Around Town

We have had some pretty exciting volcanic activity here in Costa Rica. That is, if you like to clean up ash when you come home from work! The volcano is quite far away, but the very windy conditions have carried its ash all over the valley. It isn’t nearly as exciting as I would have hoped. And, luckily we are all safe. Here is a photo from the national volcanic and seismic institute here in Costa Rica (website–also a cool way to see all the earthquakes). 1800380_809622969074963_5640170791176862398_n

But what is exciting is finally being able to capture the most beautiful butterfly I have ever seen, in a photo. Costa Rica has these beautiful blue butterflies, called morpho butterflies, but I never see them when I can get a photo. Last weekend my friend Stephen and I went to visit the Jade Museum and the National Museum in San José. I have waited this long to go because the prices are very high for non-residents, so now that I have my residency the price is much better. Anyway, at the National Museum they have a really cool butterfly exhibit with lots of morphos and even chrysalises on display. I only had my iPhone with me, but I was able to capture one! I also found this very cool looking flower, but I have no idea what it is. IMG_0930 IMG_0878

This week also began the Feria de la Cebolla (Onion Festival) here in Santa Ana. I captured some photos this morning on my way to the bank.

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The guy in the orange asked me to take their picture. :-)

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Today I returned to San José, with Stephen, to check out a music and art festival. There were a lot of local vendors selling things from candles, to jam, chocolate, clothes and many other things. There was also live music performances from well-known Costa Rica bands. We stayed to listen to the group Passiflora and had some delicious chifrijo for lunch. We also saw this rooster who is a big fan of Saprissa fútbol (local professional soccer club).

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Live demonstration of spray paint art.

Live demonstration of spray paint art.

Hitoy Cerere

Nestled into the massive banana plantations of the Limón province in Costa Rica is the Hitoy Cerere Biological Reserve. Not often visited due to a very, very rainy climate and relatively unknown, Hitoy Cerere is a pretty pristine piece of land.

This week (Tuesday to Thursday) I joined another staff member and a group of 15 students to do some volunteer work in the HItoy Cerere Reserve. We arrived late in the evening (around 8pm) after leaving San José by public bus at 3pm (about $10 each) and entered our bunk house. Three bedrooms, a converted living room, two toilets and two showers for 17 people. You can bet I was freaking out a little bit!! Luckily, there were two more showers and four more toilets nearby (which I found out the next day).

The room I shared with three students (my bed's on the floor).

The room I shared with three students (my bed’s on the floor).

These crazy looking bugs were all over the walls when we arrived. Any idea what they are?!?!

These crazy looking bugs were all over the walls when we arrived. Any idea what they are?!?!

On Tuesday, our first working day, we spent the morning working on the main road to the Reserve’s lodge/visitor center. Here the job was to clear some recently cut plants that were hanging over the road, dig out a water drainage ditch, and add some rocks to reinforce the road. We also discovered lots of spiders, centipedes, ants and two grasshoppers. (However, I was not happy to find my mattress crawling with ants when I returned from lunch that day!)

A grasshopper catching a ride.

A grasshopper catching a ride.

First neon green grasshopper I have seen.

First neon green grasshopper I have seen.

After our work there was a hike and a visit to a waterfall. I didn’t go to the waterfall because I only had one pair of shoes and the hike there required walking through knee deep water. But, the students had a great time visiting the falls and I enjoyed a peaceful hour reading next to the babbling brook.

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On day two and three we hiked up behind the cabin to clear the trail so that the main worker at the reserve could get his ATV up and down the hill for easier trail maintenance. We were in a lot of mud doing these jobs, raking, digging up rocks and clearing out debris. We saw some frogs, a jumping tarantula, a snake and many, many ants. Including the infamous “bullet ant”.

Bullet Ant, by far the biggest ant I have ever seen

Bullet Ant, by far the biggest ant I have ever seen

Blue jean poison dart frog (we saw four of these during the week). They are so cute!

Blue jean poison dart frog (we saw four of these during the week). They are so cute!

This job took up most of both days, but we still had a chance to take a dip in the river and spend some quality time getting to know each other, reading our books and enjoying the nature all around us.

I was pretty skeptical about this trip because I knew very little about where we were going, what we would be doing and what kind of weather we would encounter. But as each day went on, things got better and the rustic cabin of 17 people didn’t seem as bad as the first day. And since I was able to get the ants out of my bed I was happy. The students all worked well together and there were no fights! I’d say it was a successful week!

