Friday morning I said goodbye to my neighbors and walked out of my site to the bus stop for the last time. It's been a bittersweet process.... on Wednesday my viejitas held a despidida after dance class. They are very sweet, there were tears, me towering among wrinkled huggers, tugging lightly at my clothes, not so patiently waiting their turn to tell me to "go with God" and to never forget them.... Jamas.
Marina, the director of Share-El Salvador is in Costa Rica right now for the Referendum election (more on this in a minute). She was able to come to Puntarenas for the day to meet and visit with me. We had a very pleasant day. I was able to introduce her to some of the families that I have lived and worked and shared with over the last two years. I think (I hope anyway) that I was able to put her mind to rest that I was worth the pressure I threw at them to hire me. It was really good too, to talk to her, it actually made the goodbyes a little, not easier, but maybe put them in perspective. I am going to something really exciting. I am confident that in two years, I will have made friends and found cariño and fulfilment.
Friday, I spent the night in San Ramon with the Barrantes clan. They are, of course, intensely involved in the referendum process. Putting aside for a moment, my cynical nature, I have to say that my hopes are rising that the "No" camp may actually pull it off this weekend. For those very few of you that know that the TLC (or CAFTA), is not a done deal, that Costa Rica still has not signed-on, may also know that today, Sunday, Ticos will head to the polls to vote "Yes" that they will sign the TLC or "No" they will pass. It is a really big deal. The world is watching. One, because Costa Rica is the only country that has put the option to a vote, to ask the citizens what they want. You know... democracy. As opposed to other countries, El Salvador for instance, that signed the accord in the middle of the night in a classic clandestine process. On Thursday, the national paper reported a poll putting No at 55% and Yes at 43%. I am generally one to put my money on the minority with the fiscal resources, but events in the past few days have got my hopes up. While the Yes camp, plays flashy adds and elegant banners, the No's have been busy utilizing manpower, there have been parades and caravans of cars driving around the city honking horns and waving banners, there are hundreds of volunteers canvassing public areas and talking to people. Anyway, it is an exciting time to be in Costa Rica.
I'm in San Jose now. I have some things to close up in the office. Paperwork to get done. I hung out with Scottie, Max and Mateo. We reflected on the in's and out's of living in a foreign land as we watched college football on 8 different screens in a casino full of gringos. They're good guys, they're amazing volunteers, they're about as real as it gets.