Friday, January 30, 2009

Off to the Beach

I haven't been to the beach since the first excursion with ISA to Manuel Antonio and I've been itching to go back these last couple weeks. I'm pumped. This weekend a bunch of us are taking the bus to Puerto Viejo, a rastafarian-esque beach on the Caribbean side of the country. This will also be my first time to the Caribbean side, so I'm more than stoked. I need some more color on my skin, my previous tan is starting to fade. Also, don't fear mother, I have stronger SPF sunscreen with me courtesy of my host mom, so I plan to not come back burnt to a crisp because I have plans to attend another beach next weekend. In Puerto Viejo we are going to be staying in a hostel that has hammock for beds. The hostel is also literally right on the beach, so I'm pumped. It'll be nice to get out of San Jose again and to soak up some rays and swim in the ocean, sometimes my life is really rough.

The plan is to get back Monday since we don't have Spanish on Monday because it's the start of a new month. So 3-day weekend at the beach= me so excited you don't even know. But right now I'm hanging out in the ISA office until we leave to head to the bus station. I took my Spanish final already so I can not think about school for the weekend and just relax, perfect weekend to spend at the beach. My host parents will also be at Puerto Viejo so Ashlee and I will stop and visit them at some point.

Anyways, I'll be back with updates on Monday. I heard it's gonna get a bit warm this weekend back home. Hasta Luego!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Photos from Monteverde

Now that I got faceboook to work properly. Below are the links for my photos from the Monteverde weekend. Enjoy!

Album 1

Album 2

Monday, January 26, 2009

Los Montanas estan bonita

Well a successful trip outside of San Jose has quickly come and gone. The trip to Monteverde was awesome and amazing. The ride down there took around 5 hours. We checked into our "rustic" looking hotel and rustic being a loose term here. It was nice but it seemed like a Super 8 in the mountains. My comforter smelled moldy because I think it's fairly moist there, not to mention the bed was hard as rocks. The only downfall was the rooms, everything was fantastic.

Saturday we awoke for 6:30 breakfast and had to be ready to leave by 7:30 if we were doing any other trips on the excursion, which most of us were. The only thing I wanted to do was zipline through the jungle while I was here, I determined that even before I left. Well I got to zipline in Monteverde but in the mountains, which was even better. The tour had 11 different cables and a tarzan swing, which is exactly what you think it would be. The tarzan swing included jumping from a really tall platform and swinging back and forth until the guides caught you. I would post the video but it was taking way too long to load. I'll find another way to post it sometime

It was the best part of the canopy tour. Even people who were afraid of heights successfully completed this part of the trip and loved it afterwards. Then we finished up the tour by going on 2 really long cables (at least a mile) across a valley and it was just gorgeous. I have video but I'll try to find one where you can really see what's going on in it. We were all still in a buzz after the canopy tour. The rest of Saturday was spent in town down from our hotel and some of us went dancing Saturday night.

Sunday we were supposed to go to the biological reserve and we were in a bit of a gloomy mood about it because it was raining all day. It was still raining while we toured the nature trails and most of us soaked our clothes while looking at the nature in the cloud forest. After the tour, we had lunch and headed back to San Jose. We ended up making record time and arrived at around 4, which was a couple hours earlier than expected.

Now I'm off to complete my hectic week of classes before a mini-vacation at the beach in Puerto Viejo. I have a birthday party to bring food to in Spanish tomorrow (I'm bringing homemade epanadas courtesy of my host mom), an oral exam on Thursday and a final exam in Spanish on Friday. I did find out that I don't have Spanish on Monday which means a longer weekend at the beach, life is indeed rough here. Well gotta get home for dinner. Hasta Luego!

