(REWiND) Día Cien y uno – Catarata!

DSC03731This past Tuesday, a group of us went on a hike to find a waterfall! The hike ended up taking two hours!! On the way there, it was 3/4 of the way uphill, and the weather could never make up it’s mind. One moment it was blue skies as in the photo above, extremely humid and warm, and then the next the skies were grey, it was raining slightly, and the temperature dropped. DSC03730

 

Finally though, we reached the waterfall – where it was probably in the 50′s and raining, and let’s not forget that the water was as cold as Lake Superior in winter. My crazy friends all jumped in, but I decided to just be the photographer instead. :P I didn’t feel like being soaking wet on the hike and bus ride back to Heredia (a good 2-2.5 hour trip back).  DSC03774

 

On the hike back, we made record time, but I accidentally went a bit off the path and my feet ended up looking like this: DSC03835

Although a long and tiring day, it was a great adventure with some awesome people! :D

 

Things I Shall Miss :’(

Things I am going to miss about Costa Rica:

  • seeing the mountains every day
  • the warm weather
  • the parrot
  • the dog
  • my ISA friends
  • my ISA coordinators/leaders
  • the ocean
  • the rainforest
  • monkeys & sloths
  • the wonderful food
  • Spanish television
  • hanging out with Becca after dinner
  • soccer games with random people
  • smoothies all the time
  • fresh fruit juice
  • city life
  • public transportation
  • walking everywhere
  • an outdoor public lap pool
  • not having a cell phone – I’ve quite enjoyed the lack of it
  • insane amounts of free time 532557_479659142072295_1464359237_n

Oh yeah, and *someone* will be happy to see this photo..  DSC03932Good-bye converse that have traveled the world with me. :(

(REWiND) Día Cien – Baby Shower!

DSC03687On Sunday, Becca and I got to go to the baby shower of our host sister. :] It was the fanciest baby shower I have ever been to, that’s for sure! It was catered, and first we were served water, then this really amazing-tasting coca-cola, then coffee + pastries, and last of all, a plate with rice, chicken, and vegetables. Ay!

DSC03707

That all took place over the course of about three hours, during which there was a host who took care of the party games. Yes, a host with a microphone, and a DJ who played music. Let’s not forget to mention the disco balls and lights! It was really quite crazy. Also, there were a few guys there, including the father-to-be, and really the entire thing reminded Becca and I more of a wedding reception than a baby shower..

DSC03708Mi familia tica! :]

 

 

Día Noventa y ocho – Pensamientos (Thoughts)

This past week has been really quite busy overall. I have spent several hours every day studying for final exams, and today I have spent several hours doing research for my final presentation in Advanced Spanish on Tuesday. My final exams were así-así (so-so), but I’m just glad they are over with. What I really want to do well on is this presentation, which is comparing education here in Costa Rica versus education in the U.S.

For my last weekend here in Costa Rica, I’m not doing much. I haven’t got any plans to go to a beach or find a waterfall; rather, I have plans to sit and work on this project for the majority of my weekend, which is crazy exciting, I know. I went outside today to workout, and right now I am sitting at the coffee shop on campus, which is outside.. so at least I am not sitting inside all day or anything. It’s possible I’ll meet up with some friends tomorrow, maybe hit up the pool or something equally as relaxing. On Sunday is the baby shower of my host sister, so that day is going to be really pretty hectic. At least that should make for a good blog update.

It’s strange to think that I have only one week left here. It doesn’t feel quite real, and I am a bit anxious to return to the states. What kind of culture shock am I going to experience? A lot? A little? Will I be as dedicated to keeping up with my Spanish as I intend to be? Will I feel really out of place for a while, or will I fall right back into old routines?

Sometimes I just get tired of thinking about it, so I pretend that I’m not leaving here and I go on as if this every day life I have here is going to continue: listening to the dogs bark like mad at 6:30 every morning, hearing the parrot serenade us every time it rains, hearing the cleaning lady whistle every morning to be let into the house, walking past the park and the car wash on the way to class, hearing “Chicas chicaaaas!” every time breakfast or dinner is ready..

I could ramble on and on, about this or that. My thoughts are running together, jumbled up, and not very easy to decipher. Leaving here is very bittersweet.. I guess I’ll leave it at that, for now.

(REWiND) Días Noventa & Noventa y uno – Monteverde!

DSC03458This past Friday I went with three friends to the famous Monteverde. The sites on the drive there were absolutely breathtaking, but the photos I took through the bus window did not do it any justice. :/

Once we got there, Chelsea and I were picked up within the hour to go zip lining through the Cloud Forest! The weather couldn’t have been better. There wasn’t any sun, but there wasn’t any rain and it wasn’t that cold, either. ¡Que perfecto! I was extremely nervous at first. We got all geared up and walked to the first platform. They showed us how to hold the ropes and how to break, and then we were off! DSC02720

The first line wasn’t very long, but when you got to the next platform, the guide unhooked you from the first line, hooked you to the second line, and sent you off! It was pretty intense for my first time, but I got the hang of it after that. We never did more than two lines straight in a row without a bit of a break.

DSC02737(That is me!)

