The anticipation keeps you up at night, the packing list is running through your mind, you constantly go through a mental checklist of what you have yet to do and the date of departure sneaks closer and closer. It’s an understated, drawn out, adrenaline rush; there is a thrill knowing that you will be discovering a new way of life and immersing yourself in a foreign culture. The body’s senses will be on overdrive upon arrival, but it’s a euphoric kind of overwhelmed. I believe there is no better way to broaden your mind than to explore a wide variety of cultures–putting your life, your habits and the world, into perspective.
I thoroughly enjoy traveling even down to the crowded airports and turbulence ridden planes. It’s incredible how, in the same day, you can transport yourself half a world away; in this case, only two hours’ time difference. With The Ohio State University’s Department of Dance, I have been given the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica with twenty-three other dancers in the program. In preparation physically, we have been taking technique class in the morning then moving forward with collaborative choreography work. The piece has been morphed from each individual’s unique dance voice into a cohesive snapshot of the Dance Department’s overall movement style. In only a week, we have compiled seven and a half minutes of movement to show the Costa Rican dancers. It will be our way of shaking hands with them.
To our advantage as travelers, each day, we have had a speaker talk to us about their personal experience with living in Costa Rica. The most encouraging piece of knowledge that they have conveyed was the fact that most any native, or “Tico,” you will run into has a very kind disposition. Their generosity is portrayed in their government as well as their relationship with others. Each year, those who work receive an “aguinaldo.” An aguinaldo is an extra paycheck; in December, all employed citizens receive double their paycheck as to allow anyone to have the means to make Christmas special. Additionally, the government has continued to show their peaceful nature by abolishing their military. Costa Ricans are raised in a culture of generosity and peace. I know I will need all the kindness and patience that they have because all of the dancers are placed with a home-stay family and I have almost no background in speaking Spanish. It will be interesting to attempt to communicate to the best of my ability with them–I’m hoping to have some basic Spanish in my vocabulary by the time I return to the States.
This voyage will be a whirlwind of discovering Costa Rican dance, native sights, new people and performing abroad. I can only hope my suitcase will soon be as ready as I am mentally,but I can’t wait to return and share my experience without being entirely sun-burnt.