Sunday, March 27, 2011

Coming Home

My last night, I was at a good bye party for Hope and one of her roommates! It was a great way to end it all. We played 4 square, ninja, and hit the piñata. I did not go to bed until 12:30 or so, and had to wake up at 2:30 to be ready for 3. Cecilia woke up to wait with me for the bus. We sat downstairs whispering in spanish until the bus cam around 4. It was strangely odd saying good bye to hear. It was quick but thankful, but I did not feel to much. Once o the airport, I got to my gate quickly. It was weird seeing all of the tourists though. I felt like I was a local, and almost resented them. Things like, they will never know Costa Rica the way I do, ran through my head a lot. It was a slow easing back into American culture. 

On the flight, it all started to hit me. When I touch down again, I will be back in the states. I remember looking down at Costa Rica and thinking adios! I have learned so much here and now I am leaving.

The flight was enjoyable and I was able to sleep for almost half of it. I RAN through the Houston airport and managed to make my last flight. I literally arrived 5 minutes before. I checked in, went to the bathroom, then heard them calling my name to board the plane. I am so glad that I got to catch it though. If not, I would have had to wait 3 more hours for the next flight. that flight was sUPER bumpy coming home too, but so quick. Then the best part, running up to my Zachary for the best hug! My family was there to great me as well and it was nice to see how happy they were. 

Zack asked me to describe my trip in one word, and I would pick irreplaceable. Now as I sit in my bed back in my house, I am realizing what all my trip has meant to me. I have learned so much here and am so thankful as to how it was orchestrated so well. God blessed me with amazing friends, lessons, teachers, a family, experiences, and memories forever. Looking back, I remember being unsure of studying abroad at first, but I can not imagine not going to Costa Rica. I am definitely having some crazy feelings and emotions being back home now. I think that is all part of the process. I am a new girl coming home trying to fit back into the place of the old Kelsey, but things are different for the better now, and I hope to use my time away to continue my growth and make some great changes!

¡PURA VIDA! 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

DONE WITH SCHOOL

Who is officially finished with school???????? Kelsey!! Three A's in my electives, at least I am pretty sure. I am still waiting on Peace and Democracy grade but the other 2 of for certain. I got my grade for my paper back, and we got a 100% on it, making my final grade in the class a 100? It was not the same as a 100 back home, btu it still feels good.

Tuesday night we went to the Saprissa fútbol game, which was fun. It was fun and the stadium was really nice. I think we got spoiled though because the last game we went to, there was 7 goals, so it was really exciting. This past game, there was only one, but still fun!

Monday night, we wll went to watch Hope's dad play the local soccer game, but the game never happened. Hope came and stayed the night with me too! That girl, she is just to great! I certainly will be missing her very soon!

Tonight, us 4 are about to go out to eat at a international/spanish restaurant. I am excited, but it is pretty much our going away party. They are leaving tomorrow for Nicaragua at noon, so tomorrow, it will jsut be Hope and I. I guess that means that we will be sayign goodbye to them soon! It is going to be so strange, but I feel like 3 months was the perfect amount of time for me. I am surely ready to go home and see family, friends, and Don Esac! (Zack in Spanish, with some formality)! It is getting so close and still does not feel real. I already packed up one bag and will finish up tomorrow. The bus is picking me up from my house at 3:30 in the morning, and luckily, I am sharing the school bus with at least another girl so it will be atleast 10 dollars or cheaper!



Monday, March 21, 2011

COFFEE PLANT!!!


Today we had a field trip for Peace and democracy. It really did not have anything to do with either of thoes but it was sO MUCH FUN! We went to a coffee rpocessign plant and got to see the whole process from delivery from the farmers to bagging it and shipping it all over the world. They mainly ship to Europe and sell to starbucks in the US too. It was so interesting. The best part, was the silos. They had thousands of pounds of coffee stored in them, and he let us crawl in one and play in the coffee. It still needs to be roasted, so we did nto dirty it up to much! We would crawl up the ladder and jump into it! I felt like a little kid playing in Mc Donalds, except now I am a grown up playing in coffee. We asked him if we played in starbuck's coffee and his eyes got really big and he said NO NO NO!!! haah

After he took us coffee tasting. The kind where you suck it in really loud swish it around, then spit it out. I learned soooo much about coffee. I feel like drinking a cup of coffee now, I will have a new appreciation. He showed us how to test for quality too. He even compared their coffee to a Costa Rican brand to show how bad it was, in the stores here. I drank so much coffee today though...... mom and dad, you proud??

After that, I had to meet up with my partner for my paper, to finish it up. I am still working on it though, and can not wait for it to be through!!! Back to the paper though, only 4 more day!!!!

First Real Goodbye

So Sunday, we all wake up then go down town to NAtional Gallo Pinto day, which consisted of lines and lines of people waiting to get a plate of it. Needless to say, we were all a bit fulfulled with our gallo pinto intake, so we went to Pizza Hut instead. After that, we all came back home, and Hoep and RAchel came over to my house to trade pictures. Rachel had a tragedy happen back hoem with her best friend, so she had to leave early. It was so hard to watch her go through that, but at the same time made me so thankful that I could become that close to her in three months, where I could feel comfortable and want to just hold her to let her morn. Please say a prayer for her and everyone involved. 

We all went out to eat at La esquina de Buenos Aires for Rachel's goodbye party. It means the corner of Buenos Aires, and is a legit Argentinean restaurant. IT WAS AWESOME!!!! Joey, Ben, Hope, Rachel, and Bethany all got HUGE steaks. I really do not remember the last time I saw such a big piece of meat. I am not complaining though, I had a phenomenal dinner! (Zack you will like this) It was Ravioli stuffed with marlin and ricotta I think, covered with Pistachios and broccoli! 

