Orosi, Orosi, Orosi

We passed a crazy bus/trunk thing on our way into town but I sorta ignored it. I was a little upset and didn’t really care about a bunch of crazy guys in the back of pickup jumping and going crazy. Well little did I know that these boys would soon follow us home. Or actually we beat them to their home. We, Sarah, Meryl, Rachael, and I, figured out that that was the Orosi under 17 professional soccer team on their way back from a silver medal placement in a their first tournament. Everyone was gather on the street between the plaza and the church, waiting to welcome their boys home. And boy, what a welcome it was. They were still on the back of that truck jumping a cheering. It seemed as if the whole town was there. The pulled up and the people surrounded the truck. There was music and cheering and showing off of medals. It was so beautiful. Everyone was so proud, even me, a temporary Orosian. Finally we walked away, letting the real fans enjoy the big win. And as we four girls were walking away from big party someone said “Now that was the perfect ending to a perfect weekend.” I think that someone was me.

Pura Vida!

Did you hear? Stacey was mugged by a monkey!

Next morning we got up bright and early to go snorkeling. We walked down the road to a little rundown building and sat on a bench for a short talk about snorkeling. The man said hello and here is Rule #1: “No Sunscreen. It gives you cancer and then you give that cancer to the coral.” Awesome. He has no problem saying that because he’s African! No sunscreen needed there. I, on the other hand, am white. I have a red back and red butt to prove it. Also…sunscreen gives you cancer? Hmmm… not sure where he gets his facts from.

Anyways, we took a big boat out into the Caribbean and parked it for some fish gazing. I take my dress off, put my flippers on, grabbed my mask, and I’m good to go. I sit down to take the jump and… Oh wait! I’m terrified of the open ocean! And I start to panic. And maybe I tear up. And maybe I think of just hanging out on the boat. But then I hear my sister and brother and mother and father and boyfriend and all the other people who always seem to be super brave are in my head saying, “Really, Amy? JUMP IN! It’s the frickin’ Caribbean!” So I went. Thanks guys.

I saw a lot of really beautiful fish, a “seaworm”, and a sting ray! Hey, I’ve got a tough question for all of you smarty pants or nature freaks out there… Do sting rays fly? The answer is: HELL FRICKIN’ YES! We were just finishing up our last snorkeling stop and were waiting to climb (super gracefully in my case, of course) on to the boat. I was watching turned facing the open waters taking in the vastness of the ocean and BAM! Sting ray! That thing leapt out of the water and splash landed back down. I was the ONLY person watching dead on, though others caught glimpses form the side. The guide in the water turned to me and said, “That was really special that you saw that.” I had no idea they could do that! Very cool.

So the boat parks at this little tiny beach where a bunch of families are enjoying a nice afternoon. He hands us a couple plates of fresh pineapple and watermelon. Then he sends us on our way to the trail through Cahuita National Park with only one rule again This guy has very few rules but when he gives them they seem to be kinda wack. Yes. I said wack. Rule # 2: “Don’t feed the monkeys.” How about don’t bring food at all down the trail? Stacey had to learn this lesson the hard way. When walking down the path you realize where the monkeys are because there is usually a group of people ahead of you stopped to take pictures. “How exciting!!” I think to myself. “I’ve spotted a few monkeys in the trees so far but maybe these ones will be close enough to take good pictures of!” Ask Stacey how close those monkeys actually get! Cause she was going around doing the good deed of taking pictures of us standing in front the trees with the monkeys in the background. I got one. The monkey is a safe distance away, just the way I wanted it. Those monkeys were not afraid of us… or really anything for that matter. Stacey was setting up a picture of a few volunteers next to a monkey and her baby in the tree. And like any good scam the monkeys put on a cute show while mayhem was about to break lose. “Okay guys, that’s a good shot, one…two…thrAAAAGHHHH!” MY WORST FEARS HAVE NOW COME TRUE!! A monkey came out of the tree and attacked her!! It CLIMBED up her leg. She has scratches to prove it. It clutched on to her bag, at which time to start flinging herself around while everyone screamed different commons or expletives. “Holy S**t!” “Run!” “Drop the bag!” “OMG! “The monkey has got her!” And you thought I was over reacting to the death monkeys outside my window! They do come after you! She manages to wiggle the bag off her shoulder but does drop her camera too. Haha Stacey recalls as she was contemplating what to do in those split seconds during the attack she noticed a monkey on the group looking up at her baring its teeth in an attempt to say, “Drop the bag lady or your friends get it!” Haha I love that description. Well fortunately for her the monkey went for the bag, or more specifically the granola bar, and not her shiny camera. My buddy Sarah has video of it. He went right for that granola bar and ran into the tree…face all buried in the wrapper. We finally grabbed the bag and hightailed it out of there. We had a laugh about it a little bit later, after the shock wore off.

