Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday 6/28 Only a few more days

Long day of classes, filling out surveys and taking tests for the institute, meetings and all that jazz.  Both my classes ran a little late and I had all sorts of homework and presentations to finish so that took up a lot of time.  We didn't go to the mall today like we usually do on Tuesdays because we're running out of time and it didn't seem as important because there aren't any movies playing that we haven't already seen lol so I stayed home and did my homework, chatted with people and hung out with Deivy and the family basically all night.  I stayed up sooo late again cause Deivy doesn't want to lose any time with me, so we watched comedy videos, I tried to teach him how to salsa dance, and then we tried to learn thriller together hahah unsuccessfully I might add, because that song is way to long to play over and over again. So we just talked, him in English, me in Spanish to get our practice in until almost 2 in the morning! Luckily I don't have class til 2pm tomorrow and I have plenty of time to write my paper, however Deivy is not so lucky and had to get up at 6am for classes :P

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Monday 6/27 iBuenos Días Niños!

I got to school a little early today (a little before 7am) because we're traveling to a school somewhere nearby to teach a class of 30 nine year old kids (3rd grade) about tropical ecology.  Everyone was very unprepared but we had a power point that we could follow at least the topics we should be talking about.  So Casey and I had to talk about the importance of fruits in a bosque so we created a little play for them.  It went something along the lines of I acted like an ignorant child that hates healthy food and only wants to eat chocolate and then finds out how great fruit is and learns all about protecting the environment to save the fruit and animals, etc.  It was pretty overall hilarious.  We even had them interact and asked them questions and it was the most adorable thing every they would all chime in at the same time and  be like "Si!!!!" even when we first walked into the classroom they all stood up at the same time and said "Buenos dias" and when we asked how they were they all responded in chorus "bien y ustedes?" it was the cutest thing I think I've ever seen!  They all wore uniforms and sat in little circles and all the boys had there hair gelled up into little mo hawks--so cute.  and our teacher is basically just the man and so he brought in a machete, an axe, and a lumberjack hat for one of the students so he could pretend to be the bad guy and cut down the forest (which we pretended to be--helpless trees)  and all the kids cried out no no no don't cut the trees! it was so much fun!!  When we were leaving one of the little girls came up to us and asked us why we laughed so much, I guess we're just happy people lol  After we left the school we went to  a nearby park and planted trees for about an hour until it was time to leave.  After class some of us went into the little downtown section of San Joaquin and bought these delicious smoothies!  When I went home Deivy tried to teach me how to juggle after lunch, without much success I must say, I'm kind of terrible at anything that involves hand-eye coordination lol  and then off to my second class.  I skyped with Steph for a while and hung out with Deivy all at the same time, so now they're acquaintances lol and I invited him to come to dance class with me too, with the intention that he would dance... which he did not.  He just sat there for two hours and watched haha hes a little shy I guess cause he said the only place he would dance was in the house and I couldn't even convince him to let me teach him!  Oh well, it was fun anyways.  When we got home we ate dinner finally, even though we were the only ones still up, so we went upstairs and played Uno for a while because we were bored.  He didn't want me to go to bed though.  Hes pretty upset that I'm leaving so soon, and I am too, we're pretty close and its going to be awful to not see him anymore, or at least for a long while... so we stayed up and just laid around watching tv and talking for a while until midnight and I told him that I needed to sleep and he begged me to stay up but finally relented. 

Sunday 6/26

We hung around until the shuttle left at 10:30 and then headed into town because that's where our bus leaves from.  We sat around at the beach for a while and found a store to buy miscellaneous snacks at for the ride home because we wouldn't be leaving until 1pm and probably not arriving in San Jose until about 6:30pm.  The bus ride was very long and for the most part I sat in the very back with a whole row of strangers but it was okay, they were all very nice.  I was exhausted by the time I finally made to San Joaquin and before I could even get to the door Deivy had it open because he was waiting for me to get home haha hes so funny, the first thing he does is bring me into the kitchen and show me how hard hes been working on learning how to juggle.  So I'm standing there falling asleep (even though its only 7:30--traveling makes you tired) with all my bags still and hand and hes just waiting for my approval while he throws the little limes up in the air.  I finally went and put my bags down and he followed me upstairs because he wanted to show me what he had done all weekend.  Apparently he had a field trip with school (which doesn't happen very often) so he sat me down and showed me all the pictures that everyone had taken.  Meanwhile, I'm starving, I haven't eaten anything all day and there doesn't seem to be any dinner around.. luckily though about half an hour later a pizza guy showed up! Yay!! We hung out for a while until about 10pm and I decided I needed to sleep so he let me go hahah :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Saturday 6/25

Woke up just in time for breakfast, didn't even really get dressed, went in our pj's, and then went back to bed afterwords.  We literally did absolutely nothing ALL day, it was great :)  we laid in our beds for a while and over-analyzed Spanish music videos, went outside to lay by the pool until it started raining again and basically did nothing until around 6pm and we were starving.  We didn't eat lunch because the hotel food was outrageously expensive, so by that time we were all very very grumpy and about to pass out.  It was pouring and we made it to the closest restaurant in town just in time for their buffet deal, so we were served immediately!  We ended up talking for about an hour but the rain was coming down so hard and we could not find a taxi anywhere.  One of the girls didn't have an umbrella or a raincoat so I gave her my raincoat and just used the umbrella but the rain was so intense that my umbrella was leaking the whole time! Needless to say we were pretty soaked.  I literally had to walk through a lake to cross the street, luckily I'm always prepared and had all of my things in plastic bags hahah parents taught me well :)   It took us 4 hours to find a way back to the hotel and that night we just stayed inside and talked because the rain was so bad.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Friday 6/24 Tamarindo