P.S. If any of my fellow readers feel the need to send me a care package with any sort of American goods because you love me so much that you don't want me to pay import taxes, here's the address:

Attn: Vanessa Skocz
PO Box 101-2010
Zapote, San Jose
Costa Rica, Centroamerica

Just sayin'.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Going on a roadtrip

Sorry for the lack of updates, not much to write about this week I guess. This weekend we're taking a trip to Monteverde, in the mountains. I have plans to go ziplining tomorrow, which is the best place to zipline in Costa Rica. Ziplining was the only thing I for sure wanted to do when I was here, so it should be a blast tomorrow.

We head out today at 1 and should be at the hotel by 6 tonight. Should be a blast. There will probably be ample opportunities for fantastic photos as well. Next weekend some girls and I have plans to go to Puerto Viejo, right on the beach on the Caribbean side. We're staying at a hostel where we will sleep in hammocks both nights, for $5 a night. Amazing. Everything here is so cheap. Don't be jealous aunt Julie but I can get a pedicure here for 4000 colones, which is um $8. Getting a manicure and pedicure is about $10. So I'm pretty sure I'm going to frequent the place by my host house.

This week I had a freak out moment about what I'm going to do after I graduate. I haven't heard from any internships and I fear I won't get one and with this stupid recession I fear I won't get a job period. Stupid economy. Then I had a relapse and decided I needed to just enjoy Costa Rica and deal with the whole job situation when I return, since I will have a month and a half to job hunt.

It's crazy to think I've been here for 3 weeks already. I don't know if I'm going to want to leave when my time is up. It's gorgeous here and I can't get enough of it!! I'm ready to explore the rest of Costa Rica and soak up as much culture as possible.

Today in Spanish class we went to the market to buy some fruit. I was able to practice my Spanish skills and was very successful. I'm picking up this language rather fast. I'm amazed at how much I know even after 3 weeks. Go me!

Well I'm off for the weekend. Updates on the weekend to come Monday!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

El Presidente Nuevo: Barack Obama

All the buzz today was the inauguration. We were lucky to be able to watch this historic event during our Spanish class. I don't think our teachers could avoid it, plus I think they wanted to watch it more than teach.

I don't have a lot of time to blog today because I need to get home before dark so my Tica mom doesn't worry on account of me walking alone. Thankfully Ashlee gets back tomorrow so I'll have a walking buddy and my roommate back.

Yesterday was a successful day at the gym. Definitely sore today. Definitely going to keep it up. I might take up the spinning class on Mondays at 12:15 or perhaps another class that fits into my schedule.

Today is one of many days I'm proud to be an American. I can't wait to hear all about Ashlee's trip to D.C.

Now I'm off to head home. I put a photo album on the last post. Those are all my photos from last weekend.

Hasta Manana.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Week 3: Esta Bien

Photos like I promised: Album 1

It's crazy to think I'm already on week 3 here. Classes are going great. I'm in my full routine and now that I know my schedule I was able to sign up for the gym and work that into my schedule as well. Day one of getting back in shape started today. The gym is about 3 blocks from the university so it's convenient to go when I get out of class and make my way to ISA after to check e-mail and all that jazz.

This weekend was spent at Volcan Arenal. I apologize, I forgot to bring my card reader and camera cards so you will have to wait until tomorrow to see photos. It was a fun weekend indeed. We left early Saturday morning (it wasn't even light out yet). Our first stop was a some place with oddly shaped bushes. Next was breakfast, lucky for me my host mom packed me a lunch/breakfast so I didn't purchase any food. We then went to la Fortuna, which is a town that has a huge waterfall. We didn't stop long, but long enough to make the hike down to the waterfall and swim a bit in the pools next to it. The water was freezing but the scenery was gorgeous. After a quick dip in the freezing water, we were off to our hotel at the base of Volcan Arenal. We stayed at Los Lagos which was a huge resort and spa on at least a large amount of acres. To give you an idea we had to take a shuttle to get to the pool and reception area because it was a pretty far walk. After we were settled we went to the Baldi hot springs. I was expecting them to be tucked away in the wilderness but no, they were in a different resort. The mineral water was real, just not the spring pools, which of course were man made. We found the warmest hot spring and settled there until it was time for dinner. The resort was nice but it was difficult to just relax in a hot spring for 2 hours. That's a lot of water time. We ate dinner at the resort, buffet style including a chocolate fountain for dessert. No one left hungry. The rest of the evening was spent at the pool near the hotel. They had a regular pool, a jacuzzi (with a swim up bar) and 4-5 hot springs (one of them was cold I believe). I'm telling you this place was huge. Sunday we left around 11:45. Beforehand some people went on excursions but I just hung out by the pool in attempt to work back some of my tan that has now peeled off.

