Costa Rica – Weeks 1-2

I arrived to Costa Rica on May 30, safely and with no problems other than being seated next to some high school students from Alabama doing missionary work who thought that Costa Rica was an island. Hopefully, they’ll learn a lot while they’re here.

My first week here was quite a whirlwind, lots of training, lots of information, lots of obnoxious US-ers. Although we were living in one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen (a private lodge at the base of a volcano in a rain forest, complete with river and ducks, a chicken and her chick, and the coolest bird I’ve ever seen), I found myself quite eager to get away from it all. Hopefully the training is not indicative of what all my time working here will be or else I may be so sick of US-ers by the end of the summer that I never return to the US again!

After training, I had the luxury of heading to San Jose, where I began my week of vacation before officially starting work on the 15th. San Jose is dirty. San Jose is vibrant and bustling. San Jose is the city with the most perfect climate in the whole world. I am convinced San Jose is absolutely awesome.

Having spent three days wandering around the city, I then hopped onto a bus and headed for the Nicoya peninsula (the north west of the country). It was a long ride, including 3 different buses and a ferry, but it was sooo worth it, and so far that ride has been the best part of my trip. At the bus stop, I had a conversation with Jorge about Costa Rica, the US, soccer, and how television is destroying the world. We were totally on the same wavelength and when he left for his separate bus, I knew he meant it when he said ‘cuidese!’. Then I met some wonderful travelers, a woman from Germany and a guy from NY who now lives on the beach. It’s always nice hearing people’s stories, how they got where they are, why they’re doing what they’re doing. Above and beyond the best part though was the one hour ferry ride through the beautiful gulf of Nicoya, complete with pelicans-galore and lots of islands, and a 40 something Tico named Francisco who works for the government division of fishing regulations. The ride passed so quickly and our conversation flowed from one topic to the next. I learn so much about Costa Rican government and mentality and I swear I almost felt like my life was complete when he told me that although lots of US tourists come to CR, he had never had such a conversation before and now he feels like he has a different idea about people from the US. sigh. that is what traveling is all about! Can I please be an ambassador or something?

Once arrived to the Nicoya peninsula, it has been beach day after beach day, which is quite nice once I got into the groove. For some reason it is always hard for me to relax at first (i’m remembering mancora, peru as well). I think i get skeeved out that nothing is clean, because really nothing seems clean at beach hostels when you first look and then I get grossed out and can’t relax. But eventually I got over it, and today I even had an incredible conversation with the cleaning lady who is definitely a super hard-worker and an illegal immigrant from Nicaragua (think Mexico-US relations and you will understand Nica-CR relations). She told me all about her life and her struggle and how she wants to become legal, but that it costs $800 US dollars to do. Not so possible considering she gets paid less than US$100 a month while working 3 jobs. I wish her good luck! She was a kind, sweet lady (who also helped me find my necklace when it was broken)

And now, as a beach-hopper, today I have finally made it to the last beach of my mini-vacation and after a long and overly-bumpy bus ride which I suffered through with a full bladder, I was rewarded by THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACH AND SUNSET I HAVE EVER SEEN! I nearly cried and flew at the same time.

And so here I am. Traveling. I forgot how good it was. And this time I feel so open and so capable of learning and being taught.

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