Breakfast ends at 10am and we barely made it in time because we slept in so late.  It was the most glorious night of sleep Costa Rica had ever shown me though.  Because we arrived on a Thursday there was no one at the hotel, only the 6 of us, and we were much further from the downtown area than they led us to believe so there was no noise at all, only the lovely white noise of our air conditioner :)  The shades were even room darkening!! It was so amazing, words cannot even describe.  A shuttle would take us into town at 10:30am and pick us up at 6:30pm for free so looked like we were spending the day in town.  It was already starting to rain, no sunshine at all, and when we made it into town everything was pure red mud.  Needless to say we got dirty.. but we found our bus station and bought tickets for the way back in the sketchiest corner of town (of course) and then ended up walking around through the souvenir shops.  I think today was the first day I actually bought anything in Costa Rica besides, excursions and food (which is kind of terrible, I leave in a week... sorry guys!)  After shopping we went to this little restaurant and ate the most delicious Paninis and then just talked for hours.  It finally stopped raining around 4 and so we headed out to the beach and laid out until it was time to leave.  We were given free wrist bands for entrance to the main club in town called Aqua so we went back for dinner and to get ready and then headed back after 9pm... It was kind of a crazy night, but lots of fun! We have a great group of girls from UNH on our trip and we've gotten pretty close so all of us looked out for one another tonight, it was awesome, everyone kept everyone out of trouble :)  We all went back to our hotel around 3am, exhausted but we ended up talking and having the most ridiculous conversations, its insane how close we've become in only 5 weeks!  Very happy to have met these girls though :D  fun night, so thankful for being able to sleep in the next day though!!

Thursday 6/23 No More Pirates Please!

Crazy busy today.  Woke up early to eat breakfast, finish packing, make reservations, and then headed to the bank so I would have money for this weekend.  Brought everything to school and left directly from class at 1pm to go to San Jose to catch our bus.  The bus we were supposed to take though would have apparently arrived in Tamarindo at midnight, so we had to go to a different station and take a different bus (double decker!) So by 3 we were on the bus and on our way to Guanacaste.  We were staying at a Best Western and all of us were kind of unsure where we were going so when Casey saw a Best Western she was like oh! lets get off the bus! and it sounds stupid that we listened to her, but everything happens so fast because you literally have 15 seconds to decide or the bus just keeps moving.  I didn't even have all my stuff and they were out the door so I ran after them and had a terrible feeling about it, but no choice, you can't really separate the group (Casey, Alicia and I).  So its about 6:30/7pm and its dark out and we are dropped off about 100meters from this Best Western which is NOT our hotel. ok so how bad could it be?  We asked some guy how far Tamarindo was from there and he said oh not far just down the road that way about 20 km.. ok so we'll just grab a taxi and be fine.  He gets us a taxi, but the problem is, in Tamarindo there aren't any taxi stations and almost every single taxi isn't a real taxi.. SO first pirate taxi ride. great. So we asked him how to get to Tamarindo from there and he brought us to a bus station and then said for $50 he could bring us there. uh no thanks, I think we'll pass on the overly expensive unlicensed taxi.  Now we're at the bus station and the buses to Tamarindo are shut down for the night.. its only 7:30pm but ok, so we talked to another person that said we're 40km from there and we can take this bus that will take us within 15km and from there just grab a taxi. Not so bad, thats great news.  So we take this bus and get off exactly where they tell us to, and its at a gas station.  There are a few cars parked outside and no taxis to be seen, so we go into the gas station and ask how far we are from Tamarindo: 36km! WHAT? how did that happen?! We just rode a shabby crowded bus for over an hour and we're no closer?  Apparently the bus station was 80km away not 40, and now we were stuck at this gas station in the middle of no where. AWESOME.  The cars parked outside the station are more pirate taxis but that was the last thing we wanted to do.. so we called around for a real taxi but every line was busy or unavailable. after bargaining for a while, with no choice we jumped in another pirate and for $30 he brought us to our hotel.  we were SO happy to be there and when we met our other friends we were so happy to see them, hugs all around!! no dinner, because the kitchen was closed (it was 10pm at this point)  so we just ate a few crackers and went to bed.  such a long day!

Wednesday 6/22

Not really sure what happened today.. don't remember, but I think I worked on the project some more and went to class, etc. dance class at 7 like always, tons of fun :) we did the Shania Twain dance tonight, its one of my favorites and we added more to it, so awesome! Packed and got ready for tomorrow and went to bed!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tuesday 6/21

At dance class yesterday we all decided that we were going to play a game today and tomorrow.  Everyone has to speak in Spanish until 1pm today (practice day) and if anyone playing catches you speaking English they say "pagame" and you have to give them 100 colones.. which is only the equivalent of about 20 cents.  I did surprisingly well and did not speak one word of English :D very proud of myself.  It was funny though because I'm mortally terrified of talking with my Ecology teacher, Humberto because he talks so fast! and mumbles and I just never know what hes saying.  so that morning I was early and he was talking to me and I made him repeat himself so many times but I was still impressed that I talked to him at all and then in class that day he was laughing and asked me if it was difficult for me to understand what was going on, apparently hes never known that I'm so completely lost when it comes to that class and hes finally picking up on it lol we're supposed to have a final exam at the end of next week but he gave us the option to do a project and instead.  and because he thought it would be really funny, he decided to make the decision up to me, assuming that I had no idea what he was saying, but I did understand and came back with a retort of "depends on the project" he was surprised to say the least and told us that we would be teaching a class of 30 3rd graders about tropical ecology.   I much prefer this task over a test because we all get to work together but he assigned it today and we have to make a theater play or something in Spanish and present it on Monday to a class of 9 year olds.. hopefully it'll be fun and they'll understand what we're saying lol
because its Tuesday we went to the mall as always and sat at our usual table at our lovely Italian restaurant.   The waiter knows the few of us that always go and is much more comfortable talking with us now, much less humble, in a good way.  Afterwords we walked around and decided not to go see a movie because the only one playing that we haven't seen was Kungfu Panda 2... so we got our delicious frozen yogurt from Moyo and went on our way back home.

