Monday, March 14, 2011

It has begun...

I have decided to officially start my blog today. I won't leave for Costa Rica until May first; however, I bought my plane ticket, applied for my host family, and my passport is ready for another stamp. My adventure is about to begin.

The purpose of my blog is to keep in touch with everyone back home, share my experiences, and show you the beauty I have found in Costa Rica. I take pictures obsessively. I will post the best ones (because I know no one wants to look a thousand pictures, but that is likely how many I will take each week). I am also writing this blog as a journal for myself. I hope it will help me remember all of the wonderful experiences I have had. Furthermore, they say journaling and blogging can help to keep a person sane. So at those moments when I feel overwhelmed and all I want to do is be back home enjoying the Iowa summer, I will come blog and by writing I will prove to myself that I am extremely fortunate to have this opportunity. 

I will be spending May, June, and July in San Jose, Costa Rica. I have two primary goals I hope to achieve while there:

1) Learn to speak Spanish. I am minoring in Spanish and will be taking an intensive Spanish course for four hours every day while in Costa Rica. I will also be living with a Costa Rican family. I hope that by the end of the Summer I can comfortably hold conversation. Later in my life I want to participate in Doctors without Borders, an amazing program that provides medical care to people in need throughout the world. I want to do my part.  All of Central and most of South America are Spanish speaking and being able to communicate with the people I hope to help would make the experience of helping them that much more rewarding.

2) I want to travel. There are few things I enjoy more than traveling, seeing new places, tasting new foods, and, of course, taking pictures of everywhere I visit. Different cultures fascinate me and I want to see as much of the country and experience as much of the Costa Rican culture as possible in three months. On top of the culture, Costa Rica is one of the most eco diverse countries in the world. The unique terrain offers rainforests, mountains, active volcanoes, mangrove forests, beaches, and more. It has more species of butterflies than can be found in all of Africa (more than 1,000)! And it contains 6% of the world's biodiversity despite the fact that it covers only 0.03% of the world's surface. There is so much beauty packed into this tiny country and I can't wait to uncover it.

3) I know I said I only had two goals, but this third one is something that I want to do no matter where I am in the world or what stage in my life I am at. I want to make friends, connections, learn about people, and have fun. I want to make this opportunity the best it possibly can be. I want to learn from the experience, from the people around me, and learn about myself. This will be an experience I will never  forget and I want it to be incredible.