About 4 and a half weeks ago I was playing futbol cinco (indoor soccer) with my normal weekly group of guys. We’re made up of Ticos, Americans and a myriad of European dudes. I had come to truly love my weekly matches with these guys. Always competitive, aggressive, and super fun. That’s what soccer is all about to me. Near the end of the hour I was going full on for a header to goal. If I made this goal it would take us out of the tie and potentially win the game. Expecting the force and passion I always bring to the field, the goalie came out to block me and that’s when the agonizing pain blurs my memory. Basically I was slide-tackled unintentionally, the force of the blow impacting the outside of my knee and bending it inward, tearing my ACL severely. I knew it was serious immediately. I could not put any weight on my leg and my knee swelled right away. Despite words of wisdom from my fellow players telling me to shake it off and grab a beer, I called the Peace Corps medical duty phone and was advised to go to the ER. The goalie, feeling badly about the whole thing, drove me to the ER with my roommate Anna where I was poked and prodded, given an MRI, and wheeled around Clinica Biblica (quite fun, but be careful letting Anna drive a wheelchair!). The weeks that followed included a litany of appointments, procedures, policies and paperwork. And now it is official that I will be medically separated from the Peace Corps- ending my service early- to my home of record to undergo surgery and subsequent treatment.
As I complete my chapter on Peace Corps Costa Rica, a whole lot of brilliant new people open to the first page of theirs. I had the honor of attending the swear-in ceremony for Tico 24. It was the third swear in ceremony I have attended, including my own in May, 2009 and that of my pollitos, Tico 23, earlier this year. As I witnessed the familiar giddiness and anticipation on the bright faces of the newest volunteer group of PCCR, I reflected on my own service of the past 3 years. My two years as an RCD volunteer in the beautiful mountain community of Quebrada Grande, Guanacaste and the past year as the TEFL PCVL in San Jose. For all intents and purposes, I have completed my commitment and my work as a Peace Corps volunteer here. And I know that on my originally scheduled COS date in December I would have faced a torrent of emotions and feelings of loss the same as I am now.
But all this doesn't make me feel any more ready.
The abruptness and lack of finality in my work pains me almost as much as not being able to say goodbye properly to so many people. I had a lot of plans packed into these last few months in Costa Rica, but I guess Dios no quiere. I can't imagine living anywhere other than Costa Rica. I can't fathom life without piropos, tropical down pours, kumbya, and gallo pinto. But I suppose these were things I would have had to face eventually anyway.
So, on August 28th, 2012, I hit the PCCR gong to signify the end of my service, and received my completion of service certificate.
So now I’d like to make a tribute to Costa Rica and all the things I will miss dearly about the place that truly became my home.
a. Futbol Cinco
b. Futbol Cancha Grande
c. The way in which futbol is practically a religion in CR
2. Palm trees and tropical flowers
3. White sand beaches and sunsets
4. Cheering for Liga, booing Saprissa
5. My host family in Quebrada Grande, La Familia Rojas Carranza and my second mothers Isabel and Carmen
8. Gallo pinto
9. Hikes in the jungle and camping on the beach
10. Tico culture
a. Respect and care for family and the elderly
b. Patience, Pura Vida, and Tico time
c. Quality time being valued over commercialism and excessive gift-giving
11. Fellow PCVs
12. PCCR office staff
13. CR Holidays and rituals such as the Dia de Los Angeles pilgrimage to Cartago
14. Living abroad and experiencing something new everyday
15. Speaking and improving my Spanish
16. Living in Apartamentos America with my awesome roomies Dina, then Anna, and neighbor Amber
17. The TEFL team
18. Working and living for the United States Peace Corps, an organization I truly love and believe in
Back in the States I await surgery and physical therapy while living with my mom in Oklahoma City. This is not the end to my Peace Corps service I pictured or planned. But it’s the one that happened and the one I will embrace out of necessity, while remembering and cherishing my time, accomplishments and experience in Peace Corps Costa Rica.
Address until January:
4717 NW 57th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73122
5 years ago