Monday, January 31, 2011


sooooo.. no one had spanish class today, because it is the orientation for new students. I stayed the night at Rachel's house with Hope. Joey and Ben came over and we ate brownies and watched a movie, Dirty dancing Havana nights. Needless to say, it was pretty bad and I fell asleep during the movie. Today I woke up early, came home, prepared for my bible study, then went to the park. It was only 4 girls at the bible study today, but I think that it went well. I drew flowers in my art class, which was NO FUN! I literally left to go to the bathroom and sat on the couch with Mel in the hall, just to get away from the flowers!! I also found out that my late class this Wednesday has been canceled!!

It was really nice to have the free time without my Spanish class today. I definitely need to find a good way to manage my time though. I still want to wake up early, hopefully work out, and maybe volunteer somewhere too. Who knows, we shall see!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


As always, my excursions have been excellent, but this one takes the cake. My blog will be a bit different though this time. First, all of the fun stuff that happened, then the amazing things. We started off going to a hot springs hotel/resort at Arenal Volcano. They had these AMAZING hot spring water slides. There was one that was super fast and to be quite honest, quite painful. It went so fast and had a ramp at the bottom, where you literally caught air before hitting the water. It was INTENSE!! After the 2nd time we all went, Joey asked the worker if we could go down head first. SI! We all got bruises or cuts, but it was so worth it. I do not think that many went down head first though, maybe that was smart? We then spent the rest of the night lounging in the hot springs and eating dinner. It started to rain at one point, and just made the expereince that much better. Seriously, this place looked like a movie set. The dinner was also phenomenal, buffet style baby! After this, we went back to our hotel, and a bunch of us hung out together until midnight or so and we all turned in.

SATURDAY: Wake up pretty early, ate breakfast at the hotel, then head over to the waterfall. It was such a beautiful hike down and the falls were beautiful. A lot of people swam in the waterfalls too. I have thoroughly discovered that I do not do to well in the elevation. If I got on my toes, my legs would ShAkE!!! I partially did not swim because of that, but also because the water was really cold. A lot of people walked around the water to the inside of the waterfall, then jumped in. Probably not the smartest thing to do, but fun to watch. At this point many of us were walking on the rocks, and I would be the one to slip right? It must have looked really bad because when I sat up, everyone was just starting at me with their mouths open. It did not hurt at all, but definitely had my feet completely in the air, with my arm in a crevice, and my head on a boulder. (Sorry mom and dad, just being detailed). It was such a thrill. We walked back up, huffing and puffing, then got back on the bus. Back to the hotel, lunch in the little town, (which was also beautiful), EGGNOG ice cream, then I would soon experience the best ride of my life.

We got into little vans, of a company called Jeep-boat-jeep. I did not get to ride with my friends :(, but it was not to long of a ride. We then all got into a huge boat, that took us across some body of water. I could have stayed on that boat all day long. I took pictures, but they would never suffice. If you looked back you could see the bottom of Arenal volcano, and of course a rainbow. No one talked much on the ride. It was some good prayer and thinking time. We make it to shore, then get into another van (with my friends). This SHOULD have been the WORST ride of my life. We are going up the mountains to Monte Verde, with the biggest potholes and curves and bumps EVER! and I have had my fair share of bumpy rides in Costa Rica. I could have been sitting on lava and I would have still been thrilled. This was the most beautiful ride I have ever experienced. Rolling hills of green accompanied by a beautiful sunset, with the slightest blue of the Pacific in the distance. We stopped so many times to get out and look.

We made it to the hotel in Monte Verde, then headed out to get dinner. I had spinach ravioli and a great little restaurant. After walking around the city for a bit, we headed back to the hotel. Everyone was going to the roof of the hotel to all hang out, and that was not exactly what I had in mind. I walked up the street and found a field. I jumped over the fence, and heard my friends talking about where I was, and they headed over. I did some great snake stomps, (they have one snake that has around 90 snake babies?? at a time. It is so venomous that you are required to kill it by law) and it looked like a good walking path. We walked up in the field for a bit to one of my favorite things- star gazing!! I called them over and we all just stood in awe. A couple of them left quickly because I think they were a bit worried about sitting in the grass, but Caroline, Ben and I stayed. We walked up yet further and found a log to sit on. More snake stomping, and Caroline and I laid on the ground in pure amazement. MORE TO COME IN NEXT PARAGRAPH....

Sunday Morning- woke up to a great little breakfast overlooking Monte Verde, then headed to the Zipline! AMAZING!!! It was so much fun, and so pretty there. There was one rope where you jumped backwards off of a tree, and stopped inches above the ground. Somehow I got stuck on 2 ropes though. The workers had to come out pull me in the rest of the way. I was not braking at all, so do not really knwo what happened. The second rope that I got stuck on, you had to ride with 2 people. I was riding with Joey, and we happened to be at the end of the group. Everyone got to watch us get rescued and of course take pictures. FINALLY, the TARZAN!! You walked across a rope bridge, then jumped straight off. I do not know why, but I never get nervous about those things. I wish I would though because I feel like it would be more fun. Anyways, it was way more fun than expected. I think I actually said "Oh" as I was falling. Not a yell or scream but "oh", because I was surprised. Back to the hotel, lunch in the town, RUM AND RAISIN ice cream, and off on the bus back to San José.

Now for the good stuff: I wish it was possible to describe how renewed I feel after this weekend. I have had some things on my mind, but this weekend and time was mended me. I truly can not remember the last time I have felt so close to God as this time away. All of the beauty seems to slap you in the face. I can imagine God just wanting to get the point across to me. I have created all of this, given you all of this beauty, this experience, these amazing friends, and you still fail to give me your complete heart. Spiritually, this has been the time that I have felt this close and certain. If these past 3 days were the reason for me coming to Costa Rica, I would be completely fulfilled. I am so excited to see where I will be going next form here and encourage anyone reading this to examine your life too! I hope that I can give you a word of encouragement, because I have received so much myself. From my heart to yours!

The Start of it all. Precious.

La Fortuna Waterfalls


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Giggles Galore

I seriously can not believe that today was my last day of spanish class! It is going by too fast :( Today in class, I think everyone's brains were shot. At one point, a girl started giggling, for no real reason and it spread like crazy. Me and two other girls were the culprits and COULD NOT stop laughing. It was one of those good laughs when you have no idea why you are laughing. I looked up at Hope and Rachel who were sitting on each side of me, and they were shocked to see tears running down my face, and then the laughter spread to them. It was funny because our teacher was not mad or anything, but kept on teaching. It is one of those times when you understand what is being said, but no what they are feeling. I have no clue what our teacher was thinking, but she seemed like she did not even notice. It was fun though- those good laughs always are.

