Saturday, March 1, 2014
I have been blessed with the opportunity to spend time with my parents in Costa Rica! They had never left the United States before so it is so cool for them to be here experiencing a new culture! We drove into the mountains to get to Monteverde so we could fly threw the mountains on a zip lining canopy tour. The longest line was over 3000 feet! It was a blast!!! It was hilarious watching my parents go first, my dad just about had a heart attack before he went but after awhile we were basically pros! The last zip line was the 3000 footer and everyone had to go in pairs. I went with one of the staff workers so my parents could go together. The view was more than beautiful, I could see over all of the trees and mountains it was so liberating. Then watching my parents was great because this is probably, in my opinion, the coolest and craziest thing we've ever done together. It was so adrenaline rushing and cool feeling like you're flying.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
This last weekend I went back to Puerto Viejo on the caribbean side of Costa Rica, aka Rasta Town! But this time I traveled all on my own. It´s really cool that you can hop on a public bus and get across the country for only ten bucks. I suppose that there are places like that in the United States, but not so much in Michigan. I stayed at a hostel called Rocking Jay´s and I have never been anywhere like it before. It was right on the beach and basically integrated into the outdoors because I stayed in a tent for only 8 bucks a night. There were a few rooms, but most people stayed in hammocks. This type of hostel allowed me to meet some really cool people from all over the world. I especially became closer friends with a few ticos. I absolutely love when you first meet someone and you can just sense how genuine and similar they are to you, it´s like destiny or love at first sight in a friendship or tribe-like way. I basically spent the whole day Saturday reading from one of my yoga books and doing yoga on the beach. That night I ran around the town and beach listening to reggae (you won´t find any music genre different from reggae in Puerto Viejo) and having a gay ól time with new friends. Starting all of these new friendships got me thinking about people in general. At CMU we have a pretty big group of international students, but I have never really become friends with any for some reason. I had never really noticed that before. The ticos here are really nice and welcoming to us international kids here. They hang out with us and help us with homework and everything as if we were never going to leave. I had never even thought about doing that for international students in Michigan. It really makes you think about what it´s like being in another person´s shoes. I´ve found myself feeling really lucky having the opportunity to learn from people of all cultures. Especially so in Puerto Viejo, I met so many backpackers just dedicating this time in their lives to traveling and exploring the world with friends. How amazing! On another note, despite missing my dearest friends and family, it has been quite liberating being on my own in a new place the last two months. Basically without a phone or social networking tools, people have to come and find me instead of contact me from afar. It was weird at first, but I´ve come to like it. Especially after having started this experience on a heart-breaking note, it´s been great to find some peace of mind and grow by adapting to my environment and building up a new circle of friends. Now I would like to share something that I read during my chill beach day this weekend in Yoga, by Ernest Wood: ´´Independence leads to the greatest happiness and the most felicitous conditions of existence on earth. Health, beauty, peace, prosperity, and every reasonable felicity result from the same ethics, mental disciplines, and type of endeavor as lead to a future free from the restrictions of earthly life.´´ ¡Pura Vida!
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Being in Costa Rica the last 6 weeks has taught me more about latin-american culture. There are a lot of little things that are accepted differently between Costa Rica and Michigan (I can't really speak for the entire United States). For example, punctuality. People in Costa Rica run on what is called "tico time" which means basically not on time. Very different from the states where "time is money". At home, I was always taught that to be on time was to be five minutes early; in Costa Rica, however, being ten minutes late is being on time. Not only does class always start late (which I'm not exactly complaining about), but in general people run on tico time. I find myself getting annoyed at times when it takes more than ten minutes for my coffee to be served and 45 minutes to get my sandwich, but it's just tico time. It's only a difference in culture and it is totally normal here to run on a slower and more relaxed schedule. Another thing that I've been struggling with adapting to is staring. I've always been told that staring is rude. But not down here. People will stare and stare for thirty minutes even after catching eye contact (when in Michigan people would usually stop staring). I feel strange at first but then I just think "it's just a cultural thing". It's bizarre how people do little things differently across the world. And the ability to be aware of these differences and accept them is something important. People should step out of their comfort zone and realize that "their way" or "their culture's way" isn't the only way. Instead of getting frustrated with the way people do things different from yourself just salute the beauty in all and say NAMASTE! On another note, I went to life in color last weekend. It was supposedly the biggest paint party ever. I have to say it was the most fun I've had since I've been in Costa Rica.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
