Jan 26, 2009

Sun is Shining

Oh gracious. Where to start...?

How 'bout here:

...or here:
... or here:
Yes. It's true. I [Erika] spent my January in the most beautiful place I have ever seen: Costa Rica. I honestly don't really know where to start w/ talking about the trip... so much happened....
Ok. I think I'm going to just list highlights of the days I was there... hopefully this doesn't become too long winded. Heh

Day 1 -
We spent the day in San Jose. Which was kind of different than I thought it would be. It's big, but the whole city shuts down at like 6:30-ish. And then there are only sketchy people on the streets. Well... sketchy people and us. Heh. I was a little out of my comfort zone for a while there.
Couple things I've noticed so far: (1) the women all wear very high heels (2) they label very few of the streets (3) they sell "butt-booster" underwear.

Day 2 -
We went to church today. In the red light district of San Jose. It was cool. A lot like a non-denominational type church in the States. Except during the meet and greet time, people actually do that. And enjoy it. We had so many people come up giving us hugs and kisses on the cheeks welcoming us. It was cool.
Couple things I've noticed today: (1) A lot of women and girls wear like... boots w/ fur. Even though it's summer here. (2) The cool thing to do in the parks is chase the pigeons.

Day 3 -
Today was one of my favorite days of the whole trip. We spent the day in one of the burrios of San Jose. Translation: kind of like the ghetto. All we did was play with the kids. It really made me realize how blessed we are. Really the only thing that is different between me and the kids is where and when we were born. They aren't going to have the great opportunities that I had as a kid. I just hope and pray that they can grow out of their circumstances and live a great life.
Couple things I've noticed today: (1) kids LOVE tattoos (2) if you make balloon animals for a group of kids they will all be popped in a matter of hours.

Day 4 -
So. Today was another favorite of mine. We went to La Paz waterfalls and the Poas volcano. I am in love with waterfalls. So it was great. I am just amazed at the beauty of God's creation.
Couple things I noticed today: (1) I'm out of shape (2) Cocoons can be absolutely beautiful (3) Snakes don't freak me out, but very large bugs... they may freak me out.

Day 5 -
Not much happened today. We went and heard a couple lectures. Yawn. Brooke's camera was stolen today. Literally right in front of me. If you want to hear the story... I'd be glad to tell it. Just ask.
Couple things I noticed today (1) People are very good at stealing things. (2) Brooke handles things very well.

Day 6 -
We went to the Basilica in Cartago and QERC (Quetzal Educational Research Center) today. At the church there were tons of kids trying to sell us little necklaces and bracelets and stuff. It's sad that they are forced to do that. At QERC - one of the most beautiful places on earth, I'm sure - we went for a "little" hike to some mini waterfalls. And since I am in love with waterfalls, it was great for me. :)
Couple things I noticed today: (1) Costa Ricans must have very tough knees. At the church they "walk" up to the altar on their knees. (2) It's much harder to say "no" to a cute little kid selling you things than an adult. (3) "Peter" is much more fun to say in an English accent. (4) I felt an earthquake today. (5) I am still out of shape.

Day 7 -
Today was a hike through the forests of QERC. I love hiking. So this was great. Not quite as tiring as yesterday's hike. But still great.
Couple things I noticed today: (1) Baby hummingbirds are TINY. (2) Don't always trust the guide when they hand you something and tells you it tastes good. Even if they've eaten one too (3) I love hangy chair things.

Day 8 -
Today was the first of 3 days spent with coffee farming families. It was a little overwhelming at first. Mandy and I didn't know what to do... so much so that we just looked at each other and laughed our eyes out for about 5 minutes. We got a hold of ourselves. Thanks to my high school Spanish teacher. :)
Couple things I noticed today (1) They eat dinner about 8:30... at about 6:00 they serve a snack. Don't think that the snack is dinner and get totally full... trust me. (2) These people are SO nice and good at making us feel welcome despite the language barrier. (3) You don't have to speak the same language to have fun playing cards and the guitar. (4) Baby cows are SO cute.

Day 9 -
Second day on the coffee farm. And it's Sunday, so we went to church. And then the families did something that is rarely done in my house: absolutely nothing. It was so great to see them just chill out and enjoy each other's company. I also found out today that the earthquake caused tons of damage. If we had been at the waterfalls or the volcano 2 days later, we would have been killed. Thank God for his protection.
Couple things I noticed today: (1) Everybody is so good at soccer here. (2) I loathe roosters. They don't just crow in the morning. All. Night. Long. (3) I know enough Spanish to give them
English lessons. How cool!

Day 10 -
Today is our last full day with the coffee farmers. We picked coffee today!! Something I never thought I would do. It was nothing like I pictured. We were like... in a jungle... on the side of a mountain. It was fun, though.
Couple things I noticed today: (1) It's hard to keep yourself standing on the side of a mountain w/ a basket of coffee strapped around your waist. (2) I hate bugs. (3) I am out of shape. Still. (4) I am not a very fast coffee picker.

Day 11 -
We all reunited and headed back to San Jose today. It was nice to see everyone and exchange stories. When we got back to our hotel, we splurged for an All-American girls' night. Manicures, pedicures, and pizza.
Couple things I noticed today: (1) It's amazing close you can get to people when you are w/ them 24-7 (2) Manicures and pedicures are much cheaper in Costa Rica. (3) San Jose has become like our home away from home. (4) I can't stand living out of a suitcase.

Well. I think it's time for me to end this mile-long post for now. I'll fill you in on the 2nd part of the trip when your eyes aren't burning from reading so much and I can think again. :)

Ok, peace out.

P.S. If you want to see more pictures click on these: Album #1 and Album #2 and Album #3 and Album #4 and last but not least, Album #5


Andrew said...

1) Butt boosters eh? I hope that is the actual name of the brand.
2) Chasing pigeons in the park is cool EVERYWHERE
3) Cocoon's are beautiful? Watch the movie "Cocoon" and then get back to me
4) I want to hear the story of the stolen camera
5) Loved the albums
6) Glad you're back :)

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! It was great to see your pics.

Erin said...

Day 1 - I think you should have gotten the butt boosters. Everyone knows you need them. *wink*
Day 4 and 10 - Don't worry about not liking bugs. Kate loves them so she'll take care of the bug situation for you.
Day 9 - I loathe roosters too. Had the same problem for a week in Uganda when the roosters decided to live right outside our window. All day. All night. All morning. No reprieve.

Glad you made it home safely! Wish I could be there to give you a giant hug!! So just pretend, okay?
Love you!

Anonymous said...

Crowing roosters are a whole lot better than vicious attack roosters that bang their thorny legs against your shins that leave scars that last for life.