Monday 6/20

Class early in the morning as always, but we didn't really get to go on a field trip today because we didn't have any money for our usual bus, so instead one of the students brought in some sort of a show and tell.  Her host father works for INbio (national institution for biodiversity) and he studies spiders... lovely.  So he brought in 6 different kinds of tarantulas for us.. hooray.  Not exactly what I look forward to at 7 o'clock in the morning but hey this is Costa Rica :)  I was pretty fine with the whole thing until he picked on of them up and it started spewing venom everywhere.. he took a twig and put it in its mouth so it would stop, but it wasn't really what I expected would happen especially since we were all leaning over, looking at it.  Classes proceeded as usual and I was able to skype with my parents and Stephi :D for a while before dance class at 7pm.  Dance is different now that we all know most of the steps to the different types of dances, of course there's a few people that still need help but overall everyone knows what they're doing.  I think there were less girls this time too so it was more of an even break of girls vs. guys and I didn't have to be paired with Casey this time.  It's fun to dance with Casey but its not the same as dancing with a guy that actually knows how to lead you around.  Its fun to be the girl in the piar because you never know whats going to happen, spins and step changes are entirely up to the male lead and you never know when they're going to switch it up so you just wait in anticipation :)  I was pretty exhausted but Deivy wanted to watch Avatar with me because he'd never seen it so I stayed up til around 11pm because I didn't have class until 11 the next day.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

SO BUSY- finally an update!!

alright, I understand its been a long time since I've updated but there's just been so much going on I haven't really had time to be on the computer much.
Hmmmm lets see..
Thursday 6/16: I did a lot of school work, we have a big project in Tropical Ecology with a first draft due, and I basically went to classes, ate food, and worked on that project and all my homework for my other class, which every day happens to be a presentation of some sort and a packet of whatever verb tense we're working on...
Friday 6/17:  morning we worked on it some more until around lunch time.  My mama tica thought they would be eating here too so she put out a lot of food, and when she found out she laughed at me and was like well guess you have to eat all of it.  Dear lord, like that was going to happen, I couldn't even finish my portion.  I've come to accept the fact that I cannot eat everything on my plate though and I've stopped feeling bad about it.  Its just not in the cards for me, impossible feat lol I hung out with Deivy for a while that day and then headed over to Casey's to get ready for our night out of dancing.  I wore my hair down for the first time since I've been here and its getting really long, and I had to borrow a shirt because I didn't bring anything that resembled something I could wear to a club.  It was a really nice place in San Jose called Pepper club.. or something along those lines.  We were seated in an upstairs section (VIP) but we didn't stay up there much because all the dancing was downstairs on the main floor.  THANK GOD I took those dance classes, because I would have been so miserably lost without them.  There was salsa and meringue and all sorts of dances going on and the floor was packed full of couples twirling around.  It was really difficult to make ourselves known and get our own space because its so crowded everyone bumped into us, especially with the turns and spins!  We figured though as long as you don't stop moving you don't stick out so much.  The first couple hours was real dancing, with a partner and specific footwork and then afterwords they started playing "party" music and everyone just jumped up and down when the DJ said to and danced like any other club in the US.. we left around midnight in our lovely private buses, otherwise it would have taken forever to get a taxi!
Saturday 6/18: I hung out at the house with Deivy til 2pm and then we all (except for Marito) left for Tilaran in Guanacaste. We were off to see the family for Father's day!  I really had no idea where we were the entire time but it was fine, I just kind of went with the flow and asked questions when I thought it was important. like.. are we getting back in the car for a couple hours because we need to find a bathroom first. important things.  We stopped at a beach to take pictures of it, because where we live is in the middle of the country and there's no coast, and apparently they don't get out a lot so it was like a mini vacation for them and they were all very excited :)  stopped at the halfway point (not that I knew that at the time) and they bought us these strange smoothie looking things.. they were so good!! I really don't know what was in it, some sort of powder, strawberry mix with ice, ice cream and condensed milk.. who knows but it was delicious!  Then we stopped somewhere else and I thought maybe we would be staying there but it turns out it was there aunts house or something and we were lost and asking for directions.. then finally we were in Tilaran and we stopped at the uncle and aunts store, which they've only owned for a month.  I met some of the cousins (on mama tica's moms side) and I thought for sure we would be staying there because we even went to the house for a little while until we hopped back in the car.  Then FINALLY we arrived at the abuelos (grandparents) and we took our things out of the car and I found and claimed a bed so I knew were I would be sleeping.  In total it was 4 1/2 hours in the car.  the abeulos were on papa tico's side of the family I met a couple of the cousins that lived close by.  Apparently he grew up there and everywhere we went he ran into people he knew and hadnt seen in years so we stopped to talk a lot.  It was already very late, around 9 or 10pm and we were out walking around to see the fiestas.  Tilaran is a very small town and it used to have a very large tradition of every weekend have big fiestas that took up the entire town, now papa tico was telling me that its only a few vendors and some dancing.  There was a carousal and one ride called the "Bailarina", it didn't look too exciting, like disc that spun around and went up and down, side to side, etc.  So we walked around for a little and then headed back to the house.  Went to bed around midnight because I was exhausted and had absolutely no concept of time the entire day.. I really need a watch lol
Sunday 6/19: I woke up relatively early because we were supposed to head out by 8 30am.. I slept surprisingly well considering I didn't have my fan for white noise and the room was making creepy noises and I swear there were spiders all around my bed!  It was the cow that put me to sleep though, every two minutes it would just moo, like a song or something, in time with some sort of rhythm and I swear if it wasn't for that cow I would have been up all night with the spiders.  good cow :)  I was up by 7am and the rest of the family wandered out of their rooms at 7 30.. Deivy apparently knows me better than I thought because he ran to get me when he discovered that they had cats :) hes not really an animal person, so it surprised me but it was all excited to show me, and of course I was excited just because I tend to be excited about everything lol Chepe (grandpa), Papa, Deivy and I left for lake Arenal to take pictures and walk around, and then we went and visited the wind farms.  Tilaran is known for a couple things: The giant artificial lake (arenal), fiestas, monte cruz, and wind power.  Monte cruz, its basically just a really big wooden cross on a giant hill overlooking the town.  The wind turbines were really cool though, it doesn't seem like they would be but when you're there its so much more interesting, especially when you look really close and you can see the whole turbine moving to face the direction of the wind, I didn't actually know that they did that, but it was pretty cool!  afterwords we went back home around 11, and then left again with mama tica, and deivy to go visit her dad.  He lived literally two minutes down the road but it was not as nice of a house.. to put it nicely.  I'm not sure how much I understand the relationship they have with him or that side of the family in general, but I think she said that they don't like her or talk to her much, so it was an awkward visit in the house.  He made me very uncomfortable while we were sitting and talking, he stared at me the entire time and I couldn't understand what he was saying because he mumbled so badly.  There were other people there but I didn't know who they were.  One of them came in and talked for a long time about me, like I wasn't there, and all about "Gringos" and he seemed very macho and kind of like a stereotypical ... I don't know how to say it, just not a nice guy.  Then we took a trip to the cemetery with her father and his "senora" to visit her mothers grave.  It was kind of sad because mama tica cried and no body else seemed to care.. Deivy tried to keep things light and hummed a little song, but her dad seemed very stiff and ambivalent toward the whole thing, maybe thats just his way of coping, but either way it was uncomfortable.. THEN we had this weird little adventure to some random place up in the hills nearby that I have NO CLUE why we were there.  Even now, I just don't understand what we were doing there.. something about how we were looking for someone but we didn't know their name and we stopped at this house for a while and mama tica disappeared and we waited outside in the blistering heat.. because somebody owed somebody something about a farm? I was thoroughly confused and really just wanted to sit down and eat something.  Deivy felt the same way but of course did his best to keep things cheerful :)  he was telling me all about how if you looked over there were all these mountains and that from this mountain on, was Nicaragua, I had no idea we were so close.  After an hour or so we left and headed back to the house where we were staying. 
It was a little crazier when we got back, there were so many people there and I had to walk around and kiss all of them even though I only knew about 6 of them... and they were just as confused as I was because they had no idea who I was.  Introductions came after food, because we were starving but I still only met a few of the vital people.  I basically hung out with Deivy and all of the cousins all day, all of which were much younger than me.  It was good though, because no one spoke English and I learned so much more this weekend that I feel like I have the entire time I've been here only because I was forced to comprehend and talk back.  It was a lot of fun and we ended up walking around town and going on that ride in the middle of town twice, it was so crazy, it seemed so little but when we were on it that thing was intense!!  Twice was enough for me because we all felt a little sick after the second time, but it was still worth it.  We played a whole lot of Uno (the card game) and talked a lot and joked around so much, I feel like its a whole new level of Spanish when there's sarcasm and jokes included, everything is so much more complicated but more fun at the same time.  I think my family understands that I know more than they think I did too after this weekend because I talked more with everyone that was there.  We left in the evening and didn't get home until a little after 10, I was exhausted and passed out almost immediately.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