We all came back to our neighborhood. Ben, Rachel, and I always walk home together because we live the furthest away. Ben and I walked Rachel to her front door, and I truly was suprised how sad I was. She is the first person leaving from my real friend group here. Plus with her circumstances, it just made me even more sad to see her leave, and have to go home to her new reality. We all hugged, told her that we loved her, and I walked away with tears in my eyes. I just feel so blessed to have made such amazing friendships in such a short amoutn of itme here. Each one of them truly are irreplaceable to me! We are all planning on going ot Tennessee for a camping trip soon. We figured out that it is about the middle point for all of us. I can not wait to see Rachel again, I already miss her!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

... did it again

Sorry, this post is now for thursday, Friday, Saturday. I do not know what has gotten into me!

Both Thursday and Friday, I went to the market to finish up buying things. I can not talk to much about this with all of you reading, but I will say that one man asked me where I was from, then told me that I had such a great accent and sounded like a Tica!!!!! SCORE!!!

Nothing to much happened. Last night we had a huge game of balderdash. It ended up being 10 people, which is WAY to much to have a functional game, but it was still tons of fun!!! Today took the cake though.....

We went to "bull fighting", but in Costa Rica, that is not exactly what it means. There is no fighter and the bulls do not get hurt. they send bulls out, 12 to be exact, into a pin of around 200 people. People proceed to run around and not get mangled by the bulls. I do not understand it. For sure, it was exciting, but people get HURT!!! They say at least one person will die each year. It is such a different culture though, because people bring their whole families to watch, buy concessions, and cheer. Definitely an experience. Ben and Joey decided to run, and of course, one of them would be it. The second bull that came in, seemed pretty passive, for a bull. People were laying down in front if it to taunt it. All of a sudden it bursted, and everyone ran away. It looks like fish swimming away from a disturbance in the water. Since it is on dirtish sand stuff, it is not very good running surface. Ben tried to turn and run, but slipped and fell. I just say a person under the bull, and did not realize that it was him until I got a glimpse of his shorts. Oh my, we were all so scared. The bull came up and head butted him, ran across, them came back on top of him. Needless to say, once the bull started going for someone else, I have never seen Ben run so fast. Another interesting thing is how the Ticos help each other. When someone was getting hit by the bull, they wave flags or throw things at it to distract it, then other men go and pick them up.  IT WAS CRAZY!! At one point, they had 2 full grown bulls in the ring at the same time. I am so tired from watching, time for bed mis gente!!!

You people better be getting your read on, because this time next week, I will be at my house hanging out with family and friends, hopefully eating some great flavorful food too!!! Maybe chips and bean dip??????????????  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blog... I have failed you

I was doing so good, until these past 2 weeks. I can not exactly say why, but I have completely lost the desire to blog any more. I think the end is getting so close, that it is hard to remember and make time for it. My apologies, but here is 3 days condensed into one.

I have been working on some papers lately. One was due Monday, but my internet was not working very well, so I just told my teacher that I would give it to him Wednesday. PURA VIDA! Our bible study was on worldliness, a topic that always needs to be revisited. It was a great study, and well fitting because we all talked about what Costa Rica has meant to us and what we have learned form it. Because the culture is so different from back home, it is easy to see how we are so time hungry and have everything that we want back home. I feel like I will have some SERIOUS spring cleaning once I return, and I feel that my time here has made me enjoy and appreciate my time more, even if we are doing nothing or people are late. We get so caught up in our little world, that we usually forget the BIG PICTURE, to make much of Christ and serve him for HIS glory. It was a great way to wrap up.

Tuesday we got to meet Rachel's boyfriend Josh, he came down to visit her. It was nice to meet him, and it felt so weird to meet him after hearing about him. Tuesday night, one of my roommate's friend came to visit her form the states too, and she made dinner for us. It was great, with mashed potatoes. Even though there are potatoes here and yuca, hers was just so much better! I think it was the butter. There was about 6 of us at the table, and Cecilia came back for seconds. Chantal asked her if she liked it but Cecilia said no. We all looked very confused and asked why, they she proceeded to tell us that it was a joke, and tried to explain it to us. I found it so funny that after all of the time here, non of us could pick up her sarcasm in a different language. It was the simplest of jokes, but went right over our heads.

Wednesday compromised of more paper writing. We went to my art teachers studio for a model drawing, and I had my last real peace and democracy class, because we have a field trip next week then our final. It is so crazy that it is all coming to an end. Only 9 more days until I am landing in Houston! I feel like it is finally hitting me, and I am becoming so anxious to get home and see everyone, and one person in particular!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

La fin de semana in NICARGUA

WOW--- I have severely ignored my blog this week.... Lo Siento! Nothing to much happened in those couple of days though. We went to see Rango in the theater, which turned out to be in Spanish, bought bus tickets for Nicaragua, went out to eat, took a field trip for art, and I finally got a scoop of POPS ice cream, the Costa Rican company. But for now, here is Nicaragua.

Once we decided that we could actually return from Nicaragua, after the big court hearing in the Hague, we bought our bus tickets from Ticabus. Our bus left Thursday around 12:30, and it was the nicest bus we have been one. Air conditioned and with bis soft seats. To get to the border, it takes about 5 hours, the the fun starts. The border was so unorganized. You go into the Costa Rican station and get your passport stamped. There, probably 20 money changers were outside and they all swarm up on you to change your money. It was pretty intense. My friend Hope's face was priceless... she was so nervous about it all and all of the guys around her. Once we changed our money into Cordobas (20 cordobas = $1) we got back on the bus. Once getting on, we paid our exit fee and gave our passports to the driver? We drove through a car wash of pesticides, literally. I guess it was to kill any bugs on the bus, but it is not like they could not have flown over?? After we got off at the Nicarguan post, we waited outside for about an hour and a half more. Someone took all of our passports inside and got them all stamped. Then they would just call our names out when we were getting on the bus to retrieve them. I am not sure if that is legal, but I would go ahead and say no?

Hope's mentor Marsha and her family picked us up from the bus station along with the missionary that we would be staying with, Kim Pate. We drive about an hour from Managua to get to Diriamba. It was a bit confusing all of the roads in Nicaragua are VERY nice. Managua looked to clean and nice at first too. Obviously once you got out of the city you could see the poverty, but the roads were still great. For being the second poorest country of the America's, only behind Haiti..... it was a bit surprising to see.

