(in no particular order)
1. Dimensión Cristiana -- This church has been my rock for the last year and a half. It's definitely a lot louder than my dad's church, so much so that it reminds me of a rock concert :). I love how the pastor intertwines Scripture with personal stories to leave me with a weekly challenge for my thoughts. I will also miss the fact that church here lasts 2.5 hours!
2. Rain on the tin roof every afternoon -- perfect for napping during the rainy season.
3. Wearing skirts to work year round -- No need for boots! No need for hose! Just a skirt and sandals, even (especially!) in January!
4. Subtitled or dubbed movies at the theater -- I now understand movies so much better -- even movies in English -- when I can read subtitles. Weird, I know. I think I'll keep watching movies with subtitles :).
5. Being the ''foreigner'' -- It's always fun to start up a conversation here and explain that I'm from the U.S. (although that's obvious, lol) and then explain that I'm not just a tourist, that I actually live here. I will miss being able to say I'm the ''extranjera''... what if I get boring when I'm just a normal Chicago girl again??
6. Summer in January -- Don't get me wrong, I enjoy winter, but the last three years have been amazing when I realize after Christmas that there's no need for the post-Christmas blues... because I'm going back to summer in Costa Rica! :)
7. Santiago -- This two-year-old has seriously been so much fun for me during the last few months as we are learning Spanish together. He still persists in calling me ''Ken'' and he daily surprises me with the words he is learning. We can hold entire conversations now about dogs, Toy Story, and cars.
8. Knowing my way around a city on a bus -- Seriously, this is such an accomplishment. I feel like I deserve a college degree for my wealth of bus-travelling knowledge, especially considering the lack of maps and lack of consistent schedules down here.
9. Going to a beautiful tropical beach for the weekend -- Three day weekend? Let's go to the beach!!! :) I'll have to re-learn what to do with my three-day weekends in Illinois...
10. Seeing volcanoes -- So powerful and beautiful... and so deadly... but also quite fascinating. I have seen many from the plane window and have personally visited Arenal, Póas, Irazú, and another one I can't remember it's name. Clearly it was a very personal connection :).
11. Seeing mountains -- Psalm 125:2 says, ''As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surround his people both now and forevermore.'' I alter the verse slightly and instead of Jerusalem, I think of San José because there are mountains no matter which direction you look. When I see mountains, I am reminded of God's presence, no matter where He takes me in the future.
12. Airport days -- I like travelling. It gives me a chance to observe others, to meet new people, to transition from one place to another. It might be an addiction...
13. Pharmacies -- No matter what I have -- bronchitis, diarrhea, a parasite, a strange rash (to name a few) -- all I have to do is go to the local pharmacy, explain my predicament, and pay for the medicine. No need for a doctor's visit!... unless I need antibiotics.
14. How the winter season is green here -- No offense to winter in the States, but it´s soooooo... gray.... and dead. Here it´s GREEN and alive!
15. Speaking Spanish in public -- It's very natural now for me to ask questions and listen to responses in Spanish as I'm navigating the city...
16. Sunny mornings in the park -- I love sitting with my Bible and journal in a park, watching the rain clouds form for the afternoon rains.
17. Artesan's market -- My friend Aydee has become a good friend. I have posted about her before as the bag lady, but seriously, this Peruvian woman is such an admirable Christian woman. She's trusting God to provide as she sells her purses and scarves.
18. Being able to use Costa Rican idioms to make Costa Ricans laugh. -- Voy jalando. ¡Que las moscas no entren! Mop. Que chuso. 'Nough said. :)
19. Eating rice and beans -- I never thought I would say it... but it´s true. I will miss eating rice and beans. It´s just so... filling. And cheap :).
20. Plaintains: patacones, sweet fried plaintains, plaintain chips -- What a great treat! I have become slightly obsessed with plaintains lately since I know I will not be able to find them for cheap in the Chicago area...
21. And of course... the many friends I have made. If I named you all here, we would be here for quite some time. You know who you are.