Waterford

After six days I’ve finally left Dublin for a while. The last day there was spent going to the National Museum and Art Gallery. They were amazing, but Shelly was my babysitter to make sure I returned to the college in time.

The museum was impressive. It focused primarily on on medieval and neolithic Ireland, which I enjoy. Poor Shelly had to listen to me gush about the gorgeous pottery remains from 100 BCE.

IMG_20150712_154649278

Today was mostly spent on thebus. We did arrive in the city of Waterford which is a cute little place. It’s the stereotypical Irish town and its very sleepy. Everything closed at 7, so I returned to my room and listened to a man play the bagpipe outside. My only issue is the WiFi doesn’t want to work well with my laptop. So I have been using my phone. Not the end of the world, what’s traveling without terrible internet connection?

IMG_20150713_173632869

Our big trip today was atour of the Waterford Crystal company. While gorgeous, it isn’t something poor college kids enjoy usually. Especially seeing how I can’t buy anything there.

IMG_20150713_163430641

But tonight’s fun happened at a pub. I recalled Sam and Shelly with the fictional criminal exploits of Jimmy and Cauleen,whose life I plan writing a book on. It got ridiculous and the waiter kept checking how many beers we had been drinking. Turns out I made up the weirdest story ever while drinking soda. Waterford isn’t ready for my brand of crazy.

Tomorrow I’ll write about my adventures in Cork. Hopefully the WiFi there will work out so I don’t need to type with my thumbs again.

Dublin Day 3

Hello again. I know there has been a while where I haven’t updated but that was because we were so busy here. Luckily, I have some free time today so I was able to update. My first day with the whole group went well. We went to several locations throughout the city of Dublin, like St. Patrick’s cathedral. Sadly, while I did take pictures I don’t have them. My memory card for my camera decided to have an error today so I had to reformat it erasing all the pictures. So instead I will simply be copying some pictures from Google and claiming them as mine. There are a couple other places this happened as well sadly.

Anyway. St. Patrick’s was amazing. It is the second oldest church in Ireland and we spent quite a bit of time there. I seem to have a theme of going to cathedrals in religious countries. But the highlight of the tour was our tour guide Sean and the bus driver Jerry. They spent the entire time arguing with each other and teasing each other. Several times Sean would blame Jerry for something silly which always made us laugh.

Following the tour, we went to our housing for the first time. We are staying in Marino college which is just outside of Dublin. To get there, we need to take a bus into the city center which is always a joy. Anyways, I am staying with Lauren who seems to be a pretty nice person. We’ve only known each other for two days, so that opinion may change. The dorm itself it pretty small. We’ve only got two beds and desk so we will be getting to know each other very well. The shower is all the way down the hall. It’s not so much as a dorm room, as more of a hostel really. Lucky for us, we have an amazing view of trees and there are bright gardens throughout the place.

IMG_20150708_214125993

 

My literature class only has eight people (the professor included) so it is a nice group to travel with. Not to big, but some choices on who to talk to. Our first day we went to visit Farmleigh House, which is in the middle of no where. Seriously. We had to take the bus into the countryside and walk across Phoenix Park. That’s just a fancy name for a really, really big field. While a gorgeous walk, it still took forever. A good half hour later we left the fields of Ireland and finally reached the house.

IMG_2915

 

Now, I don’t have pictures of the inside of the house but that is not because of my camera. It is due to the fact that it is prohibited to photograph the inside because it is still an offical building used by the Irish government. Several of the rooms were closed off to us because of some government meeting, so we got to see the billiard room which is not typically shown. It was an impressive building. Everything was fancy. This was Downtown Abbey on steroids, with imported Venitian lamps and massive marble statues everywhere. Oil paintings decorated each wall, and 12th century tapstries were in the dining room. Outside were some amazing gardens, and what blew my mind was this was a country vacation home. The townhouse was even fancier in Dublin.

IMG_2924

I’m attacking a link to my blog for my Literature class here. In the blog I talk mostly about how this style of house was shown in the books we read for the house, so if you are intrested in looking at my homework here it is: https://jenstravelsacrosstheworld.wordpress.com/. Don’t worry, after the class is over I plan on using it to keep everyone updated on my travels across Europe so it won’t go to waste. Also, if you have any comments or anything to add I would love it. It will help my homework.