Kim lives on grounds with a mission center, health center with dentist, doctors, counseling, and three missionary houses. There was also a Nicaraguan girl named Bildad who stayed with us. the house was very nice. We all just hung out and played games then went to bed. The next morning I woke up to my first sickness here :(    That was not to much fun, but it passed pretty quick, so I was thankful for that. We are pretty sure that it was a bag of dried plantains that I ate. Ben had the same type as I did and we were the only ones that got sick. To bad, they were delicious!

We went to a small village to help serve food to the children at lunch. there was a guitar there so I started singing Revelation Song in Spanish, and I think they really enjoyed it. I was glad that I had been learning it in Spanish, and am starting to learn more too. After that we were going to the Pacific Coast. We did not realize how close we were going to be to it. It was about a 15 minute drive and we could see it from the church grounds. We could not go in though because of the Tsunami warning. At that point, we had not heard about it yet, and did not get to find out more until we got home that night. If you are reading this, please remember to pray for the people effected by this, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.

I am getting a bit confused with my days, but I am pretty sure that we went to a Volcano next. It was nice, because you could drive right up to it and look down. It was huge and very different from the other volcanos that we have seen. Once again, you could nt breathe in to hard or you would have a coughing fit from all of the sulphur. It is mind boggling to think of the power that a eruption requires. It has to break through the crust first, the flow down the mountain and tremendous speeds. Looking at how high up we were and the plains below, I still could not grasp it. Sometimes they can destroy cities miles away, and I could not even picture it making it up the crater???

We went to church that night, and Kim asked me if I would play at the worship service. I played after the regular band played and it was so great! I could hear other people singing along with me, worshiping the same God. I felt so thankful that I could be such a tool for Him. After, many people thanked me and I could tell that they liked that I took the time to learn it in Spanish. It certainly was a precious moment for me.

Saturday we went to Jinotepe, Masaya, and drove to Granada. At first we just went to this really nice market in Masaya. It was local venders but it was inside this huge castle looking thing. After, we drive to Lake Nicaragua! I could have sat there for hours. I feel like I had a bad image of Nicaragua before going, maybe just from the bad wrap it gets from Costa Ricans. It was so beautiful though. I just can not think of more adjectives to use other than powerful. I took pictures, but multiply them time 2 billion to get the full effect! We then headed home, but were to late to go to church.

Sunday, we woke up a bit later, and headed back into Managua. She jsut had a small truck to bring all of us plus Marsha's family to ride a long. The bus drive who picked us up from the bus station was supposed to pick us up but never did. the whole weekend, the boys would ride in the back, but Ir ode in the back on the way home from the Pacific and on the way to the bus station. It was so nice. I felt like a little girl in Arkansas again! I wish the bus ride home could have been like that, a high convertible bus! You can just see so much more that way!

The ride home took a total of 10 hours..... but it was still nice. On the way over, we all could get separate seats and sleep because so few people were on them, but the ride home was tighter. It is really coming ot an end. I can not believe that I have less that 2 weeks here. Rides like that home with my friends make it that much harder to want to leave. On the other hand, my feelings are moving away from missing people back home to getting EXCITED to see them!!!!!!!!! I am just a little Costa Rican ball of feelings right now! ¡PURA VIDA!

Marsha, Hope, and Bethany waiting for church
The Pacific
Volcán Masaya
Lake Nicaragua
Again
Josue, our little mini our guide. His mom worked with Kim the missionary
Our group

Monday, March 7, 2011

Volcán Irazu

This morning came early as well! We met up at school at 7, then headed to the Gran Hotel in taxis to catch the direct bus to the volcano. It was pretty crowded. We all 6 squeezed into the last row for 5 people. The ride up was breathtaking, as usual. We drive up through the Central valley where San José is, then headed over to the next. I have said it before, but my favorite part is driving through the country. It is mind boggling as to how there is so many different landscapes in such a small area. I feel like you can no look at a place like this without feeling overwhelmed, blessed, amazed, and the need to pray. Maybe that is why I like it so much too.

Like always, all of our Tico parents told us that it was SO COLD, but we were all pretty warm up there in our jeans. If I am correct, I think this os the only place where you can see the Atlantic and Pacific oceans from at the same time, but we did not get to. You drive up into the clouds to get there, because it is at 11,260 feet!!! Needless to say, the clouds did not allow for the viewing. Also needless to say, we did not talk to much on the hike up to the highest viewpoint. It was so steep and all you could hear was us breathing hard. Once we got up there though, it was beautiful. It reminded me a lot of Colorado, besides the huge volcano that we were standing on. We had 2 hours to spend in the park until the bus left, so we just hung out at the top for a while until we headed back down. I can not say how thankful I am for my friends here. I was very nervous before coming to Costa Rica about making friends that were fellow believers. Not only have I made friends, I have made brothers and sisters. Times like these, I feel silly for every being nervous or anxious about things. God will provide in THE perfect way. Even if it does not feel like it, you can always see after how it was the best, not necessarily for yourself, but for HIS GLORY!

Once we made it back to San José, we had lunch at Taco Bell. I usually do not like eating at American food places, but we all had an intense craving for those little cinnamon twists! the fast food places here are HUGE!!!!! Seriously, most are 2 stories with countless tables and most are so much nicer that back in the States. 

We took a bus home, then Joey, Ben, and I walked to a close by mall that we had never been to. It was SUPER nice. I was looking at buying some bath and body works lotion, and found out that instead of being 5 or 7 dollars, it was close to $20!!! No Gracias. We wanted to see a movie then, but they wanted to see if anyone else wanted to come with us, so we waited till after dinner. Of course everyone else was to tired, so we went back and watched I am number 4 (Soy numero cuatro) around 7:30. It was no doubt cheesy, but on the cheesy scale, it was alright. Joey had bought a cinnabon cinnamon roll right before the movie, and was trying to wrap it up in his jacket. He and Ben messed with it for a while, then we walked in. the ticket taker just pointed at his jacket and said NO. It was like he had cinnamon roll laser vision. Suprisingly, they told him to eat it outside, but then they said they would hold it for him after the movie. After the movie, he walked up to the booth, and said Tengo comida aqui, I have food here. All of the workers were laughing at him... it was pretty funny though!