6/15 Go Bruins!

Wednesday is my day for sleeping.  I don't have class until 2pm so I don't feel any need to get out of bed.  Although it's impossible to actually sleep for long because the sun streams in and it gets very loud as of 6am, its still so worth just laying in bed.  I didn't get up until 10am and felt a little silly because of it, my tico parents laughed at me when I finally went downstairs an made all sorts of sleepy jokes at me lol  I finished my homework and went to class from 2-4pm.  Tonight I usually have dance class but some of the girls at school wanted to go see the Bruins game in Heredia, so skipped dance for the night.  I waited for a while for everyone to be ready to leave so meanwhile I just hung out with Deivy and mama tica.  She played me in tic tac toe for a while until she was tired of losing lol so then she taught me how to play this game where you have all sorts of dots and you have to connect the lines to make boxes.  The person with the most boxes wins.  Deivy was so funny, like my own personal cheerleader haha but he had to finish the game for me cause I had to leave for Heredia.  The first bar we went to didn't have the right game playing and they wouldn't change it for us, even though we called ahead of time and asked if it would be on.  So we wondered to a couple more bars and within a couple of minutes found one that would change the channel for us! Food was not very good there, but we enjoyed the game and were very excited that the Bruins won!! it was so odd though because in Costa Rica hockey does not even exist so we were the only ones celebrating.  On our way back waiting for the bus Casey and I played charades on the sidewalk for about 20 minutes and all the Ticos thought we were the funniest things ever but thats alright :)  I've grown so comfortable here, traveling to the city, walking around, talking with people, its kind of sad that I'll be leaving so soon now that I know where everything is.  Guess I'll just have to make the best of my next 2 weeks!!! :D

