“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone?” Counting Crows, y’all are so right. Their song “Big Yellow Taxi” is so relevant: relevant to life in general, relevant to my life thus far, and relevant to my life in Costa Rica (except that our taxi’s are red). Sometimes we don’t realize how badly we are going to miss something until it’s gone. Sometimes we don’t realize what a good thing we have until we don’t have it anymore.
It’s almost as though taking things for granted is an instinctive human trait. We eat, we drink, we sleep, we breathe, we blush, we shiver, and we take things for granted. Through class, nature hikes, and Doc hang-outs, I’ve been learning a lot about biology. I’m more of a Communication girl than a Science girl (Environmental Science exam one didn’t go too hot), but we have discussed one concept that I understand firsthand–we are creatures of instinct. So maybe I’m not a red-cockaded woodpecker instinctively doing fancy flying moves in the forest tryna get a mate every spring, but I’m gonna blink if you snap ya fingers in my face. We do things instinctively without realizing that we’re doing them. If a bear charges at me I will instinctively run (hopefully… either that or instinctively pee in my pants). Sorry I don’t like potty humor either but it had to pee said.
Don’t worry, no se preocupe, Science people of the world. I know taking things for granted isn’t for reals an instinct, BUT WE ALL DO IT. I bet Doc didn’t realize how much his wallet meant to him until he thought he lost it in Tamarindo. I know I didn’t realize how much I needed the bus air conditioning to maintain body temperature comfort until that one trip when it didn’t work for an hour. I’m not even going to beat a dead horse with my hot shower take-for-granted-ness when I’m home in the states (yep, still working with arctic H2O up in here). Who took their warm bed for granted last night? Who took their teenaged child’s week of safe drives to school for granted? Which of you college students take your opportunity to learn and receive a higher education for granted? After my first day at the Children’s Hospital this week, a HUGE one for me this week is taking my health for granted. Health is a blessing. Warm beds and warm socks are a blessing. Safe drives to school or the store are a blessing. Imagine your life without these things. Don’t it always seem to go that we don’t know what we’ve got till its gone?
“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” The city of San Jose is most defs more than a parking lot, but at one point they certainly paved the paradise of beautiful Costa Rican biodiversity to make this city happen. But you know what? Paved paradises have beautiful qualities of their own. Paved paradises have big yellow (red) taxi’s that take you where you need to go when its too dangerous to walk on the street. Paved paradises hold people with hearts of gold to house wacky gringa students and make butterfly cakes for their professor on his birthday. Paved paradises have buildings where homeless people can sleep because they don’t have warm beds or warm socks of their own. Paved paradises have hospitals with medicine, and chemotherapy, and concerned doctors, and more wacky gringa volunteers that make stupid spanish jokes, paving the way for laughter through hardship for those kids.
San Jose is a paved paradise. And I am going to work really really hard at not taking my paved paradise for granted. In April its going to be gone, but I’m going to know what I had. I’ve changed my mind since paragraph 1: It doesn’t always have to go that we don’t know what we’ve got till its gone. I’m going to prove you wrong for the second time in your life, Counting Crows, because your first mistake was them dreadlocks.
What do you take for granted?