After we left Farmleigh House, my school group split and we traveled down one of the shopping streets. It was rather fun, and we got to eat at a cool African resturant which served chicken wings. After that we got back to the bus and headed back to Marino where we all fell asleep and stayed down for a while.

Today was rather busy though. Its started out nice and early at Kilmainham Gaol. Sadly, even though I took pictures there ones were destroyed by whatever my camera decided to have a temper tantrum about so there are none for us to enjoy. Instead I will describe it to the best of my ability.

It looks like a stereotypical hail built during the early 1800’s. Long narrow hallways with tiny little cells. Those cells were supposed to hold only one person, but sometimes held up to five or more. The common areas (the halls) were where the women and children stayed when they were in prison. From 1845-50 the population of the jail skyrocketed as the Great Famine broke out. People would break into the jail because it meant they could get fed. Sicknesses were very common and eventually a second jail had to be built in Dublin to handle the numbers.

This jail was primarily used for political prisoners during the various Irish rebellions. The leaders of the Easter Rebellion in 1916 were housed here before they were executed. We visited the execution site and heard the story that one of the men was so badly injured in the rebellion that the British had to tie him to a chair to shoot him. Don’t see how that would backfire England. The news got out, and this turned Irisih opinions against the British. This was what led to the War for Irish Independence, so it is said that spot changed Irish history forever.

Stories like these are very common throughout Dublin. I can understand why they wanted to leave the Empire very well now.

After Kilmainham Gaol, we were taken somewhere much happier. The Guiness factory. Again, the photos I took were gone but a couple survived because I took them on my phone or they were email to us by the factory which was nice. Now, this was a self guided tour of how Guiness is brewed. There are seven floors, and we only had half an hour. So I took like, three photos so I’m not too sad. Not going to lie, I have no idea what was there because we ran to one part: the Guiness Academy. There you learn to pour the perfect pint of Guiness and have to pass the test. The drink can not spill, and had to have the perfect consistency. Several of us took part in this because at the end you recieve a certificate with your name saying you passed the test. And yes, I still have it.

763914_1024x780

…Plus another thing. You see, Guiness is poured into a special cup. We really liked the cups and felt that it was a shame that to leave them behind. You can take them if they’re empty but Guiness is disgusting so I didn’t want to drink motor oil for a cool cup. The other option is buying one, and seeing how I already had one I refused. So I went to the bathroom and poured it down the sink. Some Italian girl was watching me do this but I didn’t care. I wanted the magical cup for myself. Anyway, I left the brewery with the cup in hand and was quite pleased.

Following this the literature class headed to the National Library. There is currently an exhibit on William Butler Yeates. It was a nice exhibit, but I didn’t spend much time there because we were starving (it was 2 and we hadn’t eaten yet). So we ran through the exhibit and went to go get dinner/lunch.

This all happened right next to Trinity College, where I spent the first day so I knew a few places. We ate at a nice pub before doing some shopping. As we walked around, we found a sign for Riverdance which was showing tonight. So, for 20 euro, we bought tickets and hung around and shopped until it was time for the show.

IMG_20150709_185750986

My only other experience with River Dance is from elementary school when we watched a video. I found it…interesting and wondered what it was like in person. Well, it’s loud. Bagpipes and drums are the insturments of choice and you could feel the floor shake from them. The dancers shoes are very loud as well, which I know is the point but still gave me a headache. The whole show was very flamboyant (they love sparkles) and over the top which may have had something to do with their 20th aniversary being this year. Not to mention, it was two hours long.

We had to leave after the first hour to take the bus back to the school but that was more than enough Riverdance for me. Tomorrow we’re traveling more and hopefully my camera will work then.

Dublin

Today started off wonderfully. I woke up way yo early for my liking which meant I was up at 6 a.m. due to the jet lag. That meant I had time to kill because nothing really opens until 10 so I decided to read a little in the room. Added to that, I had the most amazing breakfast. The hotel offers breakfast which I took advantage of because who knew when I would have lunch when I was traveling?