Catching Up

I started writing this blog about two weeks ago but was having some serious computer difficulties. Turns out, I needed a new hard drive. Now that my computer has a new engine, I am back in action. I started on this blog again earlier this morning and even though the blog has an auto-save feature, what I had written (the whole blog!) was lost to the cyber universe. :-( So, hopefully the third time is the charm!

The first weekend after returning to work from winter vacation I joined my “tutor group” (a group of students that are assigned to me for pastoral care) on an outing to Irazú Volcano and Sanitorio Durán. Irazú Volcano is meant to be very beautiful, but it is also often enveloped in clouds. The day we went the visibility was very low, so unfortunately we didn’t get to see the crater. Luckily, Costa Rica’s most recently active volcano, Turrialba, is right next door, and we had a great view of it from the outer slope of Irazú.

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Looking out at Turrialba Volcano

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One of my tutees showing his love! :-)

After walking around the very cold viewing area, we descended to try and get a different view, but it was too cloudy there as well. Although, we did have a chance encounter with an albino coyote, which was pretty cool.

Photo by Aune Nuyttens

Photo by Aune Nuyttens

At Sanitorio Durán, which has been at different times a TB hospital, a prison hospital and a mental ward, I was sad to see a lot of graffiti on the walls of the buildings. I did find a couple more creative installations, but in general what is there is a a bit of an eyesore. Which is a shame as this is a pretty popular tourist attraction, especially as it is said to be haunted.

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This says: Welcome feel the cold of death.

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The following weekend, as part of a belated birthday celebration, I organized a group to attend a chocolate tasting at Sibú Chocolate. It was a great day and really interesting. After the Rainforest Chocolate Tour in La Fortuna, I was worried that this one wouldn’t be as good, but it was great. It had a different feel, more of a social history of chocolate rather than scientific. It was also really cool to learn about the flavor combinations and how to taste them, like wine tasting.IMG_5871 IMG_5873

The week after that was North American Week at UWC Costa Rica. I participated by giving a thematic talk about the CIA during the middle of the week and on Friday the students put on a North American Show. Along with the students from the Pacific Northwest, I played a small part in a Portlandia skit and rapped the theme song of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (my only talent). I also participated in some group songs and dances. It was a really fun night and it was great to see how the students brought everything together.

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Juan Pablo (art teacher) and I showing our pride! Photo by Max von Hippel

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Rehearsing the songs for the show with Mara Dolan & Becca Cleveland-Stout. Photo by Max von Hippel

During North American week I had some bug sightings that reminded me that I am NOT living in the Pacific Northwest. I woke up on the Saturday after the “North American Show” to these guys, in three different parts of my apartment.

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During the week, this amazing leaf katydid was spotted right outside my classroom.

So cool!!

So cool!!

This past Thursday the students put on an amazing event, TEDxUWCCR. If you know about TED, then you probably know what a TEDx is, but if you don’t, check it out, TED is a very cool concept. Anyway, the students’ presentations and the guest presenters were fabulous. It was a great day. I am so happy that UWCCR made it possible for so many students and staff to be a part of the audience. When the talks are uploaded as videos I will share a few of my favorites.

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And finally, I will finish off this long post with another iguana picture. On Friday morning, one of my students startled an iguana and he ran into the boys’ bathroom. So, like any good teacher, I went and checked it out and then ran back for my phone–which I promptly gave to the student so she could capture this great shot. Eventually the iguana found its way out of the bathroom and back into nature.

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Photo by Florence Wavreil

 

New Year, New Adventures

Happy 2015 to all my readers!! I spent the first part of the new year on the second half of my “staycation”, traveling around Costa Rica with my parents. They arrived in the afternoon of 30 December and we got ourselves ready to head to the “wilderness” of Costa Rica. (Disclaimer, lots of photos ahead!)

Prior to going to Tortuguero I had been warned by many Ticos (Costa Ricans) and expats that the area is very remote and is a bit difficult as a tourist. As our trip got closer and I saw that the weather report was saying non-stop rain, I started to get a little worried. But what to do? The vacation is already planned!

On 31 December, my birthday!, we had a very early wake up. Since we decided to fly to Tortuguero (best decision ever) we had to head to the airport to catch the 5:50am flight. It was an easy flight from San José to Limón and a really rough flight from Limón to Tortuguero. The weather was not great and the tiny plane was getting thrown around pretty good. But, we made it safely and after a short boat ride arrived at La Baula Lodge. I quickly realized that I had nothing to fear. Tortuguero didn’t look much different from anywhere else I had been in Costa Rica, wifi, TVs, etc. Just more wildlife!