Hope, Rachel, and I went to a kids park for lunch, but it was FREEZING! The weather is really weird. If the sun is out, you usually would want to stand in the shade. One of my friends had Spanish class outside yesterday and got ROASTED!!! But on days like today, when it is cloudy, the wind makes it soooo chilly.

I have been hanging out/studying at home all day. My other roommates and muchos people from school are going to Nicaragua this weekend. It sounds cool but I do not really have a desire to go there particularly. Not like CUBA (wink wink, Zack) only joking, I know it is not possible, but would be so cool. Hope is coming over for our first Costa Rican sleepover! We are going to be studying for our test tomorrow. After our test, we are leaving at 1pm for Monte Verde and Arenal. It is hard to pack though because the volcano is warm and Monte Verde is chilly. And I only have my backpack to go with. Somewhere along the way we will be swimming at hot springs and go zip lining!!! I am so excited for another great weekend. Next weekend I am putting a trip together for a couple of us to go to Manuel Antonio, which is the BEST beach to go to in CR. It looks liek we are taking direct buses there from San José for around $5 each way. Then we are going ot stay in a hostel on the beach (Lonely planet recommended might I add). It just keeps getting better!! Until Monday my friends! PURA VIDA!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Medio de la semana

I love me some Wednesdays! I only have one real more day of Spanish class and my final on Friday. We gave our presentations today on different types of Latin American dance, and no Tico intrusion this time. Hope, Ben, Joey, Rachel and I went and had lunch at that chinese restaurant Mey Ben. I have such a hard time understanding that lady. She has a Chinese accent in her Spanish. Or should I call it Spanese. Art class was fun as usual, and then I went to a store and bought Peach tea. :) yummm!!!! I was going to try out Coca-cola light, since I have heard such different things about it: it is like diet coke, it is not, it tastes better, worse. One day soon I shall reach a verdict.

So, everyone keeps asking me about how I am feeling here. I am quite surprised to be honest that I am not very homesick or lonely. I am usually someone who likes to be with other people, and do not really need my alone time. I think that I get the best of both worlds here though. When I am with my friends, I am having a blast. When I am by myself, which is most of the time, I thoroughly enjoy it and appreciate it and this whole experience. In ways I wish that I had more feelings about everything, but it has just been so much fun. I am definitely learning so much about myself and definitely so much about Spanish. I am really looking forward to all of the extra time I will get, since I will not have my daily 4 hour spanish class. It stinks though that all of my friends will have class when I do not and vise-versa, but it seems like a great time to be independent and explore the city a bit more! We are trying to figure out where we want to go next weekend too. I think we will be heading to Manuel Antonio, which I have been told is the nicest beach in CR. We shall see. Even though I do not feel homesick, if you are reading this blog I am probably missing you! I think since it has almost been a month since I have ben here, it is finally starting to seam real. I feel like I am actually in a different country now. I surely am not upset that I am not homesick, I think that my reaction just surprised myself.

I can't believe that I am already 1/3 of the way done!! Que loco!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Finals week??

So technically this week is my "final week" for Spanish. Class today was a bit better today, but definitely getting rough. I feel a bit guilty for not taking another Spanish class like my friends, but then I think about how much I hate sitting in the class for 4 hours. I know that I can get more down by myself, plus I will be able to hang out at home more and talk to them. For lunch, Hope, Rachel, Joey, and I went to Hope's house and had my watermelon, pretzels, and sandwiches. It was a nice little communal lunch. They all thought it was very funny that I brought a watermelon in my backpack to school.

AND------ MY class was canceled today! I will not lie, it is still cool to have a class canceled! I headed home to do some things and relax. Next, I went to the Auto Mercado with Ben and Rachel to buy something very precious to me..... MEN'S DEGREE DEODERANT! Maybe it is a little weird to talk about it, but I bought the women's kind back "home" because they did not have the right kind in the mens. BIG MISTAKE! And off we went. THEY HAD IT!! it was small and expensive, but no me importa! The store is very American and usually SUPER EXPENSIVE!! those little packets of taco and sloppy joe seasoning that are usually less then .25 cents back home, were around c1500, $3!!!!!!! We then went to Pequeno mundo to buy candles. It was a nice little day with friends. We had some great talks walking too. I love how much we walk here. Almost a month, and I have not taken a taxi yet. Maybe that is not a good thing, but hopefully I can explore more after Spanish class is over.

My last spanish presentation is tomorrow, so off I go to finish it!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Señor, Necesito ayudar por favor!!!

And today felt like the "WOW that was embarrasing" day that I am use to. Spanish class was dragginnnngggggg on, so I decided to go to the bathroom. This bathroom was just a door directly from the courtyard. Once I was going to open the door to leave, I noticed that the doorknob looked rough. It looked like someone hit the knob really hard, maybe because they were stuck, and actually broke the knob and the door. Chances are, that is what happened, because it happened to me. I COULD NOT open it. The knob was not connected in the right place and it would not even unlock. Seriously, I think I was in there for about 10 minutes jiggling it around. Finally I started saying through the door knob hole, "Hola??" "Alguien aqui?" Of course, no one was. Finally I heard two guys sitting down at a close by table and started saying "Hola Señor, necesito ayudar por favor" Hello sir, I need help please. I said that it was not able to open, and he started messing with out frim the outside, the whole time just talking to his friend. Finally he got it open with his pocket knife. When it opened, I said, Muchos Gracias, and of course he just stared at me. Then I walked away and they started laughing. I don't really understand the interaction, but either way, I aam glad that someone finally came.

For lunch, we met for our bible study. There was supposed to be about 11 girls, but it ended up being 8. Hope led today and talked about all of the references in the Bible of us to sheep. Interesting facts about sheep: They are not driven, they are led by a shepard from the front. After they learn the shepard's voice and that the shepard is helpful, they trust him more and are less likely to leave. Also, sheep are not able to stand up if they fall on their backs, which means they will die if the shepard does not help them. We just talked about all of the verses, and how they translate for us. We can not trust God more, if we do not know his voice, which means knowig him more through reading the Bible, prayer, and fellowship. Sheep are not meant to carry things, like a mule, just like we are not meant to carry our burdens. "Cast all of our anxieties on him because he cares for you 1 Peter 5:7". I liked the discussion today because it was so simple. Our faith can become so complex and complicated sometimes, but I feel that I always get the most out of the simple teachings.

