My trip to Costa Rica #PuraVida

For the last 6 years, I’ve left the country at least once a year. It’s an expensive hobby, but the travel bug is real! I’ve adjusted my lifestyle so that I can afford to have a travel fund. (This is one reason I don’t have a car.)

After buying my house in the spring; moving, renovating, and furnishing the place from scratch, I didn’t think traveling was possible this year. Then, one magical day, an email showed up in my inbox. I was asked to travel to Costa Rica with a group of students to supervise them and translate between English/Spanish. #blessup

My old high school runs an international development trip every year so the teacher asked me to tag along since he knows I speak Spanish and can supervise groups. My family was one of the only minorities in the school and we were very involved in activities so even though I’ve been out of school for numerous years, the teacher remembered me.

Growing up, I struggled finding my identity. I’ve lived in Canada since I was 5 years old so I identity with being Canadian. I wanted to fit it, I didn’t want to speak Spanish and I grew up in mostly white, English-speaking communities. I was embarrassed of being different. It’s stupid now, but I know that most people, especially young immigrants struggle with their identity (especially as teens).

In 2009, after coming to terms that speaking another language is a gift, I embraced my Mexican origins and doors started to open. While in university, I got my first ‘real job’ as a residence adviser at an international boarding school. One of the main reasons I got the job was because I was bilingual. I worked full-time on the weekends at above minimum wage and was able to pay for tuition every year. This employment catapulted me into stability, independence, financial responsibility and a path to a debt-free life. Good thing I embraced being bilingual. I was so foolish to try to erase my differences. #Fail

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