I have been reminded daily this week of the people I have met from all over the world. From breakfast with a Venezuelan/Italian family to dinner with a Canadian family (whose five children are citizens of three countries) to hugs from the Nicaraguan cleaning lady at school to more hugs from a Columbian acquaintance at a Costa Rican church... I am reminded of how blessed I am to have had the experience to live outside the United States, even if just for a few short years. I am reminded of how God has worked on my heart to open my eyes to the perspectives, cultures, and languages of those around me. God is good!!
The Venezuelan/Italian family invited several teachers over for an appreciation breakfast. Adelina (the mom) taught us how to make arepas, delicious corn flour bread that reminded me somewhat of English muffins. Arepas are a traditional food in Venezuela and Columbia. We ate and talked in Spanish and I learned a lot about what not to say in Venezuela :). The kids were all outside playing in the pool while we ate breakfast and when it was time for goodbyes, I got a big dripping wet hug from my recently graduated students, lol.
Then the Canadian family invited several teachers over as well for an appreciation dinner. We ate pasta and caesar salad and chocolate fondue while hearing about the kids' summer vacation dreams, which included Peru and Cuba. Quite the dreamers, these kids. Well, I thought they were dreaming, but seriously, this family has travelled all over the world. In fact, the parents' next dream is to take a few years to sail around the world. With FIVE kids!!!! I admire these modern day hippies that have already lived in Korea, Argentina, and now Costa Rica.
Márcia has been the cleaning lady at Lighthouse now for a couple years. She is an immigrant from Nicaragua and is so grateful for her work at the school that she is always singing and greeting everyone with a smile. (Before I go on, I have to tell you that I easily forget that it's not just the white people that are foreigners here in Costa Rica... there are many dark-skinned people here that are also foreigners.) Márcia came into my classroom on the last day to give me a big hug goodbye and to tell me that she knew my momma was super excited to have me back home because Márcia knew her mom would be equally excited to have her come home. So picture this: she's half my height and hugging me really tight and I'm crying like a baby because I'm sad and happy and any emotion possible and I'm realizing (again) that I'm not the only one living so far away from ''home''.
And Sole from Columbia. Last Sunday was Father's Day here in Costa Rica (just like the U.S.), and in church, the pastor asked all the fathers to come forward. As the dads walked toward the front, Sole (sitting next to me), turns to me and asks if my dad is here at church today. I said no. She put her arm around me and said, ''Neither is mine, but we know they're in God's hands.'' Again, I was reminded that I'm not the only one living so far from home and from family.
So there you have it: a summary of my international encounters this week.