I have been back home for a few days now and already back into the normal routine. There are a few things that I miss about Costa Rica like the breathtaking views and the simple way of life, but I am happy to be back to hot water, my own bed, and American food. It seems as though we even brought the rain back with us, but I guess I’m just better prepared to handle it now.

This trip was a very eye opening experience for me. Seeing the lives of farmers that grow coffee and getting to partake in just a short bit of what that do, really made me appreciate those who grow our food. It was hard work picking coffee cherries and making sure they were good ones, and we only had to do it for 10 minutes. The payment isn’t even that great either. You have to put in a lot of work to make money in coffee.

We got to celebrate Thanksgiving together while on this trip, and while it wasn’t your traditional meal, it was still nice. We got to make pecan and pumpkin pies which was an experience. Using a different kitchen made me really appreciate what I have back home. We even got to see monkeys swinging through the trees on Thanksgiving which was a very exciting moment. This trip made me remember just how much I really do have to be grateful for.

The people of Costa Rica are some of the nicest people that I have ever met. Everyone was so welcoming and kind. Even if you couldn’t communicate via language, they were still very nice. I decided that Costa Rica is the Chick-Fil-A of Spanish speaking countries because they respond to gratitude with “mucho gusto” which means “much pleasure”. Getting to travel around and meet all different peoples, I realized that we here in the US have a lot of opportunities that most people never even get. I have the opportunity to go to college and study whatever I want to. I’m blessed enough to not have to get a job and support my family or myself. Others aren’t as fortunate. While ziplining (an awesome experience that I would highly recommend but just maybe not during a hurricane), I met a guy who was only 26 and had been working with ziplines for about 6 years. That means that he was the same age I am now when he started working. While I am sure ziplining is fun, I’m not sure that I would want to do it for the rest of my life, but he didn’t have the same opportunities that I did. I really am blessed to be able to do that things that I am doing and having a choice at what I want to do.

We learned a lot about coffee during this one week, and I feel like I can be a better connoisseur of coffee now. From learning what is the best brewing method to learning about all of the different flavors that just one coffee can have based on how you process it, I now have a better appreciation for the different types of coffee. While I did miss my family and my traditional Thanksgiving, this trip was an excellent opportunity to make new friends, create some lasting memories, and grow as a person. I hope to be able to travel abroad some other times and learn more about agriculture in different countries.