Sunday, December 26, 2010

December Wrap-Up

2010. What an amazing year it's been...I found my dream job teaching English in a beach town in Costa Rica. I perfected my Spanish skills to the point where I can now instruct others on how to speak the beautiful latin language. I fell in love with an amazingly sweet tico man and we created a great life together. I worked on my cooking skills, made beach art, discovered new ways of thinking and expressing myself, saw uncountable gorgeous sunsets, and traveled making visa runs to Nicaragua and back to the U.S. I enjoyed a lot of free time and I also put in a lot of time and energy into creating the English program in Santa Teresa and Montezuma. I made new friends and reunited with old ones, and I also saw tons of family that I hadn't seen in years at my cousin's wedding to which I was blessed to make it. I met my long lost half brother that I never knew I had, which in itself was an incredible experience. And finally, to top it all of, I got to spend Christmas relaxing and celebrating with my familia here in Atlanta. For all of this and more, I am grateful. My life is filled with love and joy and prosperity on many levels, and although things aren't always perfect, I am so thankful for all that I have and I truly believe the best way to be is optimistic so I'm counting my blessings!

The turn of the new year is a good time for reflection as well as setting new goals, and sometimes we are too busy to take the time to meditate on what it is we've learned, where it is we've been, and where we're headed. This year I'm making a point to do just that. It's been a year of self exploration in many ways for me, a new country, new job, new language, so many new experiences...and I have learned so much. My only regret is that I didn't journal more about all of my feelings and thoughts. I was doing pretty well with the blog at first, but that too ended up fading into the background at the end of the year. So, one of my goals for the new year is to keep up with my journal and maybe keep this blog going too...or maybe start another, more personal blog to post more inspirational ideas. But one step at a time!

To summarize some of my personal reflections...a few things I've been thinking about and plan to continue working on in 2011: practicing good health, conscious awareness of destructive patterns in order to transform them into positive habits, and allotment of time for personal space for meditation/creativity, allowing my inner femme fatal her self expression;) My health is generally very good but it's always important to keep it in the forefront. Maintain the vibrant life force with good nutrition and proper exercise. Oh, and lots of sunshine! Gotta love that free vitamin D! I've always been a slacker when it comes to exercise and I know this...but it's becoming more important to kick my ass into gear, so yes, like so many other people out there, I'm setting workout goals for the new year. Secondly I've been trying to work on bringing my awareness to any negative behavioral patterns or unhealthy reactions that come up in my daily life, recognize the tendencies I have and recognize it when they happen, and then to try to shift my mind state into a more positive space. The key here I believe is to be brutally honest but also be super gentle with yourself, and with those who are closest to you and act as mirrors of your behavior. Springing from the basic practice of turning of negative thoughts into positive affirmations...and taking that same adjustment work to other energetic and mental tendencies. And the last thing I mentioned, which is perhaps the most important, is the setting aside of personal time to reflect and express, to nurture my spirit and rejoice in my connection with the divine, and to just be...breathing, happy, whole. This is such an important simple yet so easy to forget in the mix of everyday life. And even when you're living a tranquilo life at the's funny how your day gets filled with basic tasks and work and friends and food and suddenly a week has gone by without 15 minutes of breath and silence! So, there are some achievable goals, fit for the soul, for the ever-evolving me in 2011.

On a lighter semester of English classes came to an end just about a week and a half ago with final exams and I am so proud of all of my students! They have truly improved their skills with the language and I feel so good about the impact I have made. But I'm also really stoked to be able to stay and work with them again in 2011, because I have got to get them speaking more. If there is one thing that they still need to get over their fear about, it's speaking, and I finally figured out some new techniques of translation practice with simple conversation that seems to be working quite well. I plan to keep it up in the new year and hopefully get everybody's confidence up to speak more fluidly. Teaching is great, a lot of fun, challenging and creative at the same time, and I'm constantly learning new things. I'm considering continuing teaching English or possibly Spanish in the future when I return to the states. It's a wonderful profession.

