Here begins the post-internship blog posts, which I am hoping will help me to reflect on the trip just as the posts during the trip helped me to appreciate the place I was in at the time.

So first day back in the states. After a few hours of tossing and turning from the mysterious stomach bug that had made me sick in the Houston layover, I realized that I was not going to sleep because there was complete and utter SILENCE in my room.

No other snoring interns*, howling dogs, screaming monkeys, yelling people, moving bushes, or that dang rooster that had become the routine soundtrack for the night.

*By snoring, I mean deep breaths that sometimes made me concerned for the capacity of your lungs. It felt alone for a while without having ya’ll around.

Then came the morning, and I missed it by a few hours with the closed curtains. No more 5:30am sun rays in my eyelids. After the sudden shock of being in a different place, I realized how late it was and got dressed for the day. The first sensation I felt was the dry throat and hurting ears. I live in Rural Texas, and I guess the lack of humidity in the air took a toll on me overnight.

But the shock of transition did not end there. After a delicious breakfast of coffee and a parasite pill, I stepped into the bright sunlight, blinded by the nakedness of the sun. I had grown used to the cloudy mornings in Costa Rica, where the sun was masked in part by the mountain behind our compound.

However, the intensity of the sun did not burn as the one down south, of course. But it did make me realize how cold the air conditioning in the house was as I warmed up in the sunshine.

My mom wanted to show me the new goats they had acquired while I was away, and I drove us a couple of miles up the road to the ranch. The lack of greenery in the surrounding environment provoked a deep sadness for the intense greens of the jungle that we had seen only a few days before.  At least I have some elephant ears in the garden. But not having to worry about cockroaches or other large insects jump on me from those jungles is nice.

I felt like a cloud of dust, death, and dryness formed a haze around everything we saw. In fact, the mold count for the day was above 5,000 as I heard on the evening news later.

The goats seemed happy and healthy, and were despite the drought, much fatter than the livestock I saw in Costa Rica. The breeds here are much more hearty and rounded than the mountain breeds.  Of course, these guys don’t have to run from jaguars or wild jungle hogs that would tear apart the fattest and slowest of the herd.

After walking around the ranch awhile, I found myself longing for a beach or waterfall to jump into. How funny!

It’s been 4 days since we arrived back, and I have yet to take a streaming hot shower. In the San Jose hotel, I took a few hot showers for the heck of it, but with the dry heat here, I find the cold ones more refreshing.

I can feel my skin getting dryer and rougher by the day, and my hair is losing it’s silky smoothness. Take me back to the tropical paradise!

The difference in environment is obviously due to the difference in water levels. Where one place suffers from landslides and floods, another soaks up every drop like liquid gold. It is this change that has impacted me the most, and it is humbling to have seen both conditions in the period of a few days.

By now I feel like I have transitioned back into the routine of the United States. However, I will always hold the spirit of life and growth of Costa Rica in my heart, especially during my cold showers. 😉

Until the next one,

Maricella Garcia

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