Sunday, April 12, 2015

La semana antes de Semana Santa

Marzo 22

Sunday is the day of rest, as is everyday, but I was feeling especially lazy from dancing the night before. Sin embargo, I gathered the uumph to play some soccer! Which always turns out to be a good idea in hindsight. Two locals that we usually play with joined us.

Finished the game with a piece of chocolate cake shared with May and Hannah from Santa Clara, as per usual (hey, exercise = earned chocolate cake).

Marzo 23

Crimson-fronted parakeet audited our spanish class, gorgeous but noisy little buggers.

Almost forgot about our meeting with Luis for a discussion about holy week and queque for May's birthday. After happy birthday was sung and cake was served, Luis warned us about "beaches, jesus, alcohol, and sex" - those are exactly what comes to mind when I think of Holy Week, jajaja.

Marzo 24

Beautiful day, enjoyed lunch outside.

Saw my nephew's smile for the first time...can he be any stinkin' cuter???

Marzo 25

Spanish class ended early, went to a soccer game after with ICDS folks between UCR and Limon. Even for a college games, fans were pretty crazy. There was one guy standing in front of us that would go berserk if Limon did something wrong, dedicated.

We were joined by the students in the other Spring Program, and I photobombed their selfie...this is Bri and Hunter, and me awkwardly eating my Milkyway...

Much to the dedicated fan's dismay, as well as all the other Limon fans, they lost pretty bad. They gave a good fight in the second half though!

Cute Niece and Nephew photo update: most precious little beings ever.

Marzo 26

 "Poetry slam" in Helen's class, t'was awesome. Ilana and I did a song, others did poems, or songs as well. If you want to view lanz and my song, click here! (keep in mind I am not musically inclined) Danielle and Stecy beat-boxed, favorite part of the whole thing, would be lying if I said I didn't break out in tears laughing. Then Helen shared a poem she had written about observations she's made around San Jose, very beautiful.

Marzo 27

Left early for community service to buy bus tickets for Manuel Antonio - tag teamed it since we had to go to two different bus stations. Hit up Tracopa first for Manuel Antonio, then San Carlos so May could get the tickets for her group to go to La Fortuna.
Finallyyy arrived promptly at our service site, only to find that they were not expecting us...the school had off for semana santa already, so Jose was not there either, and we were supposed to interview him for our Community Engagement Final Paper (oops).
After working on some more beds, caught the bus back to San Jose and walked to post office to mail a few more postcards. Smelled pizza hut and decided to be "those Americans" who bought pizza hut while in a foreign country.

Sat our booties in the park nearby and people watched, all sorts of things happening: tight rope, yoga, breakdancing, art displays, and other people just enjoying the day. The guy on the tight rope would flip and bounce and do all sorts of tricks that seemed impossible to me. Then I started thinking about what all these people were doing hanging out in San Jose park in the middle of the day on a Friday - quite the community.

Marzo 28

Woke up early for the organic green market with Chloe & Jean, this time I was determined to get the grilled cheese I had skipped out on last time. We all split the grilled cheese, along with a hummus sandwich. Then splurged a bit more and got this fruit pizza type thing (that I spilled all over myself and almost dropped like 5 times).

And of course we couldn't leave without getting some more ice-lollies...mora y banano all around.

In preparation for Holy Week, I decided I would get my first bikini wax (being a girl is rough sometimes people, and having to shave is the biggest pain in the rump). So after the market I set off on that mission. Terina and Sam had both gone to Planet Hair near UCR, so I started walking in that direction. When I finally found it, it was crazy busy, packed with people, I went up to the counter and realized I had forgot to look up how to say I tried as best I could and she knew what I wanted right away. Immediately I was shuffled to this little alley-like side room, started waxing away. Not quite as awkward as I imagined it was going to be, the more awkward thing was walking out of the room into the crowd of people that knew what I just got done, jaja. Paid my quite inexpensive bill, and went on my way.
Once I got home I realized something though, and a little advice for those who have yet to get waxed...make sure they get all the wax off! After trying to wipe off the leftovers with a towel unsuccessfully, I looked up that any type of oil helps, so I used the lavender body spray oil I had bought at the market the week before and I was all set.
The rest of the night was spent packing for semana santa!! There was no way I was going to fit a week's worth of clothing in my backpack, so I asked to borrow a little duffel from my host parents, and they happily obliged.

Details about Semana Santa to come!

