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A familiar foreign country June 21, 2013

Posted by stinawp in Uncategorized.
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June 3, 2013

San José, Costa Rica

I’ve backtracked from when I left Costa Rica almost a year and a half ago—the same airport, the same five-minute drive, the same hotel. I don’t have the same hotel room, but those are basically interchangeable anyway. This arrival has a continuity that that trip didn’t: I’m remembering Spanish words that I picked up piecemeal, and I’m storing up bits of useful information that I was too clueless or tired to notice last time (the hotel has a better exchange rate than the airport currency exchange and there is no reason to buy colones at the airport). It’s as if even though I knew I would be coming back, I didn’t really believe it when I left.

I guess I started to believe six months ago, when I started thinking over where I’d need to go, how to get there, and what exactly I’d need to bring. And in odd moments—walking to the MetroLink station, or making dinner—I’d visualize Palo Verde and what kinds of gear I’d need, or run through my planned procedures to make sure I’d thought of every piece of field or lab equipment I’d need. These last months are the most time I’ve ever spent with my mind someplace I wasn’t, and this last month, it seems like half my mind has already been in Costa Rica.

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