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Getting close to Tortuguero

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Riding in the water taxi

We did some exploring in the town of Tortuguero later that day. Where we had delicious lunch at the Budda Café. In the evening we joined up with a “Night Walk” where we hoped to see some cool nocturnal creatures. The walk was a little disappointing on the “creature” count, but we did see a Red-Eyed Tree frog, so that was pretty cool. The following morning we saw our first sloth, in the tree near our hotel room.

Lunch time!!

Lunch time!!

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Toucan hanging out near the sloth

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After breakfast we joined our new friends from the night walk, a lovely Swedish family, and set off on a boat tour of the Tortuguero park canals.

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Iguana catching some sun

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Pam & Ken on the boat

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Pam checking out the caiman

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The cutest bug I have ever seen!

In the afternoon we went on a walking tour of the park, where we saw a few more things. The coolest of which was a golden-orb weaving spider catching her prey and eating it in the web!

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Nocturnal casque headed lizard

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The next day we were awoken by the howler monkeys. We had seen them before but this time they were really close. They spent most of the day hanging around the hotel grounds and so did we. Here’s the cute family.

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Momma with baby

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Drying off after a big rainstorm

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Pam watching the monkeys play

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Baby boa on the dining patio

Baby boa on the dining patio

On 3 January we headed to Arenal Volcano. It was a long drive getting out of the Tortuguero area, but once we got on the highway things were better. The road which is very well used by tourists and locals alike, the only way to get to Tortuguero by land, is horrible. The cars have to avoid giant holes and other cars. It is not something I’d sign up for again, so glad we only had to do it once.

For the second part of our trip we were staying at the Arenal Observatory Lodge, right at the base of the (now dormant) volcano. We had a lovely room, with a great view of the lake. We joined a hike around the property on our first morning there and got rained on a little. Then we got to experience some serious rain storms later in the day (and for our whole stay). I have honestly never seen anything like it. It was pretty awesome, but difficult to describe. You’ll just have to take my word!DSCN1280

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View of the lake and volcano from the lodge

We went to the Arenal Hanging Bridges. It was cool to walk suspended above and within the canopy. It started raining when we were about 1km toward the end of the hike, and we made it indoors just before the storm hit. During the whole trip we really lucked out on missing the crazy weather when we were outdoors.

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The following day we did a chocolate tour at a place called Rainforest Chocolate Tour. It was really interesting and interactive. By far one of the best tours I have ever done (I’m doing a different chocolate tour next weekend so I’m excited to compare them). Not only did we learn all about how chocolate is made in the traditional ways, but we got to help make our own chocolate! After preparing the dark chocolate (which was made into both a hot drink and a melted variety) we then got to add different flavors (with seconds, thirds and fourths). It was cool to put together different flavors and see how they tasted.

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How to get to the bean

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Ken helping crush the beans

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Not the best picture, but I was helping make the chocolate, sugar and cinnamon mixture

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All the different things for mixing into the chocolate, and our two wonderful guides

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Cheers!

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One of my creations: chocolate, peanuts, sea salt and vanilla

The next day we returned to San José. But before we could do that something awesome happened. On our walk to breakfast, I spotted a small yellow eyelash pit viper on the trail. I had been looking for one the whole trip. It was the perfect parting gift!

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Can you see its cute eyelashes?

Can you see its cute eyelashes?

I showed the parents around Santa Ana (it is very small) and introduced them to my favorite Costa Rican food, chifrijo. They loved it! I also took them to Rincon Cubano where we all ordered the Patacon Burger (a hamburger with a fried green plantain for the bun). We also did a “highlights tour” of San José. and then it was time to say goodbye.

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Enjoying our chifrijo!

 

It was another great holiday, and good staycation!! Perfect refresher for the last few months of the school year.

Staycation

I wonder if there is a word in Spanish for “staycation”? Anyway, that is what I have been doing this holiday break, exploring Costa Rica.  The break started with a trip to some hot springs to help Jana celebrate her birthday. This was then followed by some shopping at the Mercado Tropical (Christmas market) and quite a few trips to try out some new cafés and restaurants. It has been fun to check out all the “we should go there places” now that we have lots of time to do it!