The Irish know how to do breakfast. My lord, it was a room full of food. I only recognized half of it (they adore soda bread, it’s everywhere) and decided tomorrow to try something new. Like the wide variety of fish. Maybe one of those. Anyways, what made it amazing is how the whole thing started. I love tea. Anyone who has lived with me can tell you that. The first the waiters asked was not where I wanted to sit, or if I would like to see a menu. No, they looked me in the eyes and asked if I wanted tea which I did. Then they gave me a whole pot to myself and kept refilling it. I love Ireland.

Following that I decided to head into Dublin for exploring. I purchased a round trip bus ticket and headed out to have some fun. My first stop was just down the street from the bus stop, at a place called St. Stephen’s Garden, which is gorgeous. I spent a while just wandering around and actually helped a guy catch his dog who had run off. We spoke for a while before parting ways.

Park view

After that I went into a shopping center for lunch and a look around because it was pouring rain. It was nice, lunch was delicious. My only issue is everyone I talked to said Europeans ate small portions. They have obviously never been to Ireland because everyones portions have been huge. My lord, I usually can’t finish the plate!

Shopping center

Also I bought a couple of things in the area. I found a nice souvenir for when I head home, and I found the most beautiful necklace that I am going to wear for a long time to come. It was great.

Necklace

Now that sounds like a full day but I’m not finished yet. Loaded down with many bags (one bag actually, but manny sounds way cooler) I headed over to Trinity College. I had a quick walk through of the campus and took a lot of pictures of the gorgeous architecutre everywhere. It was amazing to just walk around and look at buildings older than the United States and the history major in me was doing a happy dance.

Trinity college

And that was before I went to the best part of the college. Located in Trinity College is a very special book, one I have studied quite a bit in my medieval classes. I got to look at the Book of Kells. It was amazing, I was so excited. Actually, my excitement made security come over to check on me. You see I was looking at the actual Book of Kells when I got super excited. Apparently I was making this wierd squeaking noise? Security was worried that something was wrong with me and I had to reassure them that I was fine. Just simply a giant nerd in love with this book.

Above the Book of Kells is the upper library which is breathtaking. It was about three stories tall and the size of a small church hall. And filled ceiling to floor with bookshelves of old books. Again, the security guard asked me if I was alright as I made a sort of squeak of delight. I spent a solid half hour looking at books in the shelves, reading the ones out on display. Eventually I left and returned to the hotel where I have been enjoying the strange British and Irish game shows.

All in all, a good day. Mostly I’ve just be hanging out and figuring out if I need anything else. It turns out there are three different power outlets in my hotel room, and my adpater fits one. So I’ll see what sort of plug I need at the university tomorrow and go get one if neccesary. Which, all things considered, is a very minor problem. Good news is tomorrow I get to have more tea!

Many Firsts

This week was great I feel like I have so much to say. It was full of many new experiences.

Monday, I was able to start my very first internship at the Sanatorio Mater Dei in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since it was my first day I did not do allot. I was introduced to some of the employees, I received my uniform and locker, and I was shown a small glimpse of the history of the Sanatorio. Additionally, I was able to join my site coordinator from the Sanatorio to a meeting about the One Million Global Catheters PIVC Worldwide Prevalence Study (OMGPIVC). The PIVC stands for peripheral intravenous catheter that is used to medically provide intravenous fluids and medications directly to the vein, which has risks such as inflammation and infections. Due to the risks many institutions around the globe including the United States are participating to promote awareness and care. This study is known to be the largest international prevalence investigation. I was really fascinated and impressed to hear the process of this study and how about 50 countries are participating. I cannot wait to hear the results. After my internship I joined my new friend from Brazil from BAC to walk around to see the beautiful Congress to end my day.

This is my first day on my internship of the Sanatorio Mater Dei, a prestigious private hospital.

This is my first day on my internship of the Sanatorio Mater Dei, a prestigious private hospital.

During the OMG PIVC meeting with my site coordinator of the Sanatorio.

During the OMG PIVC meeting with my site coordinator of the Sanatorio.

Took this picture o the Congresso during my walk with my Brazilian friend.

Took this picture of the Congresso during my walk with my Brazilian friend.

