In less than two months I’ll be back home. Wow!!
Here’s my attempt to fill you in on the excitement of my last two weeks:
The BIG Things:
1. TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK: Not turtle season, but it’s a semi-close location which is situated between a long canal and the ocean. We took a 2-hour long boat ride out to the park… much more fun than a bus! The trip was great, despite the constant rain. My highlights from the trip were seeing an anteater (outside of a restaurant!), star-gazing at night (sooo many stars and three planets), and a going on a boat tour of the park (my favorite animals: a river otter which we spotted fishing & at least 40 monkeys right before our eyes). We definitely learned the advantage of zip-lock bags and a decent rain jacket.
2. TOWN TOUR (GUIDES: 2 HIGH SCHOOLERS): My neighbor Eleanor and her friend Ricardo (9th graders) took me around town a bit. This included an in-depth explanation of the classic tico burial process. I also saw Ricardo’s pets: love parakeets (which die if left without its partner), dogs, chickens, parrot and horses. Talk about a zoo!
3. “INVITATION-ONLY” TOWN DINNER: My host dad is a member of “ASADAS”, which is the aqueduct town association. Hence, my family was invited to a town dinner, along with other town leaders. While we ate, a band played classic Costa Rican folk music.
–Headed back to San Jose for 4 days with the rest of my class.–
4. MY HOST NEPHEW’S BIRTHDAY PARTY: Classic tico birthday parties are very similar to gringo ones! There were kid games such as “pin the tail on the donkey”, water balloons and musical chairs. We ate tostadas with refried beans, meat and vegetables, followed by cake and ice cream. To finish off the event was a pinata. I wasn’t surprised!
5. INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ARTS: In San Jose, there was a week-long cultural celebration. There were international foods, artisan booths, cultural events and presentations- all for free! It was similar to a small state fair. One night we saw a Russian techno accordion duo (one-of-a-kind event). My Uncle Dave knows how to play the accordian… so I think he should join in and make this group a trio! I also saw a mystery Spanish horse event (don’t know how to explain it!).
–Back to Venecia.–
6. VENECIA EXPO: In my town, the past few weekends have been a fair. (Think of a mini-county fair this time.) There were local artisans, singers, dancers, rides, food, bars, farm animals and various events. For example, I saw an elderly folk dance group and a “tope” (parade of 400 horses).
7. LA FORTUNA TRIP: This past weekend I went to La Fortuna with a few friends. This is a super touristy location in Costa Rica. We spent our Saturday lunch under a bridge at a river with a few waterfalls. This was perfect. We swam under the waterfall, which had such great pressure that it sucked us under and spat us out further down. SO FUN! Later we took a tour. It led us around Volcano Arenal, on a few hour hike through the national park there, to another waterfall (where we jumped off a mini-ledge into a pool of water and sat under the waterfall) and hot springs at night. The next morning we woke up early to hike Cerro Chato, which is a neighboring volcano which has a crystal clear lagoon in it’s crater. We had to book it up and down in order to make the bus, but it was still a blast.
The Little Things:
1. PEREZOSO CROSSING: This morning I went out for a run… where I saw a sloth (“perezoso”) crossing the road! I could tell that it was a male by the spotting on it’s back. It took 5 minutes to cross half of the road, climb up a ditch and situate itself in the tree. So cool!
2. FOOD EXCHANGE: My host mom has been teaching me how to make lots of different tico dishes. Everyday she thinks of something new to make! One day I made my family french toast, which they loved. Also, I baked a “toasted coconut mango banana bread” from a recipe my mom found. Thanks mom!! My family loved it.
3. SNAIL MAIL: Even with the address “100 meters north of the Dos Pinos, Next to the mechanic shop Alsoin, Venecia, San Carlos, Costa Rica, Central America”, cards from my godmother Sharon and mom have made it to me! I love receiving mail! I wonder how often mail makes it here, because I received three letters in one day!
4. RETAKING CLASS: I have gone with my high school neighbor to her confirmation classes weekly. It is really fun to compare/contrast with my own experience! My host mom also teaches faith formation. Today I sat in on the class with 12 squirmy kids!
5. VISIT TO THE PERRITOS: Today I also went to visit a “family friend’s” collie puppies. They are only a few weeks old and just today one fully opened its eyes. They were so pretty!
6. “PRUEBELO”: Just when I think I’ve tried every Tico type of bread, I’m given another. Yesterday, my host mom and I went to three cafecitos. Hence, I ate bread three times. Pizza bread, empanaditas with caramel, honey with pineapple and mango and sweet bread filled with cream cheese were all on the day’s menu. Good thing I had a long morning run!!
Shout out to my loyal blog followers… Gary & Donna!!!
Que se vaya bien,