Arts & Crafts

Yesterday was arts and crafts day here in my neck of Costa Rica.

I went to work with my friend, the hostess with the mostest. She is a teacher's assistant at a private school, the European School, and they are getting ready for a new school year starting Monday (after a month-long break).

Since it's pretty much always summer here, they have no need for a long summer vacation. Instead, schools break for just over a month in July and around Christmas, and has a two week break at the end of each quarter.

Unlike back home, where students are responsible for bringing their own school supplies, here everything is provided. This prep week for school has been spent decorating notebooks (to hide logos and other unfortunate blemishes) as well as decorating rooms and bulletin boards.

Yesterday I got to join in the fun. We finished the dictation and language arts notebooks.

We decorated the bulletin board and created small people for each of the kids to decorate and add to the board.

I had fun and got to put my craftiness (?) to use.

The plan for the afternoon was a visit to INBioparque, but it rained pretty much all morning so instead we opted for laundry, dinner and a movie (not in that order). We'll head to the park today.

Tomorrow morning, we'll wake up nice and early (or just early) for a drive out to the Monte Verde region. This area has a rain forest and we'll hopefully get to see a number of cool animals here. (and make it out alive)

Unfortunately that about marks the end of my trip here to Costa Rica.

Then it's back home to....summer.


Half Way

I'm staying in a place of two seasons: rainy and dry.

That's a little different than back home, where we have all four seasons. A bit of a nuisance, if you ask me, that requires changing of tires, wardrobes and recreational activities.

Mostly I do like having four seasons, but for vacation summer all the time is alright with me.

I've had the chance to dust off my mostly forgotten Spanish skills. Years ago (and I can actually say that now, how old!) I was decently proficient at the language, which was understandable considering I took five years of it, 8th-12th grade.

Now I remember the basics but have trouble keeping up with the rapid fire speech of locals. Phrases learned long ago like "donde esta el bano" and "donde esta la biblioteca" (as if anyone uses that) only get you so far.

I do find myself wanting to intersperse my everyday English speech with snippits of Spanish. Claro.

Luckily my friends here are both fairly fluent (could be the total immersion) and are able to help me when I get the "no entiendo" face.

The return from the beach has found my days filled with relaxation broken by moments of activity. Some recent activities:
  • Harry Potter VI - venture to the the cine (theater) for the English version with Spanish subtitles for less than $3.
  • Cafe Britt coffee tour - now I know everything there is to know about the coffee making process. Just ask. Also, they weren't impressed with anyone from the Northwest (a.k.a. Coffee land) but luckily I figured that out thanks to another woman in the tour group. I identified myself as from el estado de Washington. Much safer. Also, I spent my life savings (joking, kinda) on souvenirs.
  • Sushi - that's right. In Costa Rica. It was delicious even if the service was a little on the slow side.
  • Wandering through the streets of Heredia. This included a couple parks and a good number of Catholic churches.
  • I've also enjoyed sleeping in (which ends tomorrow), laying in the hammock, and more movie watching (Twilight - I gave in - and Angels and Demons).
Today I am headed with my hostess with the mostest for downtown San Jose via autobus.

Life as a tourist is rough. It really makes me want to go back to work.

Or not.


Soaking up the Sun

So I'm three days (or is it four) into my trip to Costa Rica. I spent the weekend (my birthday weekend) at Tamarindo Beach on the Pacific coast.

Our hotel was good (minus some lumpy pillows) and included a nice pool. The beach was beautiful and had some good sized wave, so large, in fact, that kayak tours were cancelled. :(

I have to say that I love what I've seen of the country so far. It's currently the rainy season, which makes for a lot of greenery.

I drove part of the way out to the beach on Friday and let me just say that I find it harder to complain about driving conditions back home. I mean, part of the drive was on a dirt "highway". Glorious.

Now it's Sunday evening and the rain is pouring. It makes me happy to be inside and relaxing after the long drive back home.

Besides, I have to rest up for more adventures to come.

(Sorry for the lack of pictures, the internet here isn't up to more than that.)


So close I can taste it.

Tomorrow (a.k.a. Thursday at 1am) I leave for Costa Rica. I'm a little bit (ok, a lot) excited for the trip. All I know so far is that it will involve a beach and a volcano.

