Letter to Camille: 109 Months

Camille at 109 Months

Good morning sweet Camille, or “Camilla” as everyone seems to call you here. This is my first letter to you from our temporary home in Nosara, Costa Rica, a place you most certainly did not want to call home before we left Savannah.
You are such a social girl, and I know you hated the thought of leaving all your friends behind. The last week or so in the states were particularly difficult as your friends all started school without you. Every year on the first day of school we get together with buddies and celebrate right after the school day ends. I offered to take you to meet up with everyone, but you didn’t want to. “That will just make me sad,” you said. And I was secretly relieved, because it would’ve made me sad too.
You had lots of “last playdates,” which were wonderful, but I think also served to remind you that you were leaving these people. 

With Lola and JacquelineFroYo with OliverWith Lola and FletcherBuddiesWith LolaThe Dove Girls

As we packed the house, as you grieved over seeing all your toys put in boxes and then into storage, I kept saying, “It’s just a year, Camille. It’ll fly by.” 
One night after hearing that for the thousandth time, you said, “But mama, for me, a year is a really long time. I just turned 9, and it seems forever ago that I turned 8.”

Not Happy

And suddenly, I realized you were right. I remember being a kid, and how slowly time seemed to creep by. Birthdays took forever to arrive. Christmas came as slowly as … well, Christmas. And I realized our mantra of “just one year,” wasn’t the right one to use with you. 
So that night, when I tucked you in I changed strategies. “I know a lot of things are changing, Camille. A new house, a new school, a new country. But what’s not going to change is that you and Daddy and I will be together, experiencing it all together. And for me, home is wherever you guys are.”
You sighed and said, “Yeah, Daddy gave me that speech earlier today too. Except it took a lot longer.”
But you did seem somewhat comforted by this reminder that you weren’t journeying alone. That everything wasn’t changing. 
We moved into Boo’s house for a couple of weeks after our renters took over our place, and I promised that you could bring all your stuffed animals there to keep you company. Your Daddy and Boo reassembled your baby crib and filled it with all 8 bags of your stuffed animals. Upon seeing the crib, you were so happy that you climbed inside and lay there surrounded by stuffies for quite some time.

Her Beloveds

The day before our flight we drove to Jacksonville to stay in a hotel near the airport. You’d finally seemed to shed some of your fear, and began to get excited. That night, as we turned off the lights in the hotel room, you declared, “I don’t think I’m going to be able to sleep tonight. Because, you know, COSTA RICA.”
We did sleep though, and the trip here was thankfully uneventful. You were a trooper hauling luggage and rushing here and there to catch all our flights on time. I love this pic of my world traveler, boarding a plane to leave the US with rainboots, a viola, a backpack and a husky.

Adios Estados Unidos!Safety FirstExplain flying to Chance

Now that we’re here I think you’ve been pleasantly surprised how easy it is to keep in touch with some of your friends through Facetime. Almost every evening, you and Taylor video chat – you show her the view of the ocean (again) and play her a song on viola. She’ll show you her pets or ask questions about your trip, and then play you a song on her trumpet. It’s not nearly as good as hanging out in-person, but I think it’s helped you feel less disconnected.
I’m ready for you to make new friends here, and I know that will happen once school begins. I’m trying to be patient, and you are too. 
And thankfully, I think there are many many things about our adventure so far that you’re enjoying tremendously. One is the privacy of our house, and the fact that you can pretty much walk around naked all day. And you do.
You’ve never been very modest. We do have neighbors here, but our property is surrounded by lush jungle plants so no one can see us. You swim naked. You catch butterflies naked. You just ARE naked. Whenever we remark on it, you shrug and say, “Pura Vida.”

Hammock Time

I once joked that you were going to join a nudist colony. “What’s that?” you asked. I explained, and you said, “Well, YEAH! That’s awesome!”
You and your Daddy are in the pool pretty early most mornings. We’ve also enjoyed re-discovering the beaches, and Guiones has been a great boogie boarding beach. 

Thumbnail image for Pool Time with DaddyBoogie BoardingEnjoying the Waves

Yesterday we drove a little farther outside of town to TreeTops beach to hunt for sea glass and snorkel. We saw lots of pretty fish and even an eel!

Hunting Seaglass

We took a horseback ride through the jungle and on Playa Pelada, which was a ton of fun. We trotted a lot, and our guide gave us the opportunity to canter on the beach. After just a few strides though, you were afraid of falling off and ready to walk again. I look forward to riding more with you and building your confidence. I hope by the time we leave, we’ll have had several long canters along the shoreline together. 
Horseback Ride along the Nosara RiverJungle PathBeach Ride

Most mornings when I get up, I’ll find you sitting on your floor or your bed, watching the hermit crabs you collected from Pelada crawl around your hands. Their names are Carlos and Caleb.

Found her Pet Hermit CrabsHolding Carlos

We still have two weeks until school starts, and it won’t be easy balancing the work that your Daddy and I need to do with trying to keep you from feeling lonesome. These are the times back at home when we’d set up playdates, and so far we don’t have any playdate buddies here yet. But you’re handling the transition remarkably well, and I’m very proud of you. I foresee lots of good things for us this year, and I
‘m so glad to be experiencing them with you and your Daddy. I love you so much sweet girl!

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