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

6/14 Tuesday Tradition

Got up early to work on my project and walked across town to get to her house.  We finished literally ten minutes before class started, just enough time to walk to school.  Got the presentation over with and went home for lunch/hung out with my brother until it was time for me to go back to class at 2pm.  Learned all of the body parts inside and out in Spanish, not that I even knew some of them in English so I'm not sure how much that really helps me, but it was interesting nonetheless.  After class, me and a couple of my friends went to the mall, like we do every Tuesday!  we went back to the Italian restaurant we ate at last time and I ordered the most delicious dish I've ever eaten.  It was Spinach ravioli in some sort of white sauce with mozzarella cheese and walnuts, sooooo good! We walked around the mall for a while and bought ice cream to sneak into the movies again, except this time we went to a frozen yogurt place called Moyo, and it was amazing! I got a flavor called Taro? apparently its a root from Thailand or something from what I understood, but it was delicious and they let you pick three toppings to put in it so I got strawberries, kiwi, and coconut, ohhhhh it was delicious.  We went to see the new Xmen movie and it was actually very good, kind of like a prequel to all the other ones.  Didn't get back home til late but I was very happy to see that know one was waiting up for me, I don't want them to feel responsible for waiting up.. so that was good :)

6/13 Projecto

7am and tropical ecology class is driving us to a farm somewhere, except it wasn't really a farm at all... it was a mountain where we planted a whole bunch of trees.  I thought it was a little strange because we were on a mountain full of trees and I'm not sure why it needed more but that's ok, never too many trees I guess.  It was fun though, got all dirty and in touch with nature, fresh watermelon, pineapple and sugar cane when we were done too!  Our major project is due tomorrow but my partner is MIA so we're working on it late tonight.. bad plan but oh well, not a whole lot I can do.  So we worked on it from 5-630pm and then had dance class from 7-9pm.  It was insanely fun though, I know most of the steps we do now so it makes everything go much faster. Usually though Casey is my partner but half of our class left early so there weren't enough people or something and so one of the instructors came over and said he would dance with us and switch off.  We danced salsa, my favorite, and it was so much more fun than I ever thought possibly.  Hes basically a professional dancer and he leads so well that I didn't have to do anything but spin when he pushed me in the right direction.  I have never had so much fun dancing in my entire life lol even later on, he dance with both me and Casey at the same time! I didn't even know that was possibly haha  SO exhausted when I got back but that's pretty normal.  so my partner (for ecology) came back to my house after dance and we worked on the project for a couple hours til we couldn't stay up anymore. going to bed late and waking up early is probably the worst habit ever hahah ohh well

Tortuguero 6/12

Breakfast was at 7:30am but we didn't have to leave until 9am but of course we had to get up or else we didn't eat til noon.  We napped til it was time to leave and took a 30 second boat ride to the other side of the river.  There were only 7 of us, which was so nice, and we were at a biological reserve for an investigation for our Tropical Ecology class. Have to identify 5 flowering plants, 5 fruit plants/trees, a fallen tree that left a whole in the canopy, and a dead log... there's a lot more to it than just that but in summary that's good enough.  So we step off the boat and this guy walks up to us and no one, absolutely no one expected him to be speaking English let alone with a British accent. It was so refreshing though, in the strangest way and he was so nice, he asked us all if we had already eaten breakfast and if we'd like to sit down for a little. At first we all thought he was Australian until he said that it was "Brilliant!" and figured out that he was definitely British.  We walked around the site and he stopped to explain random plants, trees and animals to us, all of which was so interesting!!  We saw a bunch more little strawberry poison dart frogs and a lot of mosquitoes and ants, but other than that it was all plants.  I never thought I'd be so interested in the biology of plants but everything he was saying was just so interesting and he was so passionate about it all that it made it so much fun!  He helped us finish the investigation portion of our project and sent us on our way.   Lunch was at noon and I didn't get through more than 3 bites before I felt really sick so I went back to the room to lie down.  I fell straight asleep and didn't get up until it was time to leave at 1pm.  Back onto the boat and then to the bus for a couple more hours.  The rode was so bumpy though and the only seats were left in the back.  Everyone was a little motion sick and it didn't help that I was in the last seat.  But I made it home, still had no appetite but I think I just needed sleep.  Skyped with Jordan for a while :) and then hung out with Deivy for the rest of the night, it was a lot of fun, that kid keeps me so entertained.   Apparently hes going to be in a play sometime in July, either the 2nd or the 9th and I really hope its on the 2nd so I can go, but it was so funny because when he was trying to explain to me what he was talking about he put on a bandanna, aviators and a big sideways hat and with the straightest face looks at me and says "Yo, yo hey baby whats up?"  and then burst out laughing, I guess his character is kind of a thug hahahah didn't go to bed til super late, which wasn't the smartest idea but I was just having so much fun!! :D

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tortuguero 6/11

We set an alarm that night for midnight but apparently it was really set for noon, so we didn't get up to go find sea turtles like we meant to. oh well.  breakfast at 7am and then off to our anonymous hike.  We followed two dogs, some guy and a boy through the woods to a trail that was straight up.  Our hike was not hiking it was absolute tree climbing. Luckily I didn't have anything but my water bottle or I would have been dying.  Each step was above my hip and so you had to look around for trees that didn't have living creatures or spikes on them to grab onto and hoist yourself up.  After about an hour of intense climbing we made it to our destination.  It was a little outlook spot that displayed the ocean right next to the river.  It was beautiful but I would never do it again.  Everyone was literally dripping sweat, I have never felt that way in my entire life.  It was strange though because it wasn't from the heat, there was just so much humidity that you didn't even feel hot you just would stop moving and accumulate so much water from your body.  It was pretty disgusting.  Showered, for the millionth time (the humidity and heat there was just to much that after every activity showering was necessary) and then had some more free time for the beach.  Lunch that day was the only truly edible thing we'd had so far.  Pasta!!  I have to say the foods I miss the most here are pasta and chocolate, and I'm not usually a chocolate person.  There are a lot of sweets here, in the food just not the same kind, its hard to explain but the sugars here are just so different from the ones at home.  Still good, but I miss the flavors.   Anyways, then we went for a two hour boat ride to find animals.  No crocodiles, just some spider monkeys, lots of lizards, birds, and little turtles of course... but overall it was a lot of fun cruising around in our little boat.  Dinner and then we were promised cake for some girls birthday, needless to say we were really excited about cake.  They threw a whole big party at the bar with balloons, masks, and even a pinata.  the cake was pretty awful, but the candy in the pinata was ok, so it made up for it.  It was filled with peanuts, little chocolates, and honey candies (similar to werthers).  My mask turned my face blue though because I guess the color drained into my skin and it took forever to get out!  and of course we had another fight with a spider but this time we handled it on our own.. it was pretty intense though to be honest. :P  We went to bed pretty early again because we were just so exhausted.  Set an alarm for 2am for a turtle hunt but when we woke up it was pouring.  Stayed in bed and slept til breakfast.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tortuguero 6/10

