Sunday, November 30, 2008

Here's to the beginning

I decided I would finally begin the beautiful world of blogging. Yesterday was wonderful. I had my family shower, which was so incredibly exciting. It was so fun to have my new family join with my own. I have never felt so much love and support. It is such a blessing to have family so close. My gifts were incredible as well. I then met with some of the most amazing women. Girls I have known and been close to since preschool, kindergarden, and elementary. All of us together at last. Jocey was home from Hume and Heather was home from Palo Alto. It was so amazing. Check out photos on Kelly's blog, I am sure she has them posted. We watched FourChristmases, pretty funny. I then went to my new little home that I soon get to share with the love of my life! It is almost ours, I just need to move all my stuff into it. I really can't wait to settle myself in there. My mom, 2 aunts, and my mother in law to be all sat in there and chatted. Steve is out having a good time in glamis with his friends. I can't wait for him to be home. I have a date with my brother, church!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Puerto Viejo and San Jose

Well a lot has occurred on this fantastic excursion... note to self... dont trust a soul and always pack lighter than i did on this trip. our hotel in arenal was quite magnificent and boy do we miss it now... our final day in arenal consisted of school, graduation (yes nat and i graduated with 100% in medical class and regular class, we have papers to prove) we then drank our last vanilla cafe freeze from our favorite abuelos at down to earth.. headed for the hotsprings with our friends Ruj and Menai, then off to lava lounge where we ate the most amazing meal... omg... we were kicking ourselves for not eating there sooner. it was beyond amazing... things were looking up... until... a four and a half hour drive to puerto viejo... just think of thousands of bob marly fans, pot and peace signs everywhere and a beautiful beach with 3 ft of sand between the water and palm trees. we arrived at our hotel excited and ready for an amazing stay at a great place... i am not sure we wrote this earlier... but we met some friends at school during our first week that told us that we could stay at this place with them for 25 dollars a nite because their original friends were not going anymore... they were going to tell the owners that we were coming a week late... we emailed them and then showed up
little did we know that puerto viejo is a hoping town that was completely booked that night... seriously, nat and i walked for a good hour, sweating profously looking for a place to stay... no vacancy, no vacancy, no vacancy... finally a nice woman called numerous places for us... one place was available... at this point we didnt care what is was, how much it cost, or whatever... we just wanted a place to lie down... we were told this was a great place... 30 dollars a nite, warm water, great bungalow... the owner, gloria was outstanding and so wondering... the place, not so wonderful... lets just say there were huge black ants all over... all over my bed... i just didnt look at them, freaked out inside and headed out. no air conditioning, no pool, no tv... nothing we expected... yet again. we also had to find a bank, waited in line for like 30 min, then we just had to sit and drink coke and have pizza. gross pizza... this is when we let it all out... nat just confessed that she just wanted to go home. and we both cried... the waitress came up for our order and we just had huge tears running down our faces... instantly we started laughing and after she left, we cried. and we cried some more over gross pizza. it really was funny... but we had it in our minds we were done... we would rather pay money to fly home early than be in costa rica... luckily our parents calmed us down... we booked the soonest bus out of the town... took 2 benadryl each and fell asleep at 10 pm and woke up at 8 am. dont worry i killed the ants as usual, pushed our beds together and had a mosquito net surround us... didnt help much as nat i woke up with about 10 new bites the next morning. we did have some time to lay by the beach, which really was beautiful... we swam in a hole in the middle of coral which was also pretty cool and watched a bunch of people smoke pot in front of us... what a day...
it just got better too... i say that sarcastically... we jumped in our shuttle and realized the wrong day was booked for our trip from san jose to manuel antonio... in costa rica, they dont care what happened, if you change it, you pay twice... i was livid... one more thing... if that isnt bad... natalie had hundreds of ants in her backpack because of the food we had brought with us. i was in tears yet again... luckily natalies mom got us a travel agent that is there for us for anything... he is our man and trust me when i tell you we have talked to him more times than you can think in the past two days... we are now at an amazing hotel that we love, enjoyed independence day in costa rica, and are ready to leave for a spectacular hotel in manuel antonio... what makes it even better is that our friends from london are meeting us tomorrow. things are looking up again... what a rollercoaster of a trip... and a rollercoaster of emotions... thanks to our parents who helped us through it all... i am embarrassed this has all occurred. i think it is me... i know for next time... if there is one

