coming on slowly and I know it is not completely here yet. I can feel the stress of finding a job, finishing assignments, and meeting new people weighing down on me. I love the course I am taking. I know it is preparing me for what will come. Although, the work load is intense. I have lesson plans, quizzes, assignments, and lecture. This course should be done in 6 weeks instead of 4 weeks.

The stress of choosing a job is huge. There is a school that I want over any school here. They are waiting for the current teacher to decide whether she will be staying or leaving. This is stressful because I got another job offer that would be a good fit, not the perfect fit though. I don’t want to lose this job offer waiting for the other school to decide. Letting go and trusting my intuition is a hard thing to do. If I just let go and listened to my intuition I would have less stress. My defenses wouldn’t be breaking down as quickly.

 

There are different phases of culture shock: the honeymoon, the frustration stage, the adjustment stage, and the acceptance stage.

The Honeymoon Stage:

This stage happens when you first get to a new country. It is the positive and excited stage. When I got to Costa Rica I was full of excitement and energy. I was in awe of all the differences between the US and here. It was wonder and exhilaration. like any thing else this stage can eventually go away.

The Frustration Stage:

This is the stage I am in right now. It is also the most difficult stage from what I have read. This is the stage where small things begin to get to you. For me, it is the people in my class and not having an answer from one of the schools. I am frustrated with not feeling 100%. I have had headache and body aches the last few days. I do not cope well when I am sick. I don’t miss home. I really like it here. I just want to get started with getting into a routine and having a job. It is frustrating not being able to plan ahead for things like housing.

The Adjustment Stage:

I want to get to this stage. I want to begin adjusting. I want to find a permanent place to stay. I want to start taking Spanish classes to improve my Spanish. I want to be able to make friends that are along the same wave length as I am. I want to figure out where I will be so I can figure out how to navigate around the new place.

The Acceptance Stage:

This stage can come weeks, months, or even years after dealing with frustration. This is the final stage. It is about accepting and adapting to a new way of life. You have to build a new foundation of how to deal with the different things that will come at you when you are some place new. I am use to having my monthly trips to IHP. I am used to having my girlfriend’s to hang out with and bounce Ideas off of. I am used to having my fiancé be there to comfort me and show me it is going to be okay. I have some of this because I can easily call or text home.  I have to accept that things are different here and it will take time to create new relationships and stress relievers for myself.

culture shock

One thing I have learned is that we have the choice to determine how long this process takes. We are the only ones who can do the work to get through the different stages. We have the choice to take care of ourselves and give ourselves the space to look at the emotions. Looking at the emotions and the thoughts that are raging through our bodies is our choice. The sooner we look at them and come to accept that they are there, the sooner we will get through the stages. Patience is the number one thing we need because it won’t happen overnight. Although, we can make sure it doesn’t take years or months. We can make sure that we stay positive and love ourselves though the different stages. It won’t last forever. And life does become normal again.

accept

You’ll Never Know

I have been in Costa Rica learning how to teach English to non-native English speakers. The experience is eye opening. It feels surreal. Some days, I wake up and go about my day like any other day. Most days, I wake up getting ready like normal. Once I leave the house I am awoken to a different environment from what I’m used to. There are many things the same. I see grocery stores, clothing stores, and people going about their business. It’s not the same as back home even though it seems similar. I don’t know the language well enough to go out without google translate. I can’t walk across the street knowing the cars will stop for me. Here pedestrians do not have the right of way. The weather is pretty much the same every day. I know what will happen with the weather so there’s no need to check my weather app. If I want to get some where I either walk or take the bus. I have never taken the bus while in the states.

I have learned that life abroad is precious. Life abroad is an experience that not everyone gets to experience. There are things that stop people from taking the leap. For me, I didn’t want to take the leap because of money, or leaving my fiancé. I didn’t want to be put in some of the situations I have been in since being here. This included not being able to communicate with others. I didn’t want to have to try to make new friends.

I have been here for a little over a week. In this time, I see the knowledge and growth that takes place when someone is living abroad. It is enriching and inspiring to make little strides I have made in so little time. I was able to communicate with my host mom today with little use of google translate. I was able to make copies and buy paper clips at the local art supply store with no help. The feeling of being able to accomplish something so little has a huge impact on self-confidence in other areas. I have a skype interview on Thursday with a school in Liberia, Costa Rica. It is not one of my tops schools. I feel confident in being able to find the perfect position at the right school. I am excited to see where this interview takes me.

perfect life

Growth is not easy.

Hey everyone!

This week was my first week in Costa Rica. It has been full of challenges and strengths. I have been attending a school so that I can get certified to each English. The course is tough. There is homework and lesson planning to do almost every day. The days are full of lectures and lots of note taking. It has been great being in “school” again. The teachers make the lectures interesting because they are teaching us just how they want us to teach our students. They use activities that require a good amount of communication between the classmates. We are learning in a way that has never been used in my previous education classes. It’s challenging because we have to type everything the teacher is doing and saying so that we have complete information. This is important because when we go out to teach we will be able to use all the activities, quotes, and information.

