This week, columnist Janet Hommel Mangas turns over her space to her friend, Johnson County resident and Franklin College Spanish major Hannah Rollett. Rollett started her sophomore year at Franklin this week after spending three weeks in Costa Rica this summer.

¡Pura Vida!

Pure life. That’s the motto of Costa Ricans (otherwise known as ticos). More than that, it’s their way of living.

When I arrived in San Jose, I was overwhelmed. It was vastly different from my hometown of Greenwood, and all I could think about was the stress I would endure trying to maneuver through this city.

Story continues below gallery

Here, the streets were overflowing with people shoving their way to wherever they were headed. The traffic was unlike anything I had seen in the United States, and I lost count of the traffic violations committed by cars within a single bus ride. Not to mention that legitimate addresses do not exist in Costa Rica but a place is marked by another place that’s marked by another place and so on.

This was a lot different from Johnson County, where the streets are rarely inhabited by crowds and traffic is an organized sort of chaos. There’s also the fact that you can type virtually any address into maps and find your way even if you have no idea where the place is.

So how is Pura Vida their way of living if they’re surrounded by seeming chaos all of the time?

I didn’t understand it at first. However, by the end of my three weeks I figured it out: There is a tranquility that is deeply embedded in their society. One that surpasses all of the everyday craziness.

Ticos place value on the important things in life — being with loved ones, enjoying creation, good health, etc. The little things in life do not tend to bother them. When they miss their bus stop or are running late to work, they are not overwhelmed by a sense of anxiety.

They know their energy could be going to more important places.

After being immersed in this culture for three weeks, I came to the same realization. I was so stressed out by the little, unimportant things that I failed to appreciate everything important and simply enjoy life. Only when I slowed down to enjoy another culture did I learn that need to do the same at home.

I need to spend time with my loved ones, to take time for my health and to enjoy life. Above all, I need to slow down and ensure I never take anything for granted.