Costa Rica

I have proposed a trip with my friend Michelle to hang out in Cali for a bit. Pretty excited about that, because as terrible as the United States is at many things it does have some pretty rad cities. In addition I was suppose to go to the OC next weekend and I am no longer able to which makes me sad.

On my trip to San Fran and Costa Rica this summer I made some good friends from the California area and I figure why not actually visit. The idea is  fly to LA and chill in Venice Beach where Danah lives and then road trip to Frisco to catch up with the guys of the Cuban Cigar Crisis in North Beach. Cuban Cigar Crisis is a local Frisco band that I stumbled upon illegally downloading music one night and my accidental discovery of the band has been more fulfilling than I ever imagined especially because they are super nice dudes.

I pretty much feel as though my plan is fool proof for good times and planning is underway as I type, because I am a multi-tasker of course.


It must be my lucky week! Today the launch of UC International hosted former Mexican president Vincente Fox and I had the pleasure of being able to sit in on his dialog. I find even if there are things you may not agree with that these speakers may have to say (not that I have necessarily found any disagreements yet) it is still something to be able to listen to such prominent people of our time speak in the flesh. How cool would it have been to say you got to see Caesar give a motivational speech to his citizens or Socrates speak at the assembly in Athens?

For me listening to Vincente was all the more relevant to me than some speakers I have heard as he is a politician like myself, and like FW de Klerk on Wednesday, allowing for me to relate at a different level than just that of compassion to the human race. I also contemplated a minor in Latin American studies and after my volunteer trip to Costa Rica this summer have direct experience with the region. I also enjoyed the relevance his dialog had in regards to North America as a whole well functioning and co-existing entity.

I am so fortunate to have experienced the wonderful people I have in the last few days! Thank whoever is pulling my opportunity strings.

Holy smokes has this month ever flown by. I can’t believe how amazing the people I have met are. I really have made some amazing friends and I have also challenged myself so much to do some amazing things.

Since we started the adventure tour it has been GO GO GO and definitely worth the minimal sleep.

Our group’s first stop was Samara Beach on the Pacific coast, a really sweet rasta sort of small surf town. We had some sweet beach side eats and drinks, late night swims, and lots of heat. We kayaked to an island about a 30 minute row away and snorkeled around it, kayaked back and went surfing the first day.

Our next stop was Rincon de la Vieja which was pretty sweet as well: an eco lodge in a Costa Rican national park with some really cool activities. The day we arrived we hiked to natural hot springs over looking the flowing rapids below. Then we crossed the river, which I almost fell into, to a swim hole.  The next day we woke up rode horses to a water fall. We jumped off a cliff into the falls, hiked back to a bus that took us to go tubing down the rapids for two hours and then to a mud spa to relax.

That my friends is a typical day on our adventure tour, imagine the adrenaline and fatigue all at once.

Yesterday we got to La Fortuna where we are staying in a hotel overlooking the Arenal volcano. We went to the Baldi hot springs water park for the afternoon and had a blast. This morning we woke up to do ten 1 km zip lines above the jungle canopy, a 200ft rappel down the side of a waterfall and then a visit with the Maleku tribe to drink chicha and listen to their songs.

Jealous, I KNOW! Not to mention we always find bomb little hole in the wall restaurants that make the end of the day so much better.

Tomorrow we catch an 11am boat to an island in Tortugero and kayak some more through the national park jungle canals.

I had a bank scare cause it wouldn’t let me withdraw money, thank god that got fixed.

Time for the Carribean side.

I am still having a blast even though I am tending to mega surf rashes, bug bites on my ass and bruises everywhere.


Me zipping on a line in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Me zipping on a line in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Our projects in Santa Cruz officially ended yesterday with us helping out the Boy Scouts during their garbage pick up. The kids here are so awesome.  It was really fun spending the afternoon with a group of kids who really seem to love life, while doing something for the community as well.

It was Leeanna’s 20th birthday yesterday so half the town (literally) met on the road outside my house and walked up the hill to her house with a mariachi band and cake in the pitch dark to suprise her. It was the most hilarious night and just shows how great the people here are. They took us around to the garage that they made into a party room with balloons everywhere. If you have to spend a birthday in Costa Rica, that is the way to do it.

Me and some of the girls got our nails done by a lady here because we had so much cement caked in them. It cost us $8 each meaning after the five of us she had made $40, she told us that that $40 was enough to pay off her debts. I was somewhat shocked but very humbled at the same time.

Tomorrow we leave Santa Cruz at 6am via public bus to Heredia to get split into our new groups, as much as I enjoy this country I do not like the public buses, especially while lugging a huge backpack.

After the night in Heredia it is either to Samara Beach or white water rafting on the Carribean coast, everyone’s getting really excited.

There is a fiesta with the comunidad esta noche for our final adios, my house mom told me she is going to cry, she’s so sweet I will miss her.

My Spanish is balling now by the way, just so you all know.


Noelia my host sister and I

Noelia my host sister and I

The first few days were a little hard to handle. I live with a Costa Rican family who speak NO English thus my Spanish skills are getting intense. I live at the top of a mountain that I walk down everyday for work and walk back up usually after soccer or something of the sort.

It’s pretty sweet here but adjusting was a wee hard. We are at our one week mark and have been uber busy. We are almost done building bathrooms at the gymnasium, planted a load of trees and such (more tomorrow), sanded down to renovate desks at the school and made a few murals for the local kids.

Team ISV dominated the locals on the soccer field last night.  It is really fun to be able to interact with the people on such a level, it opens your mind to the broader concept of all people being the same. When you can share a laugh on a soccer field full of people who do not even speak your language it speaks volumes.

My host family loves to break out in dance and song. It gets dark at 6pm and bright at 5am –you can imagine my sleep pattern.

We fished yesterday and I got a sweet trout, no big deal. Who knew the antiquated fishing via bamboo pole would actually be effective?

The people here are some of the nicest I have ever met! It feels really good to be surrounded with such good people. Everyday is enjoyable and I always look forward to the next. It’s definitely a different way of travel but one I sort of feel myself preferring. Everything is planned out for me to the extent that I don’t need to worry about what I’m going to do next but also that I am pleasantly surprised when it happens.


Team Proturco hanging out in the septic tank hole