Another challenge I am having is the amount of time I am spending with only the guys in the group. There are women in the course other than me. It appears I am the only woman who wants to do what the other guys are doing. Last weekend, I went on a hike to the volcano with them and this weekend I am going to the beach with them. This is difficult for me because I have chosen to not have any guy friends or hang out with them in these types of situations. It has been hard for me. This weekend I will be staying in a room with one or two of the guys because of the beach housing arrangements. I was scared to tell my fiancé that this is what’s will happen. I did not want to tell him this is what I am doing for he will want to do the same in the future. I know this is a hypercritical of me. That is why I do not hang out with guys like I have since being in Costa Rica.

I use all the energy I could to talk to my fiancé about the situation and how I was feeling. We had a very intense conversation about sleeping in the same room with the opposite sex or similar instances. I wanted to cry and scream at him. He told me how he felt about my double standard. I did not like what I heard. It took all my strength to stay calm and hear his side. I realized in this instance that we are both right and we are both wrong. We both have valid points and we have perceptions that are in the way. We both grew up with different ways of seeing relationships. My parents have always had monogamous relationships where as his parents have not. It is known that his parents are open with the fact that they see multiple people at once. This causes him and I to see things differently. He has never cheated on me nor has he ever shown interest in others while with me. The difference in thought processes still shows.

We are learning to see each other’s points of view. This point of view is not wrong and it is not right. There is a median that we have not been able to come to terms with because we do not understand where each other is coming from. I am beginning to see how having guy friends is beneficial for our relationship. There are limits to how and when we should hang out with someone of the opposite sex. Yet, it is healthy to have friends who are of the opposite sex.

I need to delve deeper into this to see what more there is to learn and grow in this area. When I decided to come to Costa Rica my soul was telling me that this will test my limits with my fiancé. It will help us grow and learn more about having a healthy relationship. So far life is giving me exactly what I need and when I need it. There are more thing that I will learn in the next few weeks.

grow

Collect Moments Not Things

Hey Everyone!

I have been a bit busy lately getting ready for my trip to Costa Rica. I leave tomorrow for an unknown amount of time. I will be taking a Teaching English as a Foreign Language Course for the next month. There will be plenty of adventures and struggles. Learning and navigating a foreign country will have its ups and downs. I will post as often as I can so that you can get a feel for what it’s like to move somewhere without your family, friends, or fiance.

There are some packing issues I have run into. As most people know you have to keep your luggage under a certain weight limit. I went over this limit and had to repack my bag three times. When traveling abroad, you really don’t need as much as you think. I was able to leave a bunch of pants and jackets I packed home. I get cold easily so I thought I would need a lot of jackets. To save space, I limited 5 light jackets to 3 jackets and 4 pants to 2 pants. One of each I am wearing on the airplane.

It will rain a good portion of the time I am in Costa Rica because it will be the rainy season while I am there. I wanted to pack my rain boots. They are heavy and huge so packing them was not an option. I did some research and found that they are inexpensive to buy in country. I will post when I am in country how much they actually cost me to buy.

After, taking these items out of my luggage I was able to get my suitcase down to the 50 pounds. It was not easy for me. I love to over pack and over prepare. I want to make sure I have all the things I am used to having. This will be something I will have to get used to. There will be things I love here that I will not be able to have in Costa Rica.

Tomorrow starts the beginning of an adventure of learning and growing into a more rounded person. I am learning to collect moments not things!

imgres

 

What do you have to gain?

image2

Change is never easy. This is something I am learning more as the days go by. I have 16 days until I leave for Costa Rica for an undetermined length of time. I will be leaving behind my entire life.

I am focusing on what I have to gain rather than what I could lose. I have a car, family, a sense of stability, and favorite things to do. I want to keep all of this. I want to keep these things and not let go. At the same time, I want to see what doors open for me while living abroad. I want to see in what ways my relationships and life grows. My heart is telling me there is much more to experience and gain by making the leap of letting go of what I have here.

There is something to be said for making a commitment and moving toward it no matter what may happen. It takes courage, faith, and strength to do something that you have never done before. Something you have been dreaming of doing since you were a child and making it a reality takes trust, love, and energy. There is so much to gain and so much to lose. Having faith that what you gain will out weight the loss is a huge aspect of doing something huge.

I challenge you to do something amazing. Do something that you have always wanted to do. It could be something small like running a 5k or something huge like moving abroad. You have so much to learn about yourself and life so take the risk and see what happens. Remember to focus on what you could gain. Remember that you influence people around you. What if you stepping outside of your box and running that 5k gives someone the courage to leave an unfulfilling job or confront something that has been holding them back? People see strength and courage in others allowing them to make the change they need in their lives.

Go out and do something great! Let me know what you do and how it changes you! I will be sharing my journey and changes with my move to Costa Rica over the next few months. I hope to inspire you to great things. Also, I hope that you pass it on to others as I am to you. You are great and you can do whatever you set out to doing!! WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO GAIN?