Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hard Times...

My Costa Rican mom Carla got robbed on Tuesday. She was walking a few blocks away from our house when five men surrounded her, pushed her around, then held a gun to her. This was at 4 in the afternoon right outside the corner of our neighborhood. My mom has been pretty shook up, she isn’t doing that well. She naturally has a very strong overbearing personality and this has made it worst. They have increased her medicines (I don’t know what she is on) and she is doing therapy. She isn’t supposed to be working for a month, she is just supposed to relax, but she won’t. She isn’t sleeping, doesn’t eat much of anything, and has increased her exercising. She is also drinking more and often is a little tipsy. She is also very depressed and just weird because of the situation. She has come to me several times and just dumped all her problems on me and it is really hard for me to deal with. My siblings aren’t getting as much attention now, so that are misbehaving more just to get attention, and my dad has just become really quiet. I am afraid that things are going to get worse before getting better. Please pray for her and my whole family situation.

I’ve also been feeling a little sick since I got back from Nicaragua. My stomach has been hurting a lot, normally after I eat. I’ve also been getting a lot of headaches and I think I had a fever the other day. I think my headaches are from caffeine withdraw. In Nicaragua I had coffee everyday, sometimes a coke, and 1 or 2 Tiamina (Vitamin b pill with a lot of caffeine that prevents mosquitoes from biting). Since I have been back in Costa Rica I have only had one coke in the past 5 days. I don’t think my body is liking that change very much.

I have a lot of schoolwork to do in the next week. All of our assignments are due and everything is coming to a close. I have a lot of work to get down and turn in. My mom wants a lot of attention from me and that makes it hard for me to do my schoolwork. I’ve been trying to go to other places to study some in the evenings so I have some time to get stuff down.

It is over halfway through the semester and I am missing home. It was hard after my two weeks in Nicaragua to get on the bus and ‘head home’. It almost felt like I should be going back to the states, but I wasn’t. I have been away for 58 days and I only have 50 left. Now time is counting down and it should be getting easier. My mom and sisters are going in about a week and it will be great to see them. I think it will be good to have a glimpse of home here in Costa Rica for awhile.

Keep praying for me, things are going really well, I am enjoying my time. The past few days just have been difficult. Luckily I haven’t gotten very sick this semester and I have been safe, so I don’t really have anything to complain about.

Thanks for all your notes and cards, it is always fun to get those!!

Saturday, March 1, 2008


I am now in Costa Rica after a wonderful experience in Nicaragua. It is nice to be in a house with a bathroom and to be clean.

I was in Nicaragua for almost two weeks and for one of those weeks I lived with a family. I had a mom names Lorena, brother Bosco (17), and sister Scarleth (14). They live just outside of Masaya in a little town called Tipitopa. I lived on a farm with a bunch of cows, chickens, roosters, pig, and a dog. It was fun.

I lived in a little bitty house with one bedroom and then one room for the rest of the house. They gave me the one bedroom and allowed me to sleep in there. We had electricity which was great and also running water. The water was only outside. There was a sink for washing dishes, also a shower with water, and then a sink type thing in with the cows for them to drink. Both the toilet and shower were outside. The shower had windows in it about chest height and then a sheet metal door that you just leaned against it. The ‘toilet’ was an outhouse type thing, you just had to squat, there wasn’t actually a seat or anything. It was just basically sticks with sheet metal leaning against it to kind of close it in. It was interesting, but it was there life and it was great that they were willing to share it with me.

They were about middle class; I had a lot better living conditions than most of the people in the group. Most people had 10 or more people living in a one room house that hardly had walls. Usually they didn’t have running water and would bath in the river.

The food was great in Nicaragua; it was a lot better than here in Costa Rica. The only bad thing is that there is this cheese that the Nicaraguans eat a lot of and it is disgusting!! It was really hard to eat it, but I always managed to with a smile on. After some meals I felt huge, I ate so much food. At meal time I would look at the food on my plate and have no idea how I was supposed to eat it all.

The culture in Nicaragua is very different than anything I have ever experienced. It took several days to figure some things out. They speak very differently than the Costa Ricans and have a very small vocabulary. Costa Ricans talk in an embellished way, they are just very friendly and polite with everything. Nicaraguans are basically the opposite. After several days I was figuring out what vocabulary they use, how to joke with them, how to interpret what they say, and all that fun stuff. I feel like I really learned a lot about their society in my two weeks there.

I have many stories to tell about those weeks, so if you want to know more you will have to ask me sometime.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bright and Early

Tomorrow around 430 I will get up and get ready for Nicaragua.

I will leave around 530 to go get a bus for Nicaragua. My whole group is going and we will be there for two weeks. We will be out of communication the whole time.

