Today marks the 188th anniversary of Costa Rica’s independence from Spain in 1821. It is a day of celebration and dancing in the streets. Costa Rica is considered one of the happiest places to live on the planet and I’m starting to understand why.
Now that I’ve lived here a few months, I’m discovering what it means to live in a place that makes you feel happy, a place where no matter what your job is or your income level, you can find reasons to smile. The Spanish word sonrisa means smile and reading it leads me instantly to the word sunrise. That’s one of the things that makes me happy. I wake up every morning to the sound of the roosters crowing (around 6AM) no need for an alarm clock these days, and the sun is up and ready to cheer me on for the day. It’s not just sunrise though, it’s sunrise against a background of clear blue skies and beautiful lush greenery and vibrant flowers. It’s a constant reason to smile. The earth simply calls me back to life.
Waking up happy is possible everywhere I know, but living here has taught me to appreciate those things that I had nearly forgotten before. I smile at the birds who talk in a variety of languages from the mango trees and dance with the butterflies in the garden. I smile at the workers repairing rooftops who sing out “Good Morning, pretty Lady” as I walk to the local market. No matter how old I am, I appreciate a little flirtation. I smile as I walk past the little school near my house where four year olds are learning to sing in Spanish, English, and French. It just makes me happy.
I’m also getting quite spoiled simply by receiving the love of my friends and family and co-workers here. I don’t know why the whole world doesn’t greet each other with a cheek-to-cheek kiss and a smile. Greeting each other, welcoming each other into the day is a beautiful thing. It acknowledges your presence, lifts your spirits, and embraces you into the inner circle of life.
So here today as we celebrate Costa Rica’s independence day, celebrate your independence too. Celebrate your reasons to smile…sonrisa! Celebrate all that makes you happy right where you are. I’m reminded of that old saying, “bloom where you’re planted.” Well do that…make today a happy day, a chance to bloom into the full measure of all that God meant for you. Remember that the one with a happy heart has a continual feast as it says in Proverbs.
So let’s do some feasting on all that is good and do some dancing in the streets. Pure Vida!