what i missed about costa rica this week

1. i really miss eating every meal outside. hardly anything is completely closed in. thinking back over them all in my mind, i’m pretty sure none of the restaurants we went to had walls. most had just a big roof and a bunch of tables underneath it.
one had swings instead of chairs.
by the way, fish tacos are amazing.

2. walking. i like driving, but i love walking. i can’t look at things when i’m driving, or stop and talk to strangers(though in america that’s probably a good thing; costa rican strangers are much safer and nicer). in my car, i’m in my own little world with my music and my thoughts and the road in front of me. out walking, i get to notice everything around me.

3. food. do they make plantain chips or lemon flavored doritos here? and what’s with all the high fructose corn syrup? central american soda is like liquid heaven. it’s made with REAL LIVE SUGAR.
at our hotel, there was a big lime tree in our backyard. i’d go out every morning, pick one and squeeze all the juice into my nalgene. if i want lime water here, i have to buy the juice and keep it in the fridge. and i know it says “100% lime juice” on the label, but i still say it doesn’t taste the same poured out of a bottle as it does straight from the tree.
and oh my goodness CHICKEN. if you’ve never eaten a chicken that was alive an hour before it was put on the table, you’ve never tasted good chicken. kfc wouldn’t have to use 11 herbs and spices if they just shot their chickens themselves and served them up fresh.

4. kids and dogs. both are everywhere and they’re always wanting to play. when american kids see strangers who look really different, they run away and hide, but costa rican kids will run up and hug you.

5. how happy everybody is. you give a little bag of beans to a five year old in costa rica to share with their family, they’ll jump and squeal and thank you and give you hugs for five straight minutes. you give a piece of candy to a five year old in america to have all for themselves, they say “is that all you’ve got?”
a poor woman in costa rica with almost nothing will share what little she has with all the children in her village because their parents are at work and can’t feed them lunch during the day, and praise God that she’s able to help them. poor people in america spend what they’ve got on drugs, then complain that they have no food.
everywhere you go down there, people are smiling. even the ones who have absolutely nothing are happy just for you to say hello to them.

6. and…this view everywhere. yes, you’re seeing the mountains and the beach at once.

stories about memories

messes and memories.

at several points in time, i’ve meant to write a rambling post about how much i love my apartment, but haven’t done it yet.
this isn’t that post; i just thought i’d mention that so that, for the purpose of background info for the rest of what i’m actually writing about, you’d know that i do in fact absolutely love this place.

i just cleaned my entire room in 24 minutes flat.
as i guiltlessly put on an episode of Friends and sat down to play candy crush for a while, i started wondering why it’s so easy to clean here. true, my room is still usually a mess just like my room at home, but when i do get fed up with it and want it to be clean, i can set my mind to attacking the mess and get rid of it in usually less than half an hour. whereas if i start cleaning my room at home, i work for five minutes, get stressed out, and decide i don’t need to spend any time there unless i’m sleeping.

then last night, i found the answer.
as my getting ready to sleep routine goes, i wrote my to-do list for today(which read “CLEAN ROOM” in all caps at the top), and crawled in bed with the third book of the sisterhood of the traveling pants. i’ve read all four books more times than i can count(at least ten), but i still find something new every time i reread them. i came across this line and realized why.
“had she ever thrown anything out in her whole life? there were layers and layers of Tibby detritus both on the walls and on the floor…it was dusty and stuffy and it bothered her.”
that’s literally me. i always refer to cleaning my room as an excavation, because the more i clean, the further back i can trace my whole life.

my apartment is only me and my life now; the only memories in here are the ones i chose to bring. but my room at home is full of ghosts.
it’s easy to clean when it’s just putting away clothes and throwing papers from weeks ago into folders. it takes hours to clean when everything i find has a story attached to it. so it doesn’t stress me out to clean this room, but it also doesn’t have as much personality as my old room.
i’m learning that i have a major love-hate relationship with memories. i’ve saved everything my whole life, in hopes that i could look back at them one day.
past linda didn’t know that looking at them would be so hard for future linda.
people have said i live in the future too much. i’m always counting down to what’s next, talking about how excited i am for things happening later. they’ve told me i need to appreciate the present more. and i’ve always agreed.
i’m realizing that i like the future is because i’m afraid of the past. the present always reminds me of the past; the future, i can imagine that it’ll be brand new and different.
and yet, i don’t want the things in the past to go away. i want them to stay where they are, and think about them when i feel like it, and not have the present bring them up anytime it wants.
i want to remember how happy i was at certain times, without getting sad when i realize the present will never have that specific kind of happy again.
i want the past to stay contained in the past, and the present to stay unaffected by it.
so i hide it all away in boxes. but the fact of the matter is, you can’t put memories in a box; just things that represent them.

try as i may to leave half my life behind and move on, i can’t. my life today is made of all the bits of what it used to be.
the more i look at it, the more i can see that God broke each of my “selves” at the perfect time, and built the pieces into something new. when i think about all of them now, and i see what came out of it, i can’t stop thanking him for it. even the ones that are hard to look at.
i look at all of these random artifacts from different stages of my life, and i remember who i was at those times. i look at who i am now, and imagine what each old self would think of that person. which parts of me i wish had stayed the same, which ones i’m relieved have changed. and it tells a good story.
it’s easier to clean though, when there aren’t so many physical memories sitting around…so i’m happy to have both rooms. =)

stories about nothing and everything

100 bits of joy.