Montezuma, Feliz Cumpleanos a Maylin!

Not quite sure how this keeps happening, but another bazillion days to catch up on for blogging! My goodness, time can slow down any day now, jaja.

Marzo 12

Volcan Turrialba erupted - no big deal here apparently. Pretty crazy to me though!

I did not take this!
Airports shut down, of course the weekend that everyone's friends and families are visiting. Katie's family was here already, but Ilana's friend Sam was supposed to come and couldn't, then Samantha's boyfriend was supposed to come and didn't make it until this past Sunday, Jean and Meira's parents were flying in, luckily later on in the weekend though so they made it after the airports were reopened.
In Rural and Urban, we had a seminar on micro finance and cooperatives. Break between classes then environmental issues, where we discussed the blue agenda, freshwater resources (had quite a tough time staying awake, felt bad).
Then, I had my first bad experience here...I owed Ilana money from the Nicaragua trip because I forgot to bring cash, and I owed Maylin money for the hostel we were going to stay at in Montezuma, so I decided to go to the ATM before dinner to take out enough to cover my "I owe You's". However, I was taking out such a large amount that I had to use the "enter other amount" option, and I got freaked out because it was like 70,000 mil that I had to type in, and I thought I would mess it up and accidentally take out $600 dollars or something crazy. So, since there was no back button, I decided to just leave it as 0.00 and press continue. Tan pronto como I pressed the button, actually not even, like a second before as my finger was in motion towards it, I knew it was a bad idea, but my finger kept going and then the screen just stalled at "we are processing your request". Panic began to set in as a minute went by, then another, and another. Thank goodness Ellie was with me, because my tico phone had died a few days before and when I went to turn it back on after recharging it, it required a PIN that I had no idea what to type, so my tico phone was currently out of order. BUT Ellie had hers, so I called the customer service line, with not much help other than telling me I can come pick it up tomorrow after 11am at their main branch. It took me a while to convince myself that it would not spit back out and someone would use it before I was able to get home and cancel the card. As I stood with Ellie, trying to decide what to do, a line was building up outside because the other ATM was out of order as well.
One afte one, the people tried to use and then realized it was broken. A lady who had been waiting came up to Ellie and I and was talking about bus fare, my mind immediately thought she was asking us for bus fare, I figured that was why she was at the ATM, but then we realized she was offering us bus fare because she thought we were stuck. It was so kind, and totally diffused my stress in the moment. After that, Ellie and I shuffled back to my house so that I could use her free wifi calling to cancel my card. But of course the adventure was not over, the wifi in my house was not as adequate as the phone would have liked, so I had to stand like a statue and hope that the service would not fail after 30 minutes of "press 1 for this, type in your card number, press 4 for customer service, blah blah blah". Thankfully, I finally got a hold of the correct people and shut down access to my account.
**Lesson Learned: Do not go to an ATM where there isn't a main branch attached, and especially after hours when the branch would have been closed anyway. Also, do not just type in 0.00, if you freak out, put in at least one number, even if you get charged a $5 service fee for one colone, jaja.
Following the whole ATM fiasco, I decided to go to the movies with MayLin and Hannah.  Picked up some yummy FROYO beforehand (although the chocolate flavor tasted a bit different, couldn't put my finger on it the what it tasted like) and enjoyed the view from the mall balcony. Saw Codigo Enigma: The Imitation Game with Cumberbatch and Knightley, pretty great film.

In celebration of May's birthday, we hit up Chicago for some drinks (tequila sunrises all around), and then took some shots at Midnight...

Marzo 13

Cumpleanos de May! Started out the day as per usual for a Friday, basking in basil at our Community Service site. Worked on sifting bunches of finished compost. Then we were off to the bus station to meet everyone going to Montezuma for the weekend!
Since we were all coming from our different service sites, it was a bit stressful making sure everyone got there on time, Meira arrived like 5 minutes prior to departure, phew! Enjoyed some falafel that Ilana brought us for lunch, and a short(ish) bus ride later we were ready to take the ferry to the Nicoya Peninsula. 