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 14

If this isn´t funny. I am sitting in the internet cafe and the high school band with puppets and all just strolled by playing their fancy music. Kind of a fun experience. Actually it has been quite neat here because it will be Costa Rica´s independence day this coming Monday so every night this week they have had events in the park across from our hotel. Last night I watched them sing and dance and act (all in spanish) while nani lied in bed not feeling so hot. It is quite a cultural experience. I was able to talk with some locals about it too. Makes me feel good knowing i can sort of hold a conversation with a person and somewhat know what is going on. So yesterday, we had class, went to lunch with our friends from London, Menai and Rujita and Audry. It was so much fun. I really am so happy that Nat and I found some new friends that we truly love to hang out with. We both had been praying we would meet some girls our age traveling around and we did! God always answers prayers... It is interesting because at the beginning of this trip in Arenal I was thinking to myself, I feel like I am on a missions trip just not a actual missions trip and man has the Lord done some amazing things. I have been able to share my beliefs whether it be in just the moral views I have or just acting differently. Even today, Nat and I were able (now I say that we were able, but we felt forced at first) to sing Amazing Grace in front of the entire high school here. at least 300 students. What a radical oppertunity most people don´t receive. Granted, at first I attempted to say the little espanol i knew and told them to sit down while they were already sitting when i meant to say stand up... but whatever... they laughed at me... haha but really we got to sing to all of these kids about GOD. it was cool. Yesterday nat was not feeling good as i said so she slept in our hotel while i went out with the students in my class and Andre (our guide) to an ecolodge here... it was more like a tiny rainforest with a trail and a pond in the middle... we walked through a butterfly room (similar to the one in san diego) and found a blue gean frog, which is so poisonous it can supposedly kill you if you touch it... Andre preceded to touch it... and then he was touching plants and catipillars that were also harmful to touch. i asked him kindly, if it hurts so bad, why do you touch it and his response was, i dont know it doesnt hurt me... we then went on a hunt for a cayman... he told us it was very small and when we asked how small he said a meter and a half... if you convert that it is like 4-5 ft long... mind you, the pond did not have any walls or anything around it and we couldnt find it... i got bite by 8 mosquitos too... not my favorite... but it was neat in the end... my grandma may would love it there. i went out with the girls again for coffee drinks while nat continued to sleep. it has been so fun getting to know all of them. nat and i did our homework and to bed we went. this morning we had medical class at 7am and our teacher never showed. kind of a waste to get up early... we had class and then our show... an english teacher came to our school and asked if we could sing an english song... classical, romantic... we choose amazing grace... we also taught them TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME... that didnt go so hott... Our friend audry wanted to do it... just think of the most awkward situation and we were in it. it wasnt so awkward for me because i had numerous awkward moments in the philippines... but we were up in front of the school and our teacher left us... these girls were saying something in spanish we didnt understand and supposedly it was our entrance call... we stood there for a good 3 minutes with everyone staring... finally a teacher told us to sing... we sang beautifully and then attempted to teach them our song... they just sat there while we belted our tune... haha pretty sure they dont know how big baseball is in america and had no idea what our song was... the english teacher didnt help either and really didnt speak english at all... sort of funny...
after that we went back to our medical class... ruj, menai, nat and i got to travel to a nursing home around arenal (20 min away) terrible driving, i was sick to my stomach... we got out and then our dr. told us that we were going to meet with some patients and just ask them medical questions... our london friends have sat in class only 1 time and nat and i.... well you know how we are... it ended up be really cool. menai and i were able to talk to two guys about all of their health problems and then all of us including nat were able to give them advice on what they needed to do. it was really cool. my only problem was i would ask a question and they would talk fast and you know how old people are... they dont totally enunciate their words so i would hope i knew what they were talking about. we were then supposed to have medical class but decided not too so we went and got more coffee and are now at the internet cafe... tonight we get to learn how to cook a costa rican meal so hopefully we will be able to cook for you when we are home!

ps- we decided that we are going to go with our new friends to domincal (a beach on the south pacific) for a few days and then go to puerto viejo. as always, thank you for your prayers. i do feel like our lives are changing and that we are making some sort of impact.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Arenal recuerdo