I will be living with a family in Masaya which is just West of Managua which is the capital. It is a very Rural community and are nonconservative. So that means that I get to wear whatever I want. A lot of the girls are going to live in communities where they have to wear long skirts everyday and shirts that cover their shoulders. I can wear tank tops or whatever which is nice. I will probably have a outhouse for a bathroom and most likely be bathing in a river or a bucket bath.

I am packed in backpack, I am only taking my chacos to wear the whole two weeks, and no other shoes. I am very proud of this.

Please pray for me!! It will be a great experience, but I am sure it will be hard living in the poverty and making the situation so personal for me.

I´ll be sure to write a update when I get back.

Monday, February 11, 2008

27 Bodas and a Facial

Yesterday I went and saw a movie with some of my friends. We went and saw 27 Dresses or 27 Weddings, I am not sure what it is in English. It was a very cute little movie and for a couple of hours made me forget about the world I live in. I was completely consumed by the cute little movie and then as soon as it was over I was almost in Shock that I wasn´t going home to my house in the states. I could not believe that I was surrounded by Costa Rican and that I was going to have to speak Spanish as soon as I stood up.
It was not smart to go see a chick-flick when I am so far away from Chris and still won´t see him for about 2 months. I probably won´t go see another movie while I am in Costa Rica, it was kind of hard on my emotions. It is funny how little things can be so difficult.

The other interesting thing I did this weekend was have a mother daughter day on Saturday. My mom and I went for a walk-run in the morning. Then we went and got out nails done together. My nails are painted with a french tip and designs on them and it only cost $8. After that is when things got interesting. My mom and I went to do some kind of deep cleaning thing on our faces, I was completely unprepared for that and didn´t know what I was getting myself into. So it ended up being a medical type place where I got basically a full body massage and face cleaning. I really have no idea what they did to my face, but I know it is a cleaning that you supposively only need every 3 months. I can´t even explained what they did, but I can describe some of the individual things, I have a heat lamp on my face, heat fan, electric shock thing, ultra sound treatment, lots and lots of different products to clean my skin. The worst part was at one point it felt like the lady was trying to pop every pore on my nose, I seriously have no idea what she was doing, but it hurt!!
that was one of those experience when I was laying there trying to figure out why I got myself into that situation and I was hoping that it would it soon. So I guess my face is a lot cleaner. Too bad I don´t know the vocabulary that has to do with electric shocking my face, so I really have no idea what the purpose of that was.
At least know I know that if somebody asked me if I want to go clean my face that I need to say NO!!!!

Overall it was another good weekend. I am thankful that I have been having such a fun and interesting time here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

She didn´t just like it, she loved it...

Yesterday my friend Danna and I decided to go to Pop´s to get some ice cream in between bus stops on the way to class. We walked over and ordered ice cream from Pop´s which is probably my favorite place ever, It is delicious!!

I ordered a frozen coffee milkshake drink and Danna ordered an ice cream cone dipped in chocolate and peanuts. While we were waiting for our ice cream she pulled out a bunch of change and said something about having so many little cones. She looked around the corner without saying anything and dumped it in this little man´s bucket. He was a little old man probably around 60 and less than 5 feet tall. He had a itty bitty guitar that he was trying to play in hopes of getting money. He has down snydrome and looked pathetic.

After she drop her coins in his bucket he looked in his bucket and stood up and came after her and shook her hand. He introduced himself in his little mumbled voice and said thank you. he then pulled her closer and gave her a big hug and a huge gross slobbery kiss on the cheek. Eww!! He left this big wet spot on her cheek. He probably hadn´t showered in weeks, months, who knows.

You know what she said, she said she loved it!! She said she would take one of those slobbery kisses anyday. She said that Jesus wouldn´t have thought twice about embracing a little homeless man. That is the truth. So many people are willing to give a little money but don´t want to touch the dirty little handicapped homeless people, but that is what she wanted. That was the part that was important to her.

Mi Horario

My Schedule:

Through February 15th - I am still taking Grammar classes and having conferences in my large group. February 15th will be my last day of Grammar and Conversation classes at ILE (which are 3+ hours a day)

February 18th - February 29 - I will be living in Nicaragua. We have the options to live in a urban, rural, or very rural setting. I am going to live Very Rural. I will get to experience poverty like nothing I have ever seen. Nicaragua has about 65 % living below the poverty line and about 45% of the population is homeless. It should be an experiance. We are only allowed to take a backpack of stuff for the 11 days, so I will pretty much be wearing the same thing everyday.

