Hello sweet girl and Happy 114 Months to you!
We are back in the land of Pura Vida, and right now you’re at school where it is “Spirit Week.” Crazy Hair Day yesterday involved 5 ponytails. Today you could dress like an athlete, and you are looking super cute in a set of running clothes.
I worried that you might have trouble transitioning back to our Costa Rican existence after three weeks at home, but you seem to be adjusting well. You’re glad to see your friends, and happy to be at school.
That doesn’t mean you don’t miss home though. While we were in Savannah, and the first week or two after our return here, you became increasingly defensive of your home town. Anything positive we said about Costa Rica was met with an eye roll, and you’d re-assert your preference for Savannah at any given opportunity.
I’m sure this is partly because we got news while we were home that our renters, the church, need our house for another year. Your father and I were tempted, and toyed with the idea of extending our one-year stay to two. We ultimately decided to return home in July as planned, but I think all this talk unsettled you.
Back in Costa Rica, I’d remark, “Wow, what a beautiful sunset!” To which you’d shrug and say, “it’s ok.” At night, I’d look up at the sky and marvel at how well you can see the bright stars from our rural, hilltop position. “You can’t see them like this in Savannah,” we’d say, to which you’d immediately bristle and declare the stars here to be mediocre.
I caught you doodling the words “Costa Rica” on a piece of paper and I remarked how nice it looked. You stopped, and then began doodling “Savannah” and “United States” immediately.
We get the hint.
The thing that drives me crazy is that I’m not asking you to choose sides. There doesn’t have to be a better city, or a lovelier country. In reality, I know just how you feel. There are things we enjoy here in Costa Rica that Savannah can never match. But at the same time, there are things we love about Savannah that Costa Rica cannot provide. Loving one isn’t a rejection of the other, but it feels that way sometimes. Like a disloyalty.
And while you prefer home, I do think you love many things about being here. Lately, you’ve taken a real interest in zodiac signs and astrology thanks to a study of constellations in science class. We were looking up your Chinese zodiac information online just for fun, and the article noted that each 10 years after your birth year would be a year of bad luck. So for you, that would be 2016.
“Well that’s just wrong,” you said. “In 2016 I got to be in Costa Rica!”
Your father and I stole quick happy glances at each other and looked away before you could register what you’d said, rethink it and take it back.
We’re not asking you to love Costa Rica more than home. I just want you to embrace the opportunity you have been given, that we as a family have been given. This is big. This global perspective could change the way you perceive things for the rest of your life, and hopefully in a very positive way. It’s not about which city or country is better, it’s about enjoying every place you are for all it has to offer.
I also recognize that some of this blasé attitude is part of a larger phase. We spent the New Year holiday camping in Fort Wilderness at Disney with our beloved Gaddy clan. You kids had a fabulous time in the pool, and enjoyed evening bonfires and marshmallow roasting.
New Year’s Eve, we stationed ourselves on the beach at the lake in the campground, where we can see the spectacular fireworks from Magic Kingdom at the stroke of midnight. I love fireworks, and these are some of the best I’ve ever seen.
As I have well documented in past letters, you’re not one for staying up late. So sometime around 10:30, you curled up on a beach blanket and went to sleep.
Finally, as the countdown to the fireworks began, I woke you up and pulled you onto my lap so we could watch the light show together.
The fireworks began filling the sky with the bright lights, bursting in so many colors and in perfect sync to the music piped in from the park. But after a minute or two, you turned your head sleepily into my shoulder and snuggled back down.
“But Camille!” I said, “You’re missing the fireworks!”
“I’ve seen fireworks before,” you moaned. And then you went back to sleep.
Thankfully, our day in the park was a ton of fun and proved that you’re not yet blasé about Disney World in general. As long as you can get back to bed at a reasonable hour.
Once back in Costa Rica, we spent our first weekend doing absolutely nothing. After all the busy busy busy of being back home, Disney and travel, it was so nice to sit in our pajamas all day and read books. Play chess. Nod off for a bit. We needed that.
The next weekend though, it was time to emerge again, and we spent most of those days on the beach. We explored a new section of Guiones we’d never visited before, and then took a crew up to Playa San Juanillo where the waves were tranquil and the snorkeling was perfect.
It was, and is, good to be back, and to be here with you – resistance and all. I love you so much sweet girl.