I can not believe that I only have 2 weekends left in Costa Rica. I feel like it went by so fast, but I think about leaving home and that feels SOOOOO long ago. We are waiting to see about going to Nicaragua next weekend though. The big International court hearing is Tuesday concerning the border between Costa Rica nad Nicaragua, and someone told us that it may be a possibility that they could close the border, so we are waiting until after the hearing. Hope's dad told us that if we were not going to Nicaragua though, that there is a bull fight this weekend, and that he wanted the boys to go run with him.  LOCOS!! They looked pretty excited when they heard that. I can not say that it would not be interesting to watch though. The bull fights are different here though. It is pretty much people running around, and the bull chases them. The bull does not get hurt like in other places, and actually usually wins! 

¡Pura Vida!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Jacóóóóóóóó

Wow, this morning came early. We all met at school at 7:15, then headed to the Coca-Cola bus station to catch the bus to Jacó beach. My mom told me as I was leaving, that the road was closed today, and that instead of taking 2 hours go get there, is was going to take 4!!!!!! I told everyone to braces themselves, but luckily she was wrong! Everyone was pretty tired on the bus ride over. I got to finally sit with Hope again, my bus buddy!


Once we got to Jacó, we hung out on the beach. We have heard mixed reviews about Jacó before the trip though. Some said it was dirty and nasty and everyone else said it was nice. I would have to agree, it was the perfect day trip. Once again, so beautiful! We ate lunch at this coo restaurant where you sat around a bar and the seats were swings. Made you feel like a little kid. I had a fruit dish and potatoe wedges, and the plate came with a whole side of papaya. I braved up (is that a word?) and tried it one more time, and to my surprise, it was decent. I ate all of the papaya and felt pretty proud of myself. But I will never pick papaya over the pin apple here! 


After hanging out at the beach more, we all went and got smoothies, then headed back on the bus. there was this huge horse parade in the street though, so we just had to sit in the bus and wait for about 40 minutes. 


And.... I jsut got home to some great news that I will be going to Ecuador at the end of March with my church!!! It all happened really quick, but I am so thankful and excited. I actually was thinking about the trip a lot, even before my mom told me about it, and how useful I would feel. I know that many if not most of them do not really speak Spanish, so I can probably help translate. Even though I am already in a Spanish speaking country and studying Spanish, this has motivated me even more to learn more! I am so excited to serve and take our Christian purpose, once again, to a global level. 


And on a selfish note, I am pretty excited to meet the people there and learn a bit about their culture. 10 days will feel so short compared to three weeks though! 


Playa Jacó


Swingin' and eattin' 

Horse Parade paseo de caballos

Friday, March 4, 2011

Servicito de adorar

And to start this blog off, I feel that I should mention that I was disturbed last night in bed.... by another TEMBLAR de la tierra!!! That is right, numero 2 baby! This one was a but longer but not very strong. I do not think I would have felt it if I was not laying down in bed. 
----------------------


Que un buen dia!!! I slept in a bit today, then met Hope and two other girls around 9:45. We went to the National Museum. It was very interesting. It once was an army base and the headquarters of the army. Surely the best museum that I have been to here. Lunch was great today too. It was just Hope, Ben, and Rachel, but for some reason ti was just extra nice! I have been buying cantaloupes for lunch, and we all share one. Que Rico! After class, Bena nd I went to Pequeno Mundo to buy some SWEET POPCORN!! I am sure that it will come in handy one day this weekend. After that, there was a spur of the moment workout at a park near our houses. I am glad that I got to do that, because I wanted to go to the gym btu was not sure that I had time. My new goal is to be able to do 5 pullups before I leave CR. ATLEAST 5, should I say. You people need to hold me to it!


After the workout, I came home and had dinner. It was a weird night though. Noone knew how ot get up from the table, because Herbert kept in singing Blue Moon. Once I finally stood up, he asked me where I was going and I said Hope's house (La casa de Esperanza) This led into another chachacha song called Esperanza...... it was a long dinner.


We have been planning a little mini worship time together, and tonight was the night. I used Hope's dad's guitar, and we worshiped for about 45 minutes I suppose. It was such great time together. I have been so thankful lately for so many things in my life, but I could never describe what great friends I have here. Now, I truly feel like brothers and sisters, and could not ask for anything better.


And what is the best thing to do after worship time??? Go SALSA dancing! kinda weird, but we went over to Castro's for a bit. That taxi on the way over there was SKETCH! He had an old standard, and had to restart the car every time he would stop moving. Then he would rev it up, I think to charge us more, but it is all good. 


Castro's was fun. There is this dance teacher that is friends with out regular dance teacher. He danced with me a lot, and I like that because he teaches you things. HE seemed pretty impressed with my skills too :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

OLE ole ole ole AZUL AZUL

That is right people... I skipped class and went to a fútbol game!!! It was so much fun! Do be honest, I have forgotten what I did before that though. I do remember that I went with Hope and Rachel and ate pizza al El maná. It was really thick and cheesy, which was a very nice surprise! All of the days are bleeding together. Anyway, now to the good stuff. There were 9 students and Hope's dad, and we all met at their house to get on the bus for Cartago. It is usually about 45 minutes away but took us close to an hour because of traffic. We all pretty much had to sit by ourselves on the way over, but it was some nice alone time. I got so tired on the bus, but would soon be very awake!

We got off the bus, walked to the stadium, and bought our tickets. All of our parents told us that it is colder in Cartago, but none of us really believed them because they always say that things are cold when they are not. WRONG!!! It was probably close to 55 or 60 degrees and it was misty. The weather did not matter though, it was such a blast. We just happened to be sitting right next to the big cheering section for Cartago, so we decided to go for them. I happened to be wearing a blue jacket too, so fate chose the team for us! I love the excitement of the people. I think I am establishing a new found love for soccer. I may or may not see a World Cup in my future :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It is March already????

