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Archive for February, 2012

Doggy Adventures, Volcano, and Tutoring

This past week (2/20-26) and today have been very eventful! Also I can write about each day with more detail because I can remember what happened 🙂


I love Mondays! I have no classes and I have been sleeping in and catching up on rest from the weekend. This particular Monday I had a group meeting at 4 for my literature class. So I woke up around 11 or so, ate brunch and began to research Miguel Primo de Rivera, a Spanish dictator. Bouncing back between Netflix and research, I was ready for the group meeting. We met in the library in the Filosofía y Letras building and discussed the events and planned out a powerpoint. It only took an hour and I decided that I would do the powerpoint and Meiling could do the handout. Afterwards I returned home and finished the homework for ISEP while watching HIMYM.


Tuesday morning I woke up and walked to class. I had my passport copies and money all ready for part I of the visa procedure until some of the girls in my program and I found out the last day was Monday. A miscommunication via email had us all confused, so after class we decided to go to the bank and do the procedure ourselves. Afterwards we went to POPS and I had a coffee ice cream cone, it was supreme. After the ice cream I returned to UNA to meet my student. Mariel and I searched for a place to talk when she asked me “¿Le gusta cerveza?” and I said, “Uhh….sí?”. So we went to Alcatraz and ordered two cervezas, then talked about our majors, where we lived and why we wanted to learn each language. When the hour was up she asked me if I wanted coffee but I told her I had to return to UNA to give Paula my copies. However, Paula was out on a hospital visit and all the girls in the program decided to return to POPS so Maya, Kerri, and Misha could get their visa stuff done. Maya also wanted to check on a dog she had found, one she could not walk away from. I did not know what to expect from this pup, but as soon as I saw her and commanded “¡Venga!” I adored her. The security guard gave us a wire to use as a leash so we could take her to the vet. I told Maya there was a vet’s office a block away from my house, so we headed to the vet’s office. There we asked if we could let her stay there until Maya could take her home in March. I bought her a collar and we went to find her a place to stay for the night because apparently other people have brought in strays but left them there. Unfortunately we were not able to find her a place for the night, both our host mom’s did not approve of street dogs. It broke our hearts but we decided to leave her in the park so we could return to her in the morning. When we left she began to follow Maya home, and I went home and hoped she would be there in the morning.


Wednesday I left the house around 11:30 to look for the puppy. I had to tutor again at 12 this time so I could not spend as much time looking for her as I hoped. I ended up sitting very close to my person until we realized we were waiting for each other. Lidia was adorable! She was so nervous about speaking English and I assured her not to worry, I understood completely. We discussed how grammar could  be complex and how English was hard to learn. She was very sweet and taught her that it is “I am 22 years old” not “I have 22 years”, although that seems more reasonable, Spanish ftw. After tutoring I slowly walked through the park when lo and behold, I found the dog! She was sleeping under the shade from a store, her collar was missing though 😦 I called Maya immediately telling her I had found her! She followed us to the vet and we were able to get her help! We decided on the name Jewell, she’s such a sweetheart. She was given medicine, which she took like a champ, and she had what must have been her first bath experience ever! Maya thanked me for helping and I told her how much of an animal lover I am. The doctor told us she does volunteer work with strays and asked if we were interested, I said of course! I then returned home and started on my work book for the ISEP course. Later I was meeting Jessica at the park so we could return to my house for youth group. I am so glad I brought another believer, youth group was a blast! We talked about what candles represented and sang songs, I felt very close to the Lord that night. 🙂 Then when we had snack, all our new friends taught us Tico sayings! It was so much fun, Maureen told me that it was level 1 and I had to study them, Yamil told me there would be a quiz next week, those sillies. They then asked Jessica and I for English sayings. Unfortunately I am not the best person to ask, but I did teach them the word “Bro”. It was SOOOO funny! Even my mom joined in, “¿Qué broooo?” y “Broooooo.” I approved so much. Next week then want to try speaking English for the first 30 minutes, I agreed to help them. Once they all left I stayed up late to finish my homework.