Great views of the sunset and some Tona, we were happy campers. Lots of transportation swaps, after the ferry, waited for our bus to offload, then continued on for another hour or so. Once we were there, had to hop off and wait for a bus to take us to our final destination: Montezuma. I spotted the Luz en el Cielo, our hostel, on our way into town, so we knew exactly where to go once we made it. Swung by the little supermarket for some dinner supplies, then hiked back up the hill and checked in. Everyone got settled, started cooking dinner, then I borrowed Meira's shabbat candles (that were a bit warped from the journey in the heat) and we sung happy birthday to May. A few shots of rum later, and we were off to the beach to do some exploring. Downtown, immediately understood why Montezuma is nicknamed Montefuma, hippies filled the streets. As for the beach, the sky was so very clear, I think it was the most stars I have seen in a while, and the ocean was like bathtub water. Swam around, Terina taught us all how to salsa on the beach, met some new people, went to a bonfire...mas o menos. Overall, great first night in Montezuma.

Marzo 14

The next morning, a few of us woke up a bit woozy. Ate breakfast, provided by the hostel, then decided what to do for the day. A Danish guy, Peter, that we met at the hostel offered  to walk with us to Montezuma Falls, so that was the adventure for the day. I was quite unsure of how that was going to go with how I was feeling, but I toughed out the hike, and was very happy I did. Spent the day scaling hillsides, hanging out in the pools under the waterfalls, and jumping off cliffs and ropeswings (I opted out of the 40 foot jump, which ironically a video surfaced of Tom Brady doing like a week after we went). We even ran into a few people we had met at the bonfire the night before.

Hanging out at the edge of the biggest waterfall.

Ilana and I headed back to the hostel in the late afternoon, ran into everyone else who had left already, some headed to the beach and others as hungry as we were. More supplies for an early dinner (since all we had for lunch were pringles and cereal that Blaise was nice enough to share with us). Stuffed our faces with pasta, cleaned up, then spent the night hanging out at the hostel and Peter sharing his rum with us. Meet some other people who were staying there from Ireland.

Marzo 15

The night before, May and I thought about waking up for sunrise, but this is as far as I got...both our alarms went off, immediately agreed "nope", snapped a little picture of the view from my bed, then went back to sleep for a few more hours.

Ate breakfast, packed up our stuff, checked out of Luz and went to the bus stop to catch the bus to Santa Teresa, which is on the other side of the peninsula. We were under the impression this would be a quick trip, ended up taking 1.5 hours, which ate up most of the time we had allocated to being at the beach before we had to be back bus back to the ferry.

In any case, we finally made, plopped ourselves down amidst the palms, and soaked up waves, sun, and sand. The only catch were randomly placed, huge rocks that you ran into as you walked out past the surf. Collected some seashells, got some tanning time in, then back to the main road to flag down the bus back into town. While we were waiting, a police car pulled up and we thought we were being checked by immigration, but all they wanted to tell us was to watch our things carefully in case of theft.

Another gorgeous ferry sunset and a bus ride and we were back in San Jose.

Marzo 16

In Community Engagement, we were quite critical of Nicaragua trip. I was not feeling super awesome, went to ICDS for lunch and to do my Spanish homework. Profesora Silvana also wasn't feeling too hot, had a bad headache, so we reviewed pluscuamperfecto then called it a day. Still a bit hungry, ate a PB&J, then came home and started watching Easy A, got distracted during the 80's movie flashback. Since I had not seen Can't Buy Me Love with Patrick Dempsey, I stopped Easy A and watched that up until dinner. Super corny, but 'twas entertaining. News about cocaine being smuggled to New York via yucas during dinner, crazy stuff.

P.S. look at how adorable Rhett is, and how gorgeous my sister is! Gah. I want to be snuggling with them right now.

Marzo 17

Happy St. Patricks Day, a bit of a blur! In rural and urban, had a seminar on payment for ecosystem services and talked Helen into doing slam poetry (aka creative written word piece) instead of quiz, score! During my break - got some yummy pina bread from Santa Clara and cried at leprechaun picture Sara sent of Rhett & Peyton.
I definitely think the birth of Rhett has brought out my homesickness...

Marzo 18

No community engagement, whoop whoop. However, in Spanish we had a quiz, felt so-so about it, studied pluscuamperfecto (I had lived...) and preterito perfecto (I have been thinking...) so much, and was only a bit of the quiz, whereas pronombres was a lotttt of it, and I barely studied them.
This was my, "one month until I leave, whaaaa!?!?" face..

Procrastinated like crazy (and like usual) for my mind maps, watched a bunch of videos from ellen, youtube, and jimmy kimmel. Sorry these are such short and un-detailed entries, I just want to catch up!

Marzo 19

Ordered Peyton's birthday present, can't believe she will be 6 years old so soon.
& little guy is already 10 days old, what?