Next was art class and I finished my owl!! Well not yet, he is bringing a yellow pencil color for me to finish the eyes with Wednesday. During my next class, we somehow got onto the discussion of Caprisi salad?? I think we were talking about tomatoes and he was saying how good they were in Cr right now. He then stopped and asked what we were doing here and that we should be eating. We persuaded him to take us Wednesday instead of today. I love the teachers here!

Now off to do a BIT of homework, then off to bed!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I know that most of my posts start like this, but today was another AMAZING day!! We had to be at school for 6:20, then we headed towards the River. The guide was really funny. All of our guides have been. He was talking about how most of the accidents in the raft are from people letting go of their paddles and hitting other people. He said he saw this one girl who was so gorgeous and she got hit in the mouth and lost a tooth. "Yes, you are gorgeous, but not too much". It is just funny how they word their English sometimes.

We had an awesome breakfast once we arrived. I had gallo pinto for the 2nd time here, which is strange. My mom never cooks it. After that, we rode up to the river and got into our boats. Our guides name was MONKEY. After he went through all of the instructions he told us when he said high 7, to put our paddles together in the air and well OO AAA AAAAAA Monkey! It was sooo much fun. We usually did high 7 after an intense rapid. I love how they say Pura Vida so much too. He said it after he tightened my life jacket, when something went wrong, when we had a good rapid..... everything. There is this one command, High side, which we were told RARELY happens. It is when you hit a rock or something and your raft goes almost vertical. Everyone has to jump to the "high side" of the boat to get it back down. Of course, if would happen to us. He told the left side of the boat to paddle backwards and Brennan, who was at the front did not hear him, hence running into the rock. Once we finally got it down, we went down the rapid a new way. He told Brennan, "hey men when I say back you go back, you don't do that to me on a level 4." He told us he had never been down that way before, and I could tell he was a bit tense. Hope asked if he liked it better, and he goes, um..... no not really. It was so much fun though. I think my favorite part was when he would yell "Get Down" and we would all jump into the boat because it was rough. Monkey learned ALL of his english rafting. I have met quite a few people who learn english through rafting or surfing, and I think that is so interesting. Rafting was surely different than I was expecting. The scenery was BREATHTAKING but I think I was expecting to be paddling much more. It was more of short bursts of paddling. Either way, it was such a blast!!

We stopped for lunch, and all of the guides came out with these waterproof cans and started pulling all kinds of things to make lunch. It was so good and fresh and I had my first sandwich since I have been here. There was chips, salsa, fresh wanter mellon and pineapple... the perfect rafting lunch.

Next was ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL things I have ever seen. The 2nd canyon we went through he let us jump out of the boat. He was big on enjoying the scenery, and told us to all let go and just float. Here we are, floating down crystal blue water, down a canyon, in one of the most beautiful places. It was so amazing!!!! I wish I could have had my camera with me to show all of you. Out of my whole trip, I think that was the most beautiful to me.

Just got in not to long ago, and about to go shower. We are eating dinner at home then heading over to Rachel's house for cards and dessert. I am making everyone the banana/peanut butter sandwich prepared like French Toast. Zack and I would make it together... :( Wish you were here to enjoy it with me!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Volcán Poás

What a great Saturday today was. We had to be up at school at 7 am, which was quite early. We first went ot a coffee plantation and did a small little tour. I got some fresh coffee with Irish Cremé that was great. AND!!!!!! Playing Cards! I forgot to bring mine, and have been looking for some. (These were only $3 and have cool Costa Rica pictures too) The ride was beautiful because we drive through the central valley and their version of the continental divide. I sure am getting more comfortable riding here. The greyhound drivers are CRAZY, whipping around these mountains. I do not think I would drive as fast as they do in my own car. We drove to Poás to find a foggy volcano. This volcano was different than I had expected. There was a crater with a sulfur lake, which is what we should have looked down into. I was expecting to be looking up at the volcano. Anyway, we were all a bit bummed, because you literally could not see a single thing. It was actually one of the weirdest things I had ever seen. It was like a wall of fog. We later found out that it was the smoke from the volcano, and it was just that thick. When we got to the national park, the ranger told us to wait at the bottom for about 10 minutes to get use to the Sulfur. He said that it was very high that day. I did not think that it would change anything, but we were all coughing as we walked up the volcano.

Once we got to the white wall of fog we walked up to another lake, that was a bit more visible. We walked back down and found out that the "clouds" had cleared, and they usually did every 10 minutes. So we waited, and sure enough, they did. It took a while to be able to see all of it, but it was so beautiful. That was the first active Volcano I had even seen. It was hard to grasp the size of it, because it looked close and far away at the same time.

Our guide for the day was so talkative. He talked the whole way up. I think many people were bothered by it, but I really liked it. He knew so much about Costa Rica. There are 292 Volcanos in Costa Rica, although not all are active. That is pretty impressive, considering the fact that it is about the size of West Virginia. Costa Rica is the #1 producer of pin apples, passing Hawaii a couple of years ago. The states have around 26 kinds of humming birds, while CR has over 60. Also, CR is the country with the most amount of protected land, around 25%, and also has around 5% of the world's biodiversity. Just a couple of the interesting facts.

We went to an AMAZING resort, that led to the waterfalls, or cataratas. We first ate at the buffet, which was amazing. the guide told us to try the rice pudding, which I am not very fond of, but decided to because he said it was the best in the country. He was right, it was AMAZING!!!! I told Cecillia about it and she said she would make it tomorrow night. There was a little Zoo thing at the resort too. It was nice, but I am not to much into the caged animal thing. They did have some crazy animals though. I got to hold a toucan too.

Next we walked all along the river and looked at the water falls. A bus drove us back to the resort, then we headed back to San José. I have dinner then bed, because I need to get some sleep. WHITE WATER RAFTING TOMORROW!!!! We leave school at 6, then go to a buffet breakfast, which could be very dangerous pre-rafting. I will try not do eat to much! Since all of my breakfasts have been toast, cereal, and guyaba jelly, it is a bit tempting though!

And food update: Sour cream and onion popcorn was a bust. You popped it, poured the flavor dust into the bad, then shook the bag..... no bueno.

My new little buddy bird
La Paz Catarata- Waterfall of Peace
Pre wind change at the Volcano

The crater 10 minutes later. Over 1 mile in diameter!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011


Spanish lass was sooooooooooo long today. We literally listened to a Shakira song about 5 times. Once to write down all of the verbs, next to fill them into the song worksheet, and twice more for I am not sure what. Then she went through every verb and told us its multiple meanings????? That was pretty much worthless. Plus, Shakira is so hard to understand. Needless to say, we were ready to get out of class. Hope, Rachel, and I came back to my house, then Joey, Ben, Bethany, and Mel came over. We talked to Herbert for a long time. It is nice to sit and talk to him, because everyone is interested in what he has to say and to learn more Spanish. I was thinking that back home, a lot of people would not be interested in sitting around talking to someone's grandpa, but it was nice to talk to him with everyone else. I learned some new words too.