Thursday I had the ISEP class, and we went over the workbook homework. I had a few wrong but the review over these certain verbs was nice. Afterwards I waited for my final tutoring of the week, Flory. Flory is a dear. She was nervous about speaking English so we kept things slow. She lives in Cartago, which is two hours away via bus. I can’t believe she makes that walk everyday! When I returned home I quickly gave the vet food for Jewell, she let me see her and she immediately brightened up, I felt bad because I had to go somewhere with my mom but I would return later. I went with my mom to her salon and got my nails done for the first time in my life! It was relatively exciting. I then called Maya and we took Jewell for a walk. I love her puppy hugs, she is so happy to see Maya and I. We walked for about an hour or so, she made plenty of new “friends” or barking admirers. After the walk I finished my PPT for Literatura and then went out with some of the girls.


Friday I had Teatro and Literatura. First in theater, we were split into our groups and discussed what would be in our play. It was for the most part entertaining, but after 2 hours I was ready to go. That teacher seems to not want to waste any of the time we have. Bill, Kayla, Cori, and I sat in the classroom for literature early. When other people began to arrive, including Nemesis, the most peculiar thing happened. He greeted Kayla, Cori, and I with a kiss on the cheek. Now while this is a custom greeting it was strange because both Cori and I had barely spoken to him. We think he likes Kayla, but more on that later. In Literatura we gave our presentations. When Meiling said she would add information to my powerpoint, I was under the impression she had made extra slides. However, it turned out she made another powerpoint and our presentation lasted 15 or more minutes. The other presentations were not as long, except for of course Nemesis’ and his faithful sidekick. Back to the Kayla story, when Sabelotodo passed out his handouts he gave her a squeeze on the arm, in that awkward flirtatious way…it was so hard not to laugh, but we had to keep it in. Friday night I went to bed early because we had an excursion the next day: La Fortuna.


Waking up at 5:30 was awful! I am not ready for morning shifts when I return 😉 Once we boarded the bus the drive took about 4 hours. In the 2nd hour we were stuck on this hill, surrounded by clouds, we discussed the perfect set up for a horror movie. We stopped in a small town that begins with a Z. It had these really cool hedge tunnels and other hedge sculptures. Arriving in La Fortuna was very exciting, I was so glad to see Arenal once more. I planned to stay the night to go on the lava hike. Our first stop was to see a waterfall. It was beautiful, but the 500 meters of steep downhill stairs and the return back up was not! We then traveled to this hot springs resort and had lunch, then we were free to swim for a few hours. The water felt so nice! There was even a bar in one of the springs, we sat on the chairs and pretended to be fancy. It was like swimming in a giant hot tub. Later, the taxi bus dropped those of us who were staying the night off at our hostel. It wasn’t until the afternoon when Erin informed me that Arenal had became dormant a year and a half ago. Lame volcano! I was so bummed! But not to fear, we planned on a night hike and went to buy groceries. I bought apples, butter , and hot dogs for later. The girls endured my request to find a pandería, with luck I found a Musmanni, my favorite kind of bread in Costa Rica! This with the proper margarine it is so yummy! I shared it with the girls when we returned and due to the rain we stayed in and just talked. It was nice just to hang out and become familiar with everyone. In Erin and I’s room we met two people from San Fransisco, and two men with British accents (muy guapo!). That night I had the best nights sleep, I was exhausted.

Sunday & Today

We woke up around 9:30, I shared the rest of my bread with Erin and we walked around looking around shops to wait for the bus. I bought a cool black t-shirt with a non sleeping Arenal on it, and four miniature bags of coffee (they make the best gifts!). The bus ride was not horrible, I slept most of the way and thankfully my iPod stayed alive the whole time. When I returned home I took a nap then told my mom about the trip.