Right now I'm in Atlanta for a few more days of vacation and then I will return to Costa Rica just in time for New Years Eve (YAY Fiesta!!!) Unfortunately, my boyfriend and I are moving AGAIN when I get back, but hopefully this will be the last time! The last time I blogged we were living in a sweet vacation house that a friend was care-taking, but that was only for the rainy season, and in the beginning of November we relocated to a small but sweet apartment more in the center of town. It's been a great little spot, close to everything, it came with a lovely cat (who I think actually belongs to a neighbor a few doors down but she spends a lot of time on our patio), and we've met a lot of neighbors who have become good friends there. We are on the same side street as the big SuperMercado, which is convenient, and right across the street from one of the most beautiful beach spots in Santa. Check out the view from under the palms above ^^^

But like I said, we are moving again, which is due to a sanitary issue I'd prefer not to discuss here (let's just say the bathroom stinks more often than it should), but we are so lucky that we have found a perfect place to move into and it's just a few houses up the same side street on the same block. Good thing, because I sold the car so we don't have an easy way to move everything at once. The new place is bigger and has a nice front porch and we are super excited because we will be sharing the place with my favorite little NYC transplant Trinity ;) She was living in Montezuma and Santa Teresa earlier this year and we became the best of friends. Then she left for the rainy season, but she's coming back for at least the next 6 months. What a treat it will be to have my girlie here again to kick it with! And get this: just a day before we were leaving ST for the holidays, we weren't sure what we were going to do about our living situation, because the house we were looking at was occupied until the 7th and our current landlord wasn't happy with our moving plans...but it just so happens that the current inhabitants are some rad friends of ours who offered to let us move in a week early to help us get out of our current leasing agreement (gotta give up the whole month of January), how nice is that! So it all feels kind of like a miracle, everything is coming together beautifully as it always does here. Ah, sweet Costa always seems to fall perfectly into place in your luscious lands <3

Hasta Pronto! Espero que todos pasaron un Feliz Navidad!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

...and then the Earth trembled!

Wow...what a week! In the past week I've experienced many new, interesting, exciting, and scary things. There was a skunk in my kitchen that made me scream, a family of raccoons visiting our trash bin (mind you now that I've made friends with one I kinda like seeing these guys around), a ginormous four inch cockroach crawling by outside (these guys on the other hand are not welcome), bright green frogs having sex on a leaf in the yard, and frog eggs from said frogs hanging on said leaf in a gelatenas clear substance the next morning (cool). But nothing was quite as amazing as the tremors I felt on Thursday and Friday.

It was my first time to experience an earthquake (tremor, really, but to me it was pretty significant). The entire house shook. I just so happened to be getting dressed (it was around 9:30 in the morning) and had to run outside to a safer spot topless...good thing we don't have any close neighbors. The house we live in is built on the side of a mountain, and there is a fault line running through Cobano and a seismogenic plate that lies beneath most of the Nicoya Peninsula. This area is basically where two tectonic plates meet under the surface of the Earth: the Coco Plate and the Caribbean Plate. Apparently the shifting of these two plates is what causes the earthquakes and tremors, and sometime in the future a very large earthquake could destroy the entire peninsula. I'm not so sure what it all means, but that's what they say. It seems to me the whole area is sort of in a constant flux, especially the tip of the penninsula where I live (Montezuma, Cobano, Cabuya, Mal Pais, and Santa Teresa). The mountains drop at a steep angle down to the coastal areas, the terrain is rough, and at any time landslides and topographic changes are possible. I guess that explains why the roads are so bad, because paving them never seems to last that long. As the land changes, so do the pothole prone roads.

The tremor was Thursday morning and it reached 5.3 on the Richter scale. There were apparently more than 6 more aftershocks, only one of which I felt. Then came the flashes in the sky. Thursday night as we were going to bed we started noticing some lightening in the sky, but there was no thunder. Heat lightening I suppose. We went to bed but kept seeing these flashes of light outside the window, so we got up to watch the storm. But it wasn't raining and there was still no thunder, just continuous flashes of light with the occasional bolt of lightening going sideways across the sky. I have never seen so much atmospheric activity - the flashes continued with less than 5 seconds between them for at least a couple of hours. It was truly unbelievable, kind of beautiful, and a little bit frightening. We are living in the beginning of the end of days, after all. Who knows what could happen, or what's normal anymore.

