It was a “crappy” day…

It was a crappy day at school. The student government at our school made a new committee called the committee of Costa Rican Amore y Paz, in other (English) words, it’s the Costa Rican committee of Love and Peace. It’s a great concept, with an unfortunate English acronym: CRAP

Another highlight of the day was when one of the new gringo students got on stage and rapped the Eminem lyrics to “I love the way you lie”.

Inappropriate? Probably. Luckily none of the other teachers or students understood the lyrics. If you don’t even know the word “crap” then Eminem is waay over your head.

Lightening Crashes…

Early this afternoon I went home to grab Mango, and then brought him back to the school with me. Ross was finishing talking with someone there, so i figured it would be a good idea to take Mango to play in the plaza across the street from the school. There were some students out there and we were all having a good time until lightening struck right next to us! It happened so quickly I don’t even remember where exactly the lightening bolt was, but I could just see the flash and feel the heat of it and the vibration all around me, and it was sooo loud. I have never been afraid of thunderstorm/lightening storms before, but I think that has changed!

Then again, this was nothing like any storm I’ve been in. In fact, there was no storm at all (at the time, there certainly was after though). One minute we were playing, and I guess it was a little cloudy, although there was still sunshine in the horizon and no rain or wind or thunder. No warning. Then the next thing you know, BAM, huge bolt of lightening, and then the crazy storm started a few minutes after. The small time between the lightening bolt and the storm were really strange; the kids were all really scared and started running away (and if you know Costa Rican children you should no that it takes A LOT to frighten them. These kids in particular have grown up on the side of a very active volcano). Mango was whimpering and my heart was pounding.

Poor Mango is still recovering!


I then realized I was most definitely the tallest thing in the plaza (where is Ross when you need him?!?!), seeing that there are no trees and I’m bigger than all the kids and my puppy (though Mango has the bad fortune of being attached to me via leash at all times). So, Mango and I, we ran like hell for the 3 seconds it takes to run across the street from the plaza. Ross had come out when he heard the boom, but he didn’t get the full experience. We spent the rest of the afternoon taking shelter in our (tin roof) house, listening to the rain fall down and the thunder boom, eventually disappearing into the mountains behind us and wondering when we would get our power back.

Lightening bolts, earthquakes, tsunamis… never a dull moment here in Costa Rica. Pura Vida!

What to do when it’s summer everyday

The lack of seasons here is starting to really get to this New England girl.

Yes I know, many people back home are just dying for summer to start, and for the hot weather to come (you can send the hate mail directly to my gmail account). And many other people are used to not having seasons, or at least not the extreme seasons we have in New England. Maybe it’s difficult to understand why if you’ve never been in this situation, but I am totally lost.

Believe it or not it was FANTASTIC leaving Boston in January and walking into summer. I got to skip a freezing cold winter, a yucky damp spring and move right along into beach weather. Hello Paradise! The worst part was having to show up on the beach in my pasty white January skin (which is now super tan after several really bad sunburns). Yes, that part was great.

But now over 4 months later it is still summer, and there are no cooler, relieving days to remind you that fall is approaching, because it is not. Summer at home is just thinking about starting, and when it begins to fade in September/October to those beautiful days of fall, my never-ending summer here will still be going and going. This is a pretty intimidating thought, as I sit here dripping sweat on my laptop.

Another weird thing for us is that the school year started in February instead of September (and did I mention this school I teach in is made of cement and has no AC but does have windows that don’t shut that let the direct sunlight pour in). We are at the point 4 months in where most schools at home are having Christmas/New Years vacation, but since it’s May and super hot I feel almost like it’s the end of the year. Does this make sense? Probably not.

I know, I know, you’re all too excited to start summer to listen to me complain about this here. I’ll wait until you are experiencing an unbearably hot and humid 90+ degree day in August, then we’ll talk.

What do Sam Adams beer and earthquakes have in common?

They both rocked my world this weekend, literally!

First, we got here Thursday for our midservice and our group decided to celebrate and catch up and have a few drinks at the hostel. Well, Ross and I went into a super to buy some beverages for the evening, and just as I was pondering what kind of Costa Rican beer I could force myself to drink that night, this appeared out of nowhere:

It was my first time having a good Boston beer in over 4 months, and it was incredible. It reminded me that no matter where I am in the world, Boston, and it’s beer will always have my heart 🙂

You know what else is great about Boston, other than it’s beer? It’s lack of earthquakes. Yesterday, after meetings all day in San Jose, 4 of us went to a coffee shop downtown and that is where we were when the world started shaking.