So today, I woke up to a downpour, which is pretty unusual. They say that it never rains from January to March. I did not realize it though, but I slept in pretty late, thanks to the rain. I headed to school, and we all had lunch together. It was nice to have everyone back together, a couple of them had been gone on excursions or field trips so lunch was very nice. We got our test scores back, and only 3 people passed the test. Oh yea, one of them was me!! But with his wacky extra credit, we all got 100%? That does not really makes sense to me, but I will take it.


After class I had an awesome workout at the gym, then passed Joey and Hope on the basketball court on the way home. They were about to work out, so I stayed with them for about an hour more. I am really glad that I ran into them. I know I will be pretty sore tomorrow, but I am glad that we all got to do it together!! 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday!!

Some how, today was the first day of March. I thought hat not having Spanish class would slow it down, but I feel like it has speed up. I stayed the night at Hope's house last night. Her room got SUPER hot at night, which was not to enjoyable, but PURA VIDA! We woke up, at sandwiches that her mom left in the microwave for us, (yum...), then headed over to my house. I finished the paper that I needed to turn in, then we headed up to school. Rachel Braun led bible study today, and she talked about music in the Bible. It was interesting. After that I went to art class, and we drew a live model. It was good, but to be honest I got a bit bored. 


More class, then home for dinner! 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Domingo

Sunday, I went with Ben to his soccer game. It was supposed to start at 1 o'clock, but at 1:10 nobody was there. Slowly, people started showing up around 1:20. We found out that the 2 big soccer teams in Costa Rica were playing each other, so everyone waited until the game was over. It was funny, there was no explanation for everyone being late, it was just expected that everyone would show up late. the soccer game was fun to watch, it was on a big field this time. At one point, I noticed that there were a lot of people on the field, so I started to count. That is right 28 people, one team had about 3 "goalies". People would just walk up and start playing. I have no idea how they knew who was on who's teams. 

When Ben would get the ball, the funniest thing would happen. He would be running it it, and you would start hearing people yell "Gringo,gringo", to get him to pass the ball to other people. It was great and I really enjoyed watching it.

Next we went to meet this guy to go to church with him. We waited for about 30 minutes, and he never showed up. After, we do what we always do when we have nothing else to do, go to the grocery store! The rest of sunday was pretty relaxing though. Once Hope got home form her field trip, Ben and I went over and we all played cards. I taught them the game 13.... pero, I lost pretty badly. Oh well, at least they learned a new game. 

Come on in boys, the water is fine

I headed up to Hope's house for lunch, and ate nothing other than more rice with her and her house keeper. Rachel and Ben met up with us, we played a little spur of the moment ninja game, then headed for Parque de la Sabana, Savana Park. I did not realize how far it was, but it was pretty much an hour away walking. I did not realize how far it was until we were walking back because my legs were getting so tired. Nobody said anything about getting a taxi, so we kept on walking. The park was nice though. I love just laying in the grass and doing nothing. We just hung out there for a while then headed back home. 

After everyone ate dinner at their houses, we met at the highway to go to Ben and Sean's soccer game. It was supposed to be about 4 of us, but that turned into 8 girls. I guess people were just walking by and decided to stay. It was pretty funny watching all of us walk in together, here come the gringas.  

We always talked about the movie Oh Brother where art thou, and we stumbled across it this morning in the library, so after the game Rachel, Ben, and I went to Hope's to watch it. I have not seen it in so long but it was one of my favorites. I so had to resist the urge not to quote it, because that would be quite annoying, but it is just so good! It definitely made me miss home. That is a frequently quoted movie in my house. 

I am mass communicating boys! 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday in San José

So today was the laziest day I have had. I woke up, read a lot which was great, worked on some papers here and there, watched some modern family.... nothing to much. Obviously, this post may be a bit boring. At one point, I decided to go to this restaurant called Spoon, to get this special cake my teacher keeps telling me about. I found one much closer to my house, so I wanted to try to get there. Maybe I read the map wrong.... because I never made it there. I walked for about 20 minutes then decided to turn back. I took another way home, and got home in 5 minutes.... lame. After that, I met up with Ben. We also tried to find it again, but got a bit turned around, so decided to go downtown on the bus to the big Spoon. Of course, it was closed, so we just went to McDonalds and got ice cream cones and hung out downtown,


These 2 little girls came up to us, trying to sell us candy. One of them was quite the saleswoman. She was trying to sell a single sucker for about a dollar. We kept on saying how expensive it was for a dollar, and she procedes to tell us that it is a good deal because we get the bag, the stick, the pretty design... Chica chica. Eventually, we heard a woman call for them, and they ran away. It was pretty cute though. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Escuadron

I took my first real test in my elective class today. It was bad.... we all knew it would be. Our teacher is really great though, he is very kind and I can tell that he loves teaching. He had to go to the states last week to give lectures, and his first stop was in New Orleans. He sent us an e-mail shortly after saying that New Orleans is becoming his favorite city in the US. He said that he loves the people in America, and wished that other Latin Americans and Hugo Chaves knew that (?). He said that we are like a big elephant walking on a glass table and no matter how lightly we walk on it, we will most likely break it. He even brought is candy to snack on during the test. That is one thing I really appreciate about Veritas, all of my teachers are EXCELLENT and I can tell that they just really enjoy teaching! 


Do not worry about the test though, it was 25% of our final grade, and he gave us 15% extra credit for our game the other day and bringing in note books for some underprivileged kids in his organization. We learned that it is actually 15%, so all you had to get on the test was 10 points right and you would get an A!! That is a bit silly, but I will still take it!! 


Tonight, a couple of us met at the highway and walked over to the soccer field. One of Ben's friends form his soccer team invited us to go to a worship service with him. It was called Escuadron and it was a bit like Awanas or something. There were kids from the ages of 10-25 there. We split up into separate groups and had to memorize a little saying. Por la Gracia de Dios, nos mantemos brillando y luchando por Jesus Cristo. Porque Quieremos sirvielos, porque los amamos, hasta que llegamos en su prescencia en el cielo. Something like that, It says By the grace of God, we will keep shining and fighting for Jesus Christ. Because we want to serve others, we love others, until we arrive in his presence in the heavens.


It is a pretty great saying and I did get a check by my name for memorizing it!!!!


