Sunday, April 27, 2008

We finished!!!!!

All the training paid off!!! After 3 months of working hard, my mom and I finished the Country Music 1/2 Marathon in Nashville, TN. Along with about 30,000 others, we wore ourselves out, both beating our intended running. Patrice finished in an amazing 2 hours and 9 minutes and I finished in 2 hours and 1 minute. Both of those times put us at less than 10-minute miles the whole way. It was an amazing experience and look forward to doing it again as soon as possible!!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Home sweet Home!

Just a quick blog to let you all know that I reached home safely last night. My flights went smoothly and dad was there to pick me up with 3 beautiful roses! My next two week are very busy as I am planning a bridal shower for Thursday, running a half marathon on Saturday, and leaving town AGAIN on Monday for my friend's CRUISE WEDDING and exit counseling with the Latin America Mission in Miami. But I'll be back after May 4th and have 4 full weeks here in Atlanta at my folk's home. Thank you for your prayers yesterday and we will be in touch!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Its the end of the beginning...

I said goodbye today to what seemed like hundreds of little faces. All wanting to know why I had to leave. Pulling out of La Carpio was harder than I imagined as little hands pressed up against my window and the voices became more distant. I'm trying to focus on where I'm going. After all, I have plenty to rejoice over...I have successfully finished language school with high scores (see the previous blog for details). And I'm THAT much closer to Colombia. How do a bunch of little Tico kids say goodbye with love?....THEY SMEAR YOUR FACE WITH FROSTING FROM YOUR GOOD-BYE CAKE!!! hahaha, wish I had pictures of that cause it sure was great! Instead, I have a 4-minute recap video of my time here. Enjoy and if you happen to be living in the Atlanta area...see you next week!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

So they say...

Well, just a short blog to let all of you know that I took my oral proficiency exam last week. Its basically a 30-minute interview, all in Spanish, to judge how far along I am in my Spanish speaking. The levels are as follows: Beginner: low, medium, or high. Intermediate: low, medium, or high. Advanced: low, medium, or high. And expert which is basically a fluent speaker with 2-3 years under their belt. Though I was not given an entrance exam in the same way, I would guess my level to have been at Intermediate low or mid in January. Well, I'm pleased to say that after this semester I have moved up to Advanced Low. I am pleased with my results and am looking forward to furthering my schools as time goes by in Colombia. So, all the work has paid off! Stay posted because I am putting up a re-cap video of my time in Costa Rica at some point this week!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The rainy season!!!

Well folks, with 1 1/2 weeks left, I am just catching the front end of rainy season here in Costa Rica. What does rainy season really mean for those of us from non-tropical areas? Every day around 2 or 3 pm the rain starts. We wake up to sunshine and blue skies but by mid-day the clouds have arrived. The rain lasts for about one to two hours and then lets up. But the world comes to a pause during that time. Really. Ok, without exagerating I am going to try and explain this. The video below does not do it justice.

One way to explain it is by sharing the story of the leak. Last friday it rained for the first time. At that point, my Tica family's gutters had not yet been cleaned out and so there was nowhere for the rain to go. In a matter of ONE HOUR only, the rain was so hard it had leaked into the sun room to the point of flooding. We had about 8-12 towels on the floor as well as about 13-14 buckets. They were all full within the hour, the towels were soaked, and the water proceeded to go down the hall soaking all of the rugs in its path.

When it rains, umbrellas do absolutely no good. They keep the tip top of your head dry and that's it. It doesn't just rain sideways. It rains upways. How? Because the water drop are so huge and the road gets so full of water that when the rain hits the road water splashes back up to a near waste-height. Really guys. This is no lie. From now through mid-december this will be the way it is. Luckily, I get to enjoy it for a few weeks and then I'm outa here!

You can't really tell but, in this video, we had to stand on the bench because, as mentioned, the covering overhead did nearly nothing to keep us dry. It was unbelievable!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Food in Costa Rica.

I realized today that I haven't written all that much about my food here. So, while this may seem boring for some (you can skip this blog entry if you'd like) I know that there are some serious food-lovers out there who may be interested to know about the good, the bad, and the down-right UGLY food of Costa Rica. Let's start with the good:

I generally wake up to a delicious cup of coffee and some type of fresh tropical fruit sitting out on the breakfast table for me. They have fruits here that you can't even dream of and boy are they amazing! Costa Rica is also world-known for their coffee and that is just fine by me! They are also big bread lovers and it just so happens that one of my favorite hobbies is eating bread! There is nothing like FRESH warm bread from the bakery to start your day off right!

The bad. Well, not necessarily bad. We'll just say....different. RUNNY eggs for breakfast. Often times it is not only the yoke that is runny. I finally got up the nerve to ask him to fry my egg longer the other morning because I can hardly force down a have-raw fried egg. But that's how they like em! RICE. Honestly, rice should have its very own blog entry. In the past three months I have eaten more rice than the entire country of China. Growing up, my family was never a big rice-eater. I do like rice. It can be tasty. But two HUGE servings of rice (lunch, dinner, and sometimes even breakfast) every day can be a bit tiresome. Well, when in Rome right? Finally, my family loves salad. You're thinking to yourself "well that's great!" right? Not just any salad. Cabbage salad. Not cole slaw. A WHOLE LOT of cabbage, no lettuce at all! Some cilantro, some tomatoes, a couple of slices of cucumber, and some lemon juice. Yup folks...I eat that twice a day. But, it does the colon good!

Moving on to the ugly. I realize I must be careful with this one as there are many of you who may infact like the following items. I would say that, for the most part, it wasn't the flavor of the food that was difficult. Sometimes yes, but mostly, it was the EFFECTS of the food that was ugly. Oh so ugly. Coconut, for example. Coconut is a natural laxative. Believe me, I KNOW. We'll just say that two servings of coconut rice will land you on the inodoro (toilet) for a good 2-3 hours. NOT KIDDING! Potato chips. Hmmm....many times for dinner I have been served Rice, Cabbage Salad, Black Beans, and POTATO CHIPS. Name the protein.....oh wait....that is a plate full of CARBS! Don't forget the ice cream for dessert! (which I do love)

And finally, saving the best (ugliest) for last....we arrive at the chicharon (chee-chaw-ron). What is it exactly?
Pig skin. No, not the yummy little packets of tasty road-trip snack that you can buy at the BP down the road. We are talking home-fried, hair IN TACT, layer of THICK fat and seared skin served over a heaping pile of rice. Chewy doesn't begin to describe it.

The best word of advice I ever received when it comes to unwanted food on the mission field.....Chew, swallow, and smile!
That's all for now folks, hope you enjoyed your tour through a Costa Rican kitchen!