Once Brennan got to the house, we all went to a MEXICAN restaurant. It was not quite the same as back home.... no endless chips and salsa, only one little bowl. The food was really good though. Ben handed me the Tabasco sauce and asked me if I had ever seen it before and wanted to try it. I then told him that it was from Louisiana. It is so crazy that it is all over the world. Of course though, not pepper on the table..... only Salt. We all went to the Park of Peace next. Hope flew a kite, got it stuck in a tree, and a little boy tried to come help her but ended up cutting the string. Next, everyone slid down this huge hill with cardboard. It was quite peligroso! Dangerous! There was a pregnant girl that went down with her friend, hit each other, and then just laid on the ground. It was pretty odd. A couple of my friends have some cuts too.

Then they rode this sketchy amusement ride. I watched :) Churros were next then we just played in the park and walked around the lake. It was really cool to watch the people though. We have decided that parents play with their kids more here. People were sliding down the hill with their kids and going down slides. There were so many people at the park too. That was nice to see. And it was also neat to see the city so well. There is this BIG hill in the park that you can walk up and see pretty much the whole city.

Just made it home, about to eat dinner at 7 with Mel then we are all meeting at school at 8 to go see Tron. It just came out here today. ALMOST everyone else is at Palmares. Ticos have told us that it is the 2nd biggest drinking festival behind Oktoberfest (sp?) sorry Zack. The school brought a bus of students today at 1 and they were not supposed to be coming home until 11 tonight, if traffic allows it. I am definitely looking forward to the movie with everyone and had such a great day just hanging out at the park.

Poas volcano tomorrow!!!!!

THURSDAY!! I am getting behind

quick review: school... booo. Then a couple of us went to the little mall and I bought a sandia/watermelon and some sour cream and onion popcorn???? We shall see. I was going to go to dance class but was feeling a bit under the weather and tired, so I stayed home and watched grey's anatomy. Short and sweet!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Picnic day!

Hola Amigos!

Here we go! Spanish.... long, but a fun class. We were practicing commands today, and we played a game where you put on item of your in a bag. Then when you pulled out someone´s item, you commanded them to do things for you. Hope got my eraser, so she made me write my name on the board and erase it with my face..... what a girl. I got My other best buddy Rachel, and I made her get on all 4s and bark like a dog! =) After Spanish, Hope, Rachel, Joey, Ben, and I went to a close park for a little picnic. It was fun, and the weather today was PERFECT!!! Some other students passes by us and said they were going to the mountains. San Jose is pretty much surrounded by them, and they look so fun to hike and look at the city. We added it to our todo list. I cam back for my favortite class: DRAWING!!! I finished my last pitcher picture, teeheehee, then started on an owl! My teacher seemed so impressed with my little guy, and said he was going to bring colors for me to do his eyes with. He also told me that I might want to frame it!

It is so relaxing to just go draw for 2 hours. I won´t lie, I feel like I am getting a bit more frustrated with things, so it is surely a welcomed class for me. I love drawing too, it is surely added to my hobbies now!

FINALLY!!!! I got to skype with one of my girlfriends day, my tif-anny-pack!!! And after dinner, Cecillia, Herbert, and I talked about NEw Orleans and Katrina. I know that he loves Jazz, and wanted to make some common ground with him. I was feeling a bit under today, for no specific reason, but then after our little chat, I realized that I am able to have socially conscious conversations with real Spanish speakers. And I can not help but be proud of that!! What a great ending to my day!

And here is my latest drawing!!! I am working on an owl now, so no more tea pots/vases for me!

Tuesday 1/18

Sooo today was a normal day too! It is nice to have more of a routine. I went to Spanish, which felt abnormally long today, and then a couple of friends and I went to the centro commericial behind my house. I had no clue all of this stuff was there until this week, and it is literally about 3 minutes from my casa. (We have decided that casa = house in Costa rica and home = house in the states. It gets confusing when we say, oh I left this at my house, and noone knows which they are talking about. Just for future reference) We went to Pequeno Mundo again, and I bought some cheap popcorn. I think I am coming down on the culture shock curve because I miss American food soooo much. I want Orville´s kettle corn popcorn and I want to eat it with my old roomies late at night. I have also realized that when I come back home, it will be crawfish season... (HINT HINT) Anyone is free to send me kettlecorn too. We then went to the closest thing to a grocery store that I have found. I bought some bread and nutella to make sandwiches with for lunch. Also some lime granola bars, we shall see how those turn out. I know it was in the budget to spend money for lunch, but I get so sick of buying food everyday.

At this ¨mall¨we found a Mexican Restaurant that we are going back to soon. We are all craving chips and salsa too. Interesting note: Even though most of the food here is very salty, the chips are not so much. I had nachos the other night and almost went to get more salt to put on the chips... if you know me and how I don´t put salt on my food, that should let you know how bland the chips were.

Dinner was HILARIOUS!!! I went and got Tony´s (A previous student brought her some as a gift, and she never uses it) to put on my cheese spaghetti. My roommates wanted to try a bit, so a couple put it on their dinner. Herbert then asked for it, and we were all a bit shocked. They do not like ANYTHING spicy. He starts drowing his food in it, and he says that it is not coming out. He thought it was cheese! I told him that it was hot pepper and he just frowned at it, looked back at me and said es muy malo para mi, this is very bad for me. He scrapes most of it off, but still had to mix some in. He proceeds to eat it, and starts COUGHING and hitting his hands on the table. It was pretty funny, although I am sorry for poor Herbert. He had to throw his dish away and get a new one.

Sorry for the typos.... I am again at school with the Spanish Spell check! Hasta Manana!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Eniero 17

Feliz cumpleaños Lucas!!! I wish I could have been home for it!

The days seem to be getting more constant. I am getting use to the routine now and do not run into as many challenges as before. Today was great because we started our girls bible study. We went to a little restaurant close to school and shared our testimonies. Testimonies are one of my favorite things to know about new people. They are so uniquefor each person. It was also nice to know where my new friends stood in the faith and what they hoped for. We are meeting every Monday at lunch, and hopefully each girl will lead the study each week. I am really glad that we got that started here.