By the time I got home around 5 I was exhausted. It was hard not having Ashlee there. With her going to the inagural ball and all she skipped the trip. I would have too if I had the opportunity. I ended up going to be by 10 so I could be refreshed to get up at 6:45 (my usual wake up time). Ashlee won't be back until Wednesday evening so I'm flying solo until then. Not too bad except I need to make sure I get home before dark since I don't have a walking partner for the next few days. Plus I don't want to worry my host mom since I'm by myself. Here's to an awesome weekend!

I promise photos tomorrow!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cold Front

A small cold front has hit San Jose apparently. It's in the 60s here which is chilly compared to what it normally is. I had to put on a sweatshirt and the choice of a cute skirt and sandals is leaving me on the chilly side. I heard it was -15 today without the wind chill. That really sucks, sorry to all those back home who have to endure it. My suggestion to you all is to come visit me here and you can by pass all that cold. Let me know when you are coming and I'll free up my schedule.

Wow this week sure has flown by. Makes me realize that before I know it I'll be back home wondering what happened to my study abroad trip. Today in Spanish we had an oral exam. We were all taken by surprised because we were told by our professor that there was only an oral part for the final. I guess we just assumed the oral was just a practice. Not so much, real exam. I was the first to go and I ended up doing pretty well on the spot. I was proud of myself after only a week and a half of Spanish. Tomorrow is our midterm (because each Spanish class is only a month long) so looks like I will be at home studying (not that I usually go out during the week anyways).

I found out today that my roommate is leaving me to go to the inauguration ball in D.C. I'm so jealous that her boyfriend got tickets and she gets to go. She'll be missing a few classes but she only needs 12 hours anyways so she'll just make it up next month. Lucky her. I would give anything to go in a heartbeat. Oh well, at least it's still warm here. I'll just enjoy that.

In other news, I'm pretty sure a guy flashed us on our walk to class today. We were walking and there was a guy walking towards us with what looked like a napkin covering his pants, a small one. Then just before we passed him he took the napkin away and all I got was a glimpse of some of his junk hanging out. Welcome to San Jose. Here it's common for guys to give cat calls to girls, especially American girls. We are told to just ignore it and by now I barely notice the cars honking at me and the hisses from guys. Just something you need to tune out.

Last night our mom made us individual pizzas for dinner. They were amazing, then she ground up some fresh parsley, olive oil, and fresh garlic cloves to put on top of it. Awesome combination. I believe my pizza had sausage, corn, mushrooms, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese on it. That may sound odd because of the corn but trust me, amazing. Try it before you dis it. There has never been a complaint from Ashlee nor I about our host mom's cooking. A nice variety with some nutrition. I wish I could take her home with me when I leave.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Day of Sun and Clouds

I have homework I should be doing, a lot actually. Today in Spanish we learned about household objects and then we made drawings of our house in the US. We all thought it would be a good idea to make them more or less detailed until we realized that meant a lot of homework to make up for the time used up. Thanks to my parents building such a large and intricate house, my drawing was very detailed. My attempt at a blueprint of the house turned out fairly well, my step dad would be proud (maybe?). I'm sitting in one of the rooms at ISA and getting distracted very easily from the breezy day followed by spurts of clouds and sun. Gorgeous. Another cool day today, it's been in the 70s for the majority of the time I've been here. It's nice because even if it's warmer during the day, it usually starts to cool off by 3. Perfect. I'd say it's comparable to a Nebrasaka spring or early fall, except insert palm trees and various other tropical plants into the picture forming in your head.

