Saturday, December 19, 2009
Wow. I'm coming home today. Home. What a relative word. Technically, this is my home now as it has been where I have lived for the past four months. But nowhere without my family and friends is really ever "home". I guess it really is true that home is where the heart is. And I left my heart in STL! lol. Ok, I'm done with the cliches. To everyone that has emailed me, messaged me, or even just thought about me....THANK YOU. You have all helped me so much! I loved hearing from each and every one of you. I will see you soon! I wanted to write about what I was feeling on this fine morning of my departure...but I don't really know! I think I'm a little sad to leave, but also excited to come home. And nervous. I'm a little nervous to come home. I hope it's easy to get back to my other life. :-) All I know is that I woke up feeling queasy this morning....and NO...I didn't drink last night! Well...time for some last minute packing and a shower...gotta be fresh and clean to return to my home town! Love you all. -Meg P.S. Here is a picture of my toe about a week and a half ago. I never told u guys the story. Ask me bout it when I get home!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I can't wait to come home and....
Be able to use 20 dollar bill to pay for things with (seriously, here in Costa Rica almost NOWHERE can break the equivalent of a 20, yet that is what the ATM disperses. Hmmm)
Be able to walk down the sidewalk without looking down in front of my feet every single second to make sure I don't break an ankle
Be able to walk around BY MYSELF any time I want without fear of getting mugged
Be able to be sick in my own bed (this is a newly developed wish, as I JUST became sick today)
Be able to wear whatever clothes I want out in public without fear of being harassed
Be able to breathe in without choking on car exhaust
Be able to do homework using and actual BOOK instead of my computer (my eyes hurt)
Be able to get into my house without unlocking three different doors (but I DO feel safe here)
Be able to watch ESPN in english
Be able to wear sweaters and pants and jackets and hats and scarves (notice I didn't say COAT Gma!)
Be able to shower and still feel clean hours later
Be able to walk around without getting stared at (yes Ma, I know. Preposition at the end of a sentence. Sorry. Didnt know a good way around it)
Be able to walk around or eat at a restaurant without keeping a death grip on my stuff
Be able to use sugar that DOESNT have ants in it
Be able to eat something OTHER than rice and beans
Be able to have a nice, juicy, steak
Be able to drink hot chocolate and coffee without sweating
Be able to sleep with more than a sheet on top of me
Be able to sleep without automatically and involuntarily rolling left into the ditch in my bed
Be able to sleep saying goodnight to my hundreds of creepy crawly roommates
Be able to cross a street without the cars speeding up when they see me
Be able to buy shampoo and conditioner for LESS than 5 dollars a bottle
Be able to sit in my room without the deafening roar of traffic lofting through my window
Be able to take an entire shower without the water shutting off or going ice cold on me
Be able to generally tell when a car is going to turn thanks to that genius invention called a BLINKER
Be able to walk around my house without looking out for pee or poo (i hate that lil dog)
Be shorter than most of the guys around me
Feel carpet under my bare feet
Hug all my friends and family
Be able to throw toilet paper in the toilet
Use a nice, clean bathroom in public places
Well, I feel better.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Lo siento a todos, pero voy a escribir en espanol. No se porque...pero quiero hacerlo. Puedo escribir en espanol...pues un poco. Puedo entender...mas o menos. Y puedo hablar en espanol...o a menos la persona entiende mi punto. PERO, no domino el espanol. Que lastima. Todavia no puedo decir exactamente que quiero. Es dificil y frustrante. Necesito decirles sobre Nicaragua. Pero pienso que no es una buena idea para hacer esto en espanol porque ustedes no van a entender. Le amo a todos.