Monday, January 24, 2011



                                  What can I say about food?

I am pretty sure that in this first week I have gained at least five pounds.

I don’t even wonder about what I am eating anymore, I just eat it. Of course my family does explain everything to me. They have gotten to telling me after every meal that I eat too little. For me I am eating way more than normal. I stuff myself until I feel like I am about to throw up. But I haven’t encountered anything that I haven’t liked.  And if you know me well, you have probably heard me say, “My tummy hurts,” or “I can’t eat that because of my stomach,” and I have major stomach issues. Well, so far here, nothing has bothered me, and that is saying a lot!

I told my mama tica that sometimes in the US I don’t eat breakfast and she was so surprised by this. Yesterday my breakfast consisted of this thing that was the size of a pancake but was made with eggs and fideo, freshly squeezed orange juice, coffee, gallo pinto (this is with every breakfast),  fresh fruit, and sooo much more. Seriously, I can’t eat this much for ONE meal, let alone three.  

I wish I could bring home this food for all of you to try. I am going to try and get some recipes before I leave and maybe make some of it when I get back.

Seriously, food is a big deal.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

They Say to Go Out of Your Comfort Zone

So, yesterday was the first of three USAC organized field trips. Now, in the brochure for USAC it said that this field trip would be going to Café Britt and to the Volcán Poás, which I was really looking forward to. But at orientation last weekend, we were told it was changed to zip-lining and a crocodile tour.

Let me explain something:
I am terribly afraid of heights,
like I get nervous going up elevators, like I need therapy for this fear.
I had the opportunity to go zip-lining for free over Christmas on Maui, and I declined because of my fear for heights. Now I had been dreading this trip for the whole week, I really didn’t want to do this. But at the same time I did, because it sounds like so much fun. Seriously, being afraid of heights is the stupidest thing ever.

Anyway, I decided I was going to make myself go, and if I even if I was crying at the platform getting ready to go, I was going to do it. We arrived in Jaco after a two hour bus ride, and went straight to the zip-lining place to get all harnessed in. I was in the truck with the first group. We drove up the mountain side and were dropped off at the platform. Our guide told us the instructions and off we went. My every instinct said, “Wait till most of the people have gone, wait to see how they do.” But I ignored that and was one of the first to go (okay so I was like 6th). I was so nervous, like I had to pee nervous. On this first platform, you had to stand on another box to reach the line, this is what I had trouble with. Luckily it wasn’t that bad. Everyone was giving me encouragement and off I went.

Since I was so nervous, I didn’t really look around at what was around me. I felt like I was going so fast and kept my eyes on the next platform. In all reality, I was scared most of the time, but I am so glad that I did it, and I would definitely do it again if I had the opportunity.

After lunch, we drove another 30 minutes to the Crocodile Jungle Tour. We all got into a boat and took a two-hour tour. We saw birds and, of course, plenty of crocodiles. Our guide told us that in that river, there were about 2,000 crocodiles living there, and that they would usually swim out to the Pacific Ocean during the day. We went down one part of the river, and there we met “Fidel Castro” one of the biggest crocodiles in the river. The driver of our boat got out and started to feed the thing! It was enormous and swan right next to the boat, and in all honesty, probably could have jumped up into the boat if it wanted to. It was so awesome to see it so close up.

Yesterday was an awesome day, and I was so exhausted that I had trouble staying awake while watching a movie with my “hermanita.” I literally think I fell asleep in 30 seconds. Now just because I went zip-lining doesn’t mean I am over my fear of heights, (although I wish it did)but now I know that I can do something like that.  I felt like an uber tourist yesterday, and that was okay with me (even though I know how much I loathe tourists that act like tourists in Hawai’i). I had so much fun!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Good Old U.S. of A

Okay so I am totally enjoying my time here, but already there are things that I miss about the US. I started a list last night and already there are a lot of things.

Being able to flush toilet paper down the toilet.

Using my camera without fear that someone will grab it out of my hands.

I will never say that people in the States are crazy drivers.

To go along with that: traffic laws and pedestrians having the right of way.

Trash cans in public areas. For a country that is so environmentally conscious, there sure is a lot of trash everywhere.

The fact that dogs are actually pets and aren't wandering all of the streets.