We played games for about an hour. The first one was a scavenger hunt, and each team had a runner to bring the objects to the front table. Of course my team picked me. One time the speaker asked for a piercing. My team kept pointing to my nose, but I did not want to take it out. So I just put my head on the table, and we got the point. In CR, the young people ALL have piercing. It was so funny because you just saw people messing with their faces then handing everyone their piercing... probably not to sanitary but quite funny.


One called for the ugliest face. This guy in my group told me to bring him up. He showed me his "ugly" face, caro feo, but it was not that ugly. I heard Joey and Hope yelling at me to do my crazy eye. I embraced my gringaness and showed the guy on my team. He died laughing then proceeded to tell the speaker to watch me, which he did. Not everyone could see it though, so they told me to do it one more time.... There was literally a wall of about 50 Ticos looking at me while I did it, someone even had their recorder out. Oh yes, there was laughter. What a night.


After that, 2 boys sang worships songs with recordings. I can not describe how cool it is to sing worship in another language. I knew a couple of the songs, but the majority I did not. It is going to fast so you do not really have time to translate it to English, so I really feel like I am singing in Spanish because I can understand it. It just gives the words a different meaning. I just felt thankful in that time. Thankful that I had the opportunity to learn Spanish, to come to Costa Rica, to meet all of my friends here, to be at that service, to be singing to Dios en Spanish... EVERYTHING!


After that there was a short lesson. I will not lie, I did not get much out of it. There was a backlight on him, so we could not see his mouth moving, which is pretty vital for me to understand. He also was speaking on a microphone and there was an echo because we were in a gym. Needless to say though, I still got a lot out of the night!!! Gracias a Dios! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Almorzar

So today we all met after they got out of Spanish class, and we walked to the missionaries' house for lunch. It was nice to get to go eat with them. We started off with that ice breaker game where you tell 2 truths and a lie and everyone has to pick the lie. It was pretty much students against missionaries though, because we all knew a lot about each other and they the same. (I like that about my friend group, we are all so close now!) They did not get mine, sneaky sneaky!


They had REAL tortilla chips, guacamole, and this salsa dip. It may be a bit sad that I am dedicating a paragraph of my writing to chips and salsa but they were just so good. There guacamole was cubed instead of mushed together and filled with good seasonings, cilantro, and salsa. Then the salsa dip was a bit like a layered dip with cream cheese on the bottom, salsa, then cheese. They were eating chile for lunch, so I just had the sides. Since I was not eating the main course, I literally sat down in front of the chips to feast! All of my friends thought that was very funny, but they were just so good!!


I had to leave early and go to art class, so I took a taxi back to school. I could have skipped and it would not have been a problem but I just could not do it. Once again, Dr. Clarke saw me walking the halls in between my classes and wanted to have coffee with me. We sat down and had a great talk. He literally knows all of the past presidents, works with them, writes speeches for them, everything. The current party is called the National Liberation Party, and is pretty much middle leftish, but the current President is a bit more right. We talked a lot about the differences between the parties in CR and USA. I hate how people back home are so worried about their finances and selfish with their money. I know people feel like they are not middle class, but in reality they are so well off. Back home, there is such a strict divide between issues like healthcare and taxes. Obviously, nobody wants to pay taxes, but they are necessary. In the states, you always hear opposition to healthcare along the lines of, "My money will just go to people who do not do anything and live off of welfare." Sure that may be true, but there is such a larger population out there. It is SO refreshing talking to Ticos in Costa Rica. These people are by no means wealthy or well off, but I have not talked to ONE SINGLE PERSON who does not like their socialized healthcare system. They all say while it is true that they have to pay more, they know that it allows people less fortunate to receive attention. It is so much more communal here. I love it!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Martes Martes Martes

Tuesday Tuesday Tuesday

So a big highlight of my day was that Cecillia made WAY to much food for me last night, and I did not even touch most of it. That means I got to use this tuna salad that she made for my lunch. ¡Que Rico!! After lunch, we had a test prep in class. We split into 2 teams then answered his questions. Some of them were a bit ridiculous. My group got one wrong because of one word. The question said agreement and that made the whole thing false. It should have been decleration..... lame. I think that we will all do poorly on the test, but my roommate had him last year and said he grades easy. She got an F on her midterm then got a 98 in the class... however that works. As my roommate Dillion called it, this is "vacation college". I like that word! PURA VIDA!

After class I worked out, then came home. The afternoon was pretty relaxing and I even got some things done. I got my graduation e-mail today from LSU, and I am starting to feel it. I looked a lot into schools and the GRE today. In August they are changing the GRE, and I have read that you should take the GRE 1 year before you would like to start Grad school, so August it is. Bad news: there is math on it. After looking at sample problems and stuff, I have pretty much decided that I will be taking GRE prep classes. There are tons offered in Baton Rouge so I think that will be my summer. I think I will do summer school too. It is good to have a statistics class for Masters in Public Administration admissions, and I have not taken one. I might also take one of my last requirements for school, so that way my last semester I will only have 12 hours! That sounds like a good plan to me!

Tomorrow we are going to eat lunch with the missionaries that we went to church with a couple of weeks ago. That will be nice. Do not get me wrong, I love my weekends away, but I miss going to church. The way things are looking, I will be staying here this weekend, which would be a good time for me to be productive!! Hopefully I can go to church on Sunday too!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Otro vez!!

'Tis Monday again. Mondays are possible my favorite day of the week because of our girls Bible Study. Rachel led today. I liked her topic and feel like it fit her perfectly. We have talked about this a lot, but she is very much a  Type A personality, always wanting to control everything and do everything to her best ability. While this is a great characteristic to have, the whole controlling everything yourself does not fall in line with having faith in Christ. She challenged us to look at our lives and see what we are holding back from God, wether it be trust or other things. That led into another great and obvious answer! How can we expect to trust God when we do not know who he is. How can we expect to trust him if we do not know what His Spirit is all about. I will be the first to admit that there are times when I do not wake up DESIRING to read his word, but it really can not happen without it. Once you get into it though, you just feel closer to Christ. It is so obvious, but so many people either do not see the importance of reading or just do not want to, and I think it is more the second. 


