Well despite walking around my office without shoes on, I would say going on this winter vacation to Costa Rica was very rewarding and needed to clear my mind and sharpen my soul after the past grueling months of work and personal stress!  That being said, I also learned how in the midst of the country being at odds either very FOR or AGAINST our new President Donald J. Trump, how truly special it means to be alive and in my own skin.

1) Several people remarked at Trump being our President, yet I did not know who was the leader of Costa Rica.   I realized that I don't even know the major players of the world except maybe Putin, and I feel I am not the only one...the world is looking and cares about who our leader is...yet we (may be) ignorant to political leadership or agendas in other (smaller but equally important) countries, like Costa Rica; which is National Geographic's top rated country for happiness! So while we  might not always agree with what is going on...I had a sense of being a part of something much bigger than I ever thought...we  in a significant country.  I am a significant person in a significant country and I felt very ignorant about that and now determined to learn more about other countries.

2) Costa Rica, and many other countries, add French fries to the menu...for everything.  I saw French fries with a nice steak, French fries on pizza, French fries with eggs.....people look at American's as fast food lovers...and while I "knew that" I also was kind of offended but realized, wow...we really are blessed and have an ABUNDANCE of food and well...things in America.  Sure we might be the "fat" country to some, but we are generally very "well off" and that is why in other places they might add fries to everything you order or be asked a dozen times to buy wooden animal whistles on the beach- we are a country of overabundance and tons of blessings and opportunities.  If you can't afford Lululemons, digital cable, or a new car, most people can certainly afford fries with their hot dog. While I prefer sweet potatoes, to french fries, I am grateful I live somewhere I have food readily available and CHOICES in my food, and the means to obtain it.

3) People there really loved our "family mentality".  I went with a group of 7 friends and people everywhere asked if we were family- and we were/are.  When we told others we weren't blood related or coupled up, they were pleasantly open, curious and pleased to see that kind of camaraderie that perhaps doesn't exist in other countries with more "typical" family structures”.  This also rang a bell that perhaps cityfam, one day, can be an international cause, more than a national effort.  Perhaps if our country gets our '”act" together we can start a familial movement way beyond genetics.  Tradition has to start somewhere right?

Sure, other countries want tourism and will be kind and generous to their visitors...but don't we want them too?  Every Costa Rican I met that I asked has never been to America...and it kind of made me bummed out as I wanted them to be.  But they were/are happy, some had a slight desire to visit, but generally, they were really happy with where they were because they had their families, friends, and peace.  They love the simple life. That meant so much to me...is the joke on us who "have it all" or "have too many options"?  Is the key to happiness just family, friends and love? I think about that a lot as I come back to my digital and desk job life.

So while my tan lines are fading and I am catching up on the 482502 emails at work and reading the back and forth fighting on Facebook about our new Commander in Chief, I want to choose to be the best HUMAN being I can be,  and maybe it took a vacation elsewhere to raise the stakes a little higher or change the game.  And maybe that is also incentive to sign up for this year's upcoming mission's trip to Honduras, a poorer, but equally chill country with many amazing people who can find happiness from the most simple of places. :)  More to come on that thought.....

But for now, thank you, Costa Rica for the life lesson...I will be back!

Pura vida mis amigos! (It’s a good life my friends!)

Your Marketing director and beach babe,
Cara D.