Tuesday was scary. I was able to take the colectivo (bus) by myself to work and back which by the way I was successful at. In my internship I took a safety course that taught me all the regulations and procedures done when there is an emergency. Then I had the opportunity to meet some of the nurses in the neurotologist for babies and nursery section of the hospital where I was given a tour and had the opportunity to shadow them. After, I was able to take a course that is provided by the Sanatorio to teach mothers about the benefits of lactation. After my internship I arrived home with surprising news of my new roommate from Columbia, who by the way is so genuine. Not only that but I was able to join my BAC coordinator with my previous roommate for some helados (ice cream). What a great way to end my day.

A picture of the helado I had with my BAC coordinator and my previous roommate. It included banana split, chocolate mouse, and a mystery flavor. It is something to try here in Argentina.

A picture of the helado I had with my BAC coordinator and my previous roommate. It included banana split, chocolate mouse, and a mystery flavor. It is something I recommend trying in Argentina.

Wednesday, I did not go to work. Why?! Well because it was a holiday, which is a day to honor the Veterans from the Faulklands War between Argentina and the UK. Having the day off I was able to take a walk with my roommate from Columbia to Puerto Madero to eat and explore Argentina the rest of the day.

Getting some Mexican food with my new roommate in Puerto Madero.

Getting some delicious food with my new roommate in Puerto Madero.

La Casa Rosada (house of government), which is the executive mansion of the president of Argentina.

La Casa Rosada (house of government), which is the executive mansion of the president of Argentina in Plaza de Mayo.

Took this near the famous Casa Rosada (Government House) during my walk with my new roommate.

Took this near the famous Casa Rosada (Government House) during my walk with my new roommate.

This was my first empanada I tried here in Argentina.

This was my first empanada I tried here in Argentina after a long day of exploring the city

Thursday and Friday, were a little busier at the Sanatorio where I got to join the new nurses who were integrating to the hospital. After, work on Friday I had my first experience of getting lost trying to find the famous Obelisco of the city Buenos Aires. Fortunately I was able to find my way back, but wow it was scary. I cannot wait for what is more to come!!

Well till next time.

The Obelisco of the great city of Buenos Aires located at the Plaza de República.

The Obelisco of the great city of Buenos Aires located at the Plaza de República.

Camels and Elephants and Monkeys, Oh my!

What a whirl wind of a first week. Sirohi has greeted me already with exotic animal sightings, festivals, parades, field visits and teacher’s trainings. I have already been involved in so many things and I have been here only one week. My week has been filled with getting to know colleagues, the town and simply how to live. It’s a whole new way of living from customs, food and how to get around. I have 3 meals a day prepared for me and my room cleaned by my caretaker.  I am interning with a Non-Government Organization called Educate Girls. They strive to bridge the gender gap in education and learning. They have created a structure of teaching called the Creative Learning Technique that introduces Math, Hindi and English is a way of hands-on learning using flash cards, charts and the like. It is a 15 minute walk to work in the morning but it’s acceptable to show up between 9:30 and 10:00am. Time is not of true importance for this relaxed lifestyle. It’s quiet nice to not be rushed and ruled by the ticking hands of a clock.

This week I went on a field visit to a school in Pindwara and got to see CLT in action. That afternoon we visited a small begger community to continue in the negotiation of sending their girls to school. Since the daughter’s are already engaged (even at age 6) the father’s see no need in educating the girls.We have a long ways to go in the relationship but progress has already been had. I also got the chance to attend 3 days of teacher’s training. The trainings were required by government and were put on by Educate Girls in order to introduce CLT in the schools. On the third day I found myself sitting in the middle of the circle at lunch time and being peppered with questions about American culture and the education system. It turned into a time of singing and dancing even though I had no idea what I was doing. They brought me candies and sweets to enjoy while in the meeting, they knew the way straight to my heart.

The parades were amazing. 3 festivals of different religions fell on the same day and it stayed peaceful amidst the pride.

The parades were amazing. 3 festivals of different religions fell on the same day and it stayed peaceful amidst the pride.

Mid-day meal at the school where I got to engage in some very good discussion with teachers

Mid-day meal at the school where I got to engage in some very good discussion with teachers

The teachers also wanted their picture taken :)

The teachers also wanted their picture taken :)

Meeta, a Team Balika member, engaging in the Creative Learning Technique with young students

Meeta, a Team Balika member, engaging in the Creative Learning Technique with young students

Each village gets to choose their own slogan with Educate Girls

Each village gets to choose their own slogan with Educate Girls. This is the EG symbol.

