Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Last Sunday morning at 4.30 am we loaded into the back of my host uncle's truck and took off for a day at the river. I'm having a hard time finding the words to elaborate the adventure, as most of the day passed just sitting wedged between rocks, letting the river run past. We did break for a traditional lunch around 10.30 am (no joke, we were all ready to eat lunch around 9.55 am)- at which we cooked over an open fire and ate enough manzanas de agua to litter the dirt ground in the open air kitchen. At one point in the afternoon it started raining- the combination of the rain and the river started a laughing contest, during which I took home el premio. My host-cousin joked that we all better hide in the river as not to get wet by the rain.

Although I have no photos to support my other recent adventures- I will give a quick overview (a recipe will be coming soon as it is now Semana Santa and I am learning to make Empanadas con Chiverre on Thursday morning).

Two weeks ago my host dad took me, and two other Peace Corps volunteers to a Saprissa y La Liga soccer game. The game started with fireworks, baby powder bombs and paper receipt rolls thrown onto the field. Marvin (my host dad) knew all the songs, and we were quickly catching on (usually just a few mala palabras were repeated again and again). For the weekend I took off to visit my mentor, Katie, in her pueblo near San Isidro. The weekend was jam packed, kicking off with a fogata, camp fire, at the nature reserve where she works. A water fair attracted the majority of the community to the reserve, and we spent the weekend running activities for the kids, playing soccer in the rain and taking a hike to a nearby waterfall. I spotted my first white-faced monkey, and am now able to identify the Costa Rican butterfly. On Monday Katie and I left at 6.15 am to spend the morning at Dominical a nearby beach. Hearing her success stories with a recycling program, an organic garden and the start of a business program for youth, got me even more excited for the next two years. We finished out beach day at noon with delicious avocado, hummus sandwiches on homemade whole wheat bread... definitely beyond rice and beans. My visit ended with observing her English class and catching a dubbed version of "Alice and Wonderland" (complete with popcorn and Pops blackberry helado).

Monday, March 15, 2010


Around dusk today I realized that in many ways I am living a fairy tale. I feel as if one morning I woke up, and suddenly I was surrounded by a new language, a new family and a new environment. True, this is a bit dramatic, but my walk home today took me past a white horse, eating in the forest while the sun was setting. I felt worlds apart from the last place I called home, as I greeted my host grandpa who was playing guitar on his wooden deck, a green pajaro whistling above him in a cage. So much has changed, and so quickly that it is difficult to know where to start.

I decided these photos would help give a taste for my fairy tale thus far, and later the words will come. In addition, I made my first dish this weekend with the help of my host mother, Marta, while we were visiting her sister in another mountain pueblo. I made una ensalada and have decided the second ingredient will be tomates or tomatoes.

Ensalada Simple

1 Can of Tuna
1 Cabbage
3 Tomatoes
1 Onion
2 Lemons

Combine the can of tuna with finely chopped cabbage, tomatoes and onion. Stir in the juice of the lemons and add salt to taste.

I hope anyone reading will upload a little something about their vida along with something they have recently made with tomatoes. It will help me connect these worlds...

The fotos that I have uploaded are from an array of events. We spent the first few days in a retreat in an area called Cartago (a photo from the ruinas in Cartago with a few Cuerpo de Paz Trainees is up above). After meeting the other Peace Corps Trainees (a great and inspiring group of people), learning more about the projects we will be working on (I am working with micro-entrepreneurs with a group called Community Economic Development- CED from now on) we were handed small booklets explaining the communities and families that we would be living in/with for the next three months. I am in a community called Tarbaca, with a family of five that live on a finca. The homes surrounding ours, belong to los abuelos and other family members. There are three other trainees that live very close to me, and together we walk up and down a giant mountain, el diablo, to attend Spanish classes and technical training from 8 am-5 pm every day.

A quick taste of this weekend: Saturday morning we spent selling huevos for mi abuelo in the farmers market a town over (the pictures are also above). Then we fit eight people in a little jeep and drove to la casa de una tia. The main events for el paseo were a dance in the community center, a motorcycle race and bingo.

Some days are overwhelming, but the truth is the majority of the time this vida comes easy, or to coin a tico phrase "un queque" (just like it sounds- like a piece of cake!)