Semana Santa Part 2

On the way home from the beach, we detoured to Parque Nacional Tenorio to see this beautiful Rio Celeste. The water is turquoise blue because of the combination of minerals in the water. Very cool.

Nothing like a guard with a gun to discourage littering.

Katie and Lisa taking photos with the other 50 people there.

On the hike.

Lisa and I.

Lisa, me, Katie.

The way back up the mountain was the hard part. We were on a very steep trail that was somewhat paved but mostly just rocks and mud. Think Stairmaster all the way up a mountain!


On the way to the park, there were cows crossing the bridge. We had cows in front and behind the car as we also crossed the bridge, haha.

Bad translation? I think yes. The Spanish version of the same sign said something like, ''The park does not produce trash, so neither should you.'' LOL

On the way home, we saw these rays of sunshine peeking through the clouds. A great end to a great vacation :).


Semana Santa Part 1

As the entire population of San José leaves to city to enjoy the beach during Semana Santa, so I of course had to join in :).
Friends Lisa and Katie and I enjoyed four days at beautiful Playa Conchal. The sand is literally pieces of shell that you can dig through to find shell treasures! This was my third time at this beach as I had gone with Aunt Janna and Uncle Jason in 2008 and with Trish, Kim V., and Kim L. in 2009.

Day one: WHITIES. lol.  
Katie brought music. I brought beads to make jewelry. Lisa brought a good book.

Neighborhood kids brought the entertainment as they practiced their stilts on the beach!

We didn't risk getting our rental car stuck in the sand... but these people did and got stuck!!! 

The water was so crystal clear!! On Day 4, we felt like we were getting stung by jellyfish or something, but we found out later the current was bringing in sea lice... kind of disgusting.

All I need at the beach is my purse full of beads, snacks, and sunscreen. :)

Rockin' life under a mangrove tree.

Day 4: BURNT. We were so burnt that we were putting our towels on top of us to block the sun. Result: we were covered in sand and still burnt. Ouch.

As we left the beach after day 4, we joked that we were still hiding from the sun's rays (Katie demonstrates this better than I do :)) and we were joking that we are rednecks... literally, haha.


Skype Video Chat

If you have ever lived overseas (or maybe just far away from your family) in the last few years, you may have discovered the amazing FREE Skype communication technology. As long as the other person also has Skype downloaded on his/her computer, you can chat for hours and it won't cost a penny! :)

I just found a folder of photos I have taken of people while chatting via Skype video. Please forgive the poor quality of photos...

Wes. Brother. He was in London studying at Oxford. 9.19.2009.

Jaclyn. Friend from Judson. She was volunteering with EMI in Uganda. 10.20.2009.

Jenny. Roommate from Judson. She is a teacher in the Chicago area. 3.10.2010.

Yoji. Friend from Costa Rica. He is studying in St. Louis, Missouri. 6.3.2010.

Trish. Best friend that I lived with here in CR. She was visiting family for the summer in Ohio. 8.4.2010.

Tiffany. Roommate from Judson. She's a teacher in Bandung, Indonesia. 8.27.2010.

Rosie. Friend since high school. She lives and works in Dubuque, Iowa. 8.27.2010.

Erin. Friend from Virginia that I met in CR. She now lives in VA and works as a substitute teacher. 9.2.2010.

I Think I Fell in Love...

...with a two-year-old!!! Santiago is seriously the light of my life right now :).

playing at the park...


He almost mastered this ladder on his own... He actually started climbing the bars on the windows here at the house last week... Maybe he's practicing for the next time we're at that park?

Mama Natalia, Aunt Andrea, and Uncle Noda taking a break.

Santi hides behind doors and then jumps out and whispers, ''Boo!!'' Whispers, not yells :).

Then at night he plays before he goes to bed.

The moment I knew this kid was special was the moment he said, ''Kay-sh.'' (Kate :)) He hasn't stopped saying it since! He knocked on my door on this last Saturday morning and said, ''Kaysh!!'' Good thing it was 9am or I may not have responded as positively :). I opened the door to find him there with a big grin on his face! So precious!

The New National Stadium!!

So a friend from work, Mariel, got tickets for another co-worker (Daniela) and I to go to the International Marathon event happening during the inauguration events surrounding the new Costa Rican stadium. Exciting? Yes!

The entrance into a very modern stadium!

A football field! A track! High-definition screens!

An interesting fact is that this stadium is actually a gift from China. You know, kind of like when the Statue of Liberty was gifted to the U.S. from France.

Here's a good video/photo slide show/article about the making of the stadium: http://www.canchallena.com/1361008-un-escenario-de-lujo

Mariel, me, Daniela with an inauguration painting

The marathon runners

The sun goes down... and the lights come on!

Now while all of this was very exciting to see the ''progress'' Costa Rica has with this stadium, I also have some critiques...

1. There´s no parking lot, so surrounding neighborhoods are crowded with cars parked for events.

2. What about all the noise and bright lights for the surrounding neighborhoods at night? I mean, I live a good 20 kilometers from the stadium (at least) and I can hear fireworks at night from the stadium!!!

3. The stadium is a gift, yes, but who is funding the yearly maintenance costs of 1.8 million dollars? Hmm...


A Surprise Bouquet!

A bouquet of... baby pineapples (!!)... waited for me by the classroom door when I arrived last Thursday. Mom requested to see pictures, so here they are :). Notice how pineapples have thorns on their leaves, kind of like roses have them on their stems. The pineapples are about 2 inches tall and 1 inch wide and super cute! I don't think there's any chance of eating them, haha!



Recently, I have noticed many things about my life that just simply do not go together. For example:

1. Spaghetti and rice.
I know it's pretty normal for Italians to eat spaghetti and bread together, but for some reason, the combo of spaghetti and rice just seem strange to me. I ate this combo as a meal several times this past week because it was served to me, not because it was a deliberate choice. Rice and spaghetti sauce are an unusual combination as well.

2. March and heat.
In my 22 years of living stateside, March and heat just didn´t go together. In fact, it was the opposite: March and cold. But here in Costa Rica, I am provided with many opportunities to be thankful for all the 90 degree weather during what is Costa Rica's summer.

3. 5th Graders and ''hot''.
Along with the heat, many students (and teachers!) are complaining about how sweaty, how thirsty, or how tired they are. Warning: If you say ''I am hot'' around 5th Graders, they will automatically burst into giggles. Oh dear.

4. Pineapples and bushes.
I'm not sure what I pictured pineapples growing on, but they actually grow as part of a bush. That's right. Bush. It's the kind of bush that has long, straight leaves and the pineapples grow up like flowers. Click on this blog post to see a photo of pineapple bushes.

5. Dead bodies and speedbumps.
The word ''muerto'' in Spanish means two things: a dead body and a speedbump. Oxymoron? I think yes.

6. Sleeping in and living with dogs and babies.
The past few weekends, I have fully intended to sleep in on Saturday and Sunday. I wake up at 7am to the dogs barking and the baby crying.

7. Baby showers and beer.
I (randomly) was part of a baby shower yesterday and we toasted the mother-to-be with beer. I couldn't help wondering about alcohol fetal syndrome.

8. Buses and sidewalks.
Sometimes there are sidewalks here... but not often. I was 4 inches from being hit by a bus today as I was walking on a sidewalk-less road. Yikes!