One thing I haven't been able to get past here is the toilet paper situation, let me explain. In Costa Rica, the plumbing systems aren't yet as high tech as in the States. Thus, it is advised that if there is a trash can places by the toilet then that's supposed to be used to discard used toilet paper. I'm so used to the habit of throwing in the toilet and flushing it away. I've slipped up a few times but I'm getting better. It's just awkward and will take some practice and getting used to. It's also inconsistent because newer buildings can handle the toilet paper so some have trash cans and some don't. I have a feeling by the time I get to the states I'll be throwing my used paper in the trash out of habit.

This weekend we are going to Volcan Arenal, a volcano about 4-5 hours drive from San Jose. We are also stopping at a hot springs/waterfall spot on the way, should make for some amazing photos.

Things to do today:
-Inquire about a gym membership and the cost
-Take photos for my photography class (we're learning about focusing woo!)
-Do my massive amounts of Spanish homework
-Maybe see Si Senor (Yes, Man) en espanol since it's $2 on Wed (Ashlee and I saw Marley and Me last week)
-Start studying for my Spanish midterm (since each level is a month)

Last night Ashlee and I met our host dad, who I believe is in the Caribbean. He doesn't live at home with our host mom and there's a lot of personal reasons behind that. He was super nice and hilarious. We had a good time talking to him after our delicious dinner of pasta and vegetables (we were also told it was fat-free). My host mom is convinced I'm going to become a vegetarian here because I'm eating a lot of what she makes Ashlee, I don't mind, it's healthier and I don't want to be a burden and force her to make me meat. Once in awhile I get to have meat, like yesterday I had sausage for breakfast.

Ashlee and I were really lucky with our host mom placement, I know I've said this a lot but I'll say it some more. Some students I swear eat rice and beans all the time because their moms don't make a lot of variety. We've only had rice and beans once and that was for breakfast before we left for the beach. Thankfully, our mom varies a lot of what she makes us, we haven't had the same thing twice yet. Pretty lucky.

Now I'm off to eat my bag of watermelon for lunch and venture to find the gym and perhaps bring someone that knows more Spanish than I to translate. If for some reason you can't view the albums I put up in the last post, let me know and I'll find another way to show all my photos.

Hasta Luego!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Una dia a la playa

Well I never thought getting out of the city would be so breathtaking. Friday afternoon we left for Manuel Antonio, which has beaches everywhere. We left about noon and got to our hotel around 6:30. We stopped at a grocery store as well to get food so we wouldn't have to pay the outrageous prices at the restaurants. After we were settled into our rooms a group of us decided to take a taxi to the center of the town, Manuel Antonio. Once we drove the um, 2 meters to our spot we were charges 4800 colones which is close to $10. No one in our taxi asked them to turn on their meter and since we are obviously not natives they took advantage and way overcharged us. Even though it was 800 colones a peace (about $1.50) it was the principle of the matter. Yes, cabs are cheap but when you are going such a short distance you should be getting charged about 1,500 colones (about $3 total, even if the car is full). Oh well, Ashlee and I just walked back to the hotel to make up for the lost money and have now learned who to ride with and who not to. Our directors were right when they said Manuel Antonio was expensive. Most dinners were $10-$30 a piece. I only splurged on dinner on Saturday night because I couldn't bear the thought of eating another peanut butter sandwich for dinner. But I did have my snacks to eat during the day while on the beach.

