El Crecimiento Necesario
Officially a month and a half down, about at the halfway point! I'm overwhelmed with how much I've been able to learn and experience in such a short amount of time. I can now get through a dinner conversation without google translate, wahoo!! (even though my parents still talk slowly for me and describe around words that I don't understand). Sometimes spanglish is still needed but i'm working on it.
I haven't written in a while so I'll try to catch up on everything I missed.
Beginning where I last left off, we had an exciting week of after-school soccer games with locals and even a night city art tour where we got to visit the museums downtown for free! Also, our group of students went to a place called Puerto Viejo for our valentines day weekend and it was one of my favorite trips so far! We stayed in a hostel called rocking J's, where you rent a hammock to sleep in at $7 per night. It was definitely an experience. On Saturday our local friend, Esteban, took us on a hike up to the top of a cliff that met the ocean. On our way we got covered in the thick mud that had collected from the rain from the night before, saw a random tomb stone where someone had been buried for decades, and a sloth just hanging upside down from a tree. It was an amazing view, and after that he took us to a local beach where horses happened to be running by in between the shaded palm trees, and it felt like we were in some movie scene. Puerto Viejo is located on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica and keeps a Rastafarian feel to it. The night life is what it is known for among tourists, so we got to join in on the watching of trapeze artists for a special valentines show at a local restaurant.
As for this week, I experienced my first earth quake, helped in painting a mural for a local children's school, found a really cool chai tea cafe, got to visit a local farmers market, and got to feed my throbbing thirst for thrift shopping! There has actually been two earthquakes this week that were physically noticeable, apparently they happen every day and you just can't feel it. That's pretty cool. And scary at the same time.
Overall I think i'm starting to get into the swing of things. The public transportation system is no longer terrifying, I can tell my taxi driver where to turn left or right, I can order food somewhat normally, and recognize things on the menu. The weather is great, about 70/80 degrees every day, and i'm currently developing my summer chaco tan again. Last night some friends and I went to a small concert at a local cafe, called Jazz Cafe, and this is where I realized that i'm not a huge fan of Pink Floyd. We were surrounded by local tikos who were loving this tribute band's concert of Pink Floyd and Billy Joel songs. The atmosphere was still worth the venture though as I sat there and sipped on my Piña Colada.
This was my first Sunday to sleep in, and that was nice! --even though all of my other Sundays I've been awoken to go to the beach or hiking in the mountains so I can't really complain. I got to wake up and have some cut up mango and coffee with my host parents for breakfast. They invited me to church with them, and even though it was all in Spanish, I went and had a great time! It's the first time I've been able to go since arriving here and I can't believe I waited so long. I don't know why but I had this idea that it would be totally different than what i'm use to, but everything was so much the same. I brought my bible along and was able to piece together a lot of what the pastor said, and also with the help of my host dad translating a few major words, it all made sense.
Being in a foreign country without christian community has become increasingly harder than I thought it would be. I've never been surrounded by a community such as this or taken classes that make me question so much of who I am. I've felt the Lord teaching me so many new things and lessons that I've never noticed I needed. Unfortunately for me, I'm a do-it-yourself, learn-the-hard-way kind of person, so it's been a journey to go through, but i'm thankful for every step so far. Our church service today was over 1 Corinthians chapter 3, and the words I really needed to hear were "but only God, who makes things grow." No matter the how the seeds are planted or who adds brick to the foundation of my journey, BUT only God. Only God makes things grow. I'm so hopeful and looking forward to the fact that everything I'm doing here will be knit together into something greater by God. Strength can only come from weakness, and thank God I can rejoice in that.
We leave for Nicaragua in 2 weeks, and Monteverde in 1! Being halfway through my trip is bitter sweet, because I do miss my family and friends, but i' ll be soaking up every part of what's left!