Marzo 20

Trees with flowers are my favorite. Started the day with Community Service, learned how to make a compost pile! Although it smelled quite disgusting when we harvested plants from the pound for the pile, it was rewarding. Even got to use a machete for the first time.

Spent the rest of the time weeding and taking pictures of the grounds.

Swung by the post office to mail some more postcards (even though the ones I sent in February still had not reached their destinations). Hit up the ATM with my new authorized card - so nervous cause had to type in 250,000.00...luckily May was with me and helped ease my PTSD from my last interaction with the ATM. Afterwards, showered, accidentally walked out of my bathroom naked and had forgot to shut the door to my room, luckily no one was in the kitchen or laundry room...could have been awkward. Then decided to do some bathing suit shopping with May!

Marzo 21

Met up at the Beer Factory where Chloe lives to go to La Feria Verde Organica with Chloe, Ellie, May, Hannah, Ilana and Kip. SO COOL, down huge staircase and you were immersed in music, amazing food, and crafts of all sorts.

Spent a good amount of time exploring every booth and debating what to buy and not to buy. Ended up getting some lavender body spray, pesto bread, a handcrafted mug, yummy granola mix, tomato pesto sauce and some snacks, including an ice-lolly as Chloe would say.

Had to talk myself out of buying a lot more...from here we walked to downtown San Jose, which was not as far as I thought. Admired the graffiti (San Jose is filled with it!).

Took a stroll through the touristy market, got some little gifts for people at home. Met up with Ilana's host mom for Falafel lunch. Walked around a bit more then headed back home - got nervous cause bus went a different way than I was used to. After some rest, went to Ilana's house to work on our song for Rural & Urban SD (pre-gamed with an episode of Friends and our pesto bread we bought at the market).
Changed for surprise birthday party thrown for Ilana's tia tica. Before the party started, went to the chinese market to get some rum with Chloe and Ilana for the festivities. When we went to pay, they gave us bigger bottle from the back that was slightly more expensive, but obviously a better deal. When we returned to the party, introductions galore, and then served food immediately. The aunt's would bring the dishes to us, encouraging us to take some. Ilana's host mom brought only me arroz con pollo since she and Chloe are vegetarians, but the only problem was the arroz con pollo was not up my ally...spent a good five minutes thinking about how I would get rid of it. Asked Ilana where the trash was so I could sneak it in there, but she said I would be seen, jaja. So I decided I would just casually leave the rice somewhere and no one would know it was mine cause so many people were there, literally as soon as I put it down, Elsie looks over at me from across the room and a sea of people and yells for me not to let it get cold. Ilana and Chloe got a kick out of that, it was pretty funny (but I was able to ditch it on the kitchen table a bit later, success!).
Talked with cousin about how he and his wife met (she was American). Met on a study abroad trip, were only friends, then he came to visit years later, ended up together, moved around, then finally ended up in Costa Rica and have three beautiful children. So cool, children speak both english and spanish fluently because mom only speaks in english to them and dad only speaks in spanish with them. They had a newborn with them, and I can only imagine the little baby must have been so overwhelmed.
The daughter of the aunt being celebrated was dating this dutch dude, almost couldn't fit in the house, we were all shocked when we saw him, jaja, and had a momentary awkward interaction trying to figure out if he spoke spanish or english or neither.
Cake was served, a heartwarming speech was done by the honoree, and Ellie and Ilana played the uke in front of everyone. Elsie insisted I was up next, but I got myself out of it. Another win for Jenna.
Later that night, Chloe, Ellie, Ilana and I had planned to meet up with Chloe's friend from salsa class. Luckily, the aunt was leaving the same time we were and saved us a cab fare by dropping us off. Felt so bad, Chloe's friend waited for like an hour for us and when we arrived there was a bucket of beers awaiting. Peppers, the name of the club, was so great. Everyone was sooooo good. I said it once, I will say it again, why do we not dance like this in the US??? The club was for all ages, everyone was there to enjoy themselves. Spent a long time admiring this 60+ year old couple dancing the night away (pictured below).

Jefe took us each for a swirl, or two, but mostly danced with Chloe, wink wink. Danced with Ilana and Ellie, and I don't think we were too shabby in comparison to everyone else, jaja! Time flew by, arrived back at home around 2:15am, oops!

More to come in a bit...wanted to break the posts up so it wasn't one large one!