Today I slept in until 11am, hooray for no classes! I decided to finish my postcards. I need to buy more because I’m down to the lame free ones and they aren’t as pretty as the others. Then I picked up Jewell and took a walk up to the park, I met Maya there and asked her to wait with Jewell so I could buy stamps. My first batch of postcards are finally sent out! (If you’d like one simply message me your address). Jewell and I finished our walk and I enjoyed dinner with my mom and watched The Prince of Egypt on Netflix. Then I watch HIMYM (it was so cute) and read more of my book.

Tata for now! I will try my best to write every two days instead of once a week 🙂


Week 2 of classes

The week of Valentine’s Day was not that eventful. Wednesday we went to class only to discover that “Trabajo en casa” meant there wasn’t class. So we hung out for a little while at a place called Chill Out or something like that and I met Bill’s friend Lu. Afterwards I went home and worked on my homework for the ISEP class. Thursday Kayla and I decided to go shopping and look around for shoe stores. Monday morning I had discovered that I had left my shoes in Quepos and was in need of new tennis shoes. Our adventure was grand, we found a decent shoe store and bought clothes. When we checked out the Mercado Central, I saw a sign for Karaoke at a bar and I thought it’d be the perfect place to go. I then text Bill and Cori about Karaoke night and we made plans to go around 8pm. I guess I should have went inside the bar, because when we arrived it was so sketchy! Even a patron came up to us and told us to be careful. The only positive was that the singing sounded amazing! Friday my group in theater was awesome. The whole semester we are writing a play and our final exam is to perform it, I hope people like it! After Theater, I had my Spanish literature class and we watched the worst movie ever….Pan’s Labyrinth. That movie is awful, then we talked about how it related to the Spanish Civil War which was semi interesting. Later I went home and went to bed. Saturday I went with Erin, Kayla, Cori, and Bill to the mall. We (minus Bill) went to see Journey 2 the Mysterious Island, dubbed in Spanish, we all enjoyed laughing at the lame dramatic parts. Sunday I worked  on homework and there was a barbecue my mom was throwing for a soccer game. I left my room to be social but I did not understand the game so I left early to watch Once Upon a Time. That was week two, adiós!

Manuel Antonio

Early Saturday morning Erin, Kayla, Bill, Cori, Maya and I met at the explanada at 6:45 am. Gross! We then walked down to the bus stop on the way to San José, from there we took a taxi to the correct bus stop and waited for our bus. While waiting I found the beloved candy Señora showed us the last time I went, FRUTAS! I bought ten, I was so excited, then gave one to everyone. Our bus ride was about 3 hours long, and we got off in Quepos (7km from M.A. but the town our hotel was located). I remembered immediately that I had in fact been there before and Manuel Antonio, all week I could not remember. After asking many people for directions (yay Spanish) we found the Hotel Ceciliano. Once we put away our things, and locked our valuables in the bathroom (like bosses) we changed into our swim apparel and took a bus to Manuel Antonio. The bus fare was only 250 colones (less than $1). We had no idea where to get off so we figured in front of the beach would work. We all chipped in for an umbrella, set down our things then went towards the Pacific. It was Maya’s first time on the beach ever, so that was exciting to see her happiness. Maya and I joined Bill and Cori in the waves. They were fierce, I was knocked over several times until I caught the memo to dive under them. Still there were moments were I had to grab onto my suit to prevent the ocean from seeing all that is me. Once I was worn out, Maya and I returned to our things to catch some sun rays. We also met this adorable puppy, Chester, on the beach. He ate the rest of my unwanted snow cone, later we found that he was owned by the man renting the chairs and umbrellas. He offered me him for free…..if only. We then returned to our hotel, changed and went out to eat at Dos Locos, a small Mexican Restaurant. I had fish tacos, they were pretty fly. Then we went to this empty club around 7:30 (we’re such night owls) and all the girls except Cori with her tasty Cola lite, had Piña Coladas. It was scrumptious. We were there for maybe an hour and a half when we decided to go out for ice cream then find one more bar to hang out for the night. We chose one, I forget its name, and I found Ron y Cola (an already mixed rum and coke) it was interesting but not my favorite. Then we went to bed at a reasonable hour….10:30pm.