For the most part, people are aware of noise pollution.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Settling In

“All at once the world can overwhelm you, there’s nothing you could tell me that could ease my mind. Which way will you run when it’s always all around you the feeling lost and found you again the feeling that we have no control…Keep asking ourselves is we are really strong enough, there so many things that we got too proud of...I want to take the preconceived out from underneath your feet...There’s a world we haven’t seen, a world to see between.” 
Jack Johnson 'All at Once'

Jack Johnson inspired me with these words. I decided the other night to listen to him while I was falling asleep and it was a good choice! I am so overwhelmed, so lost and seriously questioning what I was thinking when I decided to go to Costa Rica BY MYSELF.  I hate the feeling of having no control, but I have to know that what is supposed to happen will happen. Already I am learning so much about myself. So this blog is a combination of days adventures because I realize that I really want to update every day! I have so much I want to share and remember!!

16-01-2011 Sunday

My mother told me that I would be able to sleep in because I told her I didn’t sleep well (only two hours) and boy did I! At 8 in the morning the neighbors started playing really loud music. I was not okay with waking up at 8, so I put in my iPod and went back to sleep, waking up at 10. I woke up and took my time getting ready and around 11 my mom asked me if I had any plans because they wanted to take me to San José.  Let me tell you that at orientation they made it sound like San José was not safe at all and this made me think that I had no desire to visit. So I was a little nervous, but was not going to say no to and opportunity to go somewhere with my family. So we went and took the bus, a good experience. We got there walked around, went to “El Teatro Nacional” but it was closed and my father was telling me a story about a painting inside when a man approached us and showed us some older money that had the picture on it. He sold it to us and my father gave it to me. It is SO beautiful! Then we went to “El Museo de Oro” and saw muchas gold artifacts! My father told me that the building was, and because English is failing me right now, like the building NORAD (look it up) where it’s safe from an atomic bomb, but now it’s just a museum. After we ate lunch, at Pizza Hut, and went to the most beautiful church for mass. After dinner (Sopa Azteca, ¡que rico!) I watched the Golden Globes, in Spanish because my mother is a hairdresser and she likes to see the styles. It was the best. So tomorrow is the first day of classes and at this moment I am not nervous about it (we’ll see how I am doing when I try to fall sleep).  In all honesty, I think going to San José was a good experience. I don’t think I am so afraid to walk to the university in Heredia, I feel like it is much safer having been to the big city. So I should go since I have to wake up early. I just wanted to get that all written down.

17-01-2011 Monday

So today was the first day of classes. I woke up much earlier than I like and ate breakfast. My mother asked me if I wanted her to walk with me to school, but I wanted to do it on my own (and I didn’t get lost!). It took maybe five minutes to get there. I walk down this big hill (which is awful to walk up in the afternoon heat), and walk a few blocks to the school. Classes are really long, like three hours each. For my first class my teacher was sick, so we just went over the syllabus with a lady that works in the office and then we were done. I went back home to have lunch because my family likes to have me home for lunch, which I am totally cool with, and returned to school for a class at 1. It is a class of Latin American cultures and the teacher is pretty awesome. I think I am going to enjoy it very much.

The food here is awesome! Gallo pinto for breakfast, which I love already. Today I had arroz con mariscos (rice with seafood) and it was so yummy! I have fruit with breakfast all the time too. My mother keeps telling me that I eat too little and I don’t know how to tell her that is just how I am.

I wish that I had more to say, and I wish that I had more pictures, but I am so afraid to take my camera out in public. Eventually, I hope, I will feel better about it. I already feel like I am forgetting things in English, which I guess is alright while I am here. In English I am thinking of how I would say something in Spanish, so if my posts are worded a little strangely that is why. I guess that is all for tonight.

¡Hasta Luego!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bienvenidos a Costa Rica

Well I am here. In Costa Rica! I seriously don’t even know how to feel right now. My family is super nice and they are trying to help me when I don’t understand what they are saying. So far so good. And they have internet, always a plus. They also told me I should be able to walk to school (yay!). But it is dark here and I haven’t been able to see anything yet, so I look forward to tomorrow and the walking tours of Heredia.

I am pretty sure I will not be able to sleep tonight. I will just unpack and try to relax. I can worry about sleeping tomorrow after my orientation. The Spanish is coming along pretty easily for me, thank goodness. But I really cannot wait until I get to be amazing at it.

I guess I don’t have too much more to say other than that. I am gonna try to relax and unpack, make my room a home. Maybe, possibly sleep. But if you see me on facebook, please say “hello” since I am sure I could use more assurance about being here.

I suppose I ought to go. I will keep you all updated about tomorrow and school. I would love to skype with anyone!!

