You always hear stories about the grief and pain that parents feel when their “baby bird” flies from the nest. But who is going to tell the baby birds side of the story? We’re the ones falling from the nest…I call it the baby bird test. You’re testing how well your parents trained you for all that lurks outside the nest and you’re testing yourself on just how well you listened. I wish I had taken better notes.
When you’re away from your parents, you tend to realize that the things they did and said really aren’t as ridiculous as you once thought they were and you really aren’t as smart as you once percieved yourself to be. If you haven’t caught on yet, I am traveling by myself. I spent an entire year saving up to pay for a one month trip to Costa Rica to volunteer at some local schools. I will be living with a Costa Rican family in Heredia, just outside of San Jose. I will also be turning 17 years old on July 17th. A Wednesday. A work day…I really didn’t think this trip through properly…
But I am trying to start a new tradition to spend each birthday in a new country. Let’s see how many birthdays it takes for me to completely run out of money. Even though I’ve been away for a little while, I’ve already learned loads. You start caring about money SO MUCH MORE when it’s your own. That can be lesson number one. When its your dads money, you have no problem asking for that $26 sandwich at the airport. But when it’s your money, you feel guilty. So you sit there, rocking back and forth, straddling your wallet in hunger. Welcome to adult life, it’s a tough world.
I think you can learn the most about people while you’re traveling. For example, the guy sitting behind me, complaining to the flight attendant about our flight being delayed, is probably not going to be my new best friend. You learn a lot about yourself as well. How you react to flight delays and missing luggage. How you handle language barriers or being lost. It’s summer, so I really shouldn’t be learning anything. But I guess in “the real world”, you’re always learning. That can be lesson number two.
I sat by the window seat and a five year old boy sat in the middle while his dad had the aisle seat. He kept stretching his neck out to see the window so I switched seats with him. I told him I didn’t like the window seat just as my parents had once told me they preferred the middle. Or how they once told me that they didn’t like chocolates so I should take the last piece of candy. It’s funny when you’re no longer the kid in the window seat but the one giving up the window seat for a kid. I’ve learned too much already and I haven’t even arrived in Costa Rica. Maybe I should just go back already? I’ll come back a wiser person and I will have gotten a complimentary beverage.
The two hour time difference is starting to seep its way into my eyelids. Maybe if I just close my eyes for just one minute…..