The rest of the walk was a little less eventful… and so was the rest of the day. We finished the walk, got our bags ready, and hopped on the bus. The ride was much more quiet on the way back. Everyone seem to coming down from the weekend high. Our drive passed slowly but that was okay. I was decompressing. I did get a little emotional at one point on the ride. Thankfully it was really dark. At one point the bus drove through Turriabla, my old site, and I started to cry. It looked like a place I wanted to be, not like a place to be fearful of. The volcano is smoking a lot and they have said the PH levels are high indicating lava starting to form. I know it is better to not worry all the time about an eruption but it still made me slightly homesick for a home I never even had. I pulled it together with the help of my friend Patty Griffin and made it make to Orosi in one piece.

When the night has come...

That evening, after returning from the beach, some of us penny pinchers decided it would be great to make sandwiches for dinner…which it was!! I had already bought a loaf of bread for my PB&Js (which were breakfast and lunch the next day) so I was on the right track. As a group we bought some more bread, American cheese, tomatoes, avocadoes, tuna, salsa, and chips. Let me tell you, there are a hundred different was to make tasty sandwiches with those ingredients. My sandwich has tomatoes, cheese, salsa, chips, and avocado. YUM-O! Oh and a 40oz of Imperial to top it all off!

After dinner we all went back to CoCo’s for the live band. They were great. It was like a big cliché, listening to live Caribbean music on the Caribbean, but we loved it. It was also a very special night because Stacey was celebrating her birthday. We asked the man upfront on the mic if he would sing happy birthday to her. And he agreed. So he calls her up to the front and starts to sing, “Stand by me” to her. However, he sang the same verse over and over again. We tried to help him out but “When the night has come…” is apparently his favorite verse. And that’s how the day ended. Very chill.

Puerto Viejo

We spent the first full day at beaches in Puerto Viejo. We took a bus about 35-40mins till we reached the little beach town. Puerto Viejo is a bigger and a bit touristy than Cahuita. We found ourselves a spot on the beach and that is pretty much where that story ends. But really, do you need more than that? A few of us took a long walk through the forest, which was beautiful, turned around and headed straight for our spot on the beach. Another short trip to a beachside restaurant with one other person for pina coladas and tex mex food. And then again back to the beach. I like this story cause it involves no scary animals and very little moving. The End.

If Death saw you struttin’ down the street…

What an amazing weekend! Lets start from the beginning. At 5pm, 23 of us, minus Katie (because of the stitches on her noggin) headed from Cahuita. It was a 4 ½ hour bus ride packed full of music, chatting, drinks, and the cliche back-row bus drunken make-out session. We all stumbled out of the bus, whether from exhaustion, motion sickness (moi!) or intoxication and headed to our rooms. I, along 9 others, were staying in a house, while the rest paired up in cabinas. In hindsight a cabina would have been the better arragement. The house was less than home-y. But for a place to sleep after days at the beach, it was just fine. As soon as we got settled the drunken caverly rallied the troops to head to a bar we passed coming in. We were on our way until someone yelled out, “Wait guys! Will can’t find his shoe.” Shoe? A huh, not shoes, shoe. He was walking around with one green crock on. So as good friends we searched around the house for it, no luck. Outside, maybe? Nope. AHA! In the bus?! A peek in the window revealed not likely. We concluded that it was possible that when he crawled over seats to get out of the bus for an “emergency!” pit stop, he lost it outside. We were a little too tired, and some of us a little too intoxicated to notice he returned one shoe lighter. Oh well! Were on vacation, right? So he was scooped up on someone’s back who was no more sober than he was, and carried to the bar. Party on, Wayne!

At the bar we drank a little bit, danced a bunch to the Reggaeton DJ, met some Americans, chased Shoeless Joe and his companion home around keeping them safe from themselves, and finally went to our home away from home.

I was so excited to get into that bed. It had been a very long week with Spanish classes in the morning and practicum in the afternoon. I needed some well-deserved sleeping in. So Catherine and I, both very tall girls, climbed into bed. We laughed a bunch as we tucked the sheets under dangling feet and our mosquito net under everything else in an attempt to protect ourselves from a mosquito attack (which, by the by, didn’t work!). Okay, all tucked in....now we’re ready…sleepy time…zzzzzzzz…


WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!? “Catherine, did you hear that?” No response. WAHHAAHAHHHAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!! What the heck WAS that??? WAWHHHAAAHAHHAAAAAAA. Oh god. There it goes again. It sounds closer this time. Okay, Amy, pull yourself together. It’s only 3 in the morning. You can go back to sleep, get a good 6 hours...WAAAAAAHHHHHHAAAHAAAAWAAHHA!!! OH GOD! I’M GONNA DIE! IT’S COMING FOR ME!!!...

Some how managed to block out what only can be described as Death’s cat -call. I have never heard anything more terrifying in my entire life. Haha It’s funny now but at the time I really thought that that was the end. So when everyone was up I asked “Did you hear that really crazy scary noise last night!? ““Oh yeah, those are howler monkeys. They live in the trees right outside the house. They even threw poop at the house last night. Come look.” Oh good. Not Death, just poop-throwin’ monkeys. Mystery Solved. Hehe

El Vergel

So there is a little change of plans. If you aren’t up on your Costa Rican breaking news, let me fill you in. The very morning before our group was set to leave, a volcano erupted. Which doesn’t sound like a big deal since Costa Rica has many active volcanoes. But actually it is a big deal because I was set to move to Turrialba... 20 or so miles south west of the now active Turrialba volcano. So close to it in fact that they said we wouldn’t even be able to see the volcano if it erupted.

