Nov 2, 2014

The Rainy Season in Costa Rica

We just got back from a 10 day vacation in Costa Rica.  One of the major reasons we homeschool is because we love to travel in the off-season with the perks of my husband's job.  This year we thought we would try Costa Rica in the rainy season.  A house overlooking the beach was rented, the dates were set, and off we went.  It basically took one full day of travel to get there and back but it was worth it.  I had to keep reminding myself that It. Was. Worth. It. for two long drives and two long flights to get there.  The kids held up marvelously, but it's always hard for me to not be stressed out of my gourd while flying standby with three kids in tow.  Now that they are older and very very used to flying standby, it has gotten much much easier.  All in all they did great.
We arrived there late afternoon and had enough time to swim in our pool and sit on the deck that overlooked this view.  I didn't realize we would get treated to such a sunset every night and watch this view as we sipped our coffee in the morning. Speaking of the pool, Tessa thought it was the best thing since sliced bread and was in it by 7 or 8 am every single morning, rain or shine, usually begging for someone (anyone!) to join her.  Basically, the whole trip we were wet.  We were either in the pool, the ocean, or the rain.
A couple of the days we boogie boarded and the boys took surf lessons all afternoon one day.  We stayed at a gorgeous, flat and pretty isolated beach.  We loved playing in the water and walking the coastline looking for whatever the ocean had washed up at high tide.  We visited the beaches to the north and south of us as well and it was surprising how different they each were from each other.  At each one, there was a different kind of animal, feature, or shell to discover.  In fact, some mornings we woke up to the trees outside filled with howler monkeys calling to each other, an iguana chilling on the retaining wall, or a coatimundi trying to get in the garbage.
One day we zip lined.  Tessa was a huge fan.  She practically demanded that she be first each time and the other two tourists with us were nice enough to let her.  Rude child.  She also lost her shoe on a platform (the guide had to scramble down for it) and had to go potty halfway through and we got to experience going in the jungle.  Super.  The guides were great with the kids and let them fool around a bit with trying no hands and going upside down.  They were well tipped.
Half way through our zipline adventure, this guy joined us on our platform 100 feet up in the air. We were having a snack and our guides apparently regularly feed him.  Literally I'm a foot away while he's chilling by my leg and I'm praying I'm not next for his lunch. Hunter, however, was delighted to be so close to an iguana.
One afternoon it just poured rain so we thought we would go for a drive and see if it would let up.  It didn't.  However, we did discover that getting to the next beach over could take an hour or more when the bridges are gone and roads are a soggy mess and you have to find a route around it all through a dripping rainforest.  We finally got to the next beach over which was a turtle nesting beach.  The beach was full of empty holes and rubbery egg shells where the turtles had hatched and made their way to the ocean.
It was usually hot and sunny in the morning and we would watch the rain clouds roll in from the ocean and send a deluge most afternoons.  Rain and rain.  Since we have been in such a drought here at home, I wished we could bottle it up and take it with us.  The rain was usually a welcome break from the sticky heat.
On one particularly rainy day, we decided to visit some tidepools around the point we were staying on.  We found these little tiny coves that you had to scramble down into and they were full of shells....that moved.  Hermit crabs had moved in and stolen all the shells and the whole ground was crawling and moving with shells of every size scrambling here and there.  It was the most bizarre thing I have ever seen.
One might think that on such a fabulous vacation with a country literally bursting with life everywhere, there was only delight, smiling faces and relaxation.  But on a vacation, you can't escape yourself.  I found myself getting grumpy and impatient and annoyed by the hot sticky atmosphere, whining kids and the copious amounts of bug bites.  Apparently, the insect life is also bursting in Costa Rica. It happened, and on more than one occasion I felt frustration bubbling up instead of joy.  In fact, in the first picture of this post, the one where the kids are all sitting smiling in a swing, we had just experienced the most frustrating eating experience on the beach on our last full day.  The place was on the beach, under the trees and had great food.  It was just that we were human, tired and it all caught up with us.  We had a "come to Jesus" moment where I realized all this angst was coming to a head with bickering, whining, and drama over a little spider that ended up on our table.

Rain and water.  There is that verse: "Watch over your heart with all diligence for from it flow the springs of life."
Really, it doesn't matter where you go, and how much of God's natural glory is displayed all around, humanity is the same.   One would think on such a fabulous vacation, only the good would bubble up, but unfortunately, my true self follows me wherever I go, and so does whatever we are fostering in our family.
In this way, vacations are like a cleansing water I have found.  Vacations tend to expose our family's interactions for what they are, and provide for me moments in time to assess what I am experiencing and find bubbling out of me.  I find beautiful sweet moments and moments of ugly.  I found myself once home, praying for something better.  A sweeter heart, for God's life to bubble out of me with even more patience and love.  I find myself so thirsty.  Thirsty for more patience, more love, more life-giving relational living.
Once more, I pray for the Spirit of God to bubble up with life and over-run my life with love.  It seems to be the gasping desire of my heart. More of God, more of His life, more of His love.  I can never get enough.

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