Needless to say I'm a little distracted.

Even though my flight isn't for another 30 hours plus, I'm leaving tomorrow after work to hit up the Nordstrom Yearly Sale. C'mon it's only once a year.

This pretty much means I should be packed. Instead, I have my laundry (mostly) done and some clothes piled on bed.

I also took advantage of the sun and ventured to a park/beach with my friend for the afternoon (1 hour). It was so worth it.

This isn't to say I'm unprepared. I have all the necessities: sunscreen, bugspray, flip flops, swimsuit, etc. They just aren't located together...yet.

I just wanted to say that I am hoping to have some internet access between now and Aug. 2 when I return, but I don't know what the situation will be. So don't get your hopes too high.

On that note, I'm going to go pack. For realz.


My Little Room

When I finally started working again last February, after months of not, I was faced with a dilemma of housing proportions.

To leave or not to leave the parent's abode.

I stayed.

Some of you are probably in utter shock about this choice, maybe, but it was made with good (mostly) reason. I swear.

Reason #1 was a minor-ish credit card balance. Probably not surprising after a few months of not working, but something that couldn't (and wasn't) be ignored.

Reason #2 was a number of other bills (car loan, student loan, storage unit, etc.) that needed to be paid each month. Those things add up, more quickly than I'd like.

Plus, by not having rent over the course of the next year-ish, I can hopefully eliminate some of those payments by paying things off.

Reason #3 is that I want to put myself in a good position when I do start my career, make a big move, etc. I've already managed to put a nice little sum away in savings (although part of it will be used over the next month and a half until work starts back up).

Reason #4 is that I will have the freedom to travel some and enjoy life. While the spring was crazy between work and work, I've taken and will continue to take advantage of the free time summer brings. I went to the land of the Rockies, east of the mountains (twice already with another trip planned), and in two days I will board a plane for Costa Rica!!!

So I am living with my padres. And loving (almost) every minute of it.

There are definitely disadvantages (i.e. trying to fit all my stuff into one room), but the advantages far outweigh those.



On Tuesday I was attacked by mosquitoes while weeding in our backyard.

I had bites (and still have them) on my back, side, and arm. One of them reached the size of quarter, so I decided it was time to take action.

Unfortunately I chose taking Benadryl as my cure, and let me just say, "Bad idea!"


It would have been fine if I hadn't had to get up for work the next morning. But I had work and was really confused by my alarm the next morning.

I guess I'll just have to itch. Grrr...


Dancing Queen

Three years ago, during my junior year of college, I took a PE class called American Social Dance.

Over the course of the semester I learned a little bit about how to do East Coast Swing, Salsa, Tango, Waltz, Lindy Hop, and a few other various dances.

It was a mostly enjoyable experience--except for the afternoon when a creepy guy poked me in the stomach after dancing with me.

Since that class the only dancing I have done is country swing and a little off balance two step.

Last Thursday night, after I packed up my life, drove across the state, and stopped for a quick visit with the cousin, I went out dancing with my friend who is a master dancer.

I got to put some of those mostly forgotten skills to use.

I did a little swing dancing, absolutely butchered some blues dancing, and stumbled through some salsa.

At the end of the night when a guy said to me, "let's get out of here," (after having danced with me only once, might I add) I went home with my friend and went to bed.


Long Road Home

Yesterday I had to leave my friend's wedding slightly early. I wasn't happy about it, but I had a long drive, by myself, and work in the morning.

Luckily the weather did hold off for the outdoor ceremony. I'm not sure what we would have done--gathered at the dinner tables.

The weather forecast had called for showers and thunderstorms, and for once was actually correct. Fun! Unless you and waiting in line outside for the buffet or trying to drive.

As fate would have it, the storms came right after the appetizer hour as we were all standing in line for dinner, leaving tree wreckage littering the lawn.

The wind blew like crazy, dust flew at high speeds through the air, the table cloth was almost ripped off the buffet table, and I just missed flashing the wedding guests as I walked inside with food (this was a common theme for me).

Even better, though, was the double rainbow. How lovely. The storms, clouds, and sun also made for some lovely scenery.

So I did what any responsible person would do and took pictures as I drove. I swear I only crossed the line a couple times.

