Monday, September 29, 2008

Beginning the Week

Well, the day has finally passed.  I have been in Costa Rica for more than a month now because I left home on August 28th.  It is hard to tell how long a month has really been.  Sometimes, the days feel short, others long.  Similarly, the weeks can be long and short, depending upon the activity and my state of mind.  

This weekend, we went on the first Environmental Science field trip with the professor and a TA from UCR.  The TA was named Olivia.  She is a Master's student from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  She was so nice, so cool and just overall a blast.  She really has so much knowledge too.  I really learned a lot from her.  She is a very eclectic person because she could really talk about anything with anyone.  Really someone to look up to.

As far as the trip itself, it was short but fun.  We stayed hotelish rooms but it was really just cabins at the nature center thing that we stayed at.  We were right on the edge of a rainforest. We really spent most of our time there going on hikes, looking at bugs, looking for animals, and my favorite part, wading in the river getting samples of organisms.  

Perhaps the best part of the hike was seeing all the monkeys in the trees.  They however, did not like us.  They ended up spitting, throwing their food, and one even through a coconut size nut at us.  It felt like we were under artillery fire! So much fun, though

We saw tremendous wildlife.  We also heard a really interesting lecture about bats from an expert.  We even got to touch some bats that they had for research (don't worry, we let them go)

Great trip.

Tomorrow, I am going to a conference with Memo, where he will present all of my research that I have been doing for him.  Exciting stuff!

Juanes on Thursday!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


As I said in my last post, I really like Tuesday.  Today is a Tuesday!  That means it had to be a good day, and it was!

This morning was not as nice as yesterday, but it was still nice and warm.  By 12 noon, though, the cool had swooped in.  It really felt like a fall afternoon.  I found it interesting that it coincided with the Autumnal Equinox.

I was given my assignment for my Spanish oral quiz thing on Thursday.  I need to talk for about 10 minutes about my life, at home, at Elon, in Costa Rica, things I like, don't like etc.  So, I am going to write it out, then talk to Toni and Laura to practice.

Today in my GST we did this really cool activity on perspective.  It felt like field trip because we went upstairs to Anthony's office where he set up Google Earth.  We traveled all around the world and to our houses.  Even from say, 3 miles up, things look very different.  Nothing is vivid.  From 10 miles up, it is a whole different story.  If you did not know any better, you wouldn't know that there were buildings, neighborhoods, and actual lives down there, both human and non human.  You can see how it is really easy to get wrapped up into our lives and not realize how big the rest of the world really is.  The same thing is happening all around the world, all the time.  Really, really cool.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Nearly A Month!

I was talking to Kim last night on Skype when she was like, "Scott, you've almost been gone for a whole month."  At first I didn't think much of it, but now, just a day later, I'm thinking, "woah, that's a long time.  Of course, in the grand scheme of life, I know it hasn't been but a blip on the radar.  However, in the course of my Costa Rican life, it has been nearly a third of my experience. That is an  interesting thought.  I don't know how to react to it to be honest.

In my last post, I talked about a routine.  Well, based on my experiences in internships and in college, I've learned that it takes about a month to get into the real routine.  You get used to things after about 2 weeks, but after a month, everything has repeated at least once.  So, in my routine, I've learned that I love Tuesdays.  I have this nice break during my day where I can basically do whatever I want!  It is great!  I write letters, read, relax and do all of those things that I have been meaning to do...that and run errands.

Last weekend, we went to Monteverde.  It is in the mountains, near the Pacific Coast, specifically, Nicoya Bay.  When we arrived, we could see all the way out to the other penninsula.  The highlight of the trip was by far the ziplining and canopy tour on Sunday.  We got harnessed up and then took a gondola all the way up a mountain.  We then had to climb a tower just to go on the first zip across the ridge.  We kept on going higher, faster and longer on each successive zip.  There is nothing like that feeling.  You really felt like you were flying.  Pure exhilaration and fear, at first.  By the end, you just wanted to enjoy the time floating through the air.  In terms of the canopy tour.  It really must be something to live in and on the tops of trees.  To stand up in the air and really feel nature around you is quite an experience.

I'm enjoying my internship a lot.  It is interesting because it is like any government job in the U.S.  I like that fact, in a weird way.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Just Living

It seems that we are really getting into a regular routine down here.  It is nice to get a sense of normalcy after the craziness of our first two weeks here.  It was just kinda of ridiculous to move to a new country, get a new family, start thinking and speaking in spanish as well as getting robbed and considering going back home.

Normalcy is good in CR.  

I am really liking my situation here.  My classes are actually really interesting.  The people, well, except one are really great to be around.  

I eat like a king down here.  That is pretty cool, too.  I dont have to make anything, instead, I get a fresh meal for breakfast and dinner!

We are going to some beach this weekend.  It looks like we are traveling almost every weekend.  Honestly, the girls did the planning, I'm just along for the ride.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

First Update from Costa Rica

First of all, let me apologize for not updating my adventures here.  As you will find out, it has really been a whirlwind couple of days here.

I love my Tico family.  I live with a wonderful woman named Toni Lopez, her daughter Laura and her 23 year old son Daniel.  They are just so nice and really wonderful people.  I love living with them.  They are the ones that I practice my spanish with, but also learn more about myself.  I love spending my nights around the kitchen table with them.  We even watch Latin American Idol!  I can't believe my love for David Cook has brought me all the way down here for more Idol!

We have spent weekends at Poas Volcano, La Paz Waterfall, Manuel Antonio National Park and The Karahe Hotel and beach.  These trips have been nothing short of amazing.  We were able to see nature at its finest.  It is so cool to see how the people down here really revere nature.  There is just so much to see and so much to behold in nature.  I am finding that I love being outside more and more.  I just want to see and really feel all of my senses at work.  I think that is part of my class working on me, too.

I love my friends here.  I am the only guy, but it works out fine.  The girls are just wonderful people that I can learn with, have great conversations with, but also laugh and play with.

So, here is the big story.  Last week, we were robbed at gunpoint by 3 men in our neighborhood.  They took our cash, backpacks, cameras, ipods, credit cards, etc.  I was lucky and only lost my bag and some cash.  The girls werent so lucky.  We were walking home at dusk in our neighborhood.  It is really scary to have a gun in your face, knowing that if he slips or you make a wrong move, you could be dead.  

For a long time, we thought about leaving.  We still don't feel safe.  We still want Ticos that we trust with us all the time, etc.  However, I think we need to stay.  Maybe it is divine intervention, but I just think that it is the right thing to do.

Classes are great.  My professors are fun, but provocative.  My spanish is fast improving because I have a one on one with my spanish teacher.  His name is Dionisio.  Really a great guy, only 25 years old, too!

The people at my internship are wonderful as well.  I don't know what I'll be doing there because I havent done much yet.  Actually I went once, but all I did was read their annual report in spanish!

More to come some other time...Best

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Post!

Hey everyone, this is my first ever blog post!  I leave on thursday!  See you there!