Pura Vida

My adventures while studying abroad in Costa Rica

Found this of me jumping off a rock into a little spring. This was in Nicaragua in September. 

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And the Real Challenge Begins…

Sitting up tall, I peer over the edge of the boat to enjoy the horizon of the Pacific just a bit longer. Rain smacking into my face, I exchange a smile and shoulder shrug with the man sitting across from me as the boat bounces awkwardly with the angry waves, making its way back to the mainland.

After retreating from the forest, soaked in Deet, I chose to enjoy the overhang of the mango trees while the others go look for bats and toads in the bathroom. Keith shushes me as I approach him in the forest. Without questioning him, I shift to tiptoes. 30 seconds later I am greeted by the warning glare of a white faced monkey only 10 feet from me. We spend the next couple of minutes watching in fascination how the monkey moves about in the tree, picking fruit and eating it. Fascination that I’m sure even the worlds biggest primate researcher still feels…because of how familiar his actions looked.

Awaiting my last day in San Jose before I take off for a month has me feeling more homesick than ever. Possibly a cause of the actual sickness I just recovered from. I took a step outside the house today, my first since Wednesday. Because of that nasty stomach virus I finally fought off, we had to push my departure date back twice. And like you most likely know, being sick away from home is the worst way to be.

Walking through those sliding doors of the Detroit metro airport and letting the cold air pierce my face is somehow an exciting thought. I don’t urge it to arrive faster, just let myself enjoy the comfort I know I’ll feel in that cold Michigan December air.

But I know that Wade, his family, pigs, owls, forest, and fresh food are still there and will be welcoming me on Monday. My mom reminds me of what her grandmother used to say, “idle time is the devils playground.” This couldn’t be more true, I think as I shoo him away from the monkey bars of my mind…interviewing farmers in Spanish alone, having no communication with the outside world, maybe my research will find nada…ah! Recess is over you stupid devil!

All it takes is the reminder that two months ago I came here hardly able to form a sentence in Spanish without knowing who I’d be living with. This next month will be a piece of cake in comparison. And maybe if I keep a good sense of heart and mind, I’ll make sure to even enjoy myself :)

One last picture before I take off…Here is the Pacific coast during low tide. Funny to think about how Amy looks out to Icelandic mountains covered with many feet of snow and this is what I’m seeing. Crazy big world!

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the caribbean life

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1. pacific ocean  2. rice fields  3. my professor showing us rice in the pouring rain  4. my host family in Bagatzi who Carissa and I both loved

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the “bus” on Isla Chira—island in the pacific gulf of CR

the “bus” on Isla Chira—island in the pacific gulf of CR

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Palo Verde National Park—this picture hardly does its beauty justice.

Palo Verde National Park—this picture hardly does its beauty justice.

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looking over Palo Verde national park, if only i could explain the calmness i felt here.

looking over Palo Verde national park, if only i could explain the calmness i felt here.

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because bird watching became everyones favorite past time

because bird watching became everyones favorite past time

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"Falling in love is an illness cured by marriage" says the old man giving us a talk on microorganisms. After taking a long drag from his cigarette he continues, "whoever teaches you to love, teaches you to feel pain." I look over and notice that our biology/animal/earth professor, David, is getting antsy as the topic of the day has been replaced by love and life. But yesterday’s viewing of hawks migrating south, a sloth, and howler monkeys will get David through this. I chuckle when I imagine this as a family vacation… And how my family is pretty well represented in this group that I’m with. 

My legs are still covered with itchy bug bites from a week ago and now have painful bumps from the nettle bush I walked through. But neither of those compare to the struggle we are all having in trying to decide our topics and locations for our month of individual research. Small scale fisherman struggles with overfishing/tourism and small farmers’ struggles with the lack of demand for local produce have me torn. All I know is that I’ll most likely be spending a month on a farm at 600 meters or on the coast of the Pacific. Time will tell. 

Some first time experiences from this past week: swam 15 ft from a sleeping shark; drank and purchased banana vinegar; did yoga in a blackout; learned an indigenous language from Spanish; learned how to easily make my own beer; hiked through the mountains in a skirt and boots; argued with Panamanians about the tigers/Yankees outcome. 

Now I’m sitting on the couch, heart still pounding from the crack of thunder that I still can’t believe just happened, thinking about how I’ll spend my two days at home before leaving again. Sleeping last night from 8pm to 8am was a pretty good start though. 

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