Nothing to much happened today. I have been so tired from all of our excursions, so I try to make a little more time for sleep. Mondays and Wednesdays I stay at school from 8am to 7pm.... which can be a BIT draining. After the bus dropped me off, Cecillia had my dinner waiting for me. It was some type of fish, beans, and wait for it..... rice. We talked for a while, too. I do not have much time to talk to her during the day, but I really do enjoy talking to her. Her and her husband have been having kids stay with them for 16 years!!!! It is so nice to see how excited she is to talk to us and to teach us new things. I think that would get old for a lot of people, but she makes me feel like I am the first student she has ever had. I am going to be SOOOOOO spoiled when I come back home in March. No more breakfast and dinner made for me or a special late dinner for when I come home late. Noone to clean my room for me or to do my laundry and hang everything up once a week. Even though the walk is a tad far from school, they are so great to us and feel so blessed to have Cecillia and Herbert for my Tico family!

GOOD NEWS: we can finally drink juice for dinner. I asked for it for dinner about a week ago and she said no. I guess she has had to bring students to the doctor before for dehydration, and I think the doctor told her that juice is not good to drink at dinner? I think this means that she just wanted us drinking water as much as possible, and she said after 15 days, we could drink juice for dinner. Well my friends, we are now on day 16 and the juice is oh so good!!

Sorry if there are typos, I am at school and spell check is in Spanish

Hásta mañana mis amigos!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Just embrace it

The Beach!!!

The little Chocolate lady

I am not cutting off my arm, just the cacao

That was the motto for our weekend at Puerto Viejo. We left school at 1:45 on Friday, and the trip should have taken around 5 hours. It started to rain and driving so fast on those mountain jungle roads got pretty scary. Then, we stopped in traffic. It turned out to be a wreck, and we did not move half a mile for 3 hours. I think it could have been a very frustrating thing, but everyone on the bus seemed really cool, and we just played games and talked. Once we finally got there, we walked around a bit then went to bed. The next morning it was still raining, and NOONE brought an umbrella. So everyone was just walking around getting drenched. Some of the group went to a native “bribri” lady’s house. She makes chocolate the way her ancestors did, and gave us a tour and showing of how she does it. It was so interesting and soooooo different from how I thought it was done. For instance, her chocolate was made from cocao. It is pretty much an orange fruit, and the seends, once they are fermented, dried, roasted, crushed, and mixed with sugar, become the chocolate. She never used any coco??? It was a great little experience within itself.

We drove back to the beach, and it FINALLY stopped raining. We were a bit turned off though, because it was still so grey and cold out. We put our bathing suits on, but only walked on the beach. People were selling coconuts to drink, but we went and found our own that some people had told us about. They were softer than usual, and you could bang them together, and drink the “milk”. Zack and I tried coconut milk before and it was pretty bad, but this kind was a bit better. I guess people just feel cool drinking out of coconuts.

We got dressed, met up with some more friends then all went out to eat. I had heard that Puerto Viejo had great food, and we surely found it! It was a great little restaurant, and we all had a great time together. Next we went to the Crepeire, where we had the BEST crepes. I got a nutella, banana, and ice cream one. They were a bit expensive, but I think everyone would be quite proud of me. I mad an effort not to be my thrifty self on this trip, and I think I have done a pretty good job so far. I buy 800 colones crepes, around $4,and feel okay after and not guilty! But they were definitely worth it! A couple of us walked on the beach for a while, then turned in around 11. At around 11:15 we had a knock on our door. Our friend asked us if we had seen a girl, because no one could find her at the bar. She had been drinking, and kind of vanished. She asked us to go help look for her, which consisted of us walking in our pajamas to the reggae bar, and immediently finding her. She had gone to the bathroom….. We ran into the other guys who we had been hanging out with earlier at the bar. Both surprised to see eachother, they had walked a girl over to the bar because she was looking for her friends too. Barachos….

Finally, we woke up to Sun!!!!!! We got dressed and ate breakfast at this place that had crème filled corssants! Amazing!! You would have loved them Zack, they were all flaky. About 25 of us went to another beach on the bus. It was the craziest beach I had ever been to. There were all red flags, and one yellow flag, where we could swim. Their flags are very different though. They are about 4.5 feet tall, and spaced out about every 30 yards. The one yellow flag was where the 2 life guards were, and all of the swimmers and surfers. The waveds were HUGE and the current was so strong! Most of just waded in the shallow part and watched the surfers. I have never got to see that up close, and it was definetly entertaining. These people were legit!!!!! A couple of our students kept on getting in the way of one of the best surfers out there. It was kind of embarrassing, but really funny to watch it play out from the beach. The good guy would be coming in their direction, and they would just dive underwater. Meanwhile, the good surfer wold stand on his board shaking his fists and slowly roll of in order to not hit them. The first time, he actually ran over this guy Joey, and Joey got a scolding. Joey apologized to him later, and said he was cool. Then not long after, the same exact thing happened with another guy. Those gringos....

We went back to the hotel, and ate some more amazing food. I got a falafel pita sandwich, and I think it was the best meal I have had since my time here. The bus ride home was much more enjoyable. We all talked a lot, and had time to hear all of the testimonies of our little group. We were all talking about how thankful we were to have met eachother. It is so nice to have so many people who know where I am coming from. It is so great to have such encouraging and uplifting situations too. Zack always talked about how great his friends were in South Africa and how they made the trip so great. I was so happy to know that he was able to meet people like that, and was hoping that I would be able to do the same. I surely have, and am so thankful for that.

Perto Viejo was so interesting though. It was a very Caribbean culture, and the people spoke with a Caribbean accent, only in Spanish. Obviously, there was tons of people selling pot at night. Veritas warned us about it before hand, but everyone already knew. When were were all walking together and they would offer it to us we had some different stratagies. One guy kept on saying “No fumamos” we don’t smoke. Our other friend Joey, responded differently though. His mom told him to say “Tengo el creepi” which means I have creepi, which is supposedly the best weed down there??? We did not know what he was doing at first, and once he told us it was funny to see their reaction. Most of them would go," oh, wow…" and just nod and walk away. I guess his mom did know what she was talking about afterall.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


soooo... to start the day off, we had Spanish presentations. Mind you, ours was around 15 slides, probably 10-15 minutes. Our class went to the projector room, then my group was going last. Right when we were about to start, another teacher with about, oh 25 Tico staudents walk into our class. HE insisted that it was his time for the room, maybe they over booked it, but our teacher said that we needed it for 1 more presentation. Instead of going outside, he told his students to sit down. THIS MEANS, we had to give our presentation in Spanish in front of ALL OF THE STUDENTS. We were so nervous and worried! I tried to lighten the mood by saying in spanish, we are very very sorry for our Spanish, do not laugh at us too much, and there was not a giggle or chuckle in the room. About three slides into the presentation, I remembered that we took a picture of me wearing a chief's headdress and the title was "Cacique Kelsey" (Chief Kelsey), as if we were not enough embarrassed.