Love you all!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Here it Goes

Well, tomorrow is the big day! In just a few more hours I leave the United States to go to Costa Rica until May. SO crazy that it is finally here.

For about a week and a half, I was literally freaking out. Like totally having second thoughts, but not wanting to admit it because I knew I would have a break down. I kept telling myself, “Everyone says that they loved being in Costa Rica, you’re going to be fine.” It became my mantra, but I wish that I had actually believed it.

Then a couple of days ago I started reading my travel book, which I had been avoiding because I seriously thought it would stress me out too much, and I got unbelievably excited. Despite all of the unknown aspects to going, I was definitely finally feeling excited for being there. It’s a relief to be going into this and be looking forward to it rather than just be thinking about all of the unknowns, and there are a lot.

So tomorrow I will be boarding two airplanes to get me to San José (let the record show I have already been on four airplanes in the last month and I am really looking forward to the next two, sarcasm*).

I am really excited to meet my family, and to go to my orientation on Saturday. I am excited for all of the field trips that are going to happen this semester and all of the places I get to go. I am also very excited for all the people I will be getting to meet. So far, I know all the girls from NAU that are going to Heredia, and it is such a relief. What is an even bigger relief is that I am flying out with one of them, since I thought it a grand idea to get my own flight instead of go on the group flight.

So here is the last night I will be spending in the United States until mid-May, praying that everything goes well in Costa Rica. I hope to be able to update soon after I arrive in Heredia, being that I can find a wi-fi connection or internet café somewhere close by to me.

Here’s to hoping next time I will have some awesome story to share with you all!

This is the link to the program I will be attending in case anyone wanted to see it :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Beginning

In two weeks I am going to Heredia, Costa Rica and many the people are telling me to write a blog about it. The travel books say it, the study abroad papers say it, so I guess I am going to do it. I don’t know how interesting this will be, but I promise to do my best to make it exciting and to update as soon as I can.

And yes, I really did name this blog after a Killers song. I am sure some of you may know how obsessed I am with The Killers so that shouldn’t come as a surprise, but I also thought of how fitting that could be as a title. I am doing this while I am young and will always look back at this time.

So, it is the first day of the New Year. A new chance and I get to take that chance to Costa Rica. I hadn’t really had time to think about actually going to Costa Rica until after Christmas, and to be honest, I am glad I haven’t had more time to think about it. As soon as I had nothing left on my mind, I began to worry about what may or may not happen while I am there. I was like this for a few hours, but decided I needed to not be that way. If I let myself wonder about these things, especially for a place that I have never experienced before, I would just drive myself crazy. Throughout the entire semester I was busy with classes and the applications for study abroad that I never really got to think about it. Even when I had met the other girls from NAU that were going, it was never really real until I had absolutely nothing on my mind except the fact that on January 14th, I will be flying to San José and staying there for four months.

I bought a travel book for Costa Rica over the summer and still haven’t gotten around to reading it. This is probably a way that I am still avoiding thinking about going so I don’t overwhelm myself. I look at this book everyday thinking I should read it (I also have a grammar textbook that I should be reviewing, but really, I am totally choosing that travel book over a Spanish grammar book, even though I shouldn’t).

There are a couple of things that I am definitely nervous about. Firstly, my family. My Costa Rican family. There is a mom, a dad, a thirteen year old boy and two ten year olds, a girl and a boy. While I am really excited to have learned about my family, I am really nervous about this whole language thing. I don’t know if they speak any English. The only reason that this makes me nervous is because I seriously fear the first few weeks of being there, trying to get a hang of the language and most likely being miserable and doubting myself (I am just being realistic here). I really don’t want to speak English while I am there, it is just a nice thing to know in case I get really overwhelmed and just need English. That is where I always stop myself.

The next thing, which I have only started to think about, is how I am getting to the university every day. I would absolutely LOVE to be able to walk to campus every day. That is what I am hoping for. It would also be nice to have my parents be able to take me to school every once in a while. Then there is always the bus, which I only don’t want to deal with because I don’t want to have to try to figure out the bus schedule and route (I haven’t even bothered with that at NAU and I have been there for two and a half years). I totally feel lame for having that be something I am worried about, but it is what it is.

Wow, so this is getting long winded. I guess I wanted to share that with you (if anyone actually stuck around for all that nonsense). I’ll keep you updated on anything new. I am very excited to see what Costa Rica is like.