Sunday we headed to the National Park in Manuel Antonio. It was so beautiful and very worth the ten dollars to get in. We saw squirrel monkeys, who are adorable, I got camera happy with all the monkeys we saw. We then went to the beach, unfortunately we didn’t realize there was a beach in the park, while I had brought my suit for later the others did not so we just soaked our feet in the water and walked along the trail. Then we spotted the Capuchins! I have never seen so many monkeys in my life and been so close! I saw a monkey and her baby riding its back, monkeys running on the trail, hopping branches, EVERYWHERE! Then we saw two monkeys hanging out around the water fountain that Bill had drank from. I guess they knew about the droplets that occur after someone drinks from the fountain and use the water supply. Anyways, a lady tried to help them turn it on and one of the monkeys slapped her! It was entertaining. We trucked on, and I saw Pizote (Costa Rican raccoons) and a sloth! After our time in the park we took a group nap, went out to dinner and had pizza. Then we headed out for ice cream, returned to the hotel and watched How Do You Know with Spanish subtitles. We all ended up falling asleep to Ghost Rider.

I was having the best sleep, with some odd dreams about Bill flinging bugs at me, when I felt my bed shake around 4:55am. Before I was completely awake I totally thought he was shaking all of our beds, then my eyes shot open, I sat up and all our beds were shaking. Apparently we had experienced a 6 point Earthquake, centered in Quepos. This was my first earthquake, it was awesome. What happened next was we all sort of stared at each other, I laughed, and Cori said “Oh hey, earthquake” then we all went back to sleep. That was earlier this morning, I was contemplating texting my mom when it had happened because I figured she’d be up 6am her time, but I changed my mind not feeling up to a worried phone call when I was barely conscious. Here is a link to the story:

This morning we had dinner at the hotel, paid then waited at the bus stop for our bus. I was so glad to be back in Heredia, after a nice warm cleansing shower and dinner, I have been updating my blog, doing homework and looking through my   plethora of monkey pictures.

First Week of School

I apologize for not writing this earlier……here we go:


No classes on Monday! I used Monday to post pictures on Facebook, eating meals and hang out with my host mom. That was a very uneventful day.


First day of class! I woke up around 7 to get ready for my 8am class. The class was a lot of fun, I really like Alexa (the professor) she speaks clearly and slow. We worked in partners and talked about our partner and had to make posters about the other one. My artwork was fantastic as I met a guy Jeppe from Denmark. After the class Alexa asked Jenessa and I how we felt about the class, I told her it felt too easy and that I needed a challenge. She asked us to stay for the advanced class and we both did fine so now my class is at 10am! Later Tuesday I hung out at home and watched Combate. Then I went out with some of the ISEP people to a bar called Alcatraz, it was alright but the theme was sketchy. I had my first Imperial and enjoyed it, Callie peeled off the sticker, which I guess I’ll use in my scrapbook.


Wednesday I did not have class until 5 so I slept until 9:30, or woke up at 8:30 then attempted to go back to sleep. I went to UNA early in order to pick up my student ID. All went well with that except they spelled my middle name “Maie” instead of “Marie” but I figure it’s no big deal. Dialectología was interesting, the professor there was subbing for his wife, and he seemed very nice. We picked our projects and then everyone separated into groups. None of the ticos wanted to work with the Americans (Kayla, Bill, Cori and I) so the prof asked if we wanted to be a team, the “dream team” he called us. All I could think of was the scene from Space Jam:) After class I took a taxi home and read the song lyrics for the culture class. Then I joined my mom’s youth group, they were so much fun! We played Sansón, Delila, y León, which was a biblical rock, paper, scissors. It was so funny! We faced opposite directions, counted to tres, then turned around and gave the signs. I was up against this girl and we did the same sign four times in a row, until my Sansón killed her león. The message was harder to understand because they picked up their speaking speed, but it was very interesting. Later I asked them to write down their names and we added each other on Facebook. First tico friends ftw!


