Letters from Costa Rica: Mil Gracias!
As 2012 comes to a close, the WorldTeach Costa Rica volunteers are preparing to leave the schools and communities of which they were a part for the past year. In reflecting on the time spent teaching and learning from their students, the teachers came together to release their second newsletter of the year. In it they shared the pictures, thoughts, lessons, and stories from Costa Rica that they will bring with them wherever they are off to next!
The newsletter opened with some moving letters that the volunteers wrote to their host families, students, and the entire country of Costa Rica. Here’s one by Meggie Heffernan that truly captures what volunteering is all about:
Dear Costa Rica,
You have blessed me with the most beautiful year of my life. Your natural beauty blows me away. Your endless kilometers of rolling hills are breathtaking. And, your waterfalls, wildlife, rainforest, beaches and volcanoes are all gorgeous.
The most important thing though, Costa Rica, is your people. Just how precious they are. They are some of the most giving and loving people I have ever met. You blessed me with my family, the Cubillos, with my community, La Isla de San Vito, and with a zillion crazy students. They have all become a part of me and forever will hold a special place in my heart. Thank you for every experience you’ve given me. I’ve grown from you and I am ever so thankful.
Next, the volunteers were asked to do something even harder: to write a thank you letter to themselves! This letter by volunteer Cassandra Dunn demonstrates the great dedication and positivity shown by the teachers, as they grow through their experience abroad.
Dear Teacher Cassandra,
You’re amazing! I’m really proud of you for bringing a strong finish with Thrill the World Palo Verde and a Little Free Library book exchange. You got discouraged in the middle of the year because things got a little boring and routine, but you turned it around and did some fun things and gave your town a great gift. I’m glad you took the leap and did this thing. You aren’t the typical WorldTeach volunteer. You’re a little longer in the tooth and don’t have an education background. You stayed (mostly) positive this year and tried to work through your boredom by staying busy and reaching out to other volunteers and friends back home. Things weren’t perfect, but I think you have a right to be pleased with yourself. Living in a new culture and teaching English to kids for a year aren’t easy things and you made it. Most importantly, you and your kids had fun. Bottom line: “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” –Bob Dylan And, that’s what we did. SUCCESS!
Each of the volunteers was then asked to answer some questions covering everything from their favorite song to what the scariest experience of the year was. Even faced with pesky ants, cold showers, long bus rides, and rambunctious kids, the teachers demonstrated their humor, commitment, and love. None of these things though could ruin the thousand little things that the volunteers still hold dear to their hearts: the tranquilidad, the mountains, the smiles, the beach, the host families, the coffee, and of course, their fellow volunteers. If anything, the answers demonstrate the sense of family each of the volunteers have with their students, host families, other volunteers, and the people of Costa Rica.
Thank you to the fantastic Costa Rica volunteers, Aeriel Emig, AnneMarie McClain, Caitie Mace, Cassandra Dunn, Chloe Smith, Claire Jordan, Drew Powell, GraceAnn Barrett, Jeff Mason, Kristina Mitchell, Kiana Curry, MaryClark Rardin, Meggie Heffernan, Melissa Polt, Rachel Simmons, Sara Eckstein, and Stephanie Globus-Hoenich. The work you have done in Costa Rica is amazing, and you have all made such a lasting impact on your communities!
For those anxiously waiting to depart for their own Costa Rican experience for the 2013 year, we wish you the best of luck. May you fall in love with the country in your own way!