Friday: Left the school at 6am and wanted to sleep forever.  Stopped for breakfast at 8am at this little diner shack (all meals included that weekend- which explains why they were what they were...).  Rice and beans and plantains, not too bad then got back on the bus for another hour or so, not really sure but the road there was SO BUMPY!  finally made it to this little restaurant with a bathroom and then hopped in a little boat for an hour to get to our hotel.  We saw this sassy iguana (sassy because if you've ever seen one walk- it's sassy) and several other lizards, butterflies, and birds, all of which I identified with my lovely laminated wildlife guide (lol thanks mom and dad).  10:30 we pulled up to our boat dock and the hotel grounds looked gorgeous, flowers and trees everywhere.  We were greeted by a Cayman (looks like a little crocodile), and a tiger feathered bird (SO COOL).   50 m away from our door was the beach and the river was just on the other side.  Basically we were in the middle of no where.  Apparently though, its not an island, its just at the tip of a peninsula.  Expecting the best of our adorable little cabins Casey and I found our room number and jumped into what we hoped was not serious.  Because we like to be optimistic however, we decided oh its not so bad, this will be great!  small room, two beds, bathroom, one bug net, one sheet, and two microscopic towels.  Pura Vida! OH and lets not forget our rusty old fan, that thing was a life saver.  The beach sand was darker than what we're used to and much hotter too, the water was the perfect temperature but the sand dollars made it difficult to stand in. At first they were really cool, everyone was like: hey these are sand dollars wow that's awesome! but pretty soon it turned into: I CANT GET THEM OFF MY FEET it was creepy they would suction on and just crawl around! ugh so gross.  We walked around and explored the area for a bit until lunch at 12.  The food overall was horrendous. absolutely awful.  but it was the only thing around for miles so that was it.  At 2:30pm we hopped back on the boat and headed to the town of Tortuguero, which apparently is a 25min ride.  It was a little town with nothing more than souvenir shops.  We literally walked to the end and saw nothing but tourist attractions, so we bought ice cream :)  One the boat ride back we saw some Spider Monkeys swinging around in the trees and mono congos (or howler monkeys) right when we pulled into the dock.  There was also a pretty cool tree full of Opendula birds (black with bright yellow tails) and they make the strangest noise, but I kind of enjoyed it.  We had some time til dinner so we walked the beach and sat until the sun went down, watching crabs and collecting sand dollars, getting covered in black sand (just me for some reason..) dinner was gross I don't even want to talk about it.  We went to bed relatively early and had a little slumber party and talked for awhile because it was far too hot to sleep.  I was just so afraid something was going to crawl onto me in my sleep because the rooms just were not secure at all.
More later, I need sleep :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

6/9 Rummy and Kittens

Today in Spanish class we played all sorts of games, some were better than others.  For instance, the gigante-enano game was absolutely terrible.  It was like Simon Says and when she said enano you would crouch down, and gigante you would stand up.  My legs were so sore from dance classes last night that I couldn't keep up with her switching between the two and ended up answering the most questions because of it, but oh well I guess that's just more Spanish practice for me!  Pictionary was a lot more fun though, I love games like that, charades is my favorite!  After class I hung out with Deivy for a while before I headed over to Casey's house for dinner and cards.   On our way there I found 3 kittens!! at first I was so excited but I didn't want to touch them because I don't know if they have any diseases and also I didn't want their mother to abandon them because of me!  It was really kind of sad though because they were all alone in the street.  I was trying to keep them off the road but they kept running around and playing.  Finally we were walking away because there was nothing more we could do and two cars were coming!  I desperately tried to go back and keep them to one side of the road but two of them ran into the middle playing together and it was SO CLOSE!  I wanted to cry those poor things, I hope their ok :(  When we arrived at Casey's house it was Casey, Richard, her family and I and we had chalupas for dinner, which are fanastic! fresh avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, chicken and frijoles on a hard tortilla. yum!!  We played Rummy for two hours before I was ready to pass out hahah but it was a lot of fun.  Her host brother Armando likes to scare us though, and every time he would walk in the room he'd yell or throw something on the ground and we'd all scream lol and even though we only live less than 10 minutes away her mama tica made us take a taxi because of the dark.  Oh well, its a cheap taxi ride, worth being safe :)
I'm leaving at 6am tomorrow for Tortuguero so I'll update when I get back! Have a great weekend everybody!! :D

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Slept in til 9 today! I'm just always so tired! Busy life of Costa Rica.  I was supposed to go to walmart today to get some necessary clothes items for dance class, but I couldn't get a hold of my friend because she doesn't have a phone (which is awful because shes always lost!) So instead I went to a nearby store with my friend Emily and bought some leggings and ended up just borrowing things.  I met her family and  her pets and they all seemed very nice but she lives with two little girls and honestly I don't think I could haha they were screaming the whole time!! Dance at 7pm and this time Alicia (my friend without a phone) decided she wanted to come too so I told her to meet me at my house so we could meet up with everyone else.. except I kind of gave her the wrong directions. lol I realized it ten minutes later when she wasn't showing up and it was a little past 6 at this point and thats when it starts to get dark.. So I literally sprinted through the town looking for her following the incorrect directions haha and couldn't find her anywhere. woops. So ran back home, my family was just so confused because I couldn't explain it, or remember the word for lost but then at the last minute she was on facebook. thank goodness she at least made it home.  So we met at the school and met everyone else for dance class.  It was a lot of fun, Casey and I are salsa masters, we're always partners because there are way too many girls and not enough guys, which is really ok with me, cause they always try to tell you that they're right, even though they're doing the steps wrong. so Casey and I make an excellent dance team!  Its funny because our two friends from the Dominican are always talking about dancing but they're kind of awful.. and we're really not that bad :)  Surprising right?  My feet are killing me still though, this class is beating me up, in the best way possible.  I truly love it!! can't wait to get home and show everyone my new moves ;)

6/7 ¿Qué Pasó Ayer?

