A lot of people have been asking me lately how do I feel and if I'm ready to go. I tell them that my feelings have been on and off all summer ranging from excitement to scared [crap]less. But at the end of the day, am I ready? Yes, I'm as ready as I'll ever be at this point. And I need to go.
I need to go because if I didn't, this whole summer would be pointless. I'm not counting the time spent with family and friends, but all of the time preparing for tomorrow and the year to come would be obsolete if I weren't going. I told myself at the beginning of the summer that I wanted to prepare myself as best as possible for Costa Rica---mentally, practically, skillfully, physically, and spiritually. Granted, a lot of my time was spent wasted on the Internet or on TV or sleeping, but here's the productivity I can record:
1. Better my Spanish
I would say this was my top priority and also hardest to do and stay motivated about. In May, my Spanish was nowhere ready, and I would say it was my biggest fear to not be able to talk to the people (it still is my largest fear probably), but I've gained a lot more confidence through working with my Pimsleur CDs (thanks Joanie) and Rosetta Stone (thanks Chris). (Side note: if anyone is interested in learning Spanish through product, I prefer rimsleur because it's all conversation type situations, but Rosetta Stone (though kind of slow and repetitive) does give a more rounded education and is best for someone who has zero exposure and experience to a language.)
2. Pray more
Let's be honest, I wasn't praying a day back in May. But I knew if I was serious about giving my best to my students and community in CR, that included me being better spiritually prepared. That didn't come easy, it still isn't automatic, and it took a lot of growing pains. But after many revelations and reflections (i.e. Faithful Servant 2010 and nights sitting on the Honda looking at the stars) I've gotten myself a lot more grounded. What has really helped was this Bible study course I joined at my church Holy Infant, and since, for the first time in my life, I've been reading the Bible more, at least once every two or three days. Am I Catholic? :P
3. Becoming a better guitar player
This is nothing to boast about, I ain't no John Mayer or Jack Johnson. But I knew if I was going to be bringing my guitar to CR, I better be bringing my guitar, if you know what I mean, nudge nudge. (Maybe you don't.) Haha so what that translated to was working on things I'm weak on: learning more popular, secular songs, finger picking, and most recently, learning Mass parts. The latter, which has taken up my past three days, became important to me because I guess to me if I have a guitar, but I can't play at Mass, I'd feel pretty useless. And after putting on a brand new pair of D'Addario strings on my guitar yesterday, I've been a happy kid.
|I was so excited I cooked a poached egg|
properly that I took a picture of it. I salted,
peppered, and put it on a buttered bagel
Looks good, right?
Once I found out that we'll be cooking for our community (i.e. four other people) every day, that translated in my head, dang, I need to learn how to cook haha. OK, so I left CR become my excuse to get behind the stove. My favorite show has become Top Chef D.C. (RIP Kenny). I've constantly watching the cooking channel, and in between I've learned how to cook some semi-fancy meals, most notably Ahi Tuna steaks, chicken and white-wine mushrooms, and poached eggs. (Ha, yeah maybe it's not all gourmet.)
5. Buy certain necessities
Unfortunately, I've been pulling a Noah and been buying two of everything, which isn't good. Check this out:
-I bought a 16 gb thumb drive to back my files up (this was back when I had money at the beginning of the summer), and it got crushed in the mail. Bought a 4 gb recently for $10 to replace it.
-Bought a small umbrella for $11. It broke the very next day when lil Diego got a hold of it. Kids don't know yet the concept to not hold an umbrella when it's windy outside. I was going to refuse to buy another one, but I was out stranded in this thunderstorm another day and bought another one, an exact replica from CVS. Sigh.
-I bought strings. Guitar strings, you can't go wrong. No, I unstrung my guitar, cleaned it, and was stringing them with the new ones only to find there were only five strings in the package. I thought I was going crazy. Where is my G string?? (...wow, only now have I noticed that could mean something very different with a completely different set of issues.) I called and complained and they sent me another set. Meanwhile, I played on Joseph's mini kid guitar to suffice me.
-The list continues, but the above were the notable failures.
6. Worked out
I would say last semester I was probably in the best shape I've ever been in my life (Which, let's be honest, isn't saying much, I'm still a Filipino twig.) And being at home where I refused to pay gym membership, I haven't been as motivated, but being back in D.C. with my brother's gym available I'd say I'm almost back to par. This doesn't mean much, I don't plan on flexing my (what) muscles(?) for anyone down there, but I guess I'm a big believer of the "look good, feel good" mentality. There's nothing worse than showing up somewhere knowing you could be looking and feeling better.
7. Got a haircut
I decided I couldn't afford more than once since my last one in June, so I waited until two days ago to get one. It was badly needed, but it's reeeally short, almost as bad as my cut in Belize and Philippines. But you know what, I've decided it looks fine. Look good, feel good, right?
8. Got over myself
I spent a lot of unneeded time worrying if I was going to be good enough for CR. My fears include being able to communicate well in Spanish, to replacing Liz, to even wondering if my housemates will like me haha (all three legitly hang true until I find out). Then I got a phone call from my aunt, Tita Nita, and she told me some magic words. "You shouldn't be worrying about anything. Isn't this what God's calling you to do? It is, you're doing God's work, and he's not going to let you fail." And you know, it put all the minute details into perspective. I guess I will be all right, won't I? God's on my side, not to mention all the supporting family and friends I'm humbled by and grateful for.
Anyway, all this prep has summed up my summer. The summer isn't all that pointless, now that I look back. But it's time to put it all to test, to do what I feel I'm called to do, and begin the next chapter of my life. Thank you, everyone, for your continued support and prayers. I'm sure gonna need it.