On Saturday we met up at 9:00 to go to the National Park in Manuel Antonio. Since this was an ISA excursion, the $10 fee for foreigners was paid for by the company. We then walked to the beach in the park, which was gorgeous. As seen in the photo below:
This was a little less crowded than the beach by our hotel. The sand was hot and the water was cool. It was fantastic. We did some exploring and came across an animal not rare in this area:These are white faced monkeys and if you don't watch out they will steal your belongings looking for food. Lucky for us they didn't steal any of our stuff but they were just so cute. This photo isn't the best because of the sun but it tells the story. It was so nice to swim in the ocean, amazing rather. We stayed in the national park for awhile until some of us decided to venture to the beach by our hotel so we made the trek back. Myself an 4 others decided to do the banana boat in the ocean, which only cost 4,000 colones (about $4), probably the cheapest attraction you could pay for. A jet ski pulled us on this big banana shaped tube in the ocean trying to knock us off. It was fun until we flipped and about the 4th time of me inhaling salt water in my nose, I had enough. We lasted about 30 minutes before we were taken back to shore. Sad story was I lost my sunglasses in one of the flips. Adios $4 sunglasses to the bottom of the sea. Good thing I brought a spare pair.

By the end of Saturday we were exhausted and I was very burnt. Here the sun is closer so bringing a lower SPF wasn't a good idea. Mom, if you saw me, you wouldn't be happy. I promise I put on sunscreen, even more than once. The sun is just a lot closer here. Oh well, my problem, I'm not going to complain about it. I took a ton of photos, between Saturday and Sunday. We didn't leave until Sunday at noon so we spent the morning on the beach as well. The ride back was exhausting, but the sunburn prevented me from getting comfortable to really sleep. Good thing there were movies on the bus because my ipod was dead too, rough life. We got back to San Jose around 5, where it was probably 20 degrees cooler than by the beach, since we are at a higher altitude. The beach was hot as hell and humid=Nebraska July. Ick. I'd live by the beach if it weren't for the humidity and heat.

When we got home Ashlee and I tried to find and internet cafe but a lot of places close on Sunday so we turned up with no luck. I watched some of the Golden Globes before finally going to bed at 9 because I was so exhausted. I didn't sleep well because of the damn sunburn. It's slowly healing, but yes, it hurts. Now to get through classes this week, hopefully with no earthquakes, and we'll be heading to Vernal, the volcano that has hot and cold springs. Should be a blast, and I'm sure, less sun exposure. A few more photos for you. I'll see about posting albums online. More to come later.

Don't forget to notice the sunburn. I figured out I can post a link to my facebook albums, which is probably where I will upload the bulk of my photos. So just click the links and enjoy: Album 1
Album 2

Don't forget to leave comments if you want!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Dangerous Natural Disasters

Apparently in the last few days there have been earthquakes all around Central America. There was one near the mountains in Costa Rica and a couple tourists were trapped and had to be dug out. I guess there have been a few casualties as well. Even though it was surreal experiencing my first earthquake I can't forget how easy it can be to be in a dangerous situation because of it. Last night there was an aftershock when I went to bed and I was a little anxious at first but then it subsided.

Today we are leaving for the Manuel Antonio beach. We are going by bus and have been told it'll take 6-7 hours to get there. Our mom made us lunches for the trip. I'm pretty sure we are the only students to be so lucky. In my lunch, two tuna sandwiches, a bag of coconut cookies, a juice box, and some fruit. I feel like I'm in grade school. I do appreciate the gesture because that's less money I'm spending on daily food. I couldn't be more thankful for my host mom. She's fantastic and amazing.

Updates to come about my adventure at the beach!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


When I first arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica I was informed that it is not rare for Costa Rica to experience earthquakes.  They come on a fairly regular basis.  I braced myself considering I was informed of an earthquake that happened yesterday and I didn't even feel it.  I did not expect an earthquake to suddenly occur while I was in class this afternoon.  We were in class on the second floor and suddenly we were kind of shaking around.  I felt like I was sitting in my desk and felt as if I was moving on an amusement park ride or something.  Hard to explain if you've never experienced an earthquake.  It is rare to experience an earthquake as strong as todays, about 6.8 I've heard.  We just sat in our room until the earthquake stopped until we decided to go outside for a bit where we saw any Tico in sight on their cell phone.  Since this was a rare earthquake just about 90% of Ticos were probably freaking out.  It was kinda cool and surreal.  I know I should be a little more cautious but we were informed that Costa Rica has strict building codes they have to follow because of the occurance of earthquakes so the chance of a building collapsing is very small.  Still, it was kind of cool to have lived through the strongest earthquake in San Jose this year.  I should make t-shirts and sell them here.  I'll bet I would make a fortune.