Had lots of homework to do today so I got up really early to finish it all, and I'm just so exhausted.  Class at 11 and 2, tropical ecology was more or less boring, mostly because he talks to fast and I don't understand any of the scientific terms he uses in English never mind in Spanish.  Spanish class wasn't too bad except there's this terribly annoying girl that joined our class, so now its just three of us in a little tiny echoing room.  We had to improvise stories in a circle and every time we passed the ball someone else would continue the story, which was interesting haha and we also play this game where two people describe a word to the third person and they have to figure out what it is.  I love that game and I'm pretty good at it too, it reminds me of charades or something :)
After class, a few friends and I went to the mall in Heredia to see Que Paso Ayer (The Hangover 2- which in spanish literally translates to: What Happened Yesterday? hahaha)  We bought ice cream from this awesome place called pops and snuck it into the theater, because honestly movies are just better with ice cream.  It was a pretty funny movie although everything was almost exactly like the first one.  Gio and Katy (daughter and son in law) were home when I came back and we talked for a while and everyone talked about how my spanish has grown by mountains lol yay! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

6/6 Volcan Poas

Field trip to Volcano Poas in Tropical Ecology class.  Its in a cloud forest so it was really cold (which we did not know ahead of time) and hard to see anything.  We seem to have very good luck though because when we actually made it to the volcano everything cleared up enough for us to see the whole thing!  The same thing happened for the lagoon on the other side of the volcano.  We saw plenty of hummingbirds (los colibris) and they were all a metallic blue color, very pretty.  Everyone slept on the bus ride home, worn out from our long weekend and early morning class.  Class til 4, and we had to make up a story about butterflies.. (it makes sense because its in the context of the verb forms we're using) but it was very odd-- silly at the least. Dance class at 7 and this time it was a lot less crowded and apparently Monday classes are more pair oriented.  The girl to guy ratio was lacking  though so I danced with Casey a lot and we were actually pretty good! (If I do say so myself)  Its quite the workout but we learned how to do the merengue and the cha cha, slower and easier to understand this time because the first class was kind of like a taste of what everything would be like.  It was a lot of fun and I think I'll actually be able to remember this when we're finished!! Should have been a dancer, its amazing!! 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Volcán Arenal

SO exhausted right now, but I figure I'll update now before I forget everything and fall asleep lol

Friday: Didn't leave 'til 5pm and its a 3 hour ride and we stopped for dinner along the way so we didn't get to our hotel until around 10pm. The ride there was a little sketchy, everything was dark and we had this massive bus that couldn't fit on any of the roads (it took us half an hour to turn around in a parking lot because we were blocking traffic with our 15 point turn).  There were little tiny bridges without railings that I though for sure we were going to fall over but we finally made it and we were pretty excited! We stayed at Hotel Arenal Pariaso and our rooms were like little villa houses.  Saturday was Casey's birthday so we were pretty excited and jumped around on the beds like we were 5 and took lots of crazy pictures until we got so tired and just went to sleep.

Saturday: We had to wake up very early and it was the first we could actually see of where we were because there was daylight.  So we opened the shade and low and behold theres the volcano!! As we were looking out the window there was this little high pitched crying and so I looked at one of the chairs on our porch and there was a cat!! So friendly, I named him Tigre (tiger in spanish) because he had stripes and spots and it just seemed appropriate :)  loved him, we cuddled for half an hour that morning hahah then off to hike to the observatory spot next to Arenal.  It was a ridiculously hot day (Tico's said it would be cold, but I think they have different perceptions of cold that New Englander's do!) but the hike was fantastic.  At the top there was a beautiful view.  I've never seen anything like it.  We climbed up a whole pile of black volcanic rocks and on one side there was a view of mountains and lake Arenal and on the other side was the volcano itself. Everyone told us that its always surrounded by clouds but the day was so clear nothing covered it up, so it was great!!  We picnicked up there and climbed back down.  Lounged around the pool for a couple hours until it was time to go to the hot springs at 5pm.  The place we went to was huge! There were so many pools of incredibly hot water but Casey and I wanted to walk around first and find the tropical garden.  By that point it was starting to rain a little and it was kind of dark out.  We found the garden and it was a large archway of flowers and trees and the ground was covered in little grassy stone squares.  Then we started following this little side paths of stone walkways that went into the thick groves of plants.  It was the coolest thing, we walked through so many different paths and there were so many new noises and beautiful scenery, but it all seemed so surreal, we joked around and called it our Alice in Wonderland.  The pools themselves were very nice too but you can only stay in hot water for song long.  the pools were from 93 degrees to 153 degrees F, it was insane!   By the time we left we were starving and met at a little place in Fortuna where we were served volcano shaped dishes of rice and all sorts of meat.  By that point everyone was exhausted and wanted to go to bed.  Back at our room though I found a huge spider while Casey was in the shower, and of course I'm too wimpy to kill anything so I found an ashtray in the room and trapped it lol  We didnt know what to do after that so we called one of the boys over.  It was the funniest thing I think I have ever seen.  Between our friend crawling on the ground trying to get it to a place he could uncover it and kill it and Casey screaming and laughing hysterically it was just too much hahah I laughed so hard, needless to say we slept like babies.

