What a turn of events this turned out to be. Remember how I was supposed to be studying abroad from January until May? Well, due to a little thing called COVID-19, our study abroad trip got cut short. A trip that was supposed to be 4 months long only lasted for two. As I write these words, I am currently sitting in the airport waiting for my last flight to take me home to Vegas and yet, I still can’t fully fathom all that has taken place in such a short amount of time.
Our program had just gone on our Spring break the week of March 9th and it was to be very eventful. Some of us traveled to different parts of Costa Rica and even Panama. We beach hopped, shopped for souvenirs, and got to know each other better. Previously, we had been a little concerned about the possibility of our program being shut down, as other students from other programs had already been sent home from their host countries. But because I don’t really like to dwell on the negatives or the stress of “what-if,” I put the thought aside and continued to enjoy my time there.
Towards the end of our trip, more news was coming out about the whole situation, and on the last Sunday of our trip, we all got the email we had been dreading. We were told that our program was canceled and were advised in very bold letters to get on the next flight home.
Initially, I had no feeling for what I had just read because going home isn’t really a bad thing for me. If we would have been able to stay in Costa Rica for the other 2 months, I would have been fine. And if we had to go home early, I would have been fine. Afterall, going home would solve all of my feelings of homesickness.
But between sunday: when we heard the news, and tuesday: when my flight was scheduled to leave, my feelings started to get a bit more complicated. I was still overjoyed to go home and be away from the bugs and see my family/friends, but I had just come to terms with my homesickness and got it into my head that I would be in Costa Rica for 2 more months. I was mentally prepared for the rest of our trip and was very excited for the field studies I was going to be going on LITERALLY the weekend after spring break. The last two months were about to be very busy with trips, but now they were all canceled.
The day before setting off on this journey, I was very stressed and cried multiple times. Not even because I was afraid of the virus or getting sick, but because of all the different effects I heard it was causing, like shutting down schools, closing borders, making stores crowded. On our break, we were even slightly afraid that the Panama or Costa Rica border would close, and that we wouldn’t be able to get back.
I would 100% much rather be at home when such havoc is going on in the world, but it also bothered me to think that I would go from being in an environment that was relatively stress free of the virus, and go back to the states where apparently stores no longer have toilet tissue or water or hand sanitizer or any other cleaning products? Like what is that? Social isolation? And then I found out that the entire city of Las Vegas was being shut down and that we were being asked to stay in our homes for 30 days. I would come home early, really missing my people after not seeing them for 2 months and then not be able to see them for 30 WHOLE DAYS? Like, I might as well not even be back home. From what I had heard, I would not be coming back to life as I had known it, but would have to get used to the current state that it was in.
Overall, I had a really good time in Costa Rica, and maybe I’ll make a recap post later, but I am also sad that my time was cut short and that I didn’t get to do all that I had hoped. But, I am very glad to be back home in the desert where people like spicy food, cars have a/c, pancakes are eaten for breakfast, and bugs can’t live cause of how hot it is. In the two months I had, I learned a lot in so many different areas, and met some really cool people. Además, creo que puedo hablar y entender mejor el español? The grammar may be questionable, pero vamos a ver. If I’m talking to you and empiezo a hablar spanglish? Mind your business. Lol, jk.
Everything is for a reason, and life goes on. I did everything in my own power to make my trip as memorable as possible, and I truly have no regrets or any feelings of "I wish I would've said yes to this." I am so grateful I took the trip to Panama and went to cool beaches and traveled with my friends. I wasn't aware that it would be my last trip, but I'm glad I did all that I did. From now on, we treat every adventure like it’s the last.
Thanks for reading,