I'm predicting now that there will be earthquakes in San Jose in August and this is why.  In Costa Rica, the farmers believe that the first 24 days of the new year will predict what the climate will be like in each corresponding month.  Since today is the 8th then it would correspond to August.  On the 5th it rained, which was fine because in San Jose it normally rains in May.  On the 13th it will go back to January and end on the 24th or December.  

Lucky day as well, I was able to get into ecological photography.  I went to change my class last night and it was full so this morning I came to inquire about an opening spot and I took the last spot.  I thank that person that dropped out because now I can take a photography class that takes fieldtrips.  The first portion of the class is easy because it's starting from the basics but I'm sure it'll get a bit more interesting once we get to start producing projects and such.  That way I only have classes besides Spanish on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Tomorrow we get to go to Manuel Antonio.  I'm excited to spend the weekend on the beach and get rid of some of my pale Nebraska skin.  There's a lot of trails around the beach so it should be an awesome weekend.  Ashlee and I are just excited to get there and do some exploring on our own.  Can't wait to take some awesome photos as well.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Classes: Day Two

Classes today went better. I finally had my original Spanish teacher. She wasn't as exciting and awesome as the one I had yesterday but she'll do. We went over the same things we did yesterday. I guess it was a good review. I'm picking up more Spanish but by no means to the point where I can speak in any sort of conversation. I'm still at the basic level. It's fine though, I'm not complaining.

Last night after class Ashlee and I headed home wondering what our wonderful mother was going to cook for dinner. We were glad to be hungry when we found out our mom prepared some amazing bean and cheese epanadas. They were very, very, good and I think we ended up eating past our full point because we were both still full this morning. I'm really happy about my situation here, I have an awesome host mom, an amazing roommate and I'm living in an awesome area. I'm still getting used to getting around but it's only the first week.

Last night Ashlee and I decided we wanted to do our own traveling if we decide to go to Panama or Nicuragua because the prices ISA gives us to travel "through them" is so expensive. Since Ashlee and I are on a budget we're not looking to pay an arm and a leg to enjoy the many things you can do in Costa Rica. Some of the students here are so quick to buy into some of the things offered by ISA not even thinking there are probably cheaper options available. I may see if there are other students that want to travel independently with us but some of them are a bit aprehensive because of the safety issue. I think either way you can still be safe. We're ready to start planning.

I have decided to take ecological photography. We'll be learning basic stuff in the beginning but I guess we'll be doing editing as well. There's a total of 9 projects and I think I'll like that class better than tropical marine biology. There are still field trips with ecological photography so I still get to explore other places, plus I may end up with some portfolio worthy photos. That's my goal anyways. Hopefully I'll be able to get into it. I have to go switch later this afternoon. I also think Ashlee and I are going to explore some of the other places by our house. I heard there is a shopping center near where we live so we might check that out later today.

Last night we were going to go to dance lessons the school offers twice a week but we got caught up in catching up and playing Brain Age and Ashlee teaching me how to solve a rubik's cube. I'm addicted now. It'll be a good thing to bring along on our 5 hour ride to Manuel Antonio, a gorgeous beach area. We'll be spending all weekend there. Hello to me working on my tan. I need to get going on some photos so if I don't take any this week there will for sure be some after this weekend.

Not much else. Hasta luego!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Yo soy un nueva estudiante de espanol

Today was the first day of classes. My Spanish class is 4 hours of intensive Spanish taught in Spanish. If there's ever a way for someone to pick up Spanish fast, this is for sure it. I'm going to like my Spanish class, I think. I don't really know who my real professor is because they didn't show up today, so we were placed in another class. Tomorrow we're supposed to be back in our assigned class, which disappoints me because I liked the professor that taught today. Oh well.