Again on Friday morning there was another big one, 5 point something, and then again this morning around 3 am, 4 point something. During both of these I was sleeping and I didn't feel anything. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I guess I'm a good sleeper like my dad. :)

So...aside from mother nature showing me her wild side this week, life has been pretty normal. It's midterm exam time for my students, so now we will really see who's got the dedication to pass the test and finish out the semester. I think most of them are going to do just fine, and I'm making an extra effort to do a whole review class so they are well prepared for the exam. The weather has been surprisingly really beautiful lately, with several full days of sunshine this week which means I got in a little beach time. Last weekend we spent in San Jose again, this time because I had to take the car in to pass her technical inspection, which after spending hundreds of dollars in repairs and borrowing a tire from a similar car at the local mechanic's, she passed by the skin of her teeth (now there's an interesting idiom to use in my classes...any ideas where that one came from?). Now that Geovanna passed inspection and we are getting close to finishing the rainy season, I'm considering selling her and keeping the quad come November. I've been planning to sell Rubi (the ATV), but in reality she is much more fit for getting around on these roads as long as it's not raining: she's newer, has fewer problems, and she's built for off-roading (or on-roading in Costa Rica). Plus she can go a lot faster, and she's a lot more fun to ride! She's perfect for the dry season, and since I'm thinking I probably won't stick around for the entire year next year, she's probably my best option. Yes, that's right, I'm currently considering wrapping things up here in May or June of 2011. But no promises. There are still a lot of things that could happen between now and then...

And there you have it. Hasta la proxima, pura vida!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

La Vida Tranquila

Livin la vida tranquila. That is the truth these days. With the rains coming more frequently things are slowing down even more around here. I can hear the waves crashing down more clearly. The monkeys are howling louder. The winds are blowing harder. I feel like my senses are being heightened from the silence surrounding me. Tourism has almost reached it's yearly low and only the locals remain. It's kinda cool to be a part of it, experiencing the vacation spot without the slew of invading vacationers. I can truly say I know this town, from both sides now.

Don't get me wrong, it's not rainy everyday (or at least not yet). August was actually really nice, a good balanced month, and lately the mornings have typically been rain free, with the clouds rolling in in the afternoon. The locals are still doing their thing. The motorcycles and quads are still bumping along the pothole-filled roads, and the hardcore surfers are still making their way to the breaks on the daily. Life goes on, but it's clear that this town was built for tourism. A lot of businesses will close for at least one month sometime during September and October, and many locals will take their yearly vacation back home to where ever home may be (San Jose, Nicaragua, Europe, the U.S., and Israel are common destinations). It's a good time to escape, and I'm hoping that my two week trip home is well planned, smack dab in the middle of October, the rainiest month of the year, when my wonderful cousin Dan just happened to be getting married in Pennsylvania. The perfect excuse.

In the mean time I plan to continue with my teaching, which has definitely become one of my passions. My students are truly a joy to work with (for the most part). I've also found myself igniting and reigniting some of my other passions: clothing design, for example. Simple cut and tie projects with big guys t-shirts that I'm turning into dresses and halter tops. The next step is to try some at-home DIY screenprinting. We'll see how that works out. Not a major project yet, but I'm testing the waters. It could be a great little business to start once the tourist season starts back up. My boyfriend Javier makes macrame jewelry to sell at the beach and so I've been toying with the idea of joining him with some homemade beachwear. Other ideas include shell and driftwood creations like mobiles and little paintings. The rainy season is definitely a good time to get creative, and I'm grateful to have a nice space in my home to do some work. Fun work, that is.

Last weekend some gringo friends of ours, Maryann and Paul, invited Javier and I to go to San Jose with them. They have recently relocated here from Cape Cod, and they are buying a jungle lodge in Mal Pais. They sort of needed help since they didn't know their way around the San Jose and they don't speak much Spanish, so Javi played tour guide and I played translator.

They covered the hotel which was basically a nice Tica lady's home, and she cooked all our meals for us. We helped them find their lawyer, do paperwork for a visa application, get fingerprints done, and go shopping around the city. We also picked up their 16 year old daughter Carly, who had just flown in from the States. She'll be living here for the next three months or maybe longer, doing an online home schooling program with a local advisor.

We had a lot of fun tooling around the city and it was nice to get out and do something different. The beach is beautiful, but I do crave a little taste of city life from time to time. We are planning to go back again in the next few weeks to visit Javier's mom and daughter, and we hope to go to the Parque de Diversiones (amusement park) as long as the rain holds off.

Yesterday we had planned to do a BBQ on the beach in the afternoon, but as you come to expect around here, we got rained out. So the BBQ turned into a dinner party. We made ceviche and fish sticks from fresh caught "dayboat" Jack and hung out at Pachamama, the lodge in Mal Pais that our friends are purchasing. Pachamama means mother earth; there's a translation that I love. We drank Chilean wine out of a box and made friends with a raccoon. At first I thought they were crazy for feeding it, but then I realized how cute he really was, and I joined the action by feeding him some tostadas myself. His little paws were super soft, and he was very gentle and careful around us. I still can't quite get used to the idea, but they are actually trying to encourage the natural wildlife to be around their lodge. No dogs allowed, but raccoons, monkeys, and other small mammals are more than welcome.