1. seeing scott around campus; i forget sometimes that we go to the same school and i can see him whenever i want now.
2. yellow highlighters.
3. fall.
4. running without ankle pain.
5. finding money in winter clothes when i take them out of the attic.
6. chick fil a lemonade. and waffle fries…and mocha cookies and cream milkshakes…and of course chicken…ok all things chick fil a. but mostly lemonade.
7. cancelled classes.
8. cancelled 6 am cross country practice.
9. watching baseball.
10. the smell of new books.
11. the smell of old books.
12. books in general.
13. when my car’s trunk closes on the first try; normally it takes at least nine.
14. when my car gets me all the way home without making any scary noises.
15. getting up on sunday morning knowing i can drive myself to church, not worrying about having to beg around for a ride anymore.
16. craving chick fil a, and remembering that i can actually take myself there instead of finding people with cars who want to go out.
17. my cat.
18. fierce strawberry gatorade.
19. hoodies.
20. sweatpants.
21. krispy kreme donuts.
22. ingrid michaelson.
23. my flash drive that looks like a duck.
24. candy crush.
25. 3 hours marathons of the big bang theory.
26. thunderstorms.
27. getting letters from my campers.
28. running into campers at walmart.
29. cross country road trips.
30. any time spent with the cross country team at all.
31. people who let me be myself.
32. singing in the car with scott.
33. new episodes of how i met your mother.
34. the perfect song shuffling onto my ipod.
35. hugs.
36. my mom.
37. waking up and realizing i still have an hour before i need to get up.
38. sleeping a whole night without dreaming.
39. chicken soup.
40. homemade bread.
41. nutella.
42. ice cream.
43. nutella mixed in ice cream.
44. finding the number 56 in random places.
45. surprise texts from camp friends.
46. carowinds.
47. when people come through my line in the caf just because i’m the one serving.
48. i love lucy reruns.
49. babies.
50. sleeping in.
51. raw cookie dough.
52. neverending pasta at olive garden.
53. olive garden breadsticks.
54. hugs.
55. little gifts for no reason; it’s my very close second love language, after physical touch. obviously.
56. back rubs.
57. finding change on the ground.
58. putting all my change in my adoption jar at the end of the month.
59. cookout milkshakes.
60. sparkly pens.
61. post-its.
62. pictures of cute animals.
63. buzzfeed lists that describe my life.
64. jennifer lawrence.
65. oreos with peanut butter.
66. watching the parent trap after waiting all week for it to come on tv.
67. cutting on the tv and surprisingly finding that the parent trap is on.
68. peanut m&ms.
69. shopping for something and finding it comes in purple.
70. finding a jennifer lawrence interview that i haven’t watched yet.
71. thanksgiving dinner.
72. watching home videos, and the whole family migrates one by one into the living room to watch them together.
73. looking at old pictures.
74. finishing a blog post that’s sat in my drafts for weeks.
75. new twitter followers.
76. waking up with motivation.
77. naps in my eno.
78. when people buy me things with angry birds on them, just because they saw it and thought of me.
79. making lists.
80. sitting down to write a blog and finishing the whole post in one sitting, no saving it and coming back to it weeks later.
81. hugs.
82. the chick fil a cow; all other things in costumes freak me out, but not that.
83. christmas shopping.
84. jeremy kingsley speaking in chapel.
85. getting a PR.
86. running a good race and hugging all my sweaty teammates at the end.
87. cool-down runs after hard workouts.
88. pasta night in the caf.
89. the video of the ducks getting blown away by the wind.
90. peeling an orange in one piece.
91. eating nutella straight from the jar.
92. when my small group kids teach me things.
93. getting 15 likes on a status i didn’t realize was funny.
94. summercampconfessions.tumblr.com
95. when people say they like what i write.
96. sunday pie in the caf, in the middle of the week.
97. ice cream.
98. when someone brings me ice cream in the dishpit and gives me a hug.
99. laughing til i feel like i’ve done P90X abs three times.
100. bedtime. =)

parts of my whole story.

my safe place.

i didn’t get to sleep much last week, but i slept a lot this past weekend. which doesn’t make much sense because this weekend i was sleeping in a tent, in the cold mountains, with the threat of bears attacking me at any minute.
somehow, even after twenty total hours of sleep, i came home more tired than i’d been all week.
then last night recharged me more than any amount of sleep could.

i need people. being alone exhausts me and stresses me out.
but you can’t just plop me down in a crowd and expect that to do the trick. i can’t just be around people; i need to be with people.
if i’m sitting in a circle with ten people and no one is acknowledging my presence in any way(no one’s looking at me, someone talks over me every time i start to say something, etc), that’s just being around people. it’s just as damaging as being alone, because it’s essentially the same as being alone.
if people are trying to force me into whatever mold they want me to fit in, without even trying to first find out where i actually fit, i’d rather be alone.

but when i’m around safe people, it’s like my heart lets out a deep breath, then curls up and takes a nap. safe people are where i can rest.
so i guess i’m a picky extravert; i don’t just need company to recharge. i need people like my teammates.
i realized today that they’re becoming the safest people i know.
when i’m with them, i feel at home in myself. i don’t have to think about how to be.
they like it when i talk, but they still love me when i just want to listen.
they’re happy when i get to run, but they never make me feel guilty or lazy when i can’t.
whether i have to stand out and cheer for the rest of them, or i get to race with them, i feel just as much a part of the team either way.
everyone else makes me feel like a ghost; my team makes me feel seen and heard and wanted and loved. like i’m important, like it would make a difference if i weren’t there. and to them, i am, and it would.

they’re my camp away from camp.

i don’t need alone time. i don’t really need much sleep.
i just need people like that. =)