Now there was a lot of discussion and debate over the move. It was probably a more difficult choice than the one to come here in the first place. We were given the option of stay in the Turrialba area and sign a waiver or agree to be placed in an area totally different, unknown to us at the decision-making period. Our director very strongly suggested moving but the four people in the Turrialba area, including myself, had grown to love everything about our placement sites. One student had already bought collars for her families dogs, another had plans already for Spanish classes in town, and my host mom was apparently the best host mom EVER. And on top of that, living where we were, we had the best of both worlds rural and big town. But Mother Nature has different plans. So now, with an open mind, an open heart, and a slightly bum foot, I am moving to… drum roll please… El Vergel!

Here is what I know: El Vergel is located between the Pan American Highway and the beautiful Rio Terraba in the southern region of Costa Rica. I have an AMAZING view from my classroom, which is a converted chicken coop. I plan on doing another fundraiser (or continuing to receive donations ;0) or using some of the money I’ve already raised to start working on a new classroom for my school. My host family is less than amazing but maybe after awhile I will get them out of their shells. I have lots of host brothers and sisters. I have access to a lot because of my closeness to the highway and I am about a 15 minute bus ride away from another volunteer named Will. Giving it time… It’s all about adjustment and flexibility.

Pura Vida


Well I´m finally here in Costa Rica. I have been for about days. Though it should have been 3. Let me state now that I can´t quite figure out this keyboard so no exclamation poins will be used but I assure you they are needed for this story. As a group, of very very nice people, we all go on a plane leaving Dallas for San Jose. On our decent into San Jose we hit some CRAZY wind. I mean absolutly catostophic ... there is also no spell check so ... i apologize. We went in for a landing and wooosh, right back up into the air. And then in for a second landing which also proved to be danergous. And so because pilots are not allowed to fly more than hours, right todd?, we needed to land. haha I´m rushing cause im borrowing a neighbors computer so this note isnt very fancy. haha anyways the pilot needed to land in Managua, Nicaragua. We were all given a hotel for 3 dinner and breakfast, though by the time we got there it was 12am. And me, being me, had a bit of a spill in the hotel trying to rememdy the situation where we had key cards for our door but the door only took actual keys haha. so while walking...literally only walking... I tripped and fell. Sory mom and dad I didnt say anything. Didnt want you to worry. I now have big scratches on my foot and knee and have a super swollen foot. Not to mention Im now ¨that girl who fell¨ Hopefully the swelling goes down. My host mom, who btw is the sweetest person on the whole planet, wanted to help me. SO she cleaned it off with BOILING HOT WATER...ouch... and patched me up with the neighbors gauze. Everyone here is so nice.. and surprisingly related. My host mom keeps telling me ¨my sister has this, come on ¨my brother has this, lets go¨ Anyways after the night of the ¨accident¨ we all finally made it to San Jose. After some charlas...or talks.. we made it to Orosi. And then we met the famlies. My host mom, like I said, is soooo sweet. SOOOO sweet. SHe talked to my mom and told her not to worry, I am her daughter now and she will take care of me. She is always calling me her ¨bebe¨ and giving me WAY too much food. hehe I love it. Really quick funny story, becky dont read, while sitting down for dinner at the table by myself, because its customary to let me eat first, a GIANT spider...I mean HUGEEEE spider came crawling along the wall in front of me. MY eyes bugged out and I couldnt move. Everyone looked at me..the crazy gringa, until the figured it out. Of course they are used to it. That wall is right next to the garden so that spider visits them frequently. Im talking fist sized spider... and not a tranatula. Well that broke the ice to say the least in a some what awkward situation. All my host brothers...there are 5 in total... were laughing at me. Finallly he scampered away..I screamed once more.. and then we were a family. ¨Mi sola hija. Solo las mujeres de las casa. Las reinas.¨ My host mother is loving another girl in the house. Especially one to talk about ¨¨ amor¨ with. Rob, i dont mena to embarass you but she talks about you ALL the time. She adores the fact that I have un novio. Everything is ¨roberto¨ The two dolphin stickers on my ceiling.. Roberto y Amelia... and it is AMelia now. No changing it. She evrn said, when we were on our scavanger hunt for class, when asked what ¨pura vida, the costa rican saying, meant to her, she annouched that ¨pura vida is the look of love I get in my eyes when I talk to Roberto on the phone¨ Oh. My. Godness. She adores me and its adorable. Embarssing but what are host mothers for? Everyone got a kick out of it when we read our responses in class. Lastl, before I go I want to annouce that I can understand and speak more spanish then I ever thought I could. I´m kinda good at this. When my hoat mom or host little brother, emmanuel aka my shadow, talks, I understand. Its kinda amazing. ANd thats it for now. Thanks for reading all the way through. I am off to la plaza to meet up with the group on our day off. Its been so great so far. Im actually really happy...go figure haha LOVE YOU ALL.