Other highlights from the past month included a visit from my girlfriend Meredith, who came for a second time after her first trip back in March. She brought a friend with her which was great since I had to teach some evenings while she was here, and they were having the best trip. They literally came during the best week in August, weather wise. During their two day trip to La Fortuna to visit Volcan Arenal, they were blessed with a completely clear night, and actually saw hot lava flows around the volcano. I've been twice and never been that lucky. Then they arrived at the beach and we had three days of sunshine. It was amazing.

We went surfing at the most beautiful beach nearby, Playa Hermosa, which has become my new favorite. It's a lot easier to surf there for beginners, plus it's less crowded and wider and cleaner than the beaches in Santa Teresa.

We also visited the Montezuma waterfalls and hit up reggae night over in Montezuma, which is about the only big party that's still happening around here. It was a blast, and the girls were already talking about coming back...again!

The other night I accidentally left my keys in my car when I went into the super to buy some groceries. I locked the car up good like I always do, bought my groceries and reached for my keys...but they weren't there. Of course, I was checking my messages on my phone before I got out of the car and somehow just forgot to grab the keys on my way out. But that's no problem because I made a spare door-only key and I keep it in my must still be there, right? Wrong. I have no idea where the extra key went, but it wasn't in my wallet, so there I was without a key and without a locksmith. Of course there isn't a locksmith here! So I called around to a few different friends and a taxi driver who is my student, but no one had any grand ideas. One friend jokingly told me that the only "locksmiths" around here were the thieves. I stood there feeling a bit defeated, when suddenly out of nowhere one of my students pulls up, jumps out of the car and when I explained my problem announces "I'm a mechanic, I can do it, just let me find a hanger." He runs behind the supermarket and comes back with a wire and a metal rod. He slides it into the door and within about 2 minutes he works his magic and voila, my door opens. It was truly a miracle that he showed up, and things just seemed to work out, as they always seem to around here, just people helping people. Pura Vida.

I'll leave you with a few more photos of the house. Saludos a todos mis amigos, I miss you all much and please come visit! November through April/May will be beautiful here ;)

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Haps...


I'm sitting here at the bakery in Playa Carmen using my laptop today. It's been a slight adjustment getting used to not having internet in the house, but thanks to my iPhone and a super cheap pre-paid line from ICE, the Costa Rican phone company, I've been able to stay pretty well connected. Somehow full time internet on the 3G network here works out to be less than ten cents a day. Calls are about 10 cents a minute. What a difference, I was paying almost $90 monthly in the states! I feel like it's too good to be true, like it's only a matter of time until they catch on and realize that they're offering these plans for way too cheap. But for now...I'm rocking my jailbroken iPhone in tico-land!

The first month of my second semester of English classes has gone really well. I’m excited that we have seen an increase in enrollment in the courses, and I'm hopeful that most of the students will stick with it through December. I worked closely with the Camara de Turismo in Santa Teresa-Mal Pais to get things organized for this semester, and I felt proud that they really wanted me to stay. I really do love teaching and even if I’m having a bad day by the time I get in the classroom and interact with my students it cheers me right up. Attendance has been pretty good overall and it seems the students are enjoying the classes. The two new groups of beginners are particularly enthusiastic, which is fun for me. I have a total of 93 students enrolled right now!

I feel like I've become a better, more efficient teacher, and lesson planning is starting to come quicker. One key thing I've learned: Preparation is everything. Having back up games and extra activities planned always helps, because you never know how things will go. Sometimes a group goes through material way faster or way slower than you expect. Each class in unique and you have to be prepared to cater to the students’ needs and interests. I think I'm getting better at that.

In my personal life things have definitely changed a lot over the past two months! I just moved again after realizing that the adorable little house my boyfriend and I were sharing was a little too expensive for us. We loved it but we came across a better option in Santa Teresa so we decided to take it. Now we should be much better off (read: financially), and the place is pretty nice too. It's a gringo style vacation house that normally rents to tourists, but it had been abandoned for a few months so lots of things need to be fixed up and repaired. A friend of mine is taking care of the house and overseeing all of the repairs, so we are getting a great deal and just have to put up with a few minor imperfections, but once everything is fixed this place will be pretty pimp. I definitely miss living with the family in Cabuya, but we try to pass by or meet up with them ever so often. They are such wonderful people. I especially miss my baby sis, Tiffany. What a little love! But I do love that I get to share a life with my sweet boyfriend, and we have a great time hanging at home cooking, watching movies, and doing little art projects. I don't know what I would do without him, especially now that the rainy season is in full effect. He has made life so much easier and more fun!

