As many of you may know, in real time I am currently lazily sitting on my butt in my bed back in Canada. However, in blogosphere world, you have yet to see the last of me. In fact, in this cyber-realm we are currently about to enter into the third week of my placement in Costa Rica… use your imaginations people 🙂 The third week passed wayyyyyy too quickly!
To take off where I left off last, I spent about 20 minutes upon arriving at home just bug spraying all my bags to rid them of any remains from the Manuel Antonio hostel bug infestation (EEK!). It was gross but very very necessary. There was also another extravagant surprise waiting in my room when I arrived home. The surprise was in the form of a 5’4 short-haired brunette by the name of Jessica (we call her just Jess!). I instantly knew I would get along with her given her easy-going personality as I ran around obsessing over the bed bugs I feared I brought home! I then introduced her to the boys, who had also just returned home from the same weekend trip as me. Little did I know, this was just the start of an unbreakable friendship that was about to form.
The next morning at breakfast, you could so clearly see how well Jess fit in with the rest of us. To better explain, she wasn’t staring at us as if we were Aliens from the farthest planet as we joked some more about American vs. Canadian lingo and our weekend adventures.
After breakfast, it was back to work, aka back to 2 hour commutes to Carpio church! This final week at the church was a tad difficult for me since all the older construction boys, as well as all the new peeps I met in the second week, were gonzo! Luckily, I had my bestest buddy Dustin to help me get through it. Dustin is yet another Canadian, which might just be the reason why we formed an unbreakable friendship.
Unfortunately some sad news was revealed in Carpio this week. During a random medical check-up at the church, it was revealed that one kid had not been fed by his parents for days. It was really sad to see but luckily it was soup kitchen day at the church so we ensured he was fed very well. The following day was aerobics day at the church, as is every other Thursday! The Carpio Church is seriously doing some amazing things for the community, so proud to be a part of it all.
Dustin and I kept tradition alive by going fruit-shopping in the streets of Carpio and even bought some hot tortillas and fresh avocado for lunch. The fruit vendors in Carpio are so ridiculously friendly and welcoming. They openly welcomed Dustin and I to test out every weird type of fruit they sold. Some were obviously better than others but the cotton ball like fruits that doubled as boomerang weapons, and small circular sour thing-a-lings that represented slimy grapes, were goddess-like. I believe their official names are Guabas and Mamones.
The unfortunate thing with the tortillas was that Dustin decided it would be a brilliant idea to fill them with fried chicken from the streets of Carpio. This was definitely not a brilliant idea. Dustin and I were being ultra-tourists looking through a church after work when the chicken finally digested in Dustin’s belly. Let’s just say we had to hurry to the nearest bathroom for good ol’ Dustin’s sake. Lesson learned…DO NOT EAT STREET MEAT PEOPLE…consider yourself warned.
This week, I began tying together everything I’ve been teaching the kids. I spent the first two weeks teaching them about sports, animals and food. In the third week, I switched my focus towards question words (Who, What, When, Where, Why, How) so that they could ask each other what their favourite sport was or how old they were. Through this lesson I learned that teaching the question word ‘How’ is extremely hard to do! Let me know if you can think of a way to explain when exactly to use the question word ‘How’ or shall I say Como?
The little kiddos continued to monkey around and be trouble-makers as per always! Man, am I going to miss them and their flourishing love.
This week, my mother’s package from Canada filled with colouring books, stickers, and makeup finally arrived in Costa Rica. What that meant for the kids was faces covered in Spiderman stickers..uber cute! I also finally gave the kiddos the silly bands I bought them. They were all super excited and had tons of fun picking between the glow in the dark and military-inspired ones!
Another key theme of the week for me was abiding by the Costa Rican ‘Pura Vida’ mantra to the fullest! This was so utterly important for me because I was entering my final week in the beautiful country and had way too many Colones (Costa Rican money) left over. Basically, I had money to blow! First up, I doubled up on the number of cupcakes I purchased each day. The English woman from Sweet Sensations, which I have previously mentioned, makes new flavours everyday so it was highly important for me to try a few more before my departure. Some of the flavours I tried included Strawberry Lemonade, Nutella, Brownie Fudge, and Double Decker Birthday Cake. My favorite was Nutella…obvi!