Thursday I woke up around 9 because my new time for the culture class is 10. We discussed the song lyrics by Malpaís, and the song was very patriotic and amazing. Alexa had us listen to other of their songs and told us that their leader passed away last year due to heart attack, which saddened many Costa Ricans. I enjoyed their songs, and I think I may buy the album. After class I went to figure out my schedule for the Exchange Language club, then I walked home. Afterwards, I passed a bookstore and decided to go inside. I asked the clerk what a good book with adventure was, she gave me “El Moto” which I still have to read. Dinner was this great chicken and broccoli and of course rice. Then I watched Grey’s because it was new and there were too many adults in the adult bible study for me to meet without feeling exhausted.


Fridays are my longest days class wise. My first class, teatro, lasted from 1-3:30, then my literature class is from 5-8:20pm. A very long day! I headed to class early so I could grab money from the ATM for the weekend and to find the class. The class itself was harder than I had anticipated. The professor is by far the fastest speaking prof I have encountered so that was difficult, but he also talked about abstract thoughts that I would have trouble focusing on in English. After the class I had written down many new words to look up! We all grabbed a snack (all the Miami kids are in both of my classes) from the kiosk out front of UNA, I love the chocolate milk here! Then we waited until Literatura. This class was alright, I liked the profesora, she had each of us join a group with a tico group. However, the other students were not willing to let us participate. There was this one sabelotodo that is in two of my classes, and he took over the group. The first project I was okay with because I have no idea what authors were famous in 1998 in Spain. But the second poster we had to make was deciphering a poem, and I did have thoughts about that. They blocked me out, so when the profesora asked me my thoughts on the poem I was able to shine by myself and I explained my opinion, without the help of my group members. When we had to pick groups for a project due in a few weeks, I asked a girl who helped me out in the first project, mainly to be free of the two guys. I think all of us students were frustrated with how we were treated. Hopefully next week will get better. Once I returned home, I crashed while watching Return of the Mummy with the Spanish subtitles.

First Excursion: Sarapiquí

Here’s the recap of this weekend:

Friday we met in front of UNA at 6:50 am! Too early for me! We all packed into this spacious van and made our way to Sarapiquí. Our first stop was a small park close by to the campus in Sarapiquí for lunch. Everyone brought out their lunches that their host mom’s had packed, I had a sandwich and an apple, it was delicious. Then we visited the UNA campus there, which was a lot smaller than the campus in Heredia, there was only one building. It was beautiful though, there was a river and the setting was very tranquil. After listening to Alexa’s father about the history of the campus we made our way to the pineapple factory. I was not expecting there to be so much pineapple! I forgot how much land the guide said but it was over 800 acres or so. Our guide was hilarious! He said the reject pineapple went to Canada and made many jokes throughout the tour. Once we went inside the factory building he told us to go into this cold room, then he turned out the light and jokingly said thank you before letting us out again. After the wagon ride through the fields we were given piña coladas in pineapples, and slices of the fruit. Cori ended up enjoying the pineapple when she thought she wouldn’t so that was awesome. The Selva Verde Lodge was beautiful! Beside our rooms there were hammocks and I rested in one of them during our free time, taking pictures of the scenery. We used our free time to swim in the pool before dinner, it was very refreshing. Saturday we were able to sleep in, until 8 (it was a very big deal!). We then did community service by planting trees to give shade to the finchas. It was fun, but the humidity made me sweat like crazy. Once we were done the owner of the land gave us juice and I played with the kitten, Jerry. Later that day we took a river tour, I saw a caiman, an alligator, and monkeys. Both friday night and saturday night Bill, Misha, Cori and I played cards in the lobby, it was nice to talk to Misha. Sunday we went to the cocoa plantation and saw the traditional way of making chocolate. It was very interesting, and the chocolate tasted great! We returned to Heredia around 2 ish and I took a nap and hung out while my mom went to visit friends.

