Get Ready, Pura Vida's Contagious

Pura Vida! 

Pura Vida, as in "Hello"? As in "Goodbye"? As in "Thank You"? As in "You're Welcome"? As in "Have a Great Day"? As in "Good Night"? As in "Life is full and I need no more"? Well, yes! In fact, yes to all. Pura Vida is the heart and soul of all Ticos's in Costa Rica... Life is at it's fullest and we need no more, Pura Vida!! 

Is there a measure for the weight of the world on our shoulders? Is it in pounds, liters, sangens, g-force, megajoules, terabites or imperial cranes? And how do we carry it, is it in an invisible bag? Each burden in a balloon pulled behind us creating drag resistance? I have no idea, I just know it's heavy and we drag that weight wherever we go. So, after ten activity packed days of both exhilarating fun and academics, I gradually began to release the weight of my world as well as the American grip held so tight around my being. By American society standards we possess high expectations of higher than reasonable economic stature, unachievable-to-maintain physique and positive attitudes at all times. We are to provide the illusion of "making it". We don't live above our means, we are not heavier than we want and we have all the friends we need and we are making it. Right? Wrong, we take selfies from an downward angle to hide our double chins in front of this tree, no, that tree, we post every meal we eat as if it's made by Gordon Ramsay, and highlight only positive events we attend, we make witty remarks and repost unoriginal comments that are not our own. Why? Because that is what Americans do. We demand more, prettier, bigger, updated, uniqie, smaller, fancier, new, trendier, slimmer, more expensive.... shall I continue? No! Please don't make me. To grind in the hustle and bustle, and to consume what we must to feel included and not get left behind in the technological race for fast internet and cloud conglomeration, (just to name a few) is exhausting. I started this trip exhausted.

I concluded this trip from Costa Rica invigorated, inspired and light as a feather. 
Day 1: watch out, kids! here she comes; Day 3: grip loosened, she smiles; Day 5: grip is still present, fire is lit, she laughs; Day 7: grip, what grip? she dances; Day 10: released, ready to take on the world, she lives. Pura Vida! 

Pura Vida is contagious. I am living proof. 

I hoped and dreamed to walk away from this experience with the grand plan I'd been struggling to conjur up and as the stars aligned in my favor, and my wishes came true. From tearing up at heart-string pulling, leadership building presentations, witnessing a fully sustainable campus, meeting local entrepreneurs, dicussing Costa Rica's political, social and economical movements to better sustainability, learning of national and international conservation and reforestation efforts, I fine-tuned my professional goals so that I can take the right steps on the right path of my journey. I was freed from the mighty weight of life's heavy burdens after hiking steep trails in Costa Rica's well-known rainforest under monkeys shifting from one tree limb to the next, tarzaning through clouds 50ft above ground, careening through rocky rapids, tasting the unique flesh of cacao fruit, smelling fresh roasted coffee o a farm, and dipping into warm, natural hot springs near the active volcano, Arenal. 

I journey now, powered by the fire within. This journey leads me to help small communities that exist, but barely. To protect the antient culture that lives on in these communities despite the large overpowering national society that slowly washes them out. To help them to preserve their culture while they grow and benefit from mainstream society. It is unreasonable to expect these communities to stay ancient and preserved like Pompeii, so they must grow and advance at their own pace with the technology available to us all. Therefore, I see great benefit in building sustainability within the community but also sharing their culture with the world so that they can provide incomes and opportunities within their units. All this said while maintaining the rich culture and traditions through educating and sharing to future generations, providing native and traditional food sources more efficiently and successfully, protecting their land and resources and fostering relationships that support the efforts.  It is so important to hold onto cultures that exists so that we don't get lost as a number in one big culture-less society. We must preserve and guide to live to the fullest as we want and have for generation after generation. 

 I will live and share Pura Vida!