Today was a great day after a great day. We went rafting yesterday which was a total blast besides waking up at 5 am. We got in the bus and realized it would be 3 hours to get there. Luckily, we were the only two going with the guide and his girlfriend so we both got bench seats to ourselves. nat and i slept the entire way. We arrived at the main camp where we met up with 25 people. We ate a hearty meal of rice, beans, eggs, pineapple, and of course costa rican coffee. there was a group of 20 Indian guys that were celebrating a bachelor party. Talk about fun. We then had to go on a 30 minute drive in a huge bus. Nat and I truly thought our lives would be over before the trip even began. An unpaved, downhill (and I mean downhill) winding road to the river. the main guide was also giving us our instructions and worst case senarios and what we should do. Let´s just say all of the Indian men were asking for shots of alcohol just to get out of the bus. it was hilarious. We got all our gear on and headed for our death (that is what he made it seem). I was only slightly nervous. My team (you can see in one of the pics) consisted of two guys from London, a couple from the czech republic and nat and I. what a team we were.... actually we were the best, i wont lie. the guys said we should be in the olympics. we actually were so good that our guide (who was the head lead) had to switch with another guide because his group was doing so terrible. supposedly, they got super drunk the night before and the groom, yes the groom, was having severe heartburn. haha. i didnt enjoy the idea of a new guide, but whatever... jimmy was his name and throwing me/splashing me was his game. he definately told me I should be his wife and i preceded to tell him i was engaged and getting married in december. he then decided he had to come to my fiesta. i told him natalie was available . there are numerous times you see me in the photos either checking out my nails or not paddling or getting down... i was only following directions, no one else listened. besides my nail, i really felt i ripped it off. the rapids were class 3 and 4. The only thing i feared was the signal to ´highside right´or ´highside left´. pretty much that meant we were tipping over and we all had to jump to the side he yelled. good thing we never got that one. i am not sure i would have done so hott. nat and i were studs though. we ate lunch with the pigs on the side of the river. and then we conquered rio pacualme at least 21 miles of rio... i have to say it was one of the most beautiful places i have seen. you really see God´s masterpiece as you raft through the rainforest. we then made our way back to fortuna. the czech couple ended up coming with us to arenal. we then had to say good bye to our tica family. it was slightly awkward, but I guess that it is how it goes. A guy in our class told us that all of our difficult experiences are building character in each of our lives. Boy did we build some character. i was glad he said it to us. i put some pictures of our family online. So with our heavy baggage and all we left our family. we met the czech couple for dinner and had fun learning about a new culture. i think it is my most favorite part traveling here. we have met so many people in such different walks of life. then...dun dun dun nahh!!! our hotel room... oh my gosh... can you just say, what a difference a room can make. a television, hot shower, balcony over looking the central park, comfortable beds with neon green sheets, and a fridge, and i cant forget the a/c. so incredible. natalie and i slept very well. besides the noise and freezing room, we really didnt care at all. just to be in a comfortable place where we could sprawl. it was just what we needed. plus it has a pool and area to lay out. nothing grand, but after our past week, it feels like luxury. i was outside today and thought how funny it was that our room (similar to like best western) could be so wonderful. i mean there are still electrical wires sticking out and reebar (spell check?) sticking out, but it was so worth it.
week two of class began today. i am so impressed with both of us. we really have learned a lot. i am able to hold a conversation with someone and really know what is going on and nat is getting better to. she understands but needs some time to respond. we have 3 new students that are at school with us. two girls my age from london. i now have a people to meet on my next adventure. yeah kel! after class we went to our hotel and did some homework, slept, and watched tv. we then went and watched a cultural dance at the park for their independence day. the kids from the school here danced away in their cultural outfits. the best part was when they would get confused and push each other into their spots or yell out what they needed to be doing. then we heard a guy give a speech about the country´s independence. he wouldnt slow down for us... all we understood was spain and blood shed. our class met for drinks... virgin pina coladas for us ladies and had a fun talk with our guide andre... he is the bear grills of costa rica, seriously... he told us tonight that he sometimes straps himself to trees to sleep. we also went grocery shopping... $25 and it should last us the rest of the week... sweet
my new best friend is skype... 2 cents a minute to call home... love it... natalie is being a good student and bypassed the internet cafe to work on her homework. i believe it is time for bed and i look forward to updating... and ps- to check out our pictures, you have to click on the picture and it will take you to thanks for your continued prayers... we are doing so much better (or I am, nat was strong through it all) good thing.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Rafting Adventure!!

