Thursday, July 28, 2011

“A ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” William Shedd

My Journey has been incredible. I never expected to learn so much about myself, about Costa Rica, or about a language when I set out on this crazy adventure nearly three months ago. Another summer has passed, I have met new friends from around the country, and I have gained an unforgettable experience. While moving to a foreign country alone for three months was a little intimidating, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my summer than traveling around a beautiful foreign country while learning the language. It has truly been a blessing. Along the way I have learned some very important things: P1050588

1. How important my family is to me.

2. That God’s beautiful creations never cease to amaze me.

3. Good friends can make an experience indescribably better.

4. How amazing it is to learn about another culture & language.

5. How blessed I am to have had this wonderful experience and then get to return home to my wonderful family.

6. How adaptable we are.P1050636

7. Learning about my priorities in life.

Other great, but not so profound things that I have loved about my trip:

1. All the crazy fruits, desserts, and mystery substances I have tried.

2. Living in a big city, but still getting to see the mountains every day.

3. The slower pace of life and learning to go with the flow

This will be my last blog post, so I will update the states from my first blog post:

Day 89 of my Costa Rican Journey and here are my stats:P1050574

Spanish skill level: conversational

Skin color: very tan, with a hint of pink from a long beach weekend

Number of Costa Rican friends: not many, but A LOT of new friends from the states

Number of Costa Rican boys kissed: still 0

Lowest Latitude Reached: 9° N (Bocas del Toro, Panama)

Money Spent: less than my study abroad scholarship money! Goal achieved!

Pictures taken in Costa Rica: 2423

Today I gave my final presentation, took my final exam, and ate some wonderful Costa Rican ice cream with my friends for the very last time. Tomorrow, after class, my friends and I have plans to go for coffee and spend the rest of the day enjoying each other's company. I love my group of friends here. It amazes me how close I have become with these people in just three short months. They are truly special and have helped to make this experience extraordinary.

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog, left comments, and supported me along the way. I am so grateful and blessed.


It has been a wonderful Costa Rican Journey. Pura Vida.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

“Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” -Lao Tzu

Last picture Wednesday…Ever. I really have already shared all of my favorite photos and I am preparing for my final exam and presentation tomorrow so I will just give you this one and a quote.


“I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge.” -Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

“It's essential to keep an open mind, and to be willing--better yet, eager--to try new things” -Michael Abrash

I only have a few days left on my Costa Rica Journey and I want to make the most of them. Food is definitely  part of a culture and while in the tropics, you must eat the fruit! I have eaten a ridiculous amount of pineapple, papaya, banana, and mango while I was here; however, there were still a ton of mysterious fruits lurking in the markets for us to try… and try we did! Jason and I went to the local fruit market and bought about a dozen strange fruits for our group of friends. I’ll admit… they were not all delicious. But I did find a few that I loved!

Zapote – delicious!                                        Mamon – yum!                                        Cas – bitter and horrible


       Mangosteen – there are no words        Passion Fruit – wonderful                                     Jacote – the worst one…so bitter


Dragon Fruit – bland                                      Guanabana – strange texture, but yummy        Anon – not good or bad


Carambola – tart                                                Loquat – not my cup of tea


My Ukrainian friend, Pavel, also taught me how to make Piroshki, a typical Ukrainian bread filled with mashed potatoes and then fried. It was a wonderful meal!

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Nosara: “Feelings are much like waves, we can't stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf.” -Jonatan MĂ„rtensson

P1050691 Stitch

P1050612The weekend was perfect. Howler monkeys acted as my alarm clock, the sun was my watch, and the sunset told me it was time to eat dinner. Time was lost gazing out at the ocean, digging my toes in the sand, laughing and talking with my amazing friends. I feel so blessed to have had such a perfect weekend. Our hostel was situated un on a hillside overlooking the ocean. The beaches were stunning, undiscovered by the hoards of tourists. The waves were perfect for the boys to surf and Jessica and I to listen to as we soaked up our final rays of sun. We walked, we talked, we played. Nothing more.








The first night we made spaghetti and shared an apple that my friend broke into quarters with his hands, a feat I am determined to accomplish. Our card games got competitive but we never went more than a minute without laughing. The next night, our last, was spent on the beach. After spending as much time as our skin could handle under the blistering Costa Rican sun and sharing a fantastic meal, we ventured back to the beach, this time guided by flashlight. There we collected dry drift wood and palm fronds to start our campfire. Dustin played the harmonica, the waves crashed on to shore, the fire crackled, and I just sat there, a bundle of emotions. Overcome with joy that I was able to spend my last weekend in such a special place with such special people, and at the same time pushing away the nagging thoughts of parting. We laid on the soft white sand, warmed by the fire, watching shooting stars streak across the uncharacteristically clear sky. Eventually, Dustin made tea and coffee and we shared his unique aluminum cup, passing it from person to person around the campfire, living by his motto that coffee is meant to be shared.


I walked out to the ocean to dip in my toes, engulfed in the deep dark night sky. The fire flickered in the distance and I could see the silhouettes of my three friends. I stood there for a long time, not wanting to separate myself from the ocean, the stirring body of life, so powerful, so immense. I’m not good at goodbyes; not with people, not with places I love. The ocean is one of those spectacular things. I said my goodbyes and let a salty tear fall into the ocean.


I have five more days left in this tropical paradise; however, Nosara was the perfect final weekend on my Costa Rican Journey.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

“Always remember, it’s simply not an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.” -Sarah Ban Breathnach

My final weekend in Costa Rica has arrived. I willing be taking the bus for the last time to lay next to the ocean once more before returning to the rolling fields of corn. I am going with three of my friends, Pavel, of course, we have not yet spent a weekend apart, Dustin, and Jessica. All of us leave either the 30th of July, or sometime in early August. It is our last weekend together and we are determined to have a wonderful time. image


Distance: 130 miles

Time: 6 hours

Accommodations: Hostel for the girls, tent for the boys

Friends: 3

As we set out on our final adventure, we may not encounter dragons, but we will be sure to soak up the sun, dig our toes in the sand, let the ocean wash away our sweat, and enjoy each others company around the campfire. Tears are springing to my eyes as I write this and I wonder what life will be like when I return home….very different, no doubt.