While Cartago is just 90 minutes from PuraVida, the yoga resort I stayed at on my 1st visit to Costa Rica, the two are worlds apart. My Insights Abroad week with Cross-Cultural Solutions gave me an opportunity to see and experience Costa Rica and the Cartago community at another level.
Spending Christmas week of 2013 with fellow volunteers working at a senior center was such a meaningful and rewarding way to spend the holiday. During the week, our activities at the senior center included helping to serve breakfast, do crafts, fold laundry and simply listen and share companionship.
Many of these sweet abuelos (grandparents) no longer have family, or their family cannot afford to care for them. While our service was intended to help relieve the weight on the staff and provide care for the seniors, what I received was a true blessing. One cannot have this type of experience without coming away feeling changed – more sensitive, more grateful AND more responsible to continue to make a positive difference.
Following the week in Cartago, it is a delicious treat to revisit Pura Vida, that lovely yoga resort in Alejuda that first brought me to Costa Rica. Thinking of my little A-frame nest (pictured above) still makes me smile. It was a wonderful time to rest, restore and reflect.
Upon returning home, I was refreshed, inspired and full of enthusiasm about the impact and need for these types of trips. The spirit must have been contagious. When talking with my mom and basically asking her blessing to miss a family holiday for another service trip, her response was “Well, can I come with you?.” What a wonderful and inspiring surprise from my energetic and giving 82 year old mother. I’ll be posting more about our mother-daughter Costa Rica experience soon. A family experience we’ll never forget!
Until then, I’d like to leave you with this quote from Mark Twain.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.