We finally finished, and only our 4 other classmates clapped for us. The ticos stared at us the whole time, and did not clap or anything :( Needless to say, I can not remember the last time I was so embarrassed. After this, Hope and I walked to a Pequeno mundo store. This one was 5 mintues from my house, and I had no clue it was there. Nice to know now! I went to my classes then off to the crash party. My cook peace and democracy teacher Mr. Clarke walked over with us. We separated from him, then he came and grabbed my arm and said come with us. Then he proceeded to pay for 5 beers for us. I said no thanks, but I could never imagine that happening back home. I really do love all of my teachers here! None of my friends have said negative things about their either!

We danced with the Costa Rican dance group, and 3 Ticos finally came up and talked to us. only 1 spoke english though, but we talked in Spanish! Finally, our friend Brennan walked Rachel, Bridgett, and myself home, which was very nice. We have such a great friend group going.


sorry it was so choppy this time, off to shower and to do homework!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Salsa y meringue

So this will be a short post tonight, lo siento!

Woke up, went to school, yada yada, and got out an hour early of my one elective class. Then I worked/fiddled for about 3 hours until I met up with Hope and Rachel for our project in Spanish tomorrow. After this, Hope and I hung out/studied, then I ate dinner with her family. It was nice to see a different Tico family. They are much younger than mine, and the dinner table and conversation was definitely more dynamic. They have a little girl that is around 1 and a half named Montserrat. The got 6 shots today, and could hardly walk without whimpering. She looked like a little old lady hobbling around. She was very cute though. She started to feel better when her dad started dancing with her.

Speaking of her dad, he is currently a chef, and before that he was a firefighter, and before that a professional dancer. He is going to take everyone out one night to a dance club and dance with his wife. I have heard that they are AMAZING!!

After this, we went to the dance class at Veritas, which was so much fun!!! It was mainly girls dancing with girls because there were only about 10 guys there, but we all had a blast. Tomorrow night is the Crash party at school, where Ticos and internationals (me) go for a kick off party for the semester. The dance teacher said that she wanted to see us dancing, and I hope that we are able to!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Week 2 has started!

What a busy day! It started with TOTAL INTIMIDATION!!!! This week the tico students (Costa Rican) came back to school. So I walked around the corner and saw none of my friends but total strangers, and felt like they were all looking at me. It is one things to start up a conversation with someone from the States, but we all felt like highschool freshman all over again. I have no clue how to interact with them. In orientation they made it sound so easy to meet Ticos, but I think it will be much harder. We waited for our Spanish profesora for 30 minutes and were about to leave when she showed up :( She was quite sick though, but still came to class to cough all over us, I mean teach is. We told her that we needed to leave early to go to the Gold museum for our project, so she let us leave at 10:30 rather than 12 which was AWESOME!!

Hope, Rachel form Iowa, and I walked downtown and went to the museum. It was really interesting. They have tons of pre-Columbian gold, which is obviously, very old. After this, we needed to get lunch but could not find one real restaurant where we were, only American chains. So we sadly walked into the crowded Subway. Once we were finally at the front of the line, we realized that we had forgotten the word for most of the toppings and got very nervous about ordering. We did it with some extra help and time, then ate lunch together. We even passed some of our new friends in the street, which made it feel a bit more like home where you know people.

We were walking to the bus stop when a young Tico, maybe 20, walks up from behind us and starts walking next to me. He proceeds to say, "It is my pleasure ladies, I love you so very very much!". Hope told me that I actually laughed out loud, but then he just fell back behind us and disappeared. After this, Hope dropped a coin and the bus stop, and a man picked it up and told us, "Merry Christmas and Feliz New Year, I love you and to you I do not say good bye, I like see you later. Bye bye". We could not help but laugh. We were warned about the "machismo" of the men, like in other Latin American cultures, but it really is harmless. It is funny to see how they act so differently. They mean no harm, and just say what is on their mind. I thought it was so funny how they tried to speak English and had to come up to talk to us. I am sure we were not hard to find though. Three blonds walking in downtown San José do not exactly blend in.

We rode the bus home, then I headed to art class. My teacher is so great!! We drew our first assignment and he gives us such freedom to draw and make mistakes, and only helps when you ask. He may come around and give you guidance, but he is very big on finding your own style and technique. It was hard at first, but I must admit, I was VERY impressed with my self, especially for my first drawing. (hopefully you can tell, but it is a teapot and an apple)

I had a break then headed to my next class. Once again my Peace and democracy teacher was amazing. We got him to tell about himself for the first hour of class, then we just asked questions about Costa Rica and he rattled off such detailed answers. We talked about everything form Nicaragua, to the new stadium that China built in CR (check it out, interesting story), Shakira, Mountains, the port that China is going to build in CR that hold 66 huge ships that can not even fit through the canal, the "eco-friendleness" of Costa Rica and the health care. I have never been in a class for two hours and wanted to stay longer, but this guy makes it happen.

The bus driver/ agent Victor brought me home to another wonderful meal by Cecillia. She had Tony's on the table and I went to town with it. Next I had great conversations with both Cecillia and Herbert. When I asked them their opinions about the Costa Rican healthcare system (caja costarricense de seguro social) FYI, neither hesitated one minute before they said how great it was. We talked about it for so long. If you have an accident, get sick, or whatever, you pay nothing!! You pay a bit for prescriptions I think, but his daughter brought him his cough syrup prescription and it cost him 2000 Colones (about $4). they went on and on about it and how they liked it so much. I asked them if the richer people liked it too, and the said primarily yes, but they were able to also buy private insurance on top of it?? Not sure why, but they said most of the people liked it. It seems like such a great idea. Even though the political liberal side has all but become invisible in CR, they still have many things that we would call "liberal". They have many government owned organizations, like health, communications, and tons of others, and also their focus on the environment. I want to ask Mr. Clark (mi favorito) sobre estos, and I will get back to you all!

Sorry this was so long, but I figure that if you are reading this, you really care about me and want to know what is going on, so there you go!

Hasta Mañana!

