I’m finally taking some time to type out the notes I wrote in my journal while in Costa Rica. I hope you enjoy our story!
I’m in Costa Rica, and the wind is blowing.
Giant palm trees wave massive fronds, rustling like pom-poms reaching all the way to our fifth-floor windows. Beyond, office buildings and warehouses fill the space between the flags and the sky, where tall trees sway under fast-moving, heavy clouds. If it weren’t for the rolling hills it’s all set on and the billboards in Spanish, I could be sitting in a hotel room back in Jacksonville.
We left there two days ago, excitement high. Our team consisted of (l-r) me and my daughters Savannah and Victoria; Kim, my dear friend of fifteen years and our church’s children’s ministry director; Tara, another friend whose path I first crossed almost ten years ago; her daughter Phoebe and both her mother-in-law, Carol, and her mother, Mary. They were all a delight!
The girls were enthralled with the airplane, and I was thankful for the lack of turbulence. They were looking forward to the promised free bags of peanuts and soda (free for $579, I’d laughed) and we were all shocked when salads, chicken and rice, mixed vegetables, rolls, and Oreos appeared. I closed my eyes and pictured God’s mighty hand upholding our plane when it suddenly veered and bounced like an amusement park ride for a few moments on the takeoff from Panama City and again as we landed in San Jose. Kim gleefully told the girls, who’d never flown before, that they’d been in three countries that day.
We were grateful to find our luggage easily and breeze through customs, and I (almost) tearfully kissed the man who stamped my passport. 38 years is a long time to wait for a dream to come true, but worth it, all the same!
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But desire fulfilled is a tree of life. ~Prov. 13:21
After a quick pose …
we headed out to meet our delightful guides for the week on a surprisingly-dark-for-7:30pm street. Squeezing into a small van, we had our first taste of the legendary driving of Central and South America, which entirely lived up to its press. (My daughter remarked later, “They drive crazy in Costa Rica! We’ve been driving for three days, and we’ve only stopped *once!*”)
the ride was over we arrived at the hotel, we tumbled out and quickly agreed that the Barcelo San Jose Palacia Hotel would be a beautiful base for our trip. We met a few of our very sweet team members from other states in the lobby before heading upstairs and gratefully opening the door to a lovely room, then spent quite awhile unpacking and organizing all the clothing and “stuff” we’d brought along for the week-long stay into our drawers and closet. It was already 9:30 pm by the time we finished and we were all ready to crash, so it wasn’t until the next morning that we got to see our view …
Bonita! Almost the entire back wall of our room was glass, so this mountain-loving girl was thrilled. Costa Rica is an hour behind our time zone, so I wakened at 6 am, which was lovely since it afforded me time to read, pray, and sleep a bit more before the girls woke up. We met our team for a late breakfast, then headed out to the beautiful pool area for a devotional time together. Since the incoming team all had differing arrival times, we’d been encouraged to use Saturday as a sight-seeing and relaxation day. Our group sat in the shade and used Kim’s Prayerports to pray for South Africa, China, and the United States. How amazing to be praying for other lands … on another land! Then we donned swimsuits and let the girls splash for awhile–though the water was quickly declared “too cold.”
Lunch in the cafeteria was followed by a quick rest and then, off to our one tourist-y excursion: a trip to the local butterfly farm. The metamorphosis was yet ahead.