Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I learned a new verb today: extrañar. Mariela's boyfriend, Andrés, drove me to my dance class tonight and on the way he asked me, "¿Extrañás tu país?" (Do you miss your country? p.s. For any Spanish speakers reading this, notice my correct usage of vos). I had to ask him what extrañar meant and he explained that it means the same, more or less, as "echarse de menos," which is the verb that I have always thought meant "to miss." I told him no, that I didn't miss my country yet. It's not really the U.S. that I miss, but the people who are there.

Today is the first time that anyone here has asked me if I am homesick, and it's funny because today is the first day that I have felt homesick. My grandma passed away this morning, and the reality that I cannot be at home with my family has made me miss them a lot. On a positive note, I have learned a lot about myself today. If one were to literally translate "extrañar," "strange" would be somewhere in the translation since extraño is the Spanish word for strange. It makes sense that "extrañar" can mean "to miss," especially in my situation, because foreigners living in another country often become homesick when the new and exotic nature of their host country's culture wears off and instead becomes different, frustrating, annoying, and strange. My homesickness, however, has nothing to do with Costa Rica. In fact, I had thought just a couple of days ago that my next blog would be about how I am beginning to fall in love with Costa Rica. Including the fruit flies and ants that inhabit my kitchen, sweating and smelling the aroma of car exhaust as I walk to class every morning, the afternoon downpours, "tico time," and having to "conectar" the hot water every time I want to take a shower, I love Costa Rica...all of it. However, no matter the country, nothing can take the place of family.

In the time that I have been here and from the time that I was in Spain, I have learned that I can adapt quite well to other cultures, mainly because they fascinate me. I love the feeling of experiencing something new, different from my own culture, every day. Once again, I am not homesick because I miss my physical home, but because I miss the feeling that I associate with home: being around the people who know and love me the most. Wherever I end up living later in my life, I know that it won't feel like home unless my family is there.

So that you aren't worried or think that I am suddenly having a terrible time here, I assure you that I am fine. Today was Mariela's 20th birthday, so a bunch of family members came over to celebrate, and I can't decide if this made me feel better or worse. In many ways, it was nice to feel like I was part of another family when I was missing mine, and at the same time it made me miss my family more. Seeing Andrea and her husband with Isiac made me miss my parents; seeing Mariela and Andrés made me miss Carlos (not that this would be any different even if I was in the U.S.); and sharing in their laughter and listening to their stories made me miss my family members and friends. The good thing, however, is that I do feel like I am becoming a part of my tican family more and more every day. Tomorrow is a new day of my pura vida and I hope to wake up to sunshine :)

1 comment:

  1. Hey Corrylee!

    I was creeping and found your blog so I've been reading what sounds like an AMAZING trip!! It's so awesome that you are going to a university there! Have you noticed any major differences between the way students are taught? That would be so interesting! Yay world travels! :)