Teacher's training with the best Master trainer in the world

Teacher’s training with the best Master trainer in the world

This is my guest house where I have it all to myself!

This is my guest house where I have it all to myself!

My companions at the guest house

My companions at the guest house

My first day at the office this guy was working right outside

My first day at the office this guy was working right outside

What a welcome to India, I couldn’t have asked for a better first week of my internship! Packed with excitement and joy, amazing food and people, unusual wild animals and sights but this is my life now and I choose to embrace it. ~Anna

“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgivness, selfishness and fears.” ~Ceaser Pavese

 

Week 1- Adjusting to new things

We had orientation on Saturday of the week we got here and classes started on Monday. We had a chance to meet our professors at orientation and that was really neat because we got to see that all of our professors were excited to have us. There are 6 classes offered this semester and I am taking 4 of them. My first one starts early morning at 840am. It is a 15minute walk to get to school. As Monday came along it was definitely hard to get up in the morning. I was not used to being up so early and then have to take a 15 minute walk to school since I would usually commute to school. Walking is all we do here, everyone walks, and they walk fast! My friend and I are determined to get to school in 10minutes by the end of the semester. It’s harder because our whole way is basically all uphill. But it’s really neat to be able to walk through the Aqueduct every morning.

Walk through the Aqueduct every day

Walk through the Aqueduct every day

Day one at school went well and by the end of the day I had learned lots of new things. We call our professors by their first name here and instead of going from class to class our professors come to us. I really enjoy my professors they’re all so nice and I have really been learning a lot from them. At first yes, I must admit it was like Spanish overload. We can only speak Spanish at school and everything is taught in Spanish.I understand everything it just took a bit to get used to my whole day of classes being in Spanish.

I’ve been here for a week now and have met many people. I have been asked several times “Eres Mexicana?” are you Mexican?. I’m not surprised to be asked but I am surprised when people say they can tell by my accent? I didn’t know I had an accent. But I enjoy having a bit of an advantage because I do come from a Spanish speaking background and Spanish was my first language. I feel that I comprehend everything better but I feel that although I speak the Spanish I’ve been learning so much. There are new words I’ve learned and I’m grasping the right Spanish not Spanglish. I’ve been told my Spanish is really good and that makes me feel good but I’m here because I want to be able to better my Spanish more not only in conversation but also grammatically. I want to be able to have a complete conversation and feel confident in what I am saying is in correct Spanish.

My host family has been great! My host mom is really nice and her son is too. They’re very welcoming and we always have long conversations about many things during lunch. I’ve had to adjust to the food, people here have a Mediterranean diet so foods always include vegetables and some kind of meat (specifically pork). Unlike having tortillas at every meal back home, people here eat bread at every meal.

On Friday we had our first excursion. We went on “La Ruta de los Castillos” The route of the castles. We visited two castles. First one was the Castle of Coca, we were able to go inside this one, it was really cool. The second one was El Castillo de Cuellar we were able to explore the outside of this castle because it is currently a high school (how cool would it be to go to school in a castle!) After the castles we went to a winery, tasted wine and then headed out to the vineyard. It was a great excursion I must say!

In front of the Castle of Coca

In front of the Castle of Coca

The group at the Castle of Coca

The group at the Castle of Coca

The vineyard, so pretty!

The vineyard, so pretty!

I’m ready to conquer week 2 in Segovia!

 

