El Viaje de Regreso

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Touchdown!

I’m here, I’m back!

I had played out this moment in my mind,

But it feels different now.

The customs signs clutter my vision,

En todas las direcciones que I look,

Inglés,

Inglés,

My native tongue.

 

It is a comforting sight,

But somehow it doesn’t feel complete.

Part of me is still there,

Amidst the jungle green,

With the daily rehearsed,

“Kolbi, Claro, Moviestar,”

Phone top-ups being sung in the street.

 

Mi corazón feels divided.

I should have remembered

That coming back is never that easy.

It is something you cannot prepare

Fully for.

You don’t realize that you are going to miss

Conversando with the nuns at your work,

Tomando the two-hour commute home (en una manera),

Escuchando to your host mom in the morning

Who tells you stories upon stories of the vieja Costa Rica,

Caminando every which way

Because all you have are los pies,

Viendo la gente gather around the street performers,

And abrazando one another with a kiss and hug.

These sentimientos are not something you can prepare to leave behind

Ahead of time.

 

These feelings wash over you

As you are being screened by los funcionarios de aduanas…

Or maybe it is more appropriate to say

“Customs officials” now.

They swirl around you

When you try ordering your first meal back en español.

They pull on your heartstrings

When you think back,

When you remember,

But now,

Más, y más,

It feels further away.

 

No,

You didn’t know it would feel so far,

When you were living in it,

Bailando el merengue.

It all seemed so usual,

So…todos los días.

You missed your hometown

Because you were discovering some place foreign to you,

All by yourself.

 

But now la situación

Is inversed.

¿Por qué?

¿Cómo?

If you are back in your comunidad,

With your gente, familia, y amigos,

Wrapped up in the inglés fluttering

Over street signs, restaurant placards, and billboards,

Why does the familiar feel so un-familiar?

¿Por qué te sientes sola?

 

I believe it is a question

That has many answers,

And then none

All at once.

 

What is more,

What is el más especial,

Is what these experiences,

Estas bendiciones,

Do to us.

 

It is such an amazing gift

To be welcomed into

Una cultura,

Un lugar,

Una casita,

Completamente nuevo.

And to learn and to share

Words,

Feelings,

Customs,

Laughs,

And fears.

En mi opinion,

There is nothing better.

 

So even though this

Reverse culture-shock bit

Es como una abeja molesta,

Buzzing around me

At every waking-moment

Ahorita.

It is totalmente vale la pena,

For los regalos grandes

That have been exchanged

Back and forth,

And forth and back.

 

Costa Rica is part of me now,

I will walk with it,

Smile with it,

Sleep with it,

And it will respond

In its own familiar way.

 

As I awake durante la madrugada,

Call out my “Pura” chant,

And feel all of the vida maravillosa

Surround me,

Hoy día.

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