My other class I had today was Intercultural Communication. Originally I wasn't interested in this class but we had orientation yesterday with Veritas University and the professor was one of the speakers. He seemed like he would be an awesome professor to take a class from and I was proven right today. His class is more laid back because it's discussion based but he was also flexible on the curriculum of the class and let us change some stuff around about it. I've never had a professor do that, it was kind of cool. I think this class will be very interesting and I think I'll enjoy it a lot.

Tomorrow will be another day of classes including a tropical marine biology class I'm debating taking. I'm also thinking about taking an ecological photography class because it would be nice to take a photography class but I'm afraid the beginning will be remedial and that it'll be too easy. I want to take marine biology because they take two field trips to the ocean, and so does ecological biology. I'm not sure right now but I have until Friday to decide I guess. Any thoughts would be awesome!!

Live in Costa Rica couldn't be better. Last night our host mom made us pasta for dinner, and it was delicious. Today we had pancakes and fruit for breakfast. My roommate, Ashlee and I felt bad because she made us a lot of food and we didn't eat all of it. So she suggested we take some with us to eat later. If she allows that more often I might do that more often and just eat the extra food for lunch. That way I can save money on expenses for food for lunch. Hopefully she'll agree because a few slices of watermelon and some fresh papaya was enough to last me until dinner today.

I'm hoping to get some photos going but first I need to get my bearings and be able to feel more comfortable about taking out expensive camera gear. They'll be soon I promise.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A new day, a new place

This is the beginning of my adventure. I arrived yesterday afternoon at 8:30 am, two hours after I was supposed to. I felt bad because that meant my driver waited for 2 hours. All in all, I was glad I paid for a driver rather than attempt to get a taxi, just because things were hectic enough. I had my orientation with ISA and met my host mom, Majorie, who is quite lovely. She's an awesome cook too! It was relieving to know she is bilingual too, especially for a beginning Spanish speaker, she is able to translate for me so I can understand better. I'm already picking stuff up so in due time I'll be able to speak some Spanish phrases.

Costa Rica is gorgeous, I can't wait to get out of the city though. You can see the mountains and volcanoes from Veritas, the university I'm taking classes at and I want to explore outside the city so badly. We have an excursion to Manuel Antonio this weekend and I hear it's gorgeous.

I feel like I have to do a reality check every second I'm here. I woke up and reminded myself I was in Costa Rica as my host mom was waking me up in Spanish. Even though it was a little hard to leave and even more so now that I'm here, I know once I get going and accustomed to life here, I'm going to love it.

The weather is fantastic, it's been a combination of warm and sunny to rainy and a little chilly. I woke up to the sound of rain early this morning and was soothed quickly back to sleep. I love the sound of rain. Life couldn't be better at the moment, now if I can just get to learning some Spanish so I don't feel completely clueless. Tomorrow we start classes bright and early, so I guess you can't go wrong with 4 hours of Spanish 5 days a week. I can't wait.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

T-Minus 19 Hours

I'm awake at my aunt's house, my last vacation stop before my 3 month excursion. I'm nervous, excited and probably every emotion in between. I'm one of the only people in the group arriving a day later than I'm supposed to but I'm telling myself it'll be fine. I'll meet my host family in their nine bedroom house (yes I gasped too) and I'll begin a new adventure of my life. I can't believe this moment is here now and I'm excited to write about every moment. I'm pretty sure I'm the first of my family to study abroad so I'm sure a lot of my relatives will want to know about every detail. So tomorrow at 7:29 I'll board my plane in Omaha, arrive in Denver and at 12:01 a.m. my plane will depart and I will be disconnected from my routine world I have come to know. I don't know what to expect or how to prepare for it. If there's anything my close friends have taught me, it's to just do. I'm going to just live every moment for what it is. I'm sure these 3 months will fly by and I hope I'll have plenty stories to tell. See you on the other side!