Week 1

Well arriving in Mexico was smooth and all but getting around was the part that I was worried about. I know that bus drivers are crazy and full and I knew that it wasn’t going to be a easy drive. My senora took me to school the first day as if it was my first day of kindergarten. I was glad she did. I told her to tell me what bus to take home and that I would find my way home. She showed me where my bus would pick me up at and where to get off at. That’s all I needed. I made it home. Then we went to our arrival dinner. It was pretty good but I know what it’s like to be sick in Mexico and so I didn’t want to eat crazy so I limited myself. The next day my Senora asked me if I wanted her to take me to school again and I said No. I could do it. She said ok. I made it to school with time to spare. Just like I thought bus drivers are nuts and don’t use Blinkers or yield for pedestrians (which is something you have got to look out for). Roads are not the best either and well there are cars that all drive nuts. The good thing about the bus ride is that I drive up Ave. Saragosa which is completely down the Arcos. Which is something special about Queretaro. Arcos de Queretaro
These Arches or Arcos are about 400 years old and was created as an aqueduct to bring water to the City of Queretaro. Well like I had said I made it to school and back and after that I think my senora knew that she could relax about me. She was also thankful that I already knew spanish it made it easier for her. She had said that the student before me was a little difficult.
On Wedendsay Me and a few friends decided to go to a soccer game and we fell in love. We have made a packed to say that we are going to go to every game thats at home and that we are her for. So that was game one and they Los Gallos blancos de Queretaro tied Monterey 3-3! So we got to see 6 goals that night which was awesome!!!!!!Gallos Vs Monterey
First weekend we went to Bernal which a very small city about 40 minutes from Queretaro and it is home to “La peña de Bernal” which is the 3rd highest monolith in the world, and I had to opportunity to clime it, not all the way to the top and also night rock climbing but hiked to about 3/4 of the way up. I’m glad I had that opportunity. Bernal and Mario
Like I said I’m glad that I’m here safe and with no problems and I hope that It continues this way for the next 5 weeks!

Buenas Noches!

Mario

Las Gringas, Que Lindas

  • D

During the first week I noticed something that really had me mind boggled. Here in Lima, gringos and gringas, as well as cholos and cholas are commonly used words. In the United States  the term gringos(as) comes from Latinos and can be used as a derogatory term, and cholos(as) are sort of like Latino “thugs” or gangsters.

  • I

While walking around Lima I found out quickly that the term gringa is not used as a bad thing, little girls would walk by my room mate and I and say “aye que lindas las gringas” which means oh how pretty the gringas are. It also could be used to our advantage, for example during hora punta (rush hour) it is almost impossible to try and merge into traffic from side streets, last night during this time all I had to do was roll my window down and as soon as the bus driver noticed that I was a gringa he let my host mother merge in. The term cholo and chola is used to describe people of Peruvian descent.

  • V

The information I found was verified very quickly when, like I mentioned above, it was obvious that being a gringa wasn’t a bad thing, also I went to a restaurant called La Dama Juana and there was a show with all different types of Peruvian dances and my program coordinator says to me “look at how well the chola dances”

  • E

I discovered, and am still learning, that many terms and words we have in the United States, other countries have as well but with totally different meanings.

 

 

ASA-03AUG13_3

First Week in London

After a very rough start in the airport with a nine hour delay I finally made it to London. My first impressions were a bit skewed because I was sleep deprived and all I could think about was changing my clothes that felt covered in airport grime. We didn’t actually get to our dorm until four in the afternoon so the first day was really spent unpacking and sleeping. The second day though was fantastic. We took a bus tour of London and two great things happened. First we got caught on the bus right in front of Buckinham Palace during the changing of the guard which was amazing to see, and then when they let us off the bus at Camden market we caught the tail end of a flash mob proposal!

On Sunday we spent the day getting to know the area we are in which is great because it is less touristy and way more residentail so it’s not an area that I would have known otherwise. There are some very beautiful parks and garderns here that we explored and also the main village of Hampstead which is very cute and upscale. Discovered a crepe stand that is delicious! The food here is nothing extremely different. A lot less fast food and more quick cafe type places. I personally love the food here and have a moto of eating my way through London. Many different ethnic food places here. I am not an adventurous eater, but I would love to try some ethnic food while I’m here. The sweets here are to die for, and so far my favorite has been a macaroon that I got from Harrods. image

 

I’ve enjoyed being surronded by the culture and there is a definite difference between here and America. First the transportation system is great! The buses and tube runs so efficiently. But what I have noticed that stricks me as different from home is that there is no chatting going on. No one chats on the bus or the tube. People are usually reading, either a book or the newspaper, or they are listening to music. This seems to be their time to relax between work and going home or even between a quick stop. This way they are not always engaged with their phone and constantly chatting with everyone, but they are getting to enjoy some “alone” time. image

 

St. Pancrus train station, the first train station in London.

