Sunday, January 10, 2010


Happy New Year!
New Years Resolution: BLOG! In the past few months I sort of dropped the ball on my blog. I guess I got carried away enjoying this tropical paradise and didn't want to spend more time in front of the computer (I already spend enough time on facebook, right?). But I really do enjoy writing these posts and I want to continue. I'm thinking of it as blog therapy, to help me process what I'm feeling by sharing my adventures with my friends and family, and also creating a record of my experience.

I wanted my first post of the new year to reflect an emotion that I am inviting into my life more and more these days: Gratitude. In honor of an amazing 2009, the beginning of a new adventure in 2010, and the "gratitude journal" I've been keeping (which BTW is an app for the iPhone/iPod touch that I highly recommend...such a simple, easy way to keep a journal on the go AND it helps you stay focused on the positive), this first post will include a little compilation of journal entries and status updates to outline the past few months of my life here in Costa Rica. But first, the big news:

I got a job here in Costa Rica for the next 6 months (possibly longer) working as an English teacher in Montezuma and Mal Pais, two beautiful little beach towns located near each other on the tip of the Nicoya Penninsula! The job is through an organization called ALIARSE's CREST program (Costa Rica English for Sustainable Tourism), in association with the Costa Rican government's Programa Costa Rica Multilingue, and the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT). I will be teaching English to adults who work in the tourism sector in rural communities. The idea is that by speaking better English, these students can than find better jobs in tourism. The need for English speakers is at an all time high in Costa Rica, so much so that in 2007 President Oscar Arias began an initiative to make Costa Rica bilingual by 2017. The CREST program is a part of that initiative.

I will be living with a sweet Costa Rican family who will keep me fed (lots of rice and beans I'm sure), and I'm planning to buy a scooter to get myself around. The job is exactly what I was looking for and I am so grateful that I was able to find a position in a small beach town and not have to go live in San Jose where the majority of the ESL jobs are...this is truly the manifestation of a dream for me!!! I am in love with Costa Rica...the latin culture, the natural beauty, and the friendly people. I want to stay for a while and I hope some of you will come visit me! PURA VIDA!

In the spirit of gratitude, let me just add that despite this blessed life I've been living *gracias a dios*, I am above all most thankful for my good friends and my family - who are there for me through not only the good times but also the bad - because you make life worth it! So to all of you, new friends and old, here, there, and everywhere, whether you're reading this or not, THANK YOU SO MUCH & I LOVE YOU!

Catching up on the past few months...

*Mid-September to mid-October: Traveled around Costa Rica~Dominical, Manuel Antonio, Cauhita, Puerto Viejo, Heredia, and Bocas del Toro in Panama.

Sunset in Dominical

October 3 at 2:55pm starting to dream in SPANGLISH..

October 11 at 12:51pm went to an all TICO party last night...played Nintendo Wii and watched Costa Rica beat Trinidad & Tobago 4-0!!! learned more slang...spoke spanish for 6 hours straight!

October 14 at 12:16pm at first i wasn't sure who to route for....but alas...sorry USA, you've already qualified for the world cup...entonces...GO Costa Rrrrrrrrrrrrica!!! (that's a rolled "R")

October 15 at 6:35pm swam with some really big fish today like 2 feet long and a whole school of them! Now it´s time for coconut rice, pescado y platanos Caribbean style...loving Puerto Viejo!

October 20 at 3:39pm I am super in love with the fact that you can get fresh fruit drinks at almost any restaurant! so healthy & natural & refreshing, my faves are papaya in agua, banana in leche, and guanabana in agua...YUM!!!

*Back in SAMARA

October 26 at 12:00pm finally got stung by a jellyfish yesterday...and saw the biggest cricket of my life! but the best part of my day was watching these iguanas courting and then having sex!

November 2 at 3:54pm the monkeys are here for a visit!

November 9 at 12:29pm had both a racoon and a bat in the house last night...bienvendios a Costa Rica!

*Back to USA for a week

November 14 at 12:48pm feeling *blessed* to be in JOJA on this gorgeous fall day...yes yes y' to my athens peeps!

Nov 18, 2009 9:28 PM my awesome amiga tica Sofia y su mama...i was invited to stay with them at their home in San Jose on the day I returned from ATL...they were super sweet and made me dinner and breakfast!

*Moved to Montezuma/Cabuya to volunteer in the school and with the turtles for a few weeks
Toucan in Cabuya

Nov 22 2009 at 8:43pm stoked on my new homestay in Cabuya... super nice family, my own room and bathroom, meeting lots of nice people around town and other volunteers

Nov 23, 2009 8:36 AM dreamed I was moving to Miami last night...hmmm...prediciton for 2011?

Nov 24, 2009 9:44 PM I need a scooter...depending on other people for rides is's like high school, and without cell phones too!

Nov 25, 2009 10:24 AM give thanks for chiles and homemade hot sauce!!! i'm actually getting used to eating rice and beans at every meal!