I would also challenge you all reading this to see what you are holding back from God. Maybe we are anxious, angry, scared, or to controlling with certain aspects. A couple of months ago I realized how anxious I was about my future. That is not a bad thing within itself, but I wasted so much time thinking about all of these important decisions that I was going to have to make. In 1 Peter, it says cast all of your anxieties on him, because HE cares for you. PERIOD. After that, I have made a conscious attempt to be less anxious and I feel such a freedom with my future. I finally reached a place where I could say I would do what ever God's will needed of me, and can finally believe it. 


There fore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet their heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any of you add by worrying a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25



After bible study, I went to art class and drew some boots. 


Les gusta??

Then my next class got out 30 minutes early which was a nice surprise!! 



Sunday, February 20, 2011

PLAYA HERMOSA

Playa Hermosa

Hola mis amigos!!! And yes, this weekend turned out to be another great one. Rachel, Bethany, Joey, Ben, and I all went to Playa Hermosa this weekend, or Handsome/pretty Beach. This beach was REAL black sand. We kind of went to one in Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side before, but this whole beach was completely black. At this beach, the sand was not really sand either, it was more like pebbles. Along with its blackness, there was also something else that made it different. OLAS- waves! It is a really big surfing beach and they have held some big surf competitions there too. Really, it was un swimmable. It was fun to watch us go out in shin deep water and get swamped by waves. At one point, us three girls were barely on in the water, shin deep I suppose, laughing and having fun in the waves. The next thing we knew we were all under water and on top of each other. The water was just so powerful. 


Once we got there on Saturday morning, we had to take a taxi from Jacó to Playa Hermosa. We had 5 of us, and the taxi said he would drive us all in one taxi, that usually only holds four, if we would pay the ticket if we got stopped by the police.  He took us to the wrong hotel and we proceeded to walk in the right direction. I had made the reservations and knew where it was, but got a bit discouraged after a while. It was this long dirt road that seemed to be leading us in the wrong direction. Luckily, we asked this teenage boy at a store which way and he kept on driving ahead of us on his motorcycle to make sure we were going in the right direction. Once we finally got to the hotel, it was so nice. An American couple just bought it in December so it was really clean and well kept. The whole weekend was very relaxing. We grilled Sunday lunch at the pool, which included a whole pineapple… YUM. And possible my favorite part of my trip so far was driving home. I love driving through all of the different aprts of Costa Rica. I was a bit bummed that we could no see the stars at the hotel because it was a full moon, but the bus ride made up for it. I spent it listening ot music and looking at a midnight blue sky filled with stars lined by the black mountains. It just never gets old. 

View from our house.... Somehow it just reminded me of Arkansas... the dirt road and heat, minus the mountains 

Part of our hotel

Playa Hermosa

The WaVeS

Bethany and I

Does not get better than sunset on the beach
The dare....

black sand man

oops.... PURA VIDA

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fun Friday

So today for lunch, we went to Cafe Mundo. Rachel's parents and little sister came to visit her this week and wanted to meet all of us. It was really nice to eat with America parents. Even though I do not know them at all, it was nice to have a "family dinner". They even paid for all of us!! I also once again realized what a gift my friends are. I love the dynamic between us all. We would be telling stories, chiming in, and picking on each other, like siblings. Truly, we are all brothers in sisters in Christ, and I truly feel like that with each one of them. 

After that, we went to the children's museum. Joey went on a field trip before and said it was fun, and Hope was DYING to go. It actually turned out to be a fun little trip. There were many laughs at El Museo de los niños.

That night, we had a girls baking night. We made tons of cookies and tried to make fruit pizza. It turned into this bar thing, that turned out to be great though. We crushed up coconut cookies and used it as the crust then filled it will jello stuff and pudding and covered it with strawberries, blackberries, and mangos. It was nice to hang out with the girls, there were about 10 of us in all. I definitely was not expecting that much and was nervous about how Bethany's mom would react to so many, but she loved having us over too! Tomorrow 5 of us are heading out to Playa Hermosa on the Pacific coast which is about a 2 hour bus ride! So excited!! 

I may have went a bit crazy on the pictures....
The Childrens museum, it was once a prison

A marriage of sorts

Kind of myspace picturish- but still cool, i think



Just for you mom!!

Manly men


Esparanza!





Luisiana Rice!!!!

Girls night!!!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

It is already Thursday??

Today was a pretty relaxing day for me! Cecillia was going crazy Spanish mode on me at breakfast.... to much Spanish WAY to early. I studied a bit then went to a meeting about going to Panama next weekend. I do not think that I want to go with the school because they are staying at this bar/club/hostel. It is pretty much a 24/7 party with hammocks to sleep in. Not my thing. I do want to go though. They are going to this place called Bocos del toro and it is astonishingly beautiful. I found some nice small hotels there so maybe I can go in the next couple of weeks. It looks like the movie couples retreat almost, because all of the hotels are built up over the ocean. It is on the Caribbean side so the water is blue blue blue and has some great snorkeling too! We shall see though. You have to take a water taxi to get there, after crossing the border and everything so I do not know how complicated it will be.


To my great surprise, my one class was canceled. I walked to the store with Hope and Joey to buy stuff for snack night tomorrow night. I wanted to make rum cake for everyone but rum was about 25 dollars. Maybe that is normal for rum, but I guess they will just have to stay curious as to what rum cake is like! Do not worry though, I stocked up!!


I got to talk to Tiffany tonight on Skype, which was so great! I definitely feel like I am missing people more. Just hearing her talk about Baton Rouge, our bible study, and everything made me miss home a bit too. I am so looking forward to going to Baton Rouge once I get home to see all of my friends! I miss you ladies!!!

Field trip!

So, when people would ask me what other major would I have liked to have done in school, I naively said architecture. After today, I am 100% certain that I would never cut it. We went on a field trip to this little fountain building to draw it for art class. UGHHH-- it was so detailed and you had to make sure every line was at the exact angle or it would throw everything off. That is called perspective. For some reason, I was actually good it. The teacher would always walk by and seemed impressed that I had the lines at the right angle. He did not have to help me. Maybe that is just the way my mind works, but lucky for it, it will never have to do that for a career.