Week 1 of classes and Tamarindo Beach

[slideshow] Hola! So far, everything is going spectacularly! Classes have been great. For me, Spanish class is definitely difficult. There is a lot of homework, but I have already noticed a huge difference in my fluency and my fluidity. The homework has consisted of readings and a vocabulary for the most part. The readings have been simple (once I look up the words that I didn’t know), and the questions have been easier to answer.  I’m feeling so good about it.

Our afternoon class is great too. Our teacher totally looks like a skater bum, and he is a complete hippy, so it makes us feel a little bit more at home. The class is called Environmental Impacts and Social Development, and it is a lot like a humanities class, or environmental science class, would be like back home. I love it though. We had a background class last time where we just talked a little bit about the history of Costa Rica, and what our perceptions were before we arrived. It was nice to have a class devoted solely to figuring out what we thought Costa Rica would be like versus what it is actually like.

Classes are from 8-12 (Spanish) and from 6-8 for us, so our days are pretty much all spent either in class or doing homework. This last Thursday, we had an AWESOME welcoming fiesta at the school. Kelsey and I got there late because it started at 6 and we had class, but we caught the tail end of a dance presentation by the gym down the street. Then they had another routine, and it was to the Shania Twain song “Feel like a Woman”. It was so funny! Then we had BBQ and cervezas. Thinking about how much that would NEVER happen at a school in the states is interesting to me. Especially the beer part XD.

This weekend, after classes, we went to a place called Tamarindo beach. It’s about 5 hours away from San Jose, so that was pretty rough. The CIS director in San Jose, Lisa, gave us all some stuff to keep us from getting super car sick though, so it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The people here drive like crazy though!! They use the horn for EVERYTHING. I asked one of my teachers about it, and they said that it is because the roads are so small. There is only so much you can do on a tiny road in a huge bus, so they honk to let people know where they are, to get someone’s attention, to say the light is almost green, when they are happy, when they are grumpy at the person in front of them, and even (so says one of the speakers at orientation) to tell you that you look nice that day ;).

After the crazy bus ride, we got to Tamarindo at about 7. We all went to our hotel rooms, dumped our crap, then went out! We went to KOI, a decently swanky restaurant that had sushi (which I didn’t eat) and Asian stir-fry (which I did eat). The food was DELICIOUS!!! And we went with a huge group, so it was tons of fun. Afterwards, we went downstairs in the same building to Aqua, which is a Discoteque (dance club). It was free drinks (with cheap rum, vodka, and local booze called Cacique [I think…]). We drank a couple of drinks, went dancing, and then all went back to the hotel for some much needed sleep!!!

The next day, another group of us went to breakfast at around 9 (which was waaaay too early). We had eggs and toast, which were both delicious. After breakfast, 3 of us, Kelsey, Jasmine (a girl we met who is from Virginia), and I, went around and looked in all of the little stores. I needed swim trunks, so we went shopping! It was nice to have some girl time!! Then we changed and went down to the beach. Tamarindo is on the Pacific side of the island, so the water smelled so much like home. It was warm though, which is so wrong for someone coming from Oregon. If you can keep your feet in the Pacific Ocean for more than 10 minutes and NOT have them fall off, something is just not right! We spent all of the morning and part of the afternoon there. We body surfed (or at least attempted too), swam around, and met a few of the Ticos (which is the Costa Rican word for Costa Ricans) who live in the area. All of them are incredibly nice and helpful. A bunch of the CIS students wanted to learn how to surf, and the Ticos were more than willing to help them out! After the beach, we went to lunch. I was feeling pretty sick at that point due to eating some pizza, and pretty good pizza at that, so I hung around in the room for the next few hours. Jasmine and Kelsey went shopping some more, and then met me back at the room. We went back to Aqua for a couple of hours, and then went to bed.

Today was the drive home. It was not too bad though. We stopped after a couple of hours at this place in the middle of nowhere. It was so beautiful. There were parrots and monkeys (I’m not sure what type) just living in the trees! They were gorgeous!!

After getting back to my Tica home, I ate dinner and now I’m working on homework and this.

Seriously though… This weekend was amazing. It was the definition of Pura Vida <3.

Until next post!!
~Megan