Tuesday, December 9, 2008


The clouds are dancing through the forested valley, playing with the swirling wind that is lalloping over the green ridge. They sway in a tango-trance, rising and falling, gusting and receding, unable to choose a path or direction.

Today our morning talk was "Franks lessons for life." There were moments of comedy and seriousness, and many moments of bio-nerdiness and insanity. But mostly this was a serious talk about our futures and how we may continue on in life as biologists. Oh man, this "what will you do with your life" conversations always get me....

I'm not sure who exactly reads this...but whoever is out there, you may or may not know that I am seriously considering staying, or rather, going home for Christmas and returning to Monteverde for another quarter (or two?) to work and mostly just to live in this beautiful place. As I have explained to a couple friends and family, and as one could probably tell by reading previous posts, I am in love with Costa Rica. I have been more inspired spiritually, intellectually and artistically by this area, the people, the "vibes" of this place, more than I have been in a very long time. To stay here would be an amazing life experience for me, hopefully one that will help me better understand who I am, and to help me answer that enternally daunting question, "what am I doing?"

But after Don Frank's talk, I am unsure again about this choice. He encouraged us to find things that we are both good at and enjoy. And to do this, the only thing to do is to try things--that is an arguement to stay here...but am I ready to find this fit? Frank also brought up that to be in a position where you can have contact with people--to have real relationships and impacts, while doing something you love and are good at, is a rare and desireable opportunity as well. And that is something that I will be missing by not returning to Project Literacy and the community that I am a part of at home. And there is no gaurantee that I will find that here...

I'm not sure this makes sense. It could be that I am mentally tired from working endlessly on my independent research report...Tomorrow I will present it to the scientific community here...which could include some big figures in the bio world (yikes)...and then I have more finals and the final submission of the paper, which has to be in publishable form....

I am all scrambled, I can't keep one train of thought... Staying here, understanding what it is like to live here and be a part of this different world, is a huge opportunity--and there won't be many like it. This could enhance my self understanding and also what I am able to contribute later on....On the flip side, if I can stand to wait, until I graduate, perhaps, then I will have that much more knowledge and maturity to bring with me, and perhaps I will get even more out of it.... I need help.

...Now they pause in an uneasy truce, idling in uncertainty, slowly circling. The wind, as always, is impatient to move and explore, to spread seeds and rustle leaves. The clouds spread and settle, slowly rolling in on themselves, releasing fleeting drops of rain.


UCLA Theta Xi said...

Hey Felicia,

so here's some thoughts on the stuff you're struggling with.

These worlds that you have come to identify with are parts of the same earth. Right now, they might seem like mutually exclusive realities. Different places, different implications, and different experiences. It's easy to think that you cannot access the wonders of one while in the other. And it's easy to think that these worlds are separate entities. They are not though.

The hardest part about traveling between realities in my life is learning how to build bridges between these worlds and keep them constantly connected. This is something that's hard to find, but it's required if you need to access both to be happy.

You can always find ways to integrate new things into your life. Last year, I was able to channel so much into ProLit, because I had spent time in El Salvador, where most people have family members who have migrated either legally or illegally into the US. I'm not sure if you remember, but do you remember Wilfredo, Arseni's learner from last year? He was Salvadoran, and came to the US just weeks before we started working with him. That was SOOO exciting for me. It allowed me to carry on my experiences from my summer in El Salvador into my life in Los Angeles. It allowed me to serve the same purpose in both worlds.

This year, I'm doing something similar with a group called FACE AIDS, that raises money for Partners in Health, the organization that I worked for in Haiti. After coming back, I refuse to move on from those experiences. I want to continue to carry them with me, and that enables me to channel energy into this new project of mine.

Whatever your interests are, understand that you will need to build these bridges. Whether you come back now, next quarter, or the quarter after, you will never leave Costa Rica. It will always be in you and you will carry it with you forever. You can find things that enable you to continue living those experiences in Los Angeles though. It might take effort and time to understand how exactly you can integrate these experiences into your life, but that's the hard part about it.

I'm so excited for you, because it sounds like you have found something very special in Costa Rica. Let those experiences drive you through life, wherever you may geographically be.

Here's something else that I learned over that summer in El Salvador. I took part in a research study that a woman was doing for a PhD. Her discertation was about how immersion experiences can transform an individuals understanding of purpose and vocation.

To take part in her study, I had to read several articles. One of the articles offered three cornerstones of vocation from a Jesuit perspective; 1. Do something that you love doing, 2. Do something that you are good at, 3. Do something that is needed in the world.

It sounds like you've had a lot of wonderful guidance on your trip and are thinking a lot about the future. If doing these things with your life requires you to live in multiple worlds simultaneously, than building bridges between these worlds is necessary for you to be happy. It's hard, but you can find ways of doing it.

Best wishes, and keep enjoying it!


rhoda said...

hey love,

i know it's easier said than done...but you know that thinking and trying to think it practically through probably won't lead to a resolution since everything will probably just keep going in circles...hahaha i should know, right? i'm living in a box in about 2 quarters...but really, in the end reason flies out the window and it's just going to be a feeling of what feels right for you. we're not going to forget you here, if you stay another quarter...miss you, but not forget. it seems like you're able to find things you're good and and love where ever you are...and i'm sure you'll be happy no matter where you are.

the nice thing about home is that you can always go back. at the same time, if you choose to come back sooner rather than later...you can go back to costa rica afterwards, too. so it's really just how you feel for what is "now." hahaha if you hate it...you'll be back in 10 short weeks. if you love it, you just had an amazing experience and really LIVED there -- not just trekking through it on study trips and etc. And if you find that you'd love to LIVE live there, you can go back again after graduation (haha it'll probably be safer than trying to find a job here anyway--in case you haven't heard). Anyhoo, if you come back and miss costa rica...go back next year (although this option is a little harder to follow through on). but coming back doesn't mean you're leaving costa rica behind...haha i'd expect to hear you relive the stories for weeks and weeks...You matter where you are...you're gonna be loved - so no worries about that =)

haha i'm sure this was absolutely no help at all in making decisions...but just wanted you to know that we all love you no matter where you are. (but really? you couldn't fall in love with a country i haven't been to yet? hehe...no selfish reasons at all). but you do have one full year of ucla left either way...at LEAST. whatever your reservations are..and decisions are..i don't think there's a wrong one.