Some of the lines were really quite long (over 1,000 feet), while others were quite short (300 feet). There was this old lady in our group and she was so funny! Her husband brought her there but refused to actually go on the zip lines himself. She oftentimes had to go with one of the guides because she was afraid to do the long ones by herself. There was also a German couple on the tour that I tried speaking with, but my German skills are so poor at the moment, and their English wasn’t that great, so our communication was quite limited. But hey, I tried.

We thought there were only 15 zip lines, but apparently they added two more on. Right before the seventeenth one there was a Tarzan Swing, where they attached you to a rope and pushed you off a platform. I’m not sure why I did it, knowing my fear of heights, but I did it nonetheless. The only two people to scream were myself and the old lady. My stomach flew up into my throat and I had to close my eyes for a few seconds when I was flying over the edge of a hill covered in trees.

DSC02794Then Chelsea and I walked across all of the suspension bridges in the Cloud Forest. :] They were pretty neat, but the zip lining was definitely much better.

Once we were done with that tour we were brought back to our hostel, grabbed a snack, and were picked up again to go on a night tour through the rain forest! It was a walking tour, where each person had a flashlight and we walked along trails. We chose to go with the group that was having the Spanish tour in order to practice our Spanish. :] It was really neat. We saw a sloth, a poisonous snake, some different bugs, and.. DSC03516TARANTULAS!

It was a really fun night! We ate dinner at 9:00 p.m. and went to bed right afterwards.

The next morning we ate breakfast, did some shopping, and hiked 15 minutes straight uphill to this really awesome tree: DSC03556I only made it that far up though, which is maybe ten feet off the ground. The other two climbed all the way to the top (60 feet?). After that we had to catch our bus back to Heredia. What a quick 36 hours!! And what a great last big adventure in Costa Rica. :]

Día Noventa – la calle

An interesting thing about here is the gutters along the streets. Some of them can be shallow, but a lot of them are really deep. These gutters gather a lot of garbage and a lot of rain water. They also even gather homeless people sometimes. Be careful, because there are sometimes people sleeping in the gutters but they are covered in cardboard so they are difficult to see! I wouldn’t recommend ever stepping into the gutter though, anyway; not with the filth that ends up there.

These nasty gutters, along with the lovely smells of vomit, pee, rotting milk, etc., are a few things that I will not be missing when I leave here. :)

 

Día Ochenta y nueve – Pobre sombrilla :(

This is my poor umbrella. :( The wind here has gotten a hold of it one too many times, and it is now an upside down umbrella. It really doesn’t do much to protect me from the rain anymore, and of course today it was raining on the way to and from class..

Now, I don’t mind if I get wet, but I don’t particularly care for my back pack to get wet. However, since I have only two weeks left I don’t really want to buy another umbrella, and therefore if you were to see me walking down the street, you would probably give me quite the funny look..

Día Ochenta y ocho – la universidad aquí

I may have already used this photo in a post, but I haven’t any other photos to use for my ‘rant’.

You see, the university I am attending here is small and private, but the standards are very low, especially for exchange students. My professors really don’t expect much from me at all. When a professor doesn’t expect much from you, you don’t really bother working hard. You just don’t. I would love to be challenged and pushed, but I’m pretty sure they could care less about me, so why bother? At the beginning of the semester I put more effort into my homework, but now that I know they don’t even care, I’ve stopped caring myself. I have two exams next week and I’m hardly concerned (but of course I am a little bit, that’s just my nature!).

Another thing about these classes: the students seem to run the class. They aren’t at all respectful. They are constantly on their cell phones or computers, talking with each other while the prof is talking, leaving the class to get a snack, and get this – one girl even sat and cut all of her split ends during one lesson.

Being here has made me SO much more appreciative of NMU, and I’m really ecstatic about going back next semester. I’m excited to be going to a college that actually feels like a college as opposed to a high school with a bunch of students running around in cliques. And I’m ready for professors who will take me seriously, listen to me, and challenge me.

I have twenty credits next semester, and contrary to what you might think, I am super excited for it.

Día Ochenta y siete – Los parques de Heredia

There are three parks in Heredia that I go by often. The one above is the main park of the city and is located right in the centro (center of downtown). El correo (the post office) is located right by this park. When we first arrived here back in September, there was a fountain empty of water, but currently there is a big tent over it and there is some sort of construction going on (which is the big white tent in the background above).

 In the middle of the park there is a pavilion that is constantly covered with pigeons. Actually, the entire park is constantly covered in pigeons, and the benches are usually filled with couples of all ages making out. Sometimes I think it’s a contest to see who can make the loudest kissing noises..

 The second park is my favorite park, el Parque Los Ángeles. There are usually less people at this one, and the traffic around it is less, which means it is a bit quieter there. I like to go there to read or write or people watch. A lot of parents take their children there to run around the statues or chase the pigeons. 

The third park I haven’t even walked through, actually. It’s located right by my host parents’ church. I haven’t got any photos of it right now, but I’ll add it to my list of things to do before I leave here: go sit in that park, people watch, and take some photos. :]

Día Ochenta y seis – Let the studying commence..

So about a month ago, I had an exam in my Advanced Spanish class, and I got super ambitious, organized all of my worksheets, and actually studied.

Not this week, but the next, I have my two final exams in my history classes. What does that mean? I really need to start studying! I also have a presentation to make for my Spanish class. I’m hoping that by posting this photo I’ll get some of that ambition back and get a lot done this week/weekend..

 

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