I do have days where I miss home, and they've been happening more frequently as of late. I don’t know why, maybe because of all the moving and not having all of the comforts of home, or maybe because I’ve been here over a year now and I’m just starting to really miss my people, but those feelings have definitely been popping up. Then again I look at where I am and how many interesting and unique experiences I’m having and it all fades away. I think too it’s because the rainy season can be a little bit harder to deal with here, and lots of the friends that I had here have gone back to the states or where ever for the low season. But again, I love my work, I live on the beach, and I'm super happy with my boyfriend...I don't think I can complain too much :)

That's it for girl Meredith is coming to visit tomorrow so this week will be extra special! I'll get some pictures up of the new place and the latest adventures soon! Besos de Costa Rica!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hola amigos! Time for a quick catch up session on the last month...I've been on vacation!

We had final exams in all my classes and the students generally did really well. Then my girl Grace came to visit from Atlanta and my vacation began. Unfortunately I spent the first weekend sick with a sinus infection and a bit of a fever. I felt bad that I got sick just at the same time that Grace arrived, but she was a good sport about it and went and did some activities on her own while I rested. It's funny, I haven't gotten sick much in Costa Rica, and the only other time I did get sick was right after the TEFL course I took back in August. This time it happened right after my first semester of teaching ended. Looks like a pattern to me…post stress release sickness…but at least my body knows to wait until I'm finished working!

For July 4th weekend, Javier and I went to Samara to visit friends. It was so nice to have a mini vacation, and Miss Geo (the car) did great on her first road trip!

We rented a room at Sol y Mar just down the street from where I used to live with Marisol. My friend Krista from Chicago was in town for a few days with her boyfriend and then a few days later my "little sister" Mareike arrived from Germany.

It was great to be reunited again, and Marisol invited us all for a BBQ party at her house. Samara was beautiful as always, and I ate some of my favorite ceviche from the street vendor there…YUM!

When we got back I had two graduation ceremonies to attend for my students in Santa Teresa and Montezuma. It was an honor to present my students with their hard-earned certificates. I am so proud of them and how far they've come! There were a few representatives from the ICT and the Municipalidad de Cobano that came to speak to the students about the program, and I spoke on a microphone both in English and in Spanish! What a great feeling to know that I've helped change so many lives. This is what teaching is all about:)

On Saturday Javier and I made the move from Cabuya into our new house in Mal Pais and we really love it! I finally have my own kitchen to cook in and we have a washer and dryer, hot water showers, TV, and internet. It's a small house but it's nice and clean and perfect for us.

Last time I wrote about another place in Santa Teresa, which was beautiful, but when we found this place it was obviously a better option for the both of us, and at a better price. The best part is we have baby coconut trees here so we've been drinking young coconut water everyday…fresh and free!

Class started back in Montezuma on Monday and we had a registration day for the seven new classes in Santa Teresa which will be starting next week. So far it looks like I will be teaching around 80 students total and there will be two brand new beginner groups in Santa Teresa. I'm excited to get going and I've got a lot of new ideas for more conversation oriented classes. I've got to get these guys speaking more comfortably! I am also making a new rule for myself: no Spanish in the classroom! In my TEFL course, I was taught to do all my classes in 100% English, but when I started teaching beginners that had no English I found it was necessary to explain some things in Spanish. Now that they have the basic foundation however, I've got to cut out all the Spanish and go with pure English. I think this will be a tremendous help for them, although it may be hard for me to get used to. I guess I secretly like practicing my Spanish with my students, but I'll have to save that for outside of class!

Ok gotta run, we are cooking some fresh fish Caribbean style in coconut milk for dinner...pura vida

Friday, June 18, 2010


I can't believe it's already half way through June! The other CREST volunteers who came in January and only signed up for six months will be heading home soon (tear). The semester is almost over. All of my classes have their final exams next week and then we get a two week vacation. I can't imagine how I would feel if I was leaving so soon…I think it would break my heart! Luckily I am planning to continue with the program, although there have been a few bumps in the road.

