Letter to Camille: 118 Months

Hello SweetPea and Happy 118 months!

Today was a normal school day for you – just another Thursday, with six more Thursdays until you’re out of school (but who is counting?). This is a great travesty to you, because your Savannah peers are done with school tomorrow.

Oh the injustice!

I know you are eager to start your (very short) summer break, although the end of school will be laced with sadness too. You’re beginning to taste the bittersweet flavor of loving and leaving people here, because they’re already starting to trickle away.


According to you, Mason was your first friend here, although it was a virtual friendship initially. Her family was moving to Nosara from Idaho last fall, and I’d connected with Mason’s mother on a Facebook community page. We shared stories about you girls, and Mason read your blog posts on TemporaryTicos. You spoke openly about your fears of moving here – fears that she shared. It created a bond in your mind, and you called her your friend long before you met.

Thankfully, you hit it off well in real life too, and became good buddies with Mason and her brother Ellis. The three of you spent countless hours throughout the months writing a play – something about a robber, a judge, falling asleep, a bus ride … I’m not sure I caught all the rest. You scribbled dialogue in secret notebooks and practiced the scenes, building up to a final performance that we parents enjoyed even if we didn’t quite understand the plot.

That performance was given on your last playdate together before Mason, Ellis and their parents relocated to Mexico for the next leg of their journey. There were promises to stay in touch.


Another friend is leaving for Canada in two weeks. Two more will say good-bye at the end of June before moving to Germany.


One mother shared with me a conversation she recently had with you.

“What do you love most about Savannah?” she asked you.

“The people,” you replied.

“And what do you love most about Costa Rica?” she asked.

“The people,” you said.

And truly, I think that’s wonderful. When you measure Savannah and Costa Rica as destinations, you can extoll their virtues and list their challenges. But for you, it boils down to relationships. And what a gift, because no matter where life takes you, how beautiful it is to build relationships everywhere you go.



I think one of your favorite memories with friends here will be your “sledding” adventures. We got a new refrigerator last month, and as I broke down the box for recycling you asked if you could keep it. For what, you weren’t sure.

But then your buddy Agnes came over, and the two of you decided it would make an excellent sled. And it did. Now when your friends are here it’s a game to see how many of you can pile on for the ride.

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You even made a movie trailer featuring your escapades called “Slope Riders.” Comedy gold.

This last month we took a trip across the country to the Caribbean coast to visit the Sloth Sanctuary and see other area wildlife. It just so happens that over spring break Nana gave you a book about rainforests, which included a chapter about cocoa plantations and the making of chocolate. You became obsessed with the idea of making your own chocolate. So I was thrilled to learn there was a chocolate museum and plantation near our hotel, and we signed up for a tour.

Unfortunately, their English speaking tour guide didn’t show up that day, but we forged ahead and understood enough to enjoy the tour. We held giant cocoa pods, and even sampled the soft flesh inside that surrounds the beans.

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But the best part was at the end, when we had a chance to toast the cocoa beans, grind them into powder, mix them with ingredients and knead it all together to make the tastiest chocolate I think I’ve ever had.

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We bought a bag of the cocoa powder to take home so you can try to recreate the recipe. I’m looking forward to that.

You also had a great time taking photos of wildlife with my new camera and telephoto lens. You have quite the eye for it too!

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Also last month, we finally made the trip an hour or so up the coast to our old stomping grounds, Playa Azul. This is where we stayed three years ago, when we first came to Costa Rica for a month. It was thrilling to be back there, walking the black sand beaches, searching for sea glass and watching the waves crash on the rocks, just like before.

Three years ago, one of your favorite things to do was play “pioneer,” setting up a trading station for the barter of goods. Here you were then, :

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And here you are now, still playing the same game, still trading feathers for coconut husks.

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And now:


Still amazing – the place, but especially the girl. I love you so much, sweetheart.


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