Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

By: Anthony Fraden

It seems like this will be my official last blog post as a member of the Gap Semester Program, and honestly it makes me sad that I won’t be able to post about the “latest adventure” in our long journey after this. Our time here in Costa Rica has been a wonderful last addition to all of our times together. We started as a group of complete strangers barely having awkward small talk in an airport and have since become a family that has been forged through common experiences and stories that we’ve lived through. We’ve survived the rigorous challenges of waking up early in the morning and cooking our own meals while hiking and backpacking through the Wyoming wilderness. We’ve spent weeks in crowded vans while getting on sharing sassy remarks, sharing laughs, and unfortunately sharing illnesses during our service learning portion of the trip. And now we’re concluding our time in Costa Rica where we’ve had to adapt and change ourselves to live in this new culture with an entirely different language from what many of us are used to. Looking back on it all it’s amazing what we’ve all been able to accomplish, and see together. I’ll never forget lying outside under starry skies or peering from a mountaintop at a beautiful valley below with all of these people who are now close friends. Over the entire course of my life whenever something has ended or shifted to being completely different from what it once was there’s only one thing I truly ever end up missing. I never miss the food, nor the places, nor the sights, sounds or smells, nor any of the material things I once had. I only ever end up missing the people I lived my life alongside. All of the laughs, all the tears, all of our struggles and fears, all of the times that we were bored and all the other unexpected moments in between. The people I experience these things with are all that I vividly remember, and thankfully I’ve been able to acquire a lot more vivid memories with these people. So I’d like to thank each of these amazing, kind-hearted individuals for making these past few months into memories that I’m going to treasure for a long while. Thank you Gabe, Henry, Marin, Laurie, Nathan, Eliza, Lyn, Jill, Elizabeth (M.), Jack, Andrew, Annie, Krisandra, Marta, and our extraordinary coordinator Elizabeth Coder. You’ve all been wonderful, and I’m going to miss seeing each of your faces every day of the week. In this final transition I can’t help but think of this one quote I’ve heard, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”. In the future moments where I’ll miss you all, and they’ll certainly come to pass, I’ll be sure to bust out a smile for all of the times we shared together. Thanks again, and I’ll see you all back at Elon.

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