Time has flown this summer especially over the last few weeks.  Work with our county fair, the state fair, attending the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association conference and squeezing-in some time off for my kids have consumed July and the beginning of August.  I have not had an over-abundance of time to contemplate or prepare for this trip.  Thankfully, last minute is usually the way I work best!  One reoccurring theme which has been rumbling through my thoughts in the time leading up to this trip is gratitude to Purdue and the other sponsoring agencies for providing this opportunity. 

The one downside of the timing of this trip is that I’ll miss my youngest son, Ian’s,  first day of first grade but I know my husband, my parents and our family friends will give both of my boys all the support and assistance that they need as they transition back to school.  Not to worried about my 10 year old Will he embraces just about every new experience.

Thankfully communication with the states will be easier than my previous overseas experience which was as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic. Back then, 1993-1995, cell phones and the internet obviously were not at my disposal on a daily basis. I’m excited to experience another Hispanic culture and nervous about how well my Dominican Spanish will be understood by the Costa Ricans.  I’m also really excited to work with APOT and the individual farmers.  I’ve worked some with a farmers’ cooperative here, the Local Growers Guild but this experience will give me a different perspective.  As with the Dominicans I worked with in Peace Corps, I’ll probably learn more from the Costa Ricans than they will learn from me but I’m looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experience.  I’m thankful that Jim and Tamara will be working with us and helping to provide continuity for our work, the work of the March group and the group to follow us in October. 

On a final note, I’d also like to give a shout-out to my ANR neighbors Chris Parker, Jenise BohBrink and Jenna Smith for covering my calls/contacts while I’m out of the office.  THANK YOU!