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Today is a great day. It is Thanksgiving. They do not celebrate it here, but that does not matter. I still reflect today on everything for which I am thankful. At the top of the list, as always, is my family and my friends. You have all been very supportive and positive while I have been away and I'm so grateful. I'm healthy, and I'm happy. And what's more, I have had a great time in Costa Rica and learned so much. As I was walking home from class tonight I let myself get lost in thought (something I generally avoid since you should always be aware while walking by yourself in San Jose). I cannot explain the serene feeling that came over me as I thought about my life at this moment. I no longer expect anything to go as planned. Nothing you think will happen in Costa Rica happens, and everything you don't expect does. I have learned more than ever to go with the flow. Things will get accomplished, and in the end it will work out; the path will just be different than you plan. So I have stopped planning. I don't mean all types of planning. It is still necessary to have a general idea of what you are going to try to do that day. But as far as details go? Forget about it. You may as well enjoy the ride, because there is no avoiding it. If you ask directions to one place from five different people on the street, you will get five different answers. So you either pick the one that sounds most promising, or you try to create a frankenstein compilation of their answers, and start walking. If you get lost, you will always be able to find your way home eventually. Just like life: If you get lost, you will always find your way back. So pick a direction and start walking. Nothing says you have to stay on the same path. I no longer expect teachers to stick to what they say, for a class to follow the syllabus, or for planned events to have any sort of structure. And you know what? Despite all my fretting over such disorganization...I'm still happy, I'm still alive, I'm still excelling, I'm still learning, and I'm still sane. I lost my ipod over a month ago. I was convinced at that time that I could NOT live without my music in a foreign country where so many things stressed me out and where familar music was a huge comfort. Well I'm still living. It hardly even registers that I don't have an ipod anymore. And a cell phone? Forget about it. I don't need it. I haven't missed it once. Sure it would make meeting up with friends a heck of a lot easier, but it doesn't keep us from meeting up. Sometimes we miss each other, sometimes plans have to be changed on the fly, sometimes people get left behind, and sometimes people get lost. But we all find our way home, and the next day at school we laugh together about what an adventure yesterday was. Therefore, I no longer have expectations about my life. It is oddly liberating. I have still have hopes and dreams, of course. I hope to be happy and healthy and make a difference in the world. I hope to have a family of my own someday, and I hope to have a good job. But I don't need any of these things just like I don't need my music. Life is a constant adjustment. Plans can change in an instant and you have no control over that most of the time. So instead of perfecting my planning skills, I like the idea of these new coping skills I have started developing. And of course, coping does not simply entail the ability to accept whatever hand life deals you, but also the ability to problem solve as an attempt to still acheive your goal. I don't know what life holds for me. I actually haven't the slightest inkling. I have a great family, great friends, and an amazing guy in my life. I hope I can further my formal education, but I know that I will always be learning for as long as I live. I have no idea what the future will bring. But I know how my present stands. I am stronger than I was when I got here, physically and mentally. I am more at peace with myself. And I am more in love than I have ever been before. At the risk of contradicting everything I just said, I am going to marry him and we are going to brave life together. I don't care what life throws at us, I don't care if we are absolutely poor for years... I know everything will work out in the end. Like my Ma always says, make plans and God laughs (make plans in Costa Rica and God rolls). Love, Meg
Monday, November 23, 2009
Arg! It seems like more and more things happen everyday that I have to tell you about, but there just isn't enough time! And I don't feel like I'm doing my stories justice because I'm really impatient when it comes to journaling. But I'll give it another futile attempt :-)
I told you I went last week to see the movie Gestacion. It was AWESOME. It's only the second movie ever filmed in Costa Rica! And it was filmed right here in San Jose! The opening scene was Mall San Pedro where we always used to go to watch movies! That was weird to see. Lol. The whole thing was in spanish (obviously), but we understood most of it! Funny little side note tho: while we were waiting for the movie to start a lady came and sat in the chair right next to me. The theater was virtually empty, but she sat RIGHT next to me! lol. So different from in the U.S. At home if a theater is pretty much empty, you only go sit right next to a stranger if you want to mess with them. lol
