Forgive me in advance, for I will be making many comparisons between this trip and my first trip to Costa Rica two years ago.

For starters, we had 5 students from Ithaca College with us on the 2010 tour.  Everyone else were full members of Cornell University Wind Ensemble.  This time, we have 5 students from IC, 6 students from Costa Rica and 1 post-doc, Steve, who has done this tour twice before already.  This means that roughly a quarter of the wind ensemble is not familiar with the other ¾ of the ensemble.

Any of us could name a million differences that separate IC students from Cornell students from Costa Rican students.  Seems natural, then, that after 11 days, a quarter of the wind ensemble will still not be very familiar with the other ¾ of the ensemble.

I certainly did not get to know the IC students, from two years ago very well at all.  That was certainly at least partly my fault.

This tour is different.  No, we did not have good attendance at our pre-Costa Rica social events in comparison to those of two years ago, yet somehow that does not seem to matter.  For the most part, I’m observing that people are sitting next to new people every time we board the bus to our next destination.  The kids from Ithaca are definitely making an effort to talk to the Cornellians and vice versa.  Even more impressive is the Costa Ricans.  Some have more confianza than others when they speak English but all I’m hearing from the English-speaking students is how cool the Costa Ricans are and how well they can secretly, actually speak English.

It’s the beginning of tour after all.  Even people within Cornell are trying to figure out whom they’ve been sitting next to for a semester so far.  Inevitably, people will find preferences.  It’s not fair for anyone to expect that all 40-odd of us will be best friends with each other.  Clumps will form.  But we should expect that those clumps are permeable.

I’m going to take a survey on this subject.  I’ve asked roughly 10 people (randomly, as in who was sitting in the reception area as I was writing this) so far and they have agreed with my statements.  I’ll keep you updated.

But from my readings of the people on this tour, I have a lot of faith.  Much more than I did two years ago.  Vamos a ver!