For Jana’s birthday, she really wanted to go to the hot springs, but they are a little far away so we decided to stay the night. I found us a great deal on Yuplón, Costa Rica’s version of Groupon, at a small resort called El Tucano ($50/night for two people including breakfast and 15% discount on all purchased food and beverage). So we took the bus from San Jose to Ciudad Quesada (about 2.5 hours, $3/each, one way) then a taxi from the city to the hot springs (about $16 one way). It was a quiet little place and a nice get-away. Here are some pictures of cool bugs I found and the hot springs. Careful, no love scenes allowed!

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We tried out a new café that just opened up in Escazú, called Mocapan. It is a German inspired Costa Rican cafe. The sandwiches are great, I am looking forward to trying more things there. We also went to a café I have been dying to check out, it is called Café Buena Tierra and I learned about it because I bought some of their natural peanut butter at Feria Verde. Anyway, we had a great time (after way too much shopping at the mall) trying out the delicious cakes (gluten free, vegan!!) and enjoying the wonderful tea and super cute pottery. IMG_0627 IMG_0634_2

Last Friday, Santa Ana had their annual Christmas parade. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as Christmassy as I was hoping, but it was a fun way to see some local culture. Marching bands are very, very popular here. IMG_5855 IMG_5861 IMG_5870

Sunday I happened upon the 8th stage of the Vuelta Costa Rica, kind of like the Tour de France but on a smaller scale. This is the 50th year of the race. It was fun to stand out and wait for the riders to come in, thought it was a little hot! I was about 200 meters from the finish line. It is crazy how fast these guys are riding!IMG_0641_2 ARS_4898 ARS_4961

And today is Christmas Eve, I am missing my families in Oregon and Germany, but I am excited for tonight’s Christmas dinner and spending some time tomorrow by the pool. Which, is something I have never done at Christmas before. :-) I made a quinoa salad, glühwein and my family’s traditional Red Cake (not gluten free or vegan–some day I will try it GF!).

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad and Happy Chanukah!!!!10429234_698400747742_8029440620367236148_n

Busy, busy, busy

In the two years of working in Al Ain I forgot how busy a teacher’s life is. That is because I didn’t have a typical teacher’s life there. And to be fair, I don’t really have a “typical” teacher’s life here, but it is more similar to what I experienced working in the United States. So, since I have been busy with work and just life in general I have neglected this blog a bit. I am going to try and be better in the future, but here goes, in a whirlwind of photos and explanations about what has happened since my last post.

A little while back, I went to the beach on the Pacific Coast for a relaxing day. This is Punta Leona, if I remember correctly. It was a lovely spot for sitting on the beach, but the waves were quite large so not really great for a relaxing float. The next photo is a moth that was in my classroom for a few days. I look this picture as part of a five day black and white iPhone photography challenge.

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My friend and co-worker Alex has a tradition of hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for all the American staff at the school. Here we are dining “al fresco” at her house. I think this is the first time I have eaten Thanksgiving dinner outside!

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At UWCCR we have “thematic weeks” where students organize talks and activities around a particular theme. Often these themes are based on people’s country of origin, such as the thematic week for the first week of December, Middle East/North Africa Week. The students asked me to join the week and I agreed to give a talk about my experience living in the UAE. I had a great turnout and students seemed to find the talk interesting. Here I am talking about how not everyone is the UAE is wealthy.

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Students are amazing, sometimes I wonder if I am even smart enough to work at this school. Last week a group gave a presentation about WWII technology and one of my students explained and diagramed the physics behind the atom bomb. It is amazing for anyone to do that, but this student did the whole thing from his head. No notes, it was impressive.

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Last weekend was a very, very busy weekend for me. It started on Friday night with our “end of the year” holiday party for work. The theme of the party was 80s, so here we are in our 80s outfits.

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On Saturday morning I woke up early and headed to the swimming pool for the “Juegos Comunales Santa Ana” or the Santa Ana Community Games. This is an annual year end event that includes competitions in swimming, biking and other sports throughout the county of Santa Ana. I only participated in the swimming competition. It was brutal, since I hadn’t been in the pool for over two weeks. The order of events was 100 meters of each stroke and two (50m x 4) relays. I did all the races, including the 100 fly!! It was fun to race in a pool again, so I am hoping there are more events like this. I snapped this photo during one of the breaks in the meet. It was not a warm day for an outdoor meet. About 70-75F and a little rainy.

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On Sunday morning, I woke up even earlier than Saturday to head out for the Christmas Run. Again with my running buddies from UWWCCR we had a fun morning of successfully completing a 10K and enjoying a nice breakfast afterward. Here I am running with one of the ladies from work and you can just barely see Santa there on the right cheering us on.

