One month left from today

28 Mar

I can not believe how fast this semester has gone. It doesn’t feel right using the word “semester” to describe the time because I didn’t even feel like I was attending college. I have loved this experience so much I confidently label it as the best experience and decision of my LIFE!! I started thinking today how I’ll feel when I have to go back home. I wondered if I should prepare myself or just let myself be shocked. I want to keep up with the food. When I come home I plan on modifying my old eating to my new eating:) Rice, beans, salads, huevos revueltos and hopefully plantains. I want to surround myself with music and literature in spanish. I want to talk to mi noviocito every day:)

Tonight I’m going to what is probably going to be my last futbol game for awhile. Liga contra Puntarenas. I’m excited!

The weather here is beautiful, if a bit windy. This past weekend me and Pablo went to Monte de La Cruz, a park to go fly a kite and go walking. It was really fun. We found a waterfall and although the kite (named Nacho Libre) didn’t fly very high we had a good laugh together.

That’s all for now, pura vida mae

Panamá and La Fortuna

13 Mar

Hello all! So since my last post a lot has happened. Firstly, I went to Panama City, Panama. It was amaaazing. I along with 3 other girls organized this independent trip to get to know Costa Rica’s neighbor to the south and have a little fun.

We left Wednesday night at 11pm on bus and arrived around 3pm in the afternoon Thursday. It was a long ride but surprisingly we all rather enjoyed it. While in Panama we visited the Canal, obviously, Casco Antigo, Panama Viejo and the Causeway Almador. We also experienced the night life and enjoyed ourselves immensely. The Panama Canal is really pretty impressive regarding its history and affect on the world. On average a ship has to pay, 72 hours in advance, in cash, 175000 dollars to pass through. Oofta! But, they save around 2 million dollars by not having to sail across all of South America, so it’s a good deal.

Casco Antiguo, or Casco Viejo is probably my favorite part of the city. It’s an old part inside the city that has been preserved. Its architecture is incredible, it reminds me of an old European city out of a picture book. I loved it. It also represents the more religious side of the city and is tranquil and overall secure.

Although we were only there 3 days, I missed Costa Rica which is now beginning to feel like really  homey. I missed the calm atmosphere and the friendliness of the people. Panama is more modernized than Costa Rica and I realized how much I don’t fit in the modern-day city.

This past weekend I went to La Fortuna, Costa Rica with my program. It was a blast! We went to the rainforest and visited the waterfall and river and in the afternoon we went to the thermal waters. They’re hot springs that are naturally heated by the Volcan Arenal. It’s really cool. There were around 20 different pools and little waterfalls and caves and they were all unique and the water was hottest at the top and as you walked down the pools got a little cooler but all were nice and warm.

Sunday we went ziplining. It was my first time and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The view was something that didn’t feel real. Everything is so green and alive-looking. I also did a free-fall of 10meters which was really cool.

So that’s the past week in a nut-shell. I’m keeping really busy with school, volunteering, traveling, and hanging out with ticos. Well mostly just one. 😉

Pura vida!

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Tomorrow is the last day of Februrary..what?!

29 Feb

I feel as though I’ve been here in Costa Rica forever and simultaneously hardly any time at all. I love it here. Lately it’s been kinda windy, not “ideal” but I’ll take a little wind over snow any day!
Lately I’ve been a pretty busy kid. Classes are going well, pretty chill. I’ve become a little bit of a procrastinator..when it’s so nice out and there’s so much to do all the time it’s hard to take out homework. (I can’t complain though, I don’t have very much homework usually)
Also, I’ve grown to ADORE rice. It’s so versatile and just all around yummy. When I come back home I’m totally changing my eating habits from before. I’m so excited to cook platano maduro, gallo pinto, tortillas with queso cream..mmmmmmmm!
So today I felt kind of down for some reason. I dunno why, I just felt….off. I haven’t written in my journal in a while and I haven’t talked to my best friend. I have been able to talk to mum and papi and sisters which is good. I love you guys:) I think sometimes the world and life in general just bonks you on the head. I’ve come to learn a little bit about myself. I need me time.
Oh yeah, tomorrow I’m going to Panama.

Manuel Antonio

6 Feb

This weekend our group went to Manuel Antonio which is a national park in Costa Rica. It includes a reserve rich in wildlife and vegetation as well as breathtaking beaches and ocean views. Okay, now that I gave you the formal description of my weekend, let me tell you it was AMAZING!

I suppose anytime you go to the beach you’re bound to have fun. This was my third trip to the beach and so far my favorite. It was beautiful. Neither words nor pictures do it justice. It’s one of those things you have to experience yourself. We stayed at a hotel just a quick walk from the beach and that’s where we hung out most of Saturday. Today we went into the park, walked the trail to the beach and soaked up the sun.
Earlier this week, Monday we went to a barrio (neighborhood) in San Jose which is known to be dangerous for drugs and violence. There is a new program started in the barrio intended to give kids and alternative to this sad lifestyle. We go there once to twice a week to spend time with them, teach them English and have some fun. It’s very exhausting because the age groups vary from 8-17 and sometimes adults come as well. Although it is sometimes frustrating coming up with quick on-the-spot games and lesson plans the reward is worth it. The kids really enjoy spending time with us and joking around.