For my second class, my teacher took all of us out to eat. He bought about 2 drinks for 4 other girls and bought about 7 plates of appetizers for all of us. And of course, he paid for it all, which came out to be around 60 bucks. We all were like, no no we can pay (you know how that goes) but he just said that next time we go out to eat we all have to pay for him. Needless to say, it was a pretty good day at school. At the restaurant we had plantains topped with beans and cheese- YUM!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The blog of selfishness





You read it right... this is the blog of selfishness. El blog de egoísmo. I could not tell you why, but today, I had some SERIOUS cravings for things back home. I feel that I should not hide anything from you people, so here we go...... This is a good hint for a return home gift too!   :)




PICKLES- ENCORTIDO
I have had pickles one time sense I have been here and it was on a mahi mahi sandwich. I did not realize how much I missed them until that night. When I brought it up, I think everyone else felt the same way. Pickles are not that type of food that are usually people's favorites or anything, but they just make everything else better. I just long for that crunch...



CHIPS AND SALSA- PATATAS FRITAS Y SALSA
Ok, everyone knows how I love chips, but seriously... I WANT them. Once again I long for that crunch and also some zesty salsa. Maybe even the great value salsa with peach in it. Or maybe, even homemade salsa! **Side note, I could always take some guacamole with that too. 



ZAPPS- ZAPPS
So maybe this is a repeat of the previous but I beg to differ. I talked about them once with someone else from the south, but no other of my friends had tried them before. Tonight for dinner, I smelt the exact same smell of Zapps from my window. It surely was not from my house, but I wish that it was. I've got it bad people....




KITCHEN- LA COCINA
This is not my kitchen, although I would not be opposed to it being mine. I just SOOO miss being able to cook. The only thing I have really made to eat since I have been here are sandwiches for lunch and one day I made French Toast peanut butter banana sandwiches for my friends. I do not even have an oven in my house for the good stuff. We are supposed to be having a cooking night this Friday at one of my friends house...oh yes, cookies and milk. I wanted to make them rum cake, but we will see how much all of that costs. 




CEREAL- EL CEREAL
While it is true that I eat a bowl of cereal every morning for breakfast, I do not consider it the same. For some reason, the only cereal we get is a mix of off brand fruit loops and corn flakes (not frosted :(     ) I miss the cereal isle and those awesome bags of cheap cereal. Ours is a bit old sometimes, so I think I just want that good crunchy cereal. The kind where you can not hear people talking to you because it is so crunchy. I bet Great Value is taking some losses without me in the country :)



PILLOWS- ALMOHADA
This one may seem a bit strange, but it is true. I know mom knows, but I have a precociously designed bed when it comes to sleeping. (Now this is going to sound spoiled) I sleep with the perfect pillow under my head, then two on each side of me. That way, if I decide to change directions, there will always be one in front of me to go between my knees. I also sleep with a smaller one up by my head that I wrap my hands around. The pillows that I have here are like tissue paper. I had to steal an extra one from the empty bedroom to use. I also folded up my extra blanket and put it under those two, to come to a grand total of 2 pillows and a blanket under my head. This obviously leaves none for my knees. ¡Que Triste! Soon, one of my roommate's friends is coming to stay with here for 2 weeks. You know what that means.... one of my pillows have to go back to the other room. 





CHEESE-QUESO
If you can not tell, this is pepper jack cheese. How I miss it. The cheese here is NASTY. There is this one brand that we call squeaky cheese. It looks like Tofu. When you chew it, you can literally hear it squeaking against your teeth... other people can hear it too. The other options is this weird velvetta cheese. Don't get me wrong, velvetta is weird, but I am usually all for it back home. I am not for this stuff though. Our mom puts it out in the mornings for our toast????? LEt me teach you all a very important phrase in Spanish   "No Gracias"





GUITAR- LA GUITARRA
La guitarra, it just sounds better in Spanish. I have so much free time here that would be perfect for playing. The other day, I asked Hope's dad if I could play his, so I just sat outside for about 30 minutes and played. His guitar probably cost around $50. It also had black plastic strings, snazzy! We had a little sing a long session too. I guess they heard me and asked me to play at their anniversary party last night. I felt bad that I did not know any in Spanish though. And after my song, they paid me with cake (no problem here!)  That inspired me to come home and look up chords to some songs that I learned in high school Spanish. They are so beautiful in Spanish. Spanish is just better to describe things. So now I have the chords and lyrics.... just need the guitar!  Just read these lyrics.... ¡Que Bonita! 

Quisiera ser solecito
para entrar por tu ventana
y darte los "Buenos Días"
acostadita en tu cama,
Quisiera ser un San Juan,
quisiera ser un San Pedro
para venirte a cantar
con la música del cielo



I would like to be a little sunlight
to go in through your window
and tell you “Good Morning”
while you’re lying in your bed.
I would like to be Saint John,
I would like to be Saint Peter,
In order to come sing to you
with music from heaven.




POPCORN- PALOMITAS
Ok, so I can buy it here, but it is really expensive, at least for popcorn. They have this one brand though, that is just called sweet, that is SOOO GREAT! It is like kettle corn, but sweeter. I think more than popcorn, I miss eating it with my old roomies!!! I think I made them addicted to it, because I would always eat it for a snack and share! When I return, we shall eat popcorn and get many thirstbusters ladies!! 

Thank you for letting me vent family. I just noticed how much of a texture person I am, I want some CRUNCH back in my life. That also applies to the crunch of peeling a crawfish!!!!!! So for today, I only had one class and we went on a field trip to the Foreign Affairs department. To be honest, it was pretty boring, but the building was pretty. He was not a very good speaker and I think we all knew what he was telling us already. I went to work out and am about to go to salsa class at school. It was a pretty relaxing day today. OOO but I did have a new food! For  lunch a got a melon smoothie, which turned out to be a Cantaloupe smoothie---- WOW!!!!! That is all I am going to say! 
Hasta mañana!!!