Sunday, July 26, 2009

“20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain


I’ve always loved this quote…life is so much better when you take chances. It feels so good to actualize a dream...especially in Costa Rica...what an amazing place!!!

I’m really happy now because yesterday I bought a bike! I feel like a teenager with my first set of wheels, so excited to be able to get around the town easier…and it has a basket for my stuff…love it! He doesn’t have a name yet…

I wish I had it on Friday when it torrentially downpoured! Here I was thinking, ‘oh, the rainy season isn’t so bad…’ and then the biggest rainfall came in on Friday afternoon. It started with really a high tide…here is my video:

I was stuck at the school for a while during the storm, and when it let up I started walking home with a trash bag over my stuff. There was so much water in the streets, and when I turned down the street towards mi casa, it was a full-on river! I was literally walking through at least a foot of water for several minutes, laughing at myself…I’m in the middle of Costa Rica stuck walking in a river, losing my flip flops, and soaking wet! Later on that night it cleared up, and we ended up going out to the bar to watch the big game – Costa Rica vs. Mexico in the Gold Cup – we lost, but of course everyone still celebrated. I danced a little salsa (I’m learning) and had my first drink with Guaro – the national liquor of CR, made from sugar cane but strong like tequila...que bueno! On the way home that night the frogs were so loud I couldn’t hear myself think…or maybe it was just the guaro talking.

Samara is such a small town: everyone knows everyone, they all know my Mamatica, and if they don’t know eachother there is only like one degree of separation. It’s very different from what I’m used to but I like it. It feels like an authentic Costa Rican experience. I’ve already met some of my TEFL instructors (at the bars, naturally), and I’ve already met some of my future students (during the TEFL course we practice teaching with locals). I can’t believe by the middle of next week I will already be teaching!

Yesterday, the 25th of July, marked the 185th anniversary of the annexation of Guanacaste. Before that this region belonged to Nicaragua. I asked my Mamatica if there was a fight over the territory, and in typical Pura Vida style, she informed me that it was an easy, friendly decision…but of course! People just give things to Costa Rica, like the bridge from Puntareanus to Nicoya, which was provided by the amigos de Taiwan. Anyhow, we went to the town of Nicoya last night, where there was a big celebration in the square, with street food and kids games, and live music and performances. We saw some typical dances from the region, and at the end of the evening was the most popular band from this area, Mal Pais:

Que mas? The food…the food has been a lot of fun. I haven’t always liked everything but for the most part it’s great (and when I don’t like it, there’s always Lizano sauce to make it better, right B?). Some of my favorites were a banana leaf tomale filled with corn stuff for breakfast (pictured below), tortas de yucca (which we made in cooking class), and the typical sopa negra (black bean soup with cilantro, onions, eggs, and in my case, hot sauce…so good!!!)

A few more pics below...thanks for reading and sending encouraging words! Love to all!

Mi Casa

Krista and I on the road to Nicoya

My first visitors, Junx & Cayce

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Hola from Costa Rica! I’ve only been here for 5 days but all the experiences I’m having make it seem like so much longer. I arrived on Saturday to San Jose, stayed overnight with a family in a neighboring town called Heredia, and then got a ride with a Tico to Samara on Sunday. Here in my little beach town on the Nicoya Peninsula, I am living with a sweet Tico woman named Marisol, who cuts hair and does nails in the salon in the front of her house (nice…I can get pedicures!!!) Also living there is her son Bryan (19), 3 other students from Europe, plus a Swiss girl and her Tico boyfriend, which makes for a nice community. I can easily walk to my school from here, which is located in the center of town directly in front of the beach (que lindo!)…

The first night in Heredia I encountered 3 roaches in the bathroom and the bedroom…yikes!..but no more since then. The second day in Samara I took a shower with a frog, and last night with a green and brown gecko – so cute! One of the most beautiful things I’ve seen so far is wild horses running on the beach! There are a bunch of horses and dogs and cats that seem to be running free, but I’m not sure, they very well could have homes, but be allowed to roam…all of my MamaTica’s animals (dogs, puppies, kittens, chickens) roam around the outside the house, and they aren’t really allowed inside.

My Spanish is improving quickly and I took my first surf lesson today! It was super fun! My super cool friends Junx and Cayce are here visiting from Atlanta (they just happened to plan a trip here during the first week of my stay) so we took the lesson together and we all got up! All the people here are so nice, the locals are very welcoming, and there are tons of international students at my school to hang with…and the food has been muy delicioso!!!

Having trouble uploading pictures so I'll do that next time...hasta luego…voy a cenar!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Adios ATL

I'm leaving July 18th for Costa Rica!!! I'll be taking 2 weeks of Spanish classes followed by a 4 week TEFL certification course during the month of August...then I hope to find a job teaching English. I started this blog as a way to keep in touch, so you, my dear friends and family members, can see what I'm up to. I will be without a cellphone (at least in the beginning) so all communications will be via the web. Ok...time to pack!