Last weekend, as I mentioned, was zip lining and rafting. Zip lining was pretty dang fun. 12 cables, one over 600 meters long and 65mph! Flying through the treetops of the rainforest over a river...pretty awesome. And it was raining so we went even faster! It was a little chilly and wet, but I love that weather! Lisa took us to the place in her car too since there were only three of us so that was nice. The rest of the group had gone earlier in the month, but Collen and I elected to wait to go later with Sybil since she had a broken leg at the time. It was really really fun. Then the next day we went rafting!!! Now THAT was quite possibly the most fun thing I have experienced since I have been here. I really really don't think I can explain how beautiful and peaceful it was. The river we went on is one of the best for rafting in the world. It had class three and four rapids. The class four were most fun. And actually....I fell out in a class four. Lol. It was actually pretty cool. Our raft hit a rock that no one saw cuz it was under the water, and our raft jolted to a stop and everyone on my side fell out. Lol. So I body surfed a rapid. Got quite a few bruises on my legs from that and swallowed A LOT of water. The kyak came and picked me up, then transferred me to a raft that was passing thru from another company, and then THEY transferred me back to my raft finally. Cool stuff dude. And the scenery was just AMAZING. Serioulsy breathtaking. Stuff out of movies. Drifting through the rainforest in a valley, waterfalls careening down the sides all around us, birds, vines hanging, beautiful mist everwhere. Oh and sweet food! We stopped on the bank of the river to have lunch. Yummy! I can't wait to go rafting again sometime. Hopefully in another new country!
This most recent weekend, the group (around 25 ppl) went to Panama to a group of islands called Bocas del Toro. Now this place is what you think of when you think of paradise. Blue water, beautiful skies, mountains in the background misted over, starfish, colorful fish, palm trees, huts and hostels built ON the water, a pool that is really the ocean, a water trampoline, hammocks by the water and above the water, free coffee ALL day, and J this one is for you....banana pancakes on a lazy, rainy, sunday morning. I miss you. Cant wait to come home and make some banana pancakes with you EVERY sunday morning. ANYWAY...I also got introduced to a new game this past weekend! MAFIA! Its SOOO fun. Lol.
So some cool things bout Panama: Dani got stung by a jellyfish (a small one dont worry) but I saw it happen which was neat, four of us saw a whale while taking a wild crazy six hour deserted muddy road/amazing beach hike, and U.S. money is WEIRD! See, Panama's currency is US dollars. When we all first bought something and got coin back, we literally all flipped out. We refused to believe that they were real coins! They are so small and light! I remember when a quarter used to be big to me! Now it is itty bitty. But thats because colones (Costa Rica currency) is so much bigger and heavier than our coins.
Well Colleen and I are watching Die Hard (score!), so I'll write yall later. Love, love, love
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
This will be about more than my day, but I'm going to start with that.
Today was a rollercoaster of emotions. Not extreme emotions. Just moods and thoughts that came and went. Some things awed me, some disgusted me, some made me feel blessed...
My day started out with me getting up extra early to finish a presentation I had to give this morning in my spanish class. My presentation went well as did class, seeing as how I did not fall asleep like I usually do. Then I had human rights class this afternoon. And once again, I was severly annoyed. But I tend to get over that rather quickly. It had to do with class conflicting with a soccer game we are going to watch next Wednesday....long and short of it is this: I'm in Costa Rica and have the chance to go to a soccer game for free and experience that part of the culture. He doesn't even think it's an option to skip class to go, even though I'm allowed two absences and have had none so far. To him it's a no brainer....as it is for me as well. Class or futbol?? Ya, you're right....definitely futbol.
