Hoy Te Extraño Mas

Today, I miss you more. When I watch any historical documentary, I find myself reflexively searching on a map as to where-exactly a particular history happened. For me, understanding the “what,” “who,” and “when” is only a part of new learning. I am also curious about confirming “where” precisely on the world map it can be found. The purpose is to see an identifying point and commit that to memory, plus noting all the areas in proximity with their relative distance and size comparison to the historical location. I often imagine myself in that time and place.

My current history lesson in progress had me closely inspecting the continent of Africa. My eyes instantly darting all over outlined boundaries, and inside my mind, I am going along pronouncing each of the labeled countries. Reading “ZIMBABWE,” I remember in 5th or 6th grade writing a social studies report about its history. I still remember feeling sad about how politics there hurt a lot of people. For the first time, I wrote about how people did not get along because of the color of their skin. It did not make sense to me. I remember it was confusing to me how, in such a beautiful place, that ugly things could happen to people.

It is also note-worthy that in the time of my early-elementary school years, race and controversies in our own county had not quite made it into our school textbooks, so reading publications like National Geographic or a tome of Encyclopedia Britannica in my local library were certainly eye-opening. Feeling from then to now, that was not enough or the complete truth. I am still very sheltered from having any personal story or true knowledge of what others actually experienced. For my social studies report, in big loops of best printed, penciled hand-writing, my young self wrote a sentence about each person being important and hoping that everyone could understand each other and get along.

Once snapped out of this childhood memory, and when my present documentary-reference-research was complete, I zoomed out of my close-view to inspect the entire world. Thank you, Apple Maps, for adding my bright-blue location-dot to remind me where I am. Suddenly, in a yang to yin half-second, it is brought to mind where I have been. Directly south, along nearly the same longitude, my eyes find Costa Rica. If I did not have to be here, I would be there. Yes, tears have welled-up at this yearning thought and once reading “COSTA RICA” in my mind, they have spilt over, these tears now hovering in warm pools on my cheeks. How can a place in the world hold such a pull to my heart?

This coming October, it will be four years since my week of surfing school. A life-changing, solo-trip that marked the first-year anniversary of Jon’s passing, I went so far away to gain insight for how-and-why “to be, here.” Ironically, so much of me is still “there,” and my writing about that week of riding on waves and roads with early-grief realizations from those experiences, still have yet to be written.

Am I living in the past or actually preferring, in a seemingly selfish way, to rather be there? I see it as a not wanting to forget, a holding-on to those days like someone’s hand in a hurricane: don’t let go, or else you will become separated, blown apart, likely never to be connected together, again. In honor of today’s reminder to not let go, and a “tsk-tsk” that it’s time to get to the writing about it, I am sharing a few of my memories of Costa Rica with you. Today, Costa Rica, I miss you more. ~Paula #puravida

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