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