Today has been very dull adventure wise. I did get my schedule and it is exactly the one I had anticipated, which is great, but after that I have been sitting around all day not doing much of anything because I did not have any plans for my empty Mondays. Some of the ISEP kids are thinking about going to the beach this weekend, I think it’ll be a great time! Tomorrow my first class starts at 8am, wish me luck!


Orientation Day 3/Day 4

Day 3

We did a lot of walking yesterday! We took the bus to San José and started of with the bus stop “Coca Cola”, it really it was not all that special. Then we went to el Mercado Central, a place I recognized, and we had twenty minutes to shop. Bill, Cori and I did about 3 laps around the market until we decided to stop at a shop. I bought a colorful purse that says “Pura Vida Costa Rica”, it’s so cool! After el Mercado Central we visited the front of the national bank, the post office, and the national theater. The tour in the Teatro Nacional was really neat, but with flash prohibited, not all my pictures came out. We had lunch at the theater, I had this ham and cheese sandwich but it was different from any ham and cheese sandwich that I had ever had. There was lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and another sauce on it, it was yummy. Then we had coffee and dessert, I love the coffee here! My favorite part of the tour was when we went to el Mercado Artesania. I had been there before the last time I was in Costa Rica and that was where I bought a majority of my souvenirs. When we went inside, I looked for this older woman who had been there the last time I went because Señora told me when she studied abroad she was also there, and I found her! We did not have much time to stay or I would have asked for her picture. I did end up buying a little key chain of a machete, I didn’t know until I returned home that the machete came out!  We took the train home and everyone separated at the central park. Most of the ISEP kids were going out but I had to go back home to grab more money. It was only a 15 minute power walk, I changed shirts because I had felt disgusting (the wind in San José carried a lot of dirt). Then I found money and took a taxi back to the University and met up with the others. It was a lot of fun to bond with them, we went to a place called Hookah Night, a bar and restaurant. Now I did not go overboard at all, but in Costa Rica, I am legal, and I plan on enjoying that fact because once I get home I have one more year to wait. I decided on one margarita, it was alright, I was not sure what to expect. I also ordered arroz con pollo, and we all had to wait a good hour because I guess the cook had just got there! So we talked and had some good laughs before the food was served. I was thirsty by that time so I asked for a Coke but they only had diet but the bartender asked if I would like Fanta, I think it was strawberry? It was really good! After we were all done, we walked back to the University to wait in line for taxis to take us to our homes. Gah! This is the first time I’ve gotten lost…in Costa Rica, there aren’t really address, my mom told me to tell the cab driver “275m north of Wal-Mart”. The driver was confused and we finally got on the right road, but we were talking about my major when we missed the turn. I really need to walk around my house to pick up on more landmarks, but we turned around and eventually found my house. After that I talked some with the youth group before taking a shower and going to bed.

Day 4

Today we met at the usual spot and Ivelina led us to the library. Once again we were talked to for a good four hours, it was awful. A lot of the material was covered in the student manual or was repetitive from what we had already discussed. I was also still tired from all the walking from yesterday, so listening and understanding was more difficult today. We let out early and I went to the atm and took out colones, I love that i can do that 😀 Then my mom called explaining the bus situation. I did get on the right bus, and got off the stop at Wal-Mart, but I did not go North. Perhaps I went East (I really need a compass) but for the second time I could not find my way. I walked around for maybe an hour until I caved and found this cute little park lined with taxis. I told him North of Wal-Mart, so he took me to the bus stop and asked “¿Norte?” I told him yes and sure enough my house was right there, not that far away, it was definitely a fail. Once I got home I had lunch with my host niece and my mom gave me ice cream you eat out of a plastic bag, IT WAS SO GOOD. Ayy, then after eating, I took about a 3 hour nap, I feel bad for sleeping the afternoon away but I was really tired. Now I’m going to force myself to be more social with whoever is visiting right now, before I didn’t talk much but that was because I was exhausted. I also have to pack for tomorrow because we are going to Sarapiquí to go on many adventures until Sunday!

Eso es todo, ¡Adiós!

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