Sunday:  6am up for breakfast and a shower (A WARM SHOWER!!) because today we're going zip-lining!  While we were waiting for the bus to pick us up we saw a sloth, a toucan, and a hummingbird that hit the window so he was just chilling with us for a little while (don't worry hes fine now).   Once at the zip-lining place they gave us all sorts of safety instructions, in Spanish mind you, and sent us up on a tractor ride to get to the platforms.  20 minute tractor ride and a 30 minute hike with our gear on (sooo heavy) and we finally made it to the first platform.  I was definitely freaking out.  300 feet up, and they want me to just let myself go off the edge of something thats 600m long... uhhh a little too scary for me.  But the first couple were practice runs and I wanted to get the anxiety out of my head so I just went first hahah.  It was SO fast, and they told me not to break so the stopping system on the other side got me, which was a lot of fun, but no one came in quite as fast as I did! I had a double pulley system so it made me go so much faster.  after a few practice cables (which were just shorter and slower cables in the forest) we headed to number 5- 600m long WOW it was insane!! gorgeous view, unlike anything I had ever seen, past the Fortuna waterfall and over the canopy overlooking the town.   that wasnt the longest one though, 980m long, and 100m high.. but at that point nothing was scary anymore and it was just so much fun!! Its literally the coolest thing I think I've ever done and I would love love love to do it again!  everything else that happened that day was just being late and stressful group coordinating so nothing too exciting, now though I'm home and so tired so I'll probably end up going to bed soon even though its not even 5:30 here yet lol


Friday, June 3, 2011

6/3 Arenal

No classes today! We're leaving for Volcano Arenal at 5pm and basically just hanging around until then.  Can't wait, it should be awesome, everyone says how beautiful it is!  Papa says its cold though.. but I'm pretty sure what they think is cold, is probably like 70 or something, so I think I'll be ok.  He also said it rains a lot more sooo basically everything I'm bringing is going inside a plastic bag :)  Every time I talk with him and I don't understand he just thinks its so funny.  If I look confused he just starts laughing hysterically at me lol but I guess that's better than having him lose his patience.  Really excited for tonight! Can't wait to get there! update when I get back, hope everyone has a good weekend!! <3

Thursday, June 2, 2011

6/2 uneventful..

Not a whole lot happened today, I took a nap, which was fantastic I must say.  Classes were kind of  boring, except I had to make a robot poster? I'm not entirely sure why.. but that was interesting. I skyped with my Stephi Loeb :D anddd nothing else really happened. sooo ya see ya later!!! :P

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

6/1 Just Dance

so I slept in til 8 today! that's the latest so far, and I was so tired I didn't even want to get up.  No class until 2 and I was home alone for a while so I just went to the instituto and hung out there for a while.  Class was boring today but afterwards I went home for dinner before dance class.  I had mama and Deivy help me with my homework about costa rican sayings and that was fun because they explained it all to me and then quizzed me on it to make sure I understood.  Mama tica was telling me that its usually just her and Deivy around during the day so he gets sad when I leave, aww so sweet, and I wish I could hang out with him more, but oh well, they'll be time.  Dance started at 7pm but we had to walk through a super sketchy part of town in that dark to get there, there were about 20 or more of us though so I wasnt too worried.  It was from 7-9 but it ran a little late and the first section of it was kind of like an aerobic class but it was a lot of fun because she used all sorts of different dance moves to help us learn at the same time, and the latter part of class was all sorts of different dances, some with partners some without.  we did Salsa, Chacha, Romba, Kumba  (I think thats the name?), Classic, and some others I didnt know the names of.  I loveee salsa though and it was a lot of fun to do the turns and everything.  At the end they turned off all the lights and had this awesome disco ball going around and we all just danced however we liked, me and casey were basically the best ones there (not really) but we werent afraid to get wild into it hahah we never knew we could move like that! Spanish dancing teaches you everything you never knew about your body lol  we went for icecream afterwards, coconut and guanabana flavored, soooo good! it even had real coconut in it!  my feet are killing me though, I cannot even walk right now, hopefully they'll be ok by tomorrow, or I won't be a very happy camper walking to school!
Dance class is every monday and wednesday now until we leave and I'm so excited about it!!! Maybe I'll actually learn something and remember it hahaha :D

5/31 presentaciones y piratas

I had two presentations to do today, one was assigned just yesterday though so I just improvised when the time came because I definitely didn't have time for it lol  the first one for tropical ecology I had to research the Scarlet Macaw, but in spanish of course (Guacamayo Rojo) and I had to present for 8 minutes but it ended up being kind of long anyways because our teacher interjects random facts and stories all the time.  so that went pretty well and my other class was just a presentation in the past tense, so that was pretty easy.  Later on, I went to the movies in Heredia to see Pirates of the Carribean (in 3D!!!) with two of my friends from school.  All of the previews were in spanish but we were told that only movies shown in spanish were childrens movies and the rest had spanish subtitles.  The first word of the movie was "Capitán" so we were like oh no!!!! but then the next few words were in english and the subtitles popped up! yayyy!!! but it was a close one hahah
we had to take a bus to get there but we're still pretty new with the whole system even though one of us (not me) is fluent in spanish because its his first language, we still ended up getting off at the wrong place and having to walk for a while until we could find a taxi haha but it was pretty funny and the weather was still nice so I didn't mind.  We hung out for a while after that too and had dinner at his house because we left too early for the movie to be fed at home and my family goes to bed very early. 
When I came home (half an hour ago) my brother mario was still up waiting for me! I always feel so bad when they stay up, but its very nice of them and I appreciate it, they're so good to me!  anyways I have school tomorrow and then dance classes!!! can't wait! :D