After class I walked to an ATM with Sarah that was SUPPOSE to offer US dollars because we need them for Panama this weekend. Well the ATM decided it didnt WANT to give us dollars. This actually didnt phase me at all. I no longer expected anything to work or to go as planned in Costa Rica. Pura Vida. What DID phase me was what happened when I was walking to the gym after that. As I walked towards the corner where a large white SUV was stopped at a stop sign waiting to turn, I heard a very clear cat call whistle. Being immune to this by now, I kept walking and didn't even look up....until the car turned and came more towards me and I heard the whistle again. I looked up and saw a boy who couldn't have been more than twelve, riding in the backseat next to what was probably his little sister. He had rolled the window down and was looking right at me. He then proceeded to yell "how you doin fine bi***?!" I think my jaw hit the floor. I could only shake my head and keep walking. As I was walking, feeling sad for the boy that he had learned such behavior, something seemingly insignificant happened: a flock of parrots flew over my head and I ACTUALLY noticed. I had heard the girls talking bout the little bright green parrots they had seen in the city, but I had NEVER seen them before. But just when I needed something to smile about and snap me out of my sad pensive trance, they appeared! I know it seems silly, but for me, it made me realize that i am IN COSTA RICA. I'm so blessed and so lucky to be here. There are parrots (actually parakeets, I was just informed by my roomie) flying over my head and beautiful, smoke kissed mountains in whatever direction I turn. And the sky was as blue as I had seen in San Jose thus far. Perfect wispy white clouds....a sky I never would have seen had those birds not squawked and made me look up. And it was like a chain reaction. Once I noticed the birds I began noticing EVERYTHING. Mostly cool plants. In the states, the typical garden filler green plants tend to bore me. What's so exciting about one colore? But here, I'm not even sure if a monotone plant exists! Every ordinary looking green plant has a hidden surprise. Look closely and you will see veins of read, orange, or yellow running through. Or flip the leaf over and it will be bright purple! You never know.
I finally made it to the gym. Good workout. My arms feel like jello because I did arm circuit training with Ray and Brittany. They are nuts. We did tons of pull ups and pushups. OUCH.
Came home, ate, and then hopped in the shower. I turned on the water, closed my eyes tight, held my breath, and jumped under the freezing cold water. I almost cried with joy when I realized the water was NOT freezing cold, but in fact was rather hot!!! I couldnt believe my sensory nerves! The shower had been fixed!!! Halelujah!!! There are still some streams of freezing cold that populate the mass of hot water, but I'm alright with that!
Now I'm drinking some cafe, talking to Katy on skype (sort of...I should probably respond to her now...hold on), and thinking bout working on homework. I can't explain how I feel right now. Sore from the gym, mentally tired from homework, nutritionally satisfied, excited for panama, stressed about school, worried about the people I love, homesick, and somehow more sure of who I am than I have been in years. Strange.
And I lied. This is not going to be more than about my day. Initially, I set out to write about my amazing rafting and ziplining trip this past weekend as well...but I have realized I don't feel like descriptively writing anymore and that trip deserves some decent description. I love you all
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Ya that's right, you read correctly: Christmas is here. I came home from the gym today and there was a Christmas reef lit up on the front door. SO WEIRD! Don't they know we haven't even had Thanksgiving yet??? Oh wait...that's right...no, they don't, because they don't celebrate Thanksgiving here! Makes sense I suppose...that whole pilgrims and indians thing didn't really happen here in Central America. On a different note...I'm running out of money! Quickly! lol. I just need to make it 4 more weeks! But with a trip every weekend, It's going to be tight. And may I just say budgeting is NOT fun while you are in a foreign country and trying to do as many things as possible while you're there!!! Therefore, I'm pretending I have more money than I actually do. I mean hey, that's what credit cards and overdraft protection are for right??! (I have a feeling my Ma and Gma are grimacing right now. :-) And on the note of spending money, I'm going to Panama this weekend! To Bocas del Toro, a series of Islands that is suppose to be like paradise. Surprisingly, it's only costing me around120 for three nights. Not bad. Then the next weekend is Nicaragua! I'm gonna have three countries under my belt after this semester! Awesome. And then I only have two weekends left. Maybe I'll use one to go back to Jaco and surf again! That was so fun last time. Hopefully our last weekend here all the girls that were here with me the first month are going to do a last trip sort of thing. Not sure where to yet.
Alright, well I have to go work on homework. I have a ton. As usual. Love you all!