It was my first earthquake, so it was a big deal to me. It’s not such a big deal for a country very prone to earthquakes and natural disasters. It was strong (6.0), but it happened so quickly so I don’t totally remember what went down. Things started shaking/rumbling and at first it just felt like a subway going by (but then you think hmmm there aren’t any subways in Costa Rica) and then the rumbling gets stronger and stronger and glasses fall off the table and the building shakes and still it’s impossible to register what is going on. Someone suggested getting under the table, and then we realized all 4 of us would not fit under the table and the earth was shaking too much to walk to another table. As we were pondering this, the earth stopped shaking and everything went back to normal, just like that.

Experiencing something like this puts you in your place. You realized you are not invincible and that you really can’t control everything, so you should probably stop trying.

One more day in San Jose with friends, maybe a couple more Boston Lagers and if we’re lucky no more earthquakes 🙂

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/13/costa-rica-earthquake-shakes-capital_n_861932.html

Mornings with Mango!

Ross and I are leaving for San Jose (again!) tomorrow, this time for the WorldTeach mid-service meeting on Friday. We will get to see all 20 other volunteers, which will be incredible. All of our experiences here are so different, and I can’t wait to hear about everyone’s and share stories!

It’s pretty insane how close our group became after only 3 weeks together in Orosi, and I really have been missing them. Our site is pretty far north in Costa Rica, and most others are south, so we don’t have the opportunity to visit/receive visitors as often as we would like.

So getting to see them, getting advice on school, getting a FREE place to stay and fancy dinner in San Jose is all amazing. What is not great is having to leave Mango here 😦 He really hates when we go away, and I always feel badly leaving him with our host brother. At just 3 months old, He’s still really a lot of work (Mango, not the host brother). We don’t mind because we love him, but if he wasn’t my dog he would probably drive me crazy at times.

Anyway, I love mornings with Mango and thought I would share some pictures:

Don’t worry we don’t really share a toothbrush. Mango heard a rumor somewhere that dog’s mouths are cleaner than humans and he refuses.

My Mom is coming to visit, and other good news!

We have the last week of May off of school because the teachers here in Costa Rica are conducting the census. Since this falls almost directly in-between Mother’s Day and my Mom’s birthday, it seems like the perfect time for a visit from her!!! Plus, it’s been a whole 5 months since I’ve seen my Mom, that might be a record for me.

It sometimes feels like we’ve been gone forever, and knowing we have visitors coming really helps the time fly by and makes me feel not so far away and disconnected. It’s also easy to forget how awesome a place is and take it for granted while you are living there, but when people visit I get all excited for the wonderful things I’ll get to show them in this amazing country! This will also be my Mom’s first time traveling outside of the good old US of A. Yay Mom!

Future world traveler. First stop, Costa Rica!

In other good news, we got Wi-Fi in our house! This will make communication with the outside world MUCH easier. If you have Skype and want to talk (or plan a visit here) let me know. This also means I have no reason not to keep up with this blog of mine…

Now, speaking of the outside world, I have to take Mango out there before he literally chews through my ankle. Why do cute little puppies have such sharp little teeth???

Since I’ve been slacking on the workout posts: A quick, fun sprint workout!

I have a love hate relationship with treadmills. I can’t do longer runs on them without wanting to kill myself, but I love them for sprinting workouts. I got this from Women’sHealth and really enjoyed it, thought you might too!

90 Sec: Warm up, easy pace, 40-50% of your ability
60 Sec: Sprint as fast as possible
60 Sec: Easy pace
30 Sec: Sprint all out
30 Sec: Easy pace
60 Sec: Sprint
Repeat 4X

Easy right? And it goes by really quick (ie no wanting to kill yourself on the treadmill) and I worked up quite a sweat.

For tomorrow, I’m thinking weights and trying to improve my inverted row!

Perezosos

Fun fact: The word Perezoso in Spanish is both the word for a sloth, and the word you would use to describe a lazy person. Seeing a sloth is one of the reasons many of us signed up for this whole volunteer thing, and I have a dear friend here who can do an incredible impression of a sloth (okay, I’m joking about the first part, but I really do have a friend who does a great sloth impression, it’s quite a talent).

Anyway, a few people have been lucky enough to see these animals, but this does not include Ross and I yet. I was hoping it might happen when we ventured to Manuel Antonio this weekend, but we only had two days there and accidentally had a few too many Guaro Sours at the sunset happy hour and slept in way past the time one usually encounters sloths. We decided to save our National Park visit for the next time we’re in Manuel Antonio, and decided instead to just enjoy the beach and some good times with friends who are living there.

It certainly is a touristy place, but it’s also one of the most gorgeous beach towns, and it has all of the luxuries tourists (especially American tourists) could ask for. So, you can experience a real live jungle paradise and not have to worry about pesky bugs, going to the bathroom in the woods or forfeiting a hot shower like you might have to do in other areas.

Our trip was quick, and I look forward to going back soon. Hopefully next time we’ll be less perezoso ourselves and we’ll be able to see some real live perezosos!!!