Photobucket Album

White water rafting!!!

a blog soon to come! But look at our pics!!! more to come of those to!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Let the fun begin!!!

Day 8
ok... so we left of on our way to the cooking class, it was SO SO fun! The mom that was teaching us was SO nice and she taught us how to cook a traditional costa rican meal, Pico de chiote... or something like that. Anyways IT WAS SO GOOD! let me tell you we know how to cook a good meal. Our teacher was very paitent with us and made us only speak in spanish which was hard but very fun. After our meal we all sat on her couch and watched Brazils next top model and latin american idol! hahaha!!

Yesterday after class jess and i decided it was time to venture out of the city, so we went to El Rio!!! (the river). Our guide at the school gave us directions and told us to walk the short distance there. I dont know if it is just us but 5 miles (8 kilometers) is NOT a short distance! HAHAHAHA. So we get there and walked... and walked.... and walked... down to the river. when we arrive we find that we are the only two girls there! everyone else is male 12-22ish in age. So jess and I decide to eat lunch first in a hope that they will leave so we can go in without being watched. Luckily for us they did! So jess and I went for a little dip in the... refreshing... water. It was really cool because we just sat in a little whirl pool right on top if the 10 foot water fall. After a while a storm looked like it was rolling in so we decided it was probably time to head out. So jess climbed out of the water first... up the rocks she went like a pro... my turn. I got up the 3 foot rock ledge thing but then suddenly i slipped! down i went into the water i thought i had caught my self several times but nope into the water i went! but then i went under and got caught up by the current... up until this point i wasent to panicked but at this point i looked at jess and screamed as i started to head for the waterfalls ledge ( it was like 3 feet from where i fell) luckily thanks to my quick thinking i shoved my feet under the rocks and stopped myself. yes... we can all sigh now. when i gather my balacne again i look at jess and she is in the same spot!!! THANKS FOR NOTHING!!! ok i guess ill cut her slack since this all happened in the of like 5 or 10 seconds but still... so i finally get up the rock wall thing and we just sit there and do what? yes... laugh... we laughed and laughed because well we do that best! We walk the 5 miles back to Arenal and went home and to have dinner, during dinner the other guywho is renting a room family came! so that was nice for him to have his wife and baby with him... we thought... After dinner we talked with the family for 2 hours! which is the most ever! it was really fun learning about them and what they do for fun... and we started to feel bad for leaving them. We went to bed with the dread of telling them we were leaving them the next day.

Day 10
saturday morning we were woken up at like 5am by the guy renting the rooms baby!!! that dumb baby cried from 5 to 9! They went outside into the court yard thing to walk the baby but that just brought him right in front of our room! and since they went outside the family we are staying withs white lab saw them and started barking extra early! so from 5 to 9 we had the dog and the screaming baby outside our room. and at 7ish the wife of the renter decided to cook breakfast outside as well! and let me tell you she is not very quite at all! so in short we do not feel very bad leaving this family anymore... at all. Today after waking up (grumpily) we walked over to our frends house picked her up and went to a waterfall! it was SO pretty! we hiked down to the pool at the bottom and went swimming and layed out on the rocks for hours! it was WONDERFUL!!! after that we took a taxi to Baldi which is a hotel spa that has natural hot springs in it! We arrived there at like 2 had lunch and from 2 to 7 we went in the like 8 different pools and the water slide and the sauna... this to was simply WONDERFUL!!! so to wrap it all up after waking up not so happy we had a beautiful and wonderful day in costa rica! the first of many many more to come... we hope. Tommorrow we are waking up at 5 am to go white water rafting... it should be interesting... jessica and i have noticed i have been a bit accident prone this summer with my head thing, and my ear thing and my falling in whirlpool things... so we are hoping nothing happens tomorrow. hahaha. but anyways i have to go but i hope you are all well and i cannnot wait to tell you about our rafting trip! LOVE YOU!