My weekend in Tamarindo

I was not sure how the weekend would be, but it turned out to be so great! I was able to ride both ways with my friend Hope and we had a great time together. Once we arrived, Hope, Mel, and I roomed together. Almost everyone wanted to go out to a salsa club and I was not really feeling it, but thought that I should go to hang out with everyone. Luckily, Hope finally said that she really did not want to go, so we 3 went out to eat Venezuelan food, which tasted like an empanada of grits!
After that we met up with our new friend Ben, from Alabama, and we all went to the beach at night. We had a great time together, and it was nice to get to know everyone better. He had a game in which he asked us our favorite color, animal, and favorite thing about creation. So here is the verdict: green because it is natural, which is how I see myself, my favorite animal was a dolphin because they are intelligent and can do cool tricks, which is what I look for in a spouse (I knew Zack had me when he started his cool tricks, like backflips and Christmas dances, and we all know how smart he is!) and my favorite thing about creation is a sunset, because they are all unique everyday and this is how I view God. I guess that is cool, like everyday is something new for me from God, just like a sunset.
We woke up, had breakfast, then headed to the beach. After much diliberation, we used some surfboards of some other girls and gave it a shot. Hope had done it once, so gave me a little lesson, then we headed out. I was so surprised how much easier it was than I thought it would be. The first time I tried to stand up, I did it! It was so much fun, and eventually there were about 15 girls who all came out and tried it. Obviously, we all did not master the turn yet and just made sure that no one was in front of us before we started. I went on one wave, then Hope was coming on the next one. Amazingly, she turned, but in the wrong direction and was coming straight to me. I tried to move, but her board went over my ankel cord, leading to me being dragged about 30 feet by her and her board. It was shallow, so not dangerous or anything, but supplied us with so much laughter. It was such a fun day at the beach hanging out with all of the girls.
For dinner, about 10 of us went to a restaurant on the beach. We got free coco loco drinks, which was sweet coconut milk and cinnamon, and was AMAZING (Zack, you would have Loved it)!!! After that, I had my first ceviche. It was not as abrasive as I thought it would be, and quite good. I do not know if I will be going out for it every night, but I have been wanting to try it for a long time. After, we all walked on the beach and started to make a bonfire. This also took a LONG time, because it consisted of throwing leaves on the fire, until some wood finally caught flame. It was a great time getting to know everyone though. We all headed back to the hotel, and sat by the pool to talk and play games.
I feel like the weekend was such a good time to get to know everyone and bond. Now I feel like a big group of friends, rather than just students at the same school. I talked to so many Christians too, and we all felt so thankful that we were able to meet each other. We all said that we had been praying to meet good friends, and feel so blessed to have met each one of them!
After the 6 hour drive home, everyone was exhausted. I came home, ate a HUGE meal, SKYPED, then hit the bed. It was such a long weekend, but such a great way to start off my trip!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

One more day till Tamarindo!

Hola amigos!!

I think I should start todays blog off with a funny story. Dillion, the guy who lives in our house, started to ask me why I do not speak with a southern accent. I started speaking in English because his wife is from Ukraine and does not speak Spanish and of course, my WORST accent EVER starts to come out. So we continue talking about Louisiana and the food, and I told them about Tony's, and how I meant to bring some with me. He says "Oh yea, Tony Ch-a-che-res" I proceed to tell him that it is not how it is pronounced, but he does not believe me. We go back and forth, and he finally says that it is in Cecillia's kitchen. Once gain I do not believe him because I have NEVER tasted it in her food. And sure enough, another student that lived with her before left it there. He finally believed me :), then I asked Cecillia if she ever cooks with it. She said that it was good, but when she ate it, she turned red, started sweating and had to drink so much water and milk!! It was funny to hear her explain it.

The food here has a lot of salt in it, and I feel that it is partially to blame for my dehydration.

Any way, I had another easy Spanish class today, ate another empanada from school, but I am going to have to buy my own food from the store, because it is quite greasy. Next I went to my international relations in Latin America class, and it seems great. The teacher is a young Tico with his Ph. D, and seems great. On Thursdays, we spend the whole class talking about current events in LA, and we have to read an article about the country that we choose. I picked Argentina.

Mel and I walked home, then went back to get Hope after her class. We then went to the mall, to cash Hope's travelers checks, but got to the bank at 6:01 and it closed at 6 :( I guess there are a few things that Ticos are on time for:) Dinner was HUGE!! She always makes me something special for me, without meat. It is nice that she is vegetarian too. I wad guacamole, a tortilla, salad, and a whole plate of fried spaghetti and rice (it was better than it sounds), called on torta.

We leave for Tamarindo beach tomorrow at 1 after class and I am SOOOOOO excited!! I probably will not have internet access, but maybe since it is a tourist area i can e-mail. I am hoping to attempt to surf, because this is the best place to learn in CR. Hopefully, I will be able to write all about it on Monday!

January 5

this is for January 5... I got a little busy. I have a new Spanish teacher, and she seems great. She is a little hard to understand though, but the class seems at my level. After class we ate empanadas from a stand at school, then Hope and I went to La Musa Confusa, for smoothies. I then went to my drawing class which seems like it will be great!!! He was a professional photographer in NY and seemed very relaxed. Next I had Costa Rica: Peace and democracy, with probably one of the most intelligent people that I have ever met! He worked for the UN, is a speech writer for the President of CR, and many other things too. He knew so much about each of my classmates states, and when he found out that I was from Louisiana he asked me to make jambalaya for the whole class one day!

We spent a lot of time with our host family last night, and we had 2 visitors from Canada. They wer both from Quebec, and the girl mainly spoke French. It was fun talking to another person in Spanish, that could not resort to using English like we do. It was more of a challenge. I finished the night off with some awesome tea with cinnamon!

It was a great day, except it got so cold. I had to walk home in between classes to change into classes and get a jacket. It is unusually chilly here, and all of the Ticos walk around with scarfs and jackets saying how cold they are. So far everything has been great!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

First day of classes

Today was our first day of class. As usual, I spent way to much time fixing my schedule, in order to get the best classes to transfer back to LSU and the student coordinator already knows my name because of how much I went and saw him today and yesterday. The class that I really needed is not being offered, but I figured out that I can use another class to get the same amount of credit, which was AWESOME!! I entered my 4 hour Spanish class not knowing what to expect. It went by much faster than I had expected though. On the downside, I talked to my profesora later, and decided to move down a level. We both thought it would be best for me and my friend Hope is in that class too!

After this LOOONNNNGGG class, Melissa and I went to buy lunch somewhere. We went to a small store and bought chips and juice for about 850 colones (not even $2), which was pretty cool. After this I went up to my International relations class, only to wait another hour in the hall. The teacher never showed up, and we finally left under the advice of a coordinator..... Tico time for you. It was nice to sit in the hall and meet some more people though. A couple of us went to the conversation club, instead of sitting around. The club was run by my first teacher. We talked about differences and similarities between American and Tico culture, and this is when it really hit me how different they are. I think that southern culture is a bit more similar than other parts of the country, but it is still very different. One of the biggest things are the meals. Our Tico mother cooks for hours, but never eats with us. They say that in Costa Rica, the kitchen is the woman's domain, and no one else's. Bathroom life is WAY different, and social interaction is also very different. I am use to affectionate people and how people stand so close to you, but it is even stronger here. Arms length for a conversations shrinks to about a hands length, but it does not bother me.