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This past Thursday night I organized a group of coworkers to attend the ballet. In true Christmas tradition we saw The Nutcracker (El Cascanueces). It was a fun night out and the theater was lovely. I am looking forward to attending more and more cultural events like this. The picture below is inside the theater, with Alex and Jana from work, the stage and the doors of the theater (that remind you where you are at all times).

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And now I am on winter vacation! Four weeks of exploring, working and cleaning ahead of me. Oh, and a visit from my parents at the end of the month! I will leave you for now with this cute picture of an iguana climbing a tree outside my classroom last week.

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A Student In Need

Generally speaking, I try to keep this blog about me and my life. But sometimes little things  touch my heart and I need to share them with you.

Today one of the amazing UWC Costa Rica students, whom I know through swimming class, is trying desperately to get home to Botswana for his best friend’s memorial service. As you may recall from a previous post, most of the students here are on scholarship and going home at any time is a luxury. So you can imagine that this is a very difficult time for him.

As an expat, I am often worried about a situation like this happening to me. Could I afford to go home? How do I get there in time for the services? What will it be like to go and then have to return quickly? All these questions are difficult and I hope I never have to actually answer any. I can’t imagine how this young man is feeling being here in Costa Rica and grieving for his friend back home in Botswana.

If you’re interested in helping this young man get home and have some time to grieve, please follow the link: http://www.gofundme.com/hidcms.

Catching up

I can’t believe it has already been a month since the fall break trip to the beach. It has been a busy month, but not a lot of adventures to report on. Here are some things I’ve been up to.

Toward the end of October I joined my coworkers again for another Breast Cancer Awareness run. This time we did 8.4km. It was a fun morning, but boy was I tired later!

Getting ready to run.

Getting ready to run.

Still smiling at the end.

Still smiling at the end.

But, that didn’t stop me from getting getting some good food the following day at a Cuban restaurant nearby. It was so yummy! Fried plantains as a starter (complimentary) and mojitos! Then I ordered a burger with a naturally gluten-free bun. It is a patacón bun, which is flattened and fried plantain. It was delicious. I will be going back to Rincón Cubano in Lindora for sure!

Decliciosa!

Decliciosa!

I also got a crazy idea for a Halloween costume when I saw some graffiti leggings. So, not only did I buy a Frankenstein cake for my tutor group to eat while watching M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village, I also dressed up as the Lennon Wall (in Prague).IMG_0397

And last weekend I saw a great little flamenco show, enjoyed some good Chilean malbec and some delicious Spanish tapas at Al Tapas here in Santa Ana. This place is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to go!10432467_689435598972_4993004014280142859_n

The Caribbean, babies and good food!

Well, I finally made it out of Costa Rica’s Central Valley. Two weeks ago we had a mini-break (three working days and the weekend) which allowed for a little holiday. One of my co-workers (Alex) and I decided to go to the Caribbean coast for this mini-break. We did some searching and found a little cabin about 150 meters from the beach in Playa Cocles (which is near Puerto Viejo).

We arrived to a very humid and sunny beach town with lots of local charm. After getting settled into our perfect little cabin we headed straight for the beach. The few hours of floating in the water and talking were so, so needed. We then had some dinner and swung in the hammocks on the cabin’s deck, talking and reading. (And keeping an eye our for extremely large bugs.)

And thus was our holiday. We basically ate (lots of delicious food), relaxed in the hammocks or at the beach and did some work (we are teachers after all) every single day. It was wonderful. The beach where we stayed, Playa Cocles, was almost deserted, and considering how beautiful it is I’m glad for this. The new header picture is from this beach as well as these:ARS_4718 10407986_686862804872_4495755964784979821_n

One of the days we went to the nearby Jaguar Rescue Center to meet some of the native residents. This was a great trip, with only two down sides: 1) no jaguars and 2) not being able to take pictures of the baby howler monkey, which sat in my hand to eat some leaves. It was adorable!

The center houses many animals that are either in rehabilitation or can’t be let out into the wild for various reasons. The guide was very knowledgeable and I really enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed seeing the baby monkeys and the cutest little sloths you ever did see! Now, I just need to see some of these guys in the wild!ARS_4788

Baby two-toed sloth.

Baby two-toed sloth.

Baby three-toed sloth.

Baby three-toed sloth.

As luck would have it, while planning this trip I realized there was an open water swimming race happening during the very same weekend. I really wanted to join, but I was worried about my lack of training. On the day I registered for the race I had only swam three times since July (my last training with the group in the UAE), so I was not confident in my abilities!

