I woke up this morning to the bright sol highlighting the piedra mona, or monkey rock, that sits high above San Cristobal Norte. Even now with the afternoon clouds spreading over the surrounding mountains I can still catch a glimpse of the piedra mona. As my current interviews show el paisaje or scenery is one of the draws of our pueblo, and makes me proud to call it home for the next two years.
The biggest change in the last couple of weeks has been the view from my bedroom window, I have moved from my first host family to a home in front of the plaza or soccer field. For reasons that I have woven into a concise story- the tranquilidad and paz that come with my new home and the opportunity to still visit my old host mom Dona Hilda- I am now living with Mayela, Edwin and Juan Carlos. A change that extends far beyond the beautiful vista and moments of peace- In my new home there is constant laughter, learning and a desire to work together to accomplish something special for the town. Not to mention I have a soccer and running buddy, and we often spend nights playing Bananagrams or discussing community issues.
I am currently prepping for my third exercise class, listening to the techno beats my friends so graciously lent me (they complained that they didn't agree with my American taste for hip hop- although I am saying goodbye to Kanye and Wale, I am keeping the Bob Marley) and imagining the crazy step moves I will be showcasing in a few hours. I have created the newest craze- YoPiZumBo- a combination of Yoga, Pilates, Zumba and Boxing. So far the class has been about 50 something women and the few brave boys (four nine year olds) working up a sweat in the salon communal.
I have also been leading "Las Estrellas" the Adultos Mayores group in yoga- so far we have worked up to 15 minutes of stretching and relaxation, and ended with them teaching me songs about the 1948 civil war and Jose Figueres Ferrer or "Pepe".
"Las Estrellas" dancing at el rancho
When I am not prepping for YoPiZumBo I am slowly working through interviewing local groups and organizations, and questioning town members about their views of the strengths and weaknesses of San Cristobal. All of this work will hopefully reveal what is most important to the town. As of now the surveys are displaying a need for more diversion for the youth, with the idea of a local gym and more sports activities.
Early morning cow milking with Mama Mayela y mi nuevo vecino, Cholo
The local womens soccer team has started up again (we are now moving into our fourth week of practice, with talks of a first game in two weeks) and we finally found a coach. The town is split between finding female soccer incredibly funny and supporting it 100%. Mayela, my host mom, found old photos from when she played, and 14 old uniforms have been uncovered (still intact but VERY moldy). The talent on the team ranges, but one woman is already talking about getting us a game at the famous Saprissa stadium- hopefully more than 6 women will show up at our next practice to make that dream a reality.
Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of hosting Daisy, my first visitor from the states. It was amazing how seamlessly she fit into the community, tagging along on house visits, the youth course, and our local cultural festival. We also snuck away for a few days to enjoy the beach and sun in Guanacaste (Playa Tamarindo). A quick recipe to end this blog is one of my favorite refuels post soccer/running - Batido de Papaya- which Mayela makes with 1 cup milk, a healthy serving of papaya, ice cubes and sugar to taste. Blend it up and it should come the orange/pink shade of the beautiful sunset below!
Sunset Playa Tamarindo