After class Melissa and I walked back to our house, which is about 15 minutes form school, rested for a bit, then headed to the stores to buy me a bathing suit, which I forgot back home :(. We went to Pequena Mundo, Small world, which is a discount store. I bought a bathing suit for about 32oo colones, which is around $5 (Sorry mom, I know you are rolling your eyes at this). I did not feel like going into the mall, and it is HUGE so I would have no idea where to start. Surprisingly, I just tried it on and it is probably one of the best fitting bathing suits I have ever bought, hahha. Isn't it a small world??? Get it?

We came home and Cecillia whipped us together a quick dinner. She always cooks something special for me which is so sweet. Tonight we had salad, Yuca, a cousin of the potato, rice, beans, and she made me a omelette/quesadilla on a homemade tortilla which was awesome!!!!! We then started to walk to school for Latin American dance classes, but some girls told us on the way that it does not start until Thursday, which I can not say bothered me to much. I am so tired and my feet are sore from all of the walking today.

I am starting to feel more confident in my Spanish, but still feel a bit tense about the whole thing. I am sure that I will start to feel a bit more comfortable soon and a bit less tired.

One of the strangest things so far happened last night. I walked down stairs to ask for another pillow and since I was already in bed I just headed down. Herbert came out and saw my feet and said "Esto es muy mal in Costa Rica"! I completely forgot that I had no shoes on, and knew that it was considered rude in many Latin cultures. He told me though that because of the cold climate it is bad for your stomach????? Yes this cold 68 degree weather is very bad for me? I still do not quite understand that yet, and neither does any one else, but it is shoes for me from here on out!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Día numero 2

What a day!! We woke up to another huge meal by Cecilia, then headed to school. Once there, we spent hours getting registered. I am glad that I came with the knowledge of how things can sometimes be slow, because I think it made me enter the situation differently. It definitely took a long time and could have been executed better, but like they said in orientation we come from a mono-cronic society in which speed is the best way. Changing my expectations definitely helped and I tried to meet and talk to as many people as possible. There are definitely more students than I had expected and way more girls than boys??

After registration and taking a picture, we took an oral exam. It went pretty well and she gave me the choice to enter Intermedio (Intermediate) 2 or Avanzada 1 (Advanced). I think I will be in Avanzada but not sure as of today. All of the students went to an orientation together, then we had a separate one for independent students, those who did not come through an agency. There is a travel agency in the actual school, which is BEAUTIFUL, that plans excursions. I signed up for one today for this weekend. We will be going to Tamarindo Beach on the North Pacific Coast, which will be about a 7 hour bus ride. this is the best place to learn to surf because it has the easiest waves. This is the touristy side, so things are a bit more expensive too. I am super excited to drive through so much of Costa Rica and see the coast. They have trips planned for every weekend in January, and I am tempted to do them all. Next weekend is Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast, the week after that is Poas volcano and La Paz waterfall which would be a day trip, and the last one is Arenal Volcano and the Cloud forest.

After this, the man who picked us up from the airport asked is we would like to walk to the bank so that people could exchange money. After walking about 10 blocks with about 10 girls, he reminds the people who did need to exchange that they needed their passport, which none of them did! We said we still wanted to walk around with him though so he could show us around. He brought us to the mall, then me and my 3 friends Melissa, Hope, and Rachel, walked with him to the Universidad de Costa Rica, which has around 40,000 students. I am glad that he showed us around because I understand the city better now. We then took another bus to down town, and he showed us good places to go and good shops. We then took another bus back to the school, and that is where the fun began. My roommate Melissa and I had to walk back together from school, along with her suitcase that was lost in flight yesterday. We passed our other roommates, who knew the area a bit better than us. Somehow we still got wrong directions, and turned left where we should have turned right, although I thought we should have turned right. After walking a bit we knew this was wrong and turned back. A young Tico then came out and asked us if we were lost. He proceeded to help us, and let us use his phone to call home. We were on the right track the whole time, but it was nice to have some assurance. We will definitely know where to go tomorrow.

Our house is one of the furthest from school, about a 20 minute walk. The university provides a bus pick-up in the morning and all throughout the afternoon so that you do not have to walk home if you do not want to, which is nice. First day of classes are tomorrow and I am excited to meet my teachers and other students. Although it was just orientation today, I am sooooooo tired and my feet need some rest. I look forward to another amazing dinner and a good night of sleep!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The first day in San José

Leaving my parents and Denver at the airport this morning made my trip seem a bit more real, but I still do not think that it has hit me yet. We took off from LC at 6:53 and landed at 7:21, a whopping 28 minute flight. I arrived in Houston with enough time to call home, charge my computer, and board the plane. The plane ride went so well, and going through customs was an absolute breeze. After I found my group, more students started to arrive. And it just so happens that the first 2 girls that I met were Christians. This was followed by The biggest and most vivid rainbow that I have ever seen! San José is so beautiful and I am excited to see more of the city.

Once we arrived to the school, families started walking up from their houses. These were the people that we would be staying with. I felt like a puppy or sale, because the people would call out names and you had to raise your hands to find them. Senor Herbert and his daughter picked me up and we drove to his and his wife Cecillia's house. He quickly left to buy something for the house and she quickly made me tea and bread. We sat down and talked for about an hour and a half, and it went much better than I had expected, even considering the fact that she does not speak English. I then found out that I was not the only student staying here, but that there were four more. That was nice to learn and I think this will be fun once we get to know each other better.

After the snack, I came to my room, unpacked a bit, then headed back down for dinner. Senor Herbert talked about so much, and I think I dozed in and out due to my tiredness and all of the Spanish. I can not recall much from the conversation except waist/belts, butterflies, antibiotics in different countries, jazz, and the hot water in Costa Rica.... you connect the dots.

All in all it was a great day. Everything went so smoothly and I feel so welcomed at their home. I could tell how much Cecillia likes having students at her house and helping them with their Spanish. Tomorrow we are eating breakfast at 7 and heading to school at 7:30 for orientation. School will start on Tuesday. I am excited for orientation tomorrow to better understand what there next 11 weeks will look like.

It is so funny how the family keeps on saying how cold it is outside, and even right now at 9:30 at night it is 68 degrees. It is that perfect weather where you can wear shorts or pants and be completely comfortable. That may sound silly, but that is the best way to describe it. There is hardly any humidity and a constant breeze. I guess I am learning as to why they call it the rich Coast.