I remember thinking at the end of my year in Costa Rica that I should have been born a Latin woman. I lived with 4 generations of women in the same household, and the other family members lived in houses next door, or just own the street. The way these people view FAMILY just feeds my soul. It's hard to explain, but family isn't just a part of their life, it IS their life, and it is as natural as breathing. This trip I watched as sisters shared financial and household responsibilities, as daughters took full time care of elderly mothers in the home, as sons provided for entire extended families, as daughters helped their mother cook for us every night, as 19 & 21 year old nephews hung out with their aunts and uncles, and as older cousins took the initiative to care for their younger cousins without a second thought. They eat together, they work together, they play together, and they hang out every weekend. Elsa explained to me that her house is always full, and her table is routinely shared by many. Proximity has a lot to do with it. If they didn't live within a stone's throw they couldn't share life quite like they do. What a beautiful and fulfilling part of their culture. I know this is changing for the people of Costa Rica, though. I spoke to many who said they had an uncle, a cousin, or sibling who left for the United States because they couldn't find work in their country. I pray that this part of their culture is preserved. They may not have all that we do as far as material resources go, but they have something special... unity and close knit families who weave a tapestry of life day by day, moment by moment. For this girl who would love to live on a family compound, it is a dream :).