I wasn't aware of this until recently, but apparently the ICT (Costa Rican Institute of Tourism) only sponsors the CREST program in each town for one full year. Montezuma and Santa Teresa already had another volunteer for six months last year, so this July will mark one year here. That means the funding will be cut, and the local Camara of Tourism will have to pick up the slack if they want to continue with the program. The money from the ICT was basically paying my housing and food with the family in Cabuya, and the Camara was providing me with a little stipend for gas and class supplies. When I first heard that the funding would be cut I was super sad because I didn't know if the program would continue, but the Camara of Tourism in Santa Teresa assured me that they want me to stay. In Montezuma, the Camara is very disorganized and there isn't much money, so as it turns out I will only be keeping one night of classes there, and I will open a few new classes in Santa Teresa where there is a higher demand for learning English.

The other major change is that I decided it would be best if I moved over to the Santa Teresa side, since three out of my four teaching nights will be there, and then I'll only have to drive to Montezuma once a week. I spent a few days searching in the past week and I think I finally found my spot! It's a super cute little cabina that one of my students rents out, next to her house on her property, which just happens to be about 50 feet from a gorgeous secluded beach. Hello perfection. It's a little more than my job affords me, but I think I can make up the rest doing some extra private lessons, and it will be so worth it. It comes with everything; it even has a blender for fruit drinks and an oven which is a rarity here in Costa Rica! I can make banana bread and bake root vegetables! Cabuya was a great place because the family was so wonderful and the town is super tranquilo, but it is a little bit out of the way to constantly be driving back and forth. Plus the beaches are better in Santa Teresa, and I can finally get out and surf more! I hope this place works out, but either way I'm trusting that things will fall into place perfectly as they always seem to do here in Costa :)

My girlfriend Grace is coming to visit next week so that's super exciting! It's good timing because I will be finishing with classes and have a little break. We are planning to drive to Manuel Antonio for a few days and possibly do a little rafting adventure on the Rio Naranjo. I want to take her to the national park there because it's a beautiful spot to see monkeys and other wildlife. She also wants to do a canopy tour, so I think we'll try the one in Montezuma that goes over the waterfalls. It's close and I think I can swing us a nice discount.

After Grace leaves I'm planning to take the rest of my time off to visit friends in Samara. The first and best friend that I made in Samara is a girl named Krista from Chicago. She was there studying Spanish at the same language school and we instantly hit it off and hung out for the next few months before she went back to the states. She will be back for a weekend and I can't wait to see her! Then my little sister Mareike from Germany will be returning - I call her my sister because we lived together in the same house with our "mamatica" Marisol - so I will stay a few more days to hang out with her. I think my boyfriend Javier is coming with me too, so it will be a lot of fun to introduce him my friends there! Yay vacation!!!

When I get back we will have a graduation ceremony and party for my students in Santa Teresa…I hope they all pass the final exam!!! I think in Montezuma we are all just going to meet at the bar and I will hand out the certificates and make a little speech. I'm so proud of all of their hard work and it's amazing to see the progress they've made in just 5 months! I really am inspired to work harder and get them speaking more English by the end of the year. The main things I'm going to focus on now is more listening and speaking exercises. The grammar and writing are important too, but with each topic we study I want to make sure everyone can express themselves clearly in English. Wish me luck!

Ciao…or as some they say here "cha-ito"

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Photo Tour Part 2

A continuación...
Starfruit tree in the backyard, always popping off.

Starfruit snack. Also good for making fresco (juice/water/sugar).

Limón tree, which is the Costa Rican version of lime and/or lemon, grows here year round here too. It's a little bit more acidic/tart, but it does the trick.

Avocado in the tree in our front yard...getting bigger...we had so many we had to give them away...and they're all huge!

View of the coast on the way from Cabuya to Montezuma, a beautiful shoreline with beaches scattered among big black rocks.

School in Montezuma where I teach (beachfront).

Typical Iguana hanging out in the schoolyard.

Playa Montezuma.

House in Delicias where I stay part time.

There are 3 different types of mango trees in the yard in Delicias...these are the big ones, super yummy!

Papayas too!

This is green noni.

This is ripe noni. Good for you, but oh so stinky!

My little friend Maria in Delicias, age 2, calls me "Ah-me."


Typical cow/bull sighting on the road near Cobano; sometimes they are seriously just standing in the middle of the road!

Playa Santa Teresa.

Trinity and I having a beach day with the quad. There are tons of fun beach spots to explore and the quad is such a fun way to see it all…lovin it!

The colegio (high school) where I teach in Santa Teresa.

Bird of Paradise, gorgeous tropical flower!

My fave chicas, Trinity & Silvia.

My fave chico, Javier. <3

Sunset in ST.

Paradise found.