Probably one of my favorite and one of the most important vacations I’ve had – Costa Rica, 2015. It’s evident by the tons of pictures I periodically post on Instagram from this vacation.
Ever since I moved to India, I’ve never realized how much I missed my life and friends back in the US. I never realized how out of touch I was with them; I just didn’t know what was going on in their lives and that made me angry. angry at myself for not finding out. So when I heard that we were going on a vacation together, I couldn’t help but feel insecure about it. There they were, a group of friends who knew the ins and outs of each other’s lives and met almost every other day. And then there’s me, their friend who moved away and knows little details like what college they go to, where they live, and what they study. Spending 2 whole weeks with these people on vacation was so, so exciting, and at the same time, so nerve-wracking. It didn’t help that the year was so hectic and tasking either.
So we set on. My family of 4, after 2 long flights, back ‘home’, bubbling with nervous excitement. 3 more long flights and a 2-hour car ride later, we were there. It looked exactly like I thought it would – yeah, I did my research. Monteverde is the first place we went to, and oh my god, was it beautiful. I think it’s definitely one of the calmest places I’ve been to. So much greenery and natural beauty really does something to you. It was the perfect place to be after such a hectic year and I think the longest journey I have ever had to make. Arenal was the next place we went to. Also beautiful, but couldn’t do too much because it was raining the whole time – we should have probably checked the weather. Guess my research wasn’t too effective. Whoops!
The last place we went to, and my favorite place of them all, was Tamarindo. No points for guessing this is the beach. A swanky decked-out beach resort, crazy cool rooms, a pool that was huger than I’ve ever seen, and unlimited drinks and food (especially the drinks) meant that this was the absolute perfect way to end this vacation. Again, no points for guessing the first thing I did when I got there. The heat smacked me right in the face when I got out of the van. ACs are deceptive and never prepare me for the outside world. I definitely thought about cribbing about the heat, but after walking a couple of steps into the resort lobby, where I had a full view of the pool and beach, that was history. My friends and I decided that it was imperative that we had to change into shorts and go get a drink down by the pool, to celebrate that we’re all together on holiday after years. So that’s what I did. Grabbed my phone, my room key, and my sunglasses in a last-ditch attempt to hold back my already frizzy hair (damn that humidity) even though it was almost sunset. It was definitely a crowded beach – one of the very popular ones. For the next 4 days we lay on that beach every day, every second we could when we weren’t outside doing something else. Falling asleep on beach chairs to the sounds of waves crashing and the warm breeze was just beautiful and I never wanted to leave. Every evening we’d walk to the end of the resort beach property just to feel the almost white, fine, fluffy sand under our toes for as long as we could because the crabs would come out. And walking on the beach with crabs around is not a good idea. Trust me. Night after night, till as late as we could, we would sit there by the water, sometimes just quiet to listen to the waves, and sometimes – after a little too many drinks – for story time. This beach stretched out so far, it was impossible to walk the whole length (regardless of the fact that I’m terribly unfit). There were children building sandcastles, there were adults building sandcastles. There were people playing volleyball. There were people flying kites. There was a guy flying a drone. There were people partying on a sandbar close by. There were old couples walking in sneakers, holding hands. Each of these people with their own stories and their own lives to escape from.
Costa Rica was a trip of firsts for me, and a treasure trove of memories. It was a trip that helped me conquer some of my fears and deal with unresolved issues – some that I just unnecessarily complicated for myself. I zip lined through a forest – at a height that I was at only in my nightmares – through rain, cold air, and clouds that were insistent on blocking my vision. I walked through the forest in the night, when it was pitch black, got lost, and got the closest I have ever been to snakes and spiders that were only beautiful (yes, beautiful). I figured out that my insecurity was for nothing, because we just picked up right where we left off. And I realized that now knowing everything is part of the fun, because when they tell you the stories you’ve missed out on, you get to hear them in person, and look at them and hear them when they’re telling you, instead of just reading text on a screen. Costa Rica taught me to calm down, slow down, be kinder, and appreciate the things around me rather than look for the things that aren’t.