First of all, completely embracing the chaos as usual, I spontaneously decided an hour before the group left to sign up for the Panama trip. I have only been on one spring break trip in my life and Bocas del Toro was like a spring break town! It was different and crazy and awesome all at the same time. We got to the border to cross a bridge that was literally falling apart, there were loose boards and nails sticking out all over and I could have dropped anything and lost it for forever. This was the bridge that connected Panama to Costa Rica. It still blows my mind. We then had to take a boat taxi to the island where I stayed in a hostel with one of the coolest people I've met so far on this trip. This experience has given me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, which is phenomenal. I learned that it is characteristic of Panama to have people dressed up like devils running around messing with you and whipping each other? ‘Twas different but really fun to mess with them back! The best part of the weekend was on Saturday when we went to the dolphin bar, they were so majestic. My roommate in San Jose taught me that dolphins have the exact same brains as humans, but with an additional part, so maybe dolphins are the mythical mermaids of the universe? Food for thought! I had my first experience snorkeling which was SO COOL! I also did some more meditating while floating in the ocean, it is my favorite! There’s no better way to meditate for me. We next went to a beach on another island to see a ton of starfish. On Sunday we went to Red Frog Beach in the National Park, although I didn’t see even one red frog. It was still really nice, the waves were crazy huge and were a blast swimming in and getting wrecked by them. I did some yoga and dancing in the sand then rented a hammock with a friend and drank coconut juice and just admired the view. There was this rock formation of sorts that the volcanic ash made and the water crashing into it was too cool and then it would empty of water in a waterfall like way. Guess you'd have to be there. ciao for now:)
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
¡Hola! I went to Tamarindo last weekend which is on the Pacific ocean. It was so beautiful! And really nice; kind of expensive because it was a bit of a tourist town. But the night life was alive and thriving! I met a lot of really cool people from all over the world. I learned how to surf so I can officially cross that off of my bucket list. "Check, check!" I'm not going to go into details on this for the entire world to see, because the circumstances of the situation were honestly pretty dumb, but I did witness and somewhat participate in saving someone's life in the Pacific ocean which was crazy. Below are some silly pictures of me and my new buddies Jen and Alex having a gay 'ol time surfing all on one board at the same time! :P
Monday, January 20, 2014
I have officially found paradise. It's called Puerto Viejo. The absolute best town I have ever visited! It is a small town on the caribbean side of Costa Rica. I loved that basically everything except for the bank was locally owned and it was a total hippy town! Dreads and reggae everywhere and everyone was very chill and relaxed, just living la pura vida. Just my kind of environment and what I believe in for a beautiful and simple life! It was an oasis. I felt like I belonged there and I was sad to have to leave for San Jose to go back to school. We went to Cahuita National Park and enjoyed a day at the beach and checking out some cool animals in their natural habitat. I saw a sloth, a snake, a pelican, and some monkeys but we had to watch out for their "chocolate" droppings on the path! Hahaha! We sadly couldn't go snorkeling because the waves were too crazy but I was okay with that anyway, I loved relaxing on the beach or finding a comfy hammock for awhile and just admiring the vibes and presences of the place. The beach was beautiful no matter which part of it you were at. I could have stayed there forever. I plan to keep this little piece of paradise in my mind for the future. I met a lot of people who had visited there before, fell in love with the town and people and later decided to move their lives there. If I could, I would move there too! But seriously, it's in my mind. And for some of those reading this and looking for the same thing (you know who you are fellow flower children), seriously, let's return. I have already started cooking a minor plan to keep in mind throughout my adventures. A wise girl once told me that dreams never expire. And ever since I have always taken that to heart. I think that I may belong in Puerto Viejo, and I could list about fifteen of my favorite people that would love the life there too. It is just the place for a tribe like ours. Very different from the city. I felt safe and as if I totally "fit in". There is no other life like the beach life in absolute paradise. P.S. to everyone in Michigan: I have a sunburn! In January!!!! :P
Sunday, January 12, 2014
It's the end of my first week in Costa Rica! First of all, living with a host family is great! My tico family is more than nice and watches out for us Michiganders, making sure we make good decisions and eat only the best of food! One week in and I've already met many great people, ticos (or Costa Ricans) are very nice and friendly. I love being able to see mountains every way I turn. I took a shopping excursion with my roommate to downtown San Jose which was fun and adventurous for us! I'm still not used to the city smell, but the planned excursions through CMU included the cleanest of air! I had great adventures this weekend: Rio Celeste and Poás Volcano; both of which were located in the beautiful mountains which really tested my leg muscles. I met the Pacific ocean on the way to the national park which was pretty awesome.