Saturday, 1 December 2012

5th september part 2 - choosing to be happy can be hard

I decided to move hostels

I wanted to be around someone who could speak English so I knew what was going on with the earthquake. I was feeling a bit uneasy.

I packed my stuff and headed round the corner to a bigger hostel called Alajuela backpackers.

I'd spent ages looking at the map and figuring out where it was before i left, even though I knew from the map it was only about 2 blocks away on the corner, it still felt a little nervous stepping outside for the first time.

Outside looked like this!
When i arrived they were very friendly and their website hadn't lied, they spoke English! phew!

I booked a room in a dorm, put my bag in storage and while waiting for the room to be ready buried myself in the familiarity of the Internet.

Around 2:30pm I'd taken my stuff to my room and went back downstairs to re-bury myself in researching where i was going next. After around 30 minutes there I was just finishing up when a loud girl disturbed the isolated lobby, by pouncing on the computer next to me and asking no one in particular- how do you work this thing?

Hearing that she spoke English and had an English accent I said hello, longing for some more easy breezy human interaction. Niceties were exchanged, we got talking, but gradually it became a monologue! By her! On her terrible experiences of volunteering in Costa Rica. building homes, conservation work, school work she'd tried them all, hated them all and complained about the injustice of having to reflect- at the request of the volunteer project- on her impact and what she'd learnt.

I shared that I was going to turtle project and lo and behold, she's been on one and hated it.

 'I'm sure you're experience will be wonderful though' she said- 'if you like nature...i hate nature! I had no idea there was so much nature in Costa Rica! I don't see the point in volunteering really, if i didn't do it someone else would'

I stood gobsmacked!

What had i just witnessed? Was this some kind of unthinking traveller who just rocks up to places and launches themselves into...into what? Trying to prove something but in the process making themselves miserable? I didn't know, but I felt sad for her.

Over the following days, her words followed me, her apparent dislike of nature, I guess i could deal with, not everyone likes nature. But the statement 'if i didn't do it someone else would'.
That niggled me.

What a huge assumption to make!

I realised it ripped at the core of one of the reasons I was there, what I hoped to gain, achieve and give to this country that I'd been dreaming about for so long.

Once I got over the shock,I felt glad for her existence too. I'm glad she reminded me that I was there for something real and meaningful to me. Something that made my heart happy and piqued my curiosity about the world some more.

I hope she found something in the end she to feel happy about.

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