I decided to register for the 1km race as I was fairly confident I could do that one.  Alex asked how long I thought it would take and I told her my goal was to go under 25 minutes. Not knowing the course or the water and weather conditions, I just wasn’t feeling very confident. However, after I did a little warm-up swim and determined that there was very little current I was feeling much better. It was a good race! I finished strong and was happy with my swim time of a few seconds over 19 minutes. I also suspected that I might have placed in the top three because I didn’t see any other women around when I got out of the water, so I made Alex stay to see the posting of the results.10710793_687023178482_1805649914136235842_n

I came in second place!! I was so happy and surprised. I have been swimming competitively on and off for 22 years and this was the best placing I’ve ever achieved. In my age group for women there were 16 swimmers. In the whole event 1K swim, male/female and all ages I was the 6th fastest swimmer! This makes me excited to participate in more races, and maybe even swim a bit more.

Now about the food, so far I have really enjoyed Costa Rican cuisine but I have not had much of it. So it was really fun to try some new places in Puerto Viejo. There are a lot of little cafes with creative menus. We lucked out and found some amazing places to eat and I am excited to go back to Puerto Viejo and because there is so much to try still.

If you are in the area, make sure to visit Bread & Chocolate. The grilled cheese with bacon is to die for! And their desserts are amazing. Another great little place we found is Como en Mi Casa Art Cafe. I ate the best gluten free (made with plantain flour) pancake I have ever eaten and the homemade jam, lip-smacking good! I am looking forward to returning for some more delicious food, relaxing hammocks and nearly deserted beaches.

Happier

Before moving to Costa Rica I read a book called Happier than a Billionaire. Basically, the author and her husband left behind their very busy North American lives and came to Costa Rica for a fresh start. I read that book at a time when I had more money than I will probably ever see again and yet, I find the title fitting to what I am experiencing now.

People always ask me if I liked the UAE and like most things it is a complicated answer. But the truth is, even after only two months here in Costa Rica, I am much happier than I ever was in the UAE. So you see, I too am happier (now) than when I was a thousands-aire (not quite a billionaire) in the UAE. There are some really wonderful and amazing things about living in the UAE, wonderful people, great travel opportunities, less responsibilities, more resources, good infrastructure, etc. But sometimes these things aren’t enough.

What I’ve realized here is that I enjoy the challenge of living. Now, don’t get me wrong some challenges I would prefer to not live with (cockroaches and massive amounts of ants to begin with) but generally speaking I feel like my brain needs more day-to-day challenges. I often joke with my students that I “haven’t worked this hard it two years” but it isn’t really a joke. The truth is in the UAE, at my particular school, by job was more about checking boxes and being where I was supposed to be. Due to lack of school-wide discipline procedures and an overall disinterest by both students and staff my days were generally long and boring with a few gems thrown in here and there.

However, here at UWC Costa Rica I enjoy a nice leisurely three minute walk from my house to my classroom (only problematic on heavy rain days or when iguanas get in my way). The students want to learn, want to participate and they understand their role. For the first time, in a while, I am doing the real work of an educator, facilitating learning instead of directing it. It is a change for me, I’m having to dig deep into my teaching skills to find the right things for these students. But, after two years of being told “no Miss, no learn today” it is amazing to have students saying “thank you” at the end of a lesson.

These are some things I’ve been thinking about. I am happy to say that I’m starting to put my time in the UAE into perspective (a little bit) and I know it will take me a while to do this but I’m glad to be able to articulate some of how I’m feeling.

In other news, my slow recovery and re-entry into the the world of running is off to a good start. In 2005-6 I got into running and was enjoying it. But something happened and I started getting really bad pain on my left side. After some time and finally zeroing in on the problem (leg length difference) I have been slowly trying to run again. Not having my bike for the past two years has helped fuel this. Anyway, today I completed my first road race (no swimming involved) and it was great!

Costa Rica has a race nearly every weekend during the month of October for breast cancer awareness, today I joined some co-workers and participated in Corre por Mi (Run for Me). When I signed up for the race I registered for a 4K, and later I found out that my co-workers were going to be doing the 8K. So, not wanting to be left out of the “fun” I decided to give it a try. I have only, up until this morning, ran 4K. My goal was to finish under an hour and try to limit my walking. Unfortunately, the last stretch of the race was uphill! I made it about 6K before I had to walk, but I powered on and finished in 54min 45sec (my watch)! Goal achieved!

Running Buddies!

Running Buddies!