Historias de Veintisiete

Stories from 27

by Stephanie

That feeling keeps returning to me.

It’s that almost there while far away, tight in the chest and short of breath, disorienting yet concrete, tears in your eyes, names on your tongue, plans for a return constantly forming in your mind, and reality sitting heavily on top of everything feeling.

The causes, I’ve found, are also the cure. Making phone calls and editing pictures lead to deep sighs and sometimes tears. Then a slow breath, a bit more reminiscing, and finally a return to calm. While this cycle may be repeated throughout the day, and is a touch exhausting, it is also a slight comfort to me. I do not wish to return to everything as it was before. Even though it hurts, I wouldn’t trade this experience. Because it hurts, I never would.

I look forward to the next adventure, to days of classes, of exploring, of meeting new people and preparing for what I hope will be my career. The occasional glance behind, I know, will grow less painful but never less important.


by Stephanie

Well. Here we are. Living with my parents. Chris looking for jobs every day. Me… doing nothing every day. Sometimes I read. Sometimes I sign a Master Promissory Note so I can ask for more not-free-money from the government in order to study. I watch TV. I eat.

Last night we tried to call everyone in 27 (ok, everyone who we wanted to talk to… but that was at least 5 phone calls) and none of the calls went through. I don’t know if we weren’t using the calling card right or what happened, but what happened after that was I almost cried.

A couple nights ago, as I was laying in bed really trying to sleep but not doing a very good job, I thought up a really great blog. It was worded well, interesting, all the things a good blog should be. But I’m pretty tired right now (that sleeping thing is getting trickier for some reason), so you’ll have to be content with this mess.

At least I still have my 1820 (mil-ocho-cientos-veinte) coffee. But when that 5 kilo bag runs out, I might lose it… and the bag is already half empty…

Dear Everyone I Care About

by Stephanie

I like to write. I do it a lot.

But lately, every time I sit down to my journal, a letter, this blog… I find myself, ten minutes later, staring into space having written nothing. I get lost in thoughts of possible futures and the recent past. I can’t commit to paper thoughts and ideas I have, partly because they are constantly changing and partly because some of them seem so permanent it scares me.

Last week, my host brother caught me in this state, pen to paper but eyes to the brown hills behind our house. “Where are you right now,” he asked me, “Costa Rica or the US?” I stared at him a minute, then answered, “Both places. Strange, huh? The mind is weird.” He agreed, “The brain is strong. You could be walking through the door of your house there, you could go to your bed or the fridge. You could go wherever you want, and five minutes later be back here.”  I nodded. “Yeah, it’s weird. But it’s good,” I told him. He nodded back, “It’s good, but it will also bring you sadness.”

Everything here that makes me smile immediately makes me sad, because the smile is so genuine and its cause soon to vanish. “Live in the moment.”   “Here and now.”  Normally that is what I do. But for some reason it is much more difficult these days.

And yes, I am excited to go home. To see my family and my friends. To meet the nieces and nephews who were born since I’ve been here.

But I am going to be much different when I return. Please know that. And I know you will all be different, too. Two years is a long time. Please be patient with me. I will be in mourning of a sort. Please don’t judge me for peppering my speech with spanish. When I mention, for the 1000th time, that “In the Peace Corps we…” or that “In Costa Rica they…” please try not to roll your eyes. I promise I will not always suffer melancholy. My excitement upon seeing you will be real. But so, too, will be my ache for the people I have grown to love here, for the way of life I am now accustomed to. Alejandro’s smile, Sonieé’s sass, thunderous rain on a tin roof, the tranquility of a bus ride in the dark evening as a cool breeze pours through the window and the full moon illuminates the hills and lowlands of home.

Let’s be patient with each other. Let’s ask each other questions and tell each other stories. Let’s get to know each other again.

Let’s not rush it.

by Stephanie

I just looked at the calendar and was literally shocked to see that today is the TWENTY SECOND OF MARCH.

It’s not like I have been in a coma.  I even spent a good amount of time staring at a giant calendar last week.  But for some reason seeing only one week left of March caused something to click in my brain.  This is how it happened.

“What is today’s date?” I asked myself.
open dashboard calendar
“Oh it’s THE TWENTY SECOND OF MARCH¡?!?¡?!¿#M¿?#”

And after that my brain shuffled through all the things I have planned between now and May 11 and damn near exploded.

I need to apply for scholarships like woah.  I also don’t have internet at my house anymore, which complicates that particular chore.

I need to write goodbye letters to all my favorite Tic@s. I need to plan and then have a going away party. I need to visit PCV friends whose sites I haven’t yet seen.  I need to cancel my visits to PCV friends’ sites so that I can spend more time in my own site because I want to be there as much as possible before I leave.

I also need to get these stitches taken out of my jaw. (oh yeah, got a mole removed. that happened). And I need to plan the entirety of my summer so that I am ready to go to London in September.  (oh yeah, I got into University of London SOAS. that happened).

And that’s just the stuff off the top of my head.  I’m certain I’ve got many more things written down somewhere.

And so, Mach 22nd, you have succeeded in surprising and terrifying me.  But to you and all the days to come I say:
Bring it on.


by Stephanie

Camp has ended, the volunteers have said their tearful goodbyes to the tearful children and life has returned to normal, where I normally feel like I haven’t done anything of benefit for this town. Until one night little Noe is here and he is coloring and I leave to teach english class and when I return he holds up a picture he drew.  The picture is a tree and in it he has written all the names of the volunteers who were here for camp, and he asks me to write my name and Chris’s name in the center of the tree, and then he writes his name and then he holds the tree up and says

“My family tree”

with so much pride and happiness that I feel myself overflowing with the same emotions, and when he sets the picture down and runs off to play I realize that maybe there have been some benefits after all.