This week I plan on working out. I need to get my beach bod on. Pura vida!

When in Costa Rica do as the Ticos do

29 Jan

1.When you meet, greet, say hi, say goodbye remember to kiss on the cheek. Don’t actually kiss them, it’s more of a light pat and the smooching noise.

2. Cars do NOT stop for pedestrians. Peds-cross at your own risk.

3. Tips at restaurants are included in the check.

4. Family is a big deal, families eat together and spend a lot of time together.

5. Ticos live with their families until they get married or if they choose to move out on their own, which is uncommon. It’s normal to see 20 and 30-year olds living at home.

6. When you sit down to eat you say “buen provecho” to those eating with you.

7. When you finish a meal it’s more polite to say you are satisfied than to say you are full.

8. 60 degrees Fahrenheit is considered chilly…so make sure you take a jacket so that your mom doesn’t worry about you.

9. Always take a taxi at night. They’re pretty economic.

10. Don’t wear flashy jewelry or show your money in plane sight, it’ll draw unsafe attention to yourself.

11. If you are ever at a loss for words simply reply: “Pura vida!”
(How are you? -Pura vida.
What’s the weather like? -Pura vida.
What’s for breakfast? -Pura vida.)

12. Cost for non-ticos to enter national parks is at least triple the entrance fee for ticos.

13. When someone tells you they’ll meet you in ten minutes, prepare for 20.

14. There are a thousand shoe, clothes and backpack stores. And like one bookstore

15. FUTBOL!!!!!!!!!

16. Directions are very different than in the U.S. Blocks are measured in meters. For example, my house the one with the tan gate, located 100 meters east of the comercial konrad (a little shop on the corner of my neighborhood). Kinda vague yet taxi drivers always seem to know where to go..pretty awesome.

Toucan Rescue Ranch

27 Jan

Buenos Días (y a mi amiga en Irlanda buenas tardes!)

26 Jan

Good Morning! It is 9:25am as I commence this post, a post I admit is a bit late. Pura vida! jaja..

So since my last post I have grown extremely comfortable living in Heredia. It’s exactly 3 weeks today since I arrived. WOW! Feels like 3 months-in a good way:)

2 weeks ago we started classes. The way it works with my program is any classes we take with local students are semester long, one time a week. Classes taken with students in my program are held several and possibly 5 days a week depending on the class. These are held one at a time. So the semester is actually broken up into 4 quarters with one class per quarter. Confusing? skype me

One week into my life here in Costa Rica and I and another friend from my program hitched a ride in a party van with about 10 other Ticos to Palmares. Palmares is the biggest party in Costa Rica and it lasts 15 days. Par-tay! It was quite an experience and I’ll leave it at that.

Also, last week we went to a small place in the wall called the Toucan Rescue Ranch. It’s a small ranch operated by a woman originally from Nevada who has a passion for caring for mistreated birds, monkeys, sloths and porcupines. We also went to La Garita, which is a nearby town where we took a cooking class at the house of a friend of our director. We cooked/ate a variety of tipical foods including tortillas, frijoles molidos(smooshed beans), plátano, breads and more. I forgot my camara..sorry..

This past weekend the 14 of us in the program planned our own trip to the beach! We went to Jacó, it was..weird. haha the beach spoke for itself and was AMAZINGLY beautiful. I felt so thankful to God for the sunset I witnessed because it was soooo incredible. Our sleeping arrangements on the other hand were a different story. Not that it was unbearable, just kinda funny..We stayed at a hostile called “Las Camas” and as they only charged us 10 bucks a night we weren’t really expecting much in the first place. One thing I’ve learned thus far is to not have expectations. We get to the house and the lady who “managed” it was outside, holding a beer waiting to greet us. She took us through the house, pausing in the front yard to show us the van that was a hot spot for couples to spend the night in. Then we proceeded through the house as she began to familiarize us with the lack of rules and “who cares” attitude about the house. I don’t mean to be mean here. (no pun intended) I really just want to portray the place as vividly as possible. Okay. So I saw a cockroach on the bed. (none of the mattresses had sheets) I know I’m in a tropical climate but seriously?! The place had a funky smell to it. To be blunt everyone there was high too. To top it off it was “Jungle Bill’s” birthday and they were going to celebrate! Yaaaayyy! ….it was the most interesting place I have ever stayed. 🙂 I slept on the wooden futon outside.

It was good to come home.

So today is Thursday, Januaray 26 and that means I am 20 years old! I’ve been really sick the past 2 days but today I feel loads better so hopefully I can go out and fiesta it up. I hope to not forget my camara wherever I go so that the next time I post I can figure out how to put up pictures.

Hasta luego!