Pura Vida

My trip to Costa Rica was exactly what my heart needed. It was filled with laughter, adventure and beauty. It brought with it an opportunity for me to enhance and deepen my friendship with my sister-in-law and college best friend. But most importantly I felt that I honoured Matthew’s spirit along with my own and found myself coming home with a lighter and brighter spirit.

Our trip consisted of relaxing in the Hot Springs near Arenal Volcano, zip lining and Tarzan swing in La Fortuna. Horseback riding to a waterfall along with hours spent at the beach and pool in Manuel Antonio. Costa Rica lived up to its name. Pura Vida. Costa Rican’s are always smiling and greet you with a warm “hola.” Knowing they are said to be some of the happiest people on Earth, I observed my surroundings with eager eyes. Examining their tiny houses as we drove past. Watching kids ride their bikes together while their parents and other adults sat with each other on their porches. It was rare to see someone alone. Costa Rican’s seem to thrive on friendship and kindness. It was humbling seeing a country, that from the eyes of an American who only scratched the surface, embrace simplicity while maintaining a relationship with their surroundings. Feeling their energy of being content and present, helped set the tone of the trip.

I knew that in order to get the most out of our week, I had to live in the moment. With that, time was no longer an issue. I mentioned to the girls while we were eating one day of a time when Matt and I were in California on one of our visits home. I started to get anxious about returning to Australia and leaving our friends and family. I told Matt, “We only have a few more days left.” He replied with, “Stop looking that far ahead and enjoy the time you have left.” Oh how those words ring truer for me now. You really can make the days seem shorter or longer all by your perspective. Realising I had no responsibilities outside of making it to our planned adventures on time, time slowed down. Worries melted away. I let go.

Even on Matt’s “angel-versary” my emotional body was uplifted. Surrounded with love, hot springs, waterfalls and light-hearted chit-chat my mind never drifted down a path of sorrow. My thoughts of Matt were ones of happiness because I knew he was with me. He held me tight and comforted me. And for once I had a week where I could truly and honestly set myself free. I wasn’t a widow or a mother on this trip; I was Kristina. I laughed, I explored, I jumped off a platform and swung from a tree and zip lined above tree tops, while my heart screamed for more. I trusted every ounce of myself and it kept me in a constant state of wonder and excitement.

When I reached American soil, after my week of adventure was over, I was relieved to have found some much strength during a time I expected to bring so much heartache. I did come home with a feeling that with such an amazing high surely a low was about to hit me hard. I mentioned to my best friend, Nicole, how there was this nagging feeling that had taken over and I felt maybe the next few days home would be difficult. Her response was, “You’re allowed to be happy.” In that moment, it felt like she took my face in her hands and looked straight to my soul and took away the heaviness. She was right. Such simple words but such a profound meaning.

I am allowed to be happy and I am allowed to have my days of grief. I take the days as they come, that’s living in the now. For the time being I am in a good place. Coming home to my children and preparing for my next big adventure-a move cross-country, has kept my spirit light.

Time to start packing…


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