The year of 2022 gave me wonderful professional opportunities. After 9 years at The University of Tampa I accepted a position at The University of Tennessee Knoxville. It was not an easy decision from me because living in Tampa allowed me to surround myself with a large Latinx community. I spoke Spanish regularly, had a favorite radio station, and could eat all the amazing Latin American food that I wanted. I also just had to take a 3 hour non-stop flight from Tampa to Panama City. But there were also many concerns I had. Some were related to my family members (i.e. school district, future employment opportunities of partner, etc.) and others were related to my own career goals and aspirations as well as my changing level of satisfaction with living in Florida. When the opportunity came to apply for positions, with the support of my family, I decided to move forward with it. I accept a position and that meant relocating across states. I had an idea of the level of work and commitment the relocation would take but it was so much more than that. I am so glad I had cleared my schedule last summer. Selling a house was emotionally exhausted. The move itself was not as draining but dealing with one of the craziest real state markets was too much mentally. What kept us moving forward with knowing that the move would give better educational opportunities for our son, a career change for my partner, and a position in which I could further my career goals, while living a city and region that we knew we would enjoy exploring.
Long intro that leads me to say that unlike most people, last summer was anything but relaxing. So with lots of work and school assignments during the Fall term we decided that it was time to reclaim so rest and relaxation during the Winter Break. Those plans took us two sunny destinations: Panama and Costa Rica. After leaving Panama in such a rush at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, I wanted to go back to finish the trip that was cut short for us. We also wanted to enjoy beautiful Costa Rica. During his undergraduate years, my partner spend a Summer studying Spanish in Costa Rica and he is full of stories of his travels throughout the country. I had visited Costa Rica as a child with my parents but was limited to mostly visiting the capital city, San Jose (and surrounding areas: Cartage and Queretaro). So needless to say we were all very excited to explore Costa Rica as a family. Words can not really describe the beauty of these two countries. I would highly recommend them. I am so incredibly grateful and I know also privilege to have taken this time to rest, recharge, and give myself permission to have fun.