San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Learning Himno Nacional changes young cynic’s tune

By Brock Blasdell

A few weeks ago I was told I would be having a test on the history of Costa Rica during my Monday morning class that focuses on this very subject. I should have aced the test, right? Well, I didn’t. Being the rebellious teenager I am, I didn’t pay attention to a single word in any of these classes. I thought that Costa Rica never did anything for me, so why should I honor it? Why would I spend my time memorizing national songs and trivia? Why spend my life learning about a place I was forced to move to? Why praise a place that took away my best friends, my family, and caused a vicious five-month streak of depression? I thought: This teacher lady must be insane for making me do this.

So I took the test, making sure to be as cynical as possible with my answers. I wrote things I now regret and said things I shouldn’t have said. This all continued until a classmate asked me, “How can you say this about a country that has given you so much?” This perplexed me. Given me so much? I didn’t answer my concerned classmate and went through my day pondering her words. It was nearing the end of the school day and I was packing my up my supplies when I noticed a single sheet of paper protruding out of my black Spanish folder. It was the Himno Nacional de Costa Rica lyrics I was given to study for my test. That sheet of paper was the paper that made it all come back to me.

Wise people in my life have told me, “If your life looks bad and nothing is ever turning out right, just remember this: Count your blessings.” I stared at the sheet, whose words I had never bothered to learn, thinking about this advice in my head. I decided I would take this sheet, learn these words and think about what Costa Rica has given me before complaining any more.

1. This is the only place in my life where I could truly be myself, whether this means staying in my room all day or getting sunburned out on the beach. I have never met anyone in this country who has tried to forbid me from doing what I want. This, I am extremely thankful for. In any other place, I would have been crafted by the media, sold to by advertisements and implanted with the false teachings of adults who only want to benefit themselves. Had I not moved to Costa Rica, I would have become another speck of dust in the sandbox known as the world, when I know now that I could be a nail holding the box together or even the wooden frame everything is built around. 

2. I have made some of the best friends I have ever had in my entire life in this country. If I were back in the States, I would be sitting in a class of 30 kids, none of whom I cared for, six hours a day, only seeing my two friends at lunch and at after-school sports. Here, I sit for six hours with 10 others whose situation is just like mine. We understand each other and we love each other. This, I am deeply grateful for.

3. The third and final blessing Costa Rica has given me is a surrounding unlike any other in the world. The enchanting oceans, lush forests and foggy cliffs are only a few of the natural wonders I see every day. This, in my opinion, is how life is supposed to be lived. Out here, the only thing that’s on my shoulders is the sun. And the only thing that’s guiding my life is me.

Costa Rica has given me all of this; now it’s time for me to start giving back. 

Brock Blasdell is a 10th-grade student at La Paz Community School in Flamingo, on the northern Pacific coast. He and his family moved to Costa Rica from the U.S. state of Arizona a year ago. They reside in the Flamingo area.

Young Writers Submission Guidelines
The Tico Times welcomes submissions for the Young Writers column from writers 17 and younger. Submissions should be a maximum of 500 words and may be e-mailed to Weekend Editor Meg Yamamoto at Accompanying art or photos are welcome. Please include a brief bio indicating the writer’s age, nationality, school and place of residence.

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