Besides trying heaps of cupcakes I also stopped by many other local bakeries to try some Costa Rican treats. Unfortunately, I never got around to tasting the local sensation Tres Leches, which just as its name suggests, is made of three types of milk. However, I did get to try this creamy, liquidy, Tiramisu at a local cafe on my way home from Carpio. A tad saltier than I like, but still delish!
The last treat that I indulged in vigorously was fruit smoothies. Costa Rica has the freshest smoothies in the world, considering they have the freshest fruits in the world. You can pick any fruits you want and then pick to have it blended with water, milk, soy milk or ice cream. I always opted for the water mixture to be safe but any mixture sounded delicious to me.
I also made another visit to the Artisan Market for some last minute souvenirs. I haggled for a turquoise scoop tank with my new favorite beer brand, Imperial, stamped on it, a beer bottle with a naked clay structure tattoed with my best friend’s name on it’s buttox, and finally a keychain to add to my growing collection personalized with ‘Pura Vida NR’ on the back (the NR stands for my initials).
Next to the Artisan Market is the beautiful National Museum, which I visited almost everyday of my third week. By visiting, I’m obviously referring to wandering outside of the museum and avoiding paying the $4 entrance fee. One day, the security guard told me to come back Friday because it would be free. However, when I arrived anxiously on Friday with my camera in hand, I was greeted with the news that it was only free after 4:30 pm, and it was only 1 pm -_-. So in other words, I have yet to see the inside of the National Museum. El Cheapo is what they call me.
Another place, which I felt was a necessary stop as part of my week of exploration, was the University of Costa Rica. In case you don’t recall, I had previously made a visit here and blogged photos of its naturesque scenery and graffiti art. However, I loved it so much that I knew I had to go back to wander some more. This time, when I say I wandered I’m really not kidding. I walked inside each building and went by all the classrooms. Obviously classes are in session since the schooling season in Costa Rica runs from February to December. There were tons of students staring at me wandering aimlessly in my yellow hiker boots but oh well, Pura Vida! As I sat down on the grass for a break, I was instantly intrigued by a dude in dreads playing with large baseball-sized marbles. He was rolling them around his body and down his arms. That’s something I’ve never seen before…
Lastly, I decided to check out some of the local department stores since I had some extra time. No offense at all to the beautiful people of Costa Rica but the fashion choices made by many of the locals is unforgivable. However, after digging deep enough through their department store, I came to the realization that many great finds are available and that people just need a push in the right direction.
Besides embracing the county’s beautiful scenery and what it has to offer to the eyes, I also took full advantage of the nightlife. Although this of course involved making nightly stops at our favourite bar Cacchios, we were also adventurous enough to try a few new places.
First up, we finally went to a reggae bar called Roots that all locals rave about on Wednesday nights. The numerous homeboys in dreads and 2 for 1 beers were the formulation for a very successful night!
The following night, the group temporarily ended up at a 70’s club where our crew were the sole guests in attendance. We only stayed long enough to jam out to Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’ and Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ before heading back towards Cacchios. The nightlife in Costa Rica is definitely going to be a major aspect of the country that will remain in my heart forever.
As I’ve previously mentioned my extremely tall roommate, Grant, is quite the character. He surprised us all when he decided his wardrobe of choice for a night out to the bar would be a full suit. We broke out in even greater hysterics when we witnessed his struggle through many tutorials to learn how to tie a tie. I actually ended up coming to his rescue and tying that darn tie nice and tight. Absolutely hysterical though…the host family was also largely confused as to where we were headed that night!
Up next, I have one more post to share with you about Costa Rica and my final goodbyes.WARNING…it is going to be emotional. I will also share some exciting news about my upcoming travels and what’s next for this fashionista on the go!
Be Healthy, Be Happy, Be Chic.
xx Neda xx