What can I say? It was too beautiful to pass up.

In case you can't tell, I am making my way closer to the next set of storm clouds. Finally I pulled over to take a few quick pics from the side of the freeway as all my attempts from the driver's seat had completely failed.

Not only did I get a couple great photos, but I also flashed the passing cars as I got in and out of my car. I wasn't actually sure weather the dress would make it back into the car with me.

Less than a minute after I pulled back onto the road, I was in the heart of the storm.

Visibility was pretty high and I was reminded that I should probably get new tires before too long. Can you say hydroplane?

The wind carried on for the rest of my trip home. I also managed to flash the good people of the Moses Lake Shell Station.

But that was my last stop and the only thing that slowed me down from the point on was steep grades--coming up the hill from the river I had my pedal to the floor for over ten minutes and managed to decelerate almost 20 mph (granted I may have been speeding before, but...).

I made it home though, and that's what counts, almost exactly six hours after I left the reception in the middle of nowhere.


Dum Dah Dah Dah

I'm currently on the east side of the state for a good friend's wedding.

I traveled over here on Thursday and haven't had a moment of rest (almost literally) since, but the stories I have to tell.

And tell them I will. Just not yet. I'll wait for that for after I've returned home and actually feel rested.

For today, and tomorrow, I will celebrate with my friend.

This friend of mine, is one of the most genuine, positive, wonderful people I know.

As I sit here thinking back, I cannot think of her complaining or talking about someone negatively.

She's marrying a wonderful man, too.

I'm excited to celebrate, to have celebrated with her.

And maybe one of these days, I'll share some stories about the trip as well.


Acting It Up

My work schedule this summer is pretty light, which is about 90% nice--the 10% being the lack of income.

As part of our summer obligations we have weekly trainings.

Today we role played situations involving ethical dilemmas on the job. And there's nothing like a little role playing to bring coworkers together.

I'll admit, none of us were very excited about the idea at the beginning. As in we were avoiding eye contact to keep from having to participate.

But seeing as we were stuck (for a couple hours) and getting paid, it didn't take us long to get in the spirit of things and solve some ethical dilemmas.

I'd tell you what we solved, but then I'd have to kill you.

Confidentially and all that.


Don't be fooled

I've at least mentioned our dog, Jamaica (or Maica as we more commonly refer to her as). I might have also called her a puppy.

One thing about her is certain. She is crazy. As I type right now she is pacing up and down our hallway, her nails clacking on the hardwood, in hopes that someone might take it upon themselves to play with her.
Don't let this charming face fool you, while she does have her cute and cuddly moments. She also has, what I like to call, her "crazy face."

It's a look she gets right before she loses it complete control of her energy and can't be stopped.
It obviously started at an early age, too.

Even as I write this my mom is yelling at Maica, "Don't you bark at me!"

She's crazy, I tell you.

So crazy, in fact, that our last dogsitter asked us if we gave her cocaine. It would explain a lot.

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Lovin' It

July is a pretty exciting month for me.

Yesterday, in case the numerous explosions didn't clue you in, was the 4th of July.

While I wouldn't claim that it's my favorite holiday, I enjoy slowing down for a day, hanging out with friends, enjoying the sunshine, and some good grub.

We even had the added pleasure of spending the afternoon with some good family friends, who just happened to be in the area. I haven't seen them since well before I went to CO (over 1 1/2 years ago), and had never even met their son.

Additionally, in July, I am headed to the east side of the state for a friend's wedding, which includes a ceremony, a lake dinner cruise, and catching up with numerous friends.

But the really big event for July (besides my birthday, or really part of my birthday) is a trip to Costa Rica!!! 12 days of adventure and sun with really good friends.

Needless to say, right now I am loving the summer!


When the Sun Comes Out...

My food cravings totally and completely change. Mostly for the better.

Unlike most of the country, right now we are basking in sunshine and warm temperatures. "They" say it may even break 80 this weekend.

For this neck of the woods, that's a big deal.

To celebrate the weather, and the berry season, I enjoyed some delicious food and drink.

A raspberry mojito, made by yours truly. (With minimal mishaps)
Salad? Yes, please.
Spinach, almonds, raspberries, and goat cheese.
With a splash of vinaigrette.