Two evenings left with my family before I board the plane bound for Turrialba, Costa Rica. It didn’t feel real until I left a clean office (gasp!) behind at 5 p.m. and said “adios” to my companeros at Purdue Extension’s Learning Network of Clinton County. I received well wishes and promises of protective prayers for my journey from our Spanish-speaking adult learners who attend ESL and GED classes two mornings and two evenings each week to improve their literacy and workforce skills. All I can think about is how I must come back–for my daughter, my son, my husband, my colleagues–my learners… I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such beautiful people in my life,  and selfish for desiring the beauty of a place yet unknown. The mystery and  the majesty of Turrialba draw me, promising new adventures and new “life lessons.” I hope to contribute in some way to the organizational capacity of the farmers I’m about to meet and at the same time I’m eager to learn from their very different experiences. I can’t imagine what it must be like to wake up every morning and see lava oozing from a nearby volcano or hear the sounds of monkeys screaming through the rain forests. Perhaps the biggest draw is the opportunity to deepen connections in my second language and become a more fluent speaker of Spanish. As usual, I have set the bar high, registering to take the state’s Spanish teaching certification exam upon my return. Armed with the 100-page Spanish World Language study guide, an ultralingual app for my iPad, and reading for my online ELL certification class through Purdue, I’ll have plenty to keep me occupied. But, I’ve promised myself not to be so busy that I miss those “hold-your-breath” moments that surely await me. I pray–along with my students–to “vaya con Dios.” I was reminded today, by a family update from missionary friends in Costa Rica, of this scripture from Joshua 1:9: “The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Entonces, con fe en Dios, me voy!”

 

–Melinda

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