March 1 - 13 - Will be my last two weeks of converences in a large group. The 13 we will have big group presentations and be done. For those two weeks I think I only have class on Tuesday and Thursday and I have the rest of the week off.

March 13- March 24th - My mom and sisters are coming to visit me!! I am very excited!! I am going to plan trips for us to go on both weekends. Both of the weekends are long week ends and I won´t have classes. I am hopeful that we will be able to go to the beach and do a canopy tour (zipline) in a tropical rainforest the first weekend. And then the second weekend I want to take them to see a volcano and do some other fun things.

March 17-19 - In the mornings while my family is here I will have some classes. They should be very long or indepth. This will be an introduction into my concentration which is language and literature.

March 24- April 11- I will be taking classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we will have literature classes and grammar classes. All of if will be in Spanish. On Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays we will be split up into small groups and be doing volunteer work for 4-7 hours a day. I am going to be working with underprivilaged children in some type of setting, but I don´t know what that will be. There are a lot of different opportunities.

April 12 - April 20 - I will be in Panama living in a indigenous tribe. I am not sure what that will be like, but that should be a pretty awesome experience.

April 20 - I think my group is flying to guatemala and meeting all the other groups there. I think we will spend a day or two there and then fly back to Miami either on the 22 or 23. April 24th - I am flying back to Indy and I think I will get there around 2:00.

That is all. I feel like I am going to be home in no time. I have already been here for about a month and time just keeps flying. I am going to be doing a lot of really awesome things in the next few months, it should be a great experience. I only have 2 1/2 months left down here.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Weekend in Limon

Friday - We left LASP headquarters around 9 for Limon. Along the way we stopped at a coffee plantation- I had no idea what coffee looked like on the plant. They are just little berries that have to be picked by hand. Then we stopped at a pineapple farm - I was very impressed with how huge those plants were. The we stopped at a banana plantation - It was a DelMonte one, we got to see all the plants and the processing that the bananas go through. Bananas do not grow on trees, they are just large plants. Then we went to the biggest port in Costa Rica. Costa Rica exports a ton of stuff through this one port in Limon. It was huge and beautiful!!

A little history about Limon - Most of the people there have migrated there from Jamaica, so it is a really cool atmosphere, but also very dangerous. Most of the people speak English, but are now being taught Spanish in the schools. It is the poorest city in Costa Rica and the most dangerous. Poverty is a huge problem there, the streets are filled with poverty. This is all kind of Ironic because Limon has the biggest Port of exports and imports for all of Costa Rica, yet is still horribly poor. It just doesn´t make sense.

Friday night we went around in groups and talked to the people about poverty, it was really interested to hear their own perspective. We heard all kinds of different answers about why poverty is such a big problem and how it compares to the rest of the Latin American Countries. My group talked to this one guy names Franklin. He said he was a street child and never had any parents. He took car of himself and never got caught up in drugs or alcohol, he respected his body. He is 50 years old and doing fine. Although he has had a hard time, he seems to be enjoying himself.

Saturday we went to the beach!! The water was warm, it was beautiful!! The waves were huge and a lot of fun. I could not believe how strong they were. Saturday evening we ate dinner with the Methodist youth group of Limon and had a band come. The band played salsa type music and we all learned how to salsa. The youth were really good about teaching us. It was so much fun!! It was dancing in its perfect environment. I had a blast!! I think a group of us are going to go out Thursday night to go dancing again - yah!!!

Sunday after church we were heading back to San Jose. We left around 130 with a tree hour drive mas o menos. Mas o Menos means more or less and the Ticos say it all the time. It means really they have no idea how long it will take. So we ended up sitting in traffic stopped for several hours. It was right before we got into the mountains. We heard that there was a car accident and someone died so they had to wait for either a judge or somebody important to pronouce him dead at the scene. So we all were out of the vans just hanging out and we thought about taking another route so we turned around and then found out that the other road had a car accident. so we got right back into the line of traffic and just sat there. And then a little while later we heard that there was a landslide, so there was no way that we were getting through on that road. While sitting there we had a GPS thing that said we were 20 miles away from San Jose, but that was distance between the two points, it was much longer by road because it was through the mountains. So then we turned around and took the backroads. It was kind of scary. There was a point that it was so foggy we couldn´t even see the road. I finally got home at 1130. It was 10 hours worth of traveling for a mas o menos 3 hour drive.

We really enjoyed ourselves, it was a really good bonding time. We played a whole bunch of silly games and had some really good conversations. We were all kind of hoping that we would get stuck in Limon and have to spend the night in the vans, it would have made the story a little more interesting.

It was a great weekend and a lot of fun. They said that is was a good introduction into the Costa Rican life, you never know what is going to happen.