November 26 at 5:15pm HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Interesting thanksgiving so far...played with baby howler monkeys, watched an ocelot kill a chicken, and got pecked by a beautiful tucan whose beak felt like plastic!

GIVING thankful for all the gifts and comforts I've been given in my life...seeing the humble lives of these people in small pueblos in CR who are so happy and grateful for the little that they have, it really makes you realize just how blessed we are, and that we could easily live with so much less...there are poor people here who are so happy, always answering "muy bien, pura vida, todo bien, gracias a dios." They constantly give thanks for their health and happiness, and find joy in the simplest of things. It is truly eye opening to be surrounded by this attitude...such a reminder that every moment of life is a gift that should be celebrated with gusto!!!

Nov 27, 2009 10:05 AM super fun thanksgiving dinner last night with my new friends from Colorado!

Montezuma Waterfall

November 28 at 1:56pm Spent the morning hiking and swimming under waterfalls...what a beautiful world!

Nov 29, 2009 3:29 PM best hangover cure ever = beach + advil + watermelon + sunshine...I'm so not ready to leave CR I am loving it here!

November 30 at 2:24 pm feeling inspired and longing to make art...perhaps found object sculptures with driftwood and shells...yes yes i need a space to do art in my new home where ever that may be

Dec 01, 2009 5:58 PM amazing experience with the tortugas last night!!! que suerte tengo yo! full moon lit beach, 2 turtles laying eggs in the sand, and 3 nests hatching in one night! I helped release over 200 baby sea turtles into the sand and watch them run to the ocean to begin their adorable! worked really hard but it felt really good to sweat like that...staying up till 4 AM with the babies, carrying bag after bag of pure sand back and forth to the hatchery this! thank god there are people who dedicate months at a time to do this work...the hours are insane, you don't sleep much, and the living quarters are muy rustico!

Dec 03, 2009 2:58 PM every night is reggae night somewhere!

Dec 05, 2009 2:05 PM sweet new Aussie friend, good conversation, girl talk on the beach, red wine & a yummy dinner

Dec 06, 2009 10:10 AM today i'm thankful for honesty...

Dec 07, 2009 4:01 PM enjoying the ride (litteraly) on the daily bus back & forth from cabuya to montezuma, always meeting new people...also stoked I'm getting paid $500 for my first graphic design project ever: new menus for a restaurant here in CR!

Dec 08, 2009 3:25 PM trust the flow and keep dreaming~

Boa in Cabo Blanco

Dec 09, 2009 8:02 PM crazy wildlife encounter with a BOA constrictor snake today at Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve!!! great hike, 4 hours of wildlife spotting and exercise...

Dec 16, 2009 3:44 PM YAY!!! 2 awesome job opportunities have fallen into my lap! loving that last minute magic~

Dec 18, 2009 5:32 PM I feel so good knowing that I can move to another country all by myself and carve out a life for myself, make new friends, find work, and experience other cultures first hand by making friends with the locals! this in itself feels like such an achievement!

*Tamarindo for NAVIDAD...

The Family

Dec 19, 2009 11:34 AM on my way to meet my family and two of my best friends who are visiting for the holidays! so stoked to be sharing this experience with them!

Dec 22, 2009 9:12 AM ahhh...air conditioning and hot water showers!

Dec 25, 2009 7:32 AM feliz navidad! an adrenaline rushing adventure tour is a great way to celebrate the holiday...horseback riding, tubing down class III rapids, ziplining through the canopy, and finishing with a volcanic mud bath and a soak in the natural hot springs...perfecto!
Melissa and Torey


Dec 27, 2009 4:56 PM stoked to be sharing my sweet little town of Samara with my loved ones and introducing them to my tico friends!

Dec 28, 2009 11:34 AM got the job in Montezuma & Mal Pais! so stoked!!!

Dec 31, 2009 10:38 AM almost the new year...what an amazing glad I got to spend the last 2 weeks of the year with my family and close friends! welcoming 2010 with open's to a new year full of adventure and new is all unfolding just as it should and I couldn't be happier. feliz año nuevo!
Ladies Night in Samara


  1. Jamie,
    I am so proud of you! You've come a long way baby! You deserve a good job and and a great place to live and work! "I'v got my back into my livin". That's to coin a phrase from a OLD song. I livin it and workin it and lovin it!
    You look fabulous!
    I've been keeping up w/you through Carole.
    Wait till Calysha sees this !She'll want to visit you.
    MiEspanol esta muy porquito.
    Mi amare tu grande y aspire tu mucho funna(spanglish),

  2. Jamie,
    It's snowing and sticking in Nashville! It feels great! That's one thing I miss about NJ , the snow! How's sunny Costa Rica? Warm and sweet? Teaching going good for you?
    I think most of your" people " go through facebook . Because I seem the only one one to blog...
    Maybe b/c I'm not on facebook yet........
    I'll ck it out.
    Anyhow, you've not updated this !
    Love ya,