Cinnabons glisten with icing. Pepperoni slices from Dominos tempt me, just out of curiosity, since the company’s latest ad campaign promises their pizza now tastes like… pizza. But I resist the exported American fast-food.

Kirk gives in. (Or, was never resisting the temptation in the first place.) He buys a cheeseburger from Carl’s Jr.

On a layover in Panama City, we kill time at the food court. The long flight that brought us from California is behind us. Now we’re only a puddle jump away from our final destination.

In the spring of 2009 I lived in Costa Rica for five weeks. While gathering footage for my documentary film about the Abraham Project, I stayed with a host family – a couple, Natalia and David, who were around the same age as me. Even so, they fretted over my whereabouts just like parents would. They gently coaxed the Spanish out of me; I had arrived in their country knowing nada. They gave me so much more than just a roof over my head. We became very close, and by the end of the trip, I had become a part of their family.

During my last week in Costa Rica, Kirk flew down to join me. Here we are – even Kirra the schnauzer – on our last night in Costa Rica in 2009:

It’s been two years since my inaugural trip. A return visit has been long overdue. Going back is more than a want to visit Costa Rica. It’s a need to see my friends – my family – Natalia and David.

And, to meet the newest addition to the family, 1 year-old SofiĆ”. ☼