June 27, 2010

Stormy Sunday

I've always loved Sundays. There is nothing quite like coming home from a great church service and spending the rest of the day relaxing in my sweats. But today is an even better Sunday than usual because there is a storm brewing right outside my window. As much as I love the sunshine, I can't deny my affection for stormy days. Since I've been back, I am thankful to have been able to enjoy family, friends, and the outdoors almost daily. But needless to say, I don't mind being stuck indoors once in a while accompanied by a good book, soft music, my journal, and a delicious cup of coffee. But before I get to all of that, here's a bit of what I've been up to...

Haley and I spent a few hours soaking up the sun at Lake Michigan a couple Fridays ago:

One of my best friends, Allison, turned 20 on June 19th! It was nice having some girl time to celebrate! Oh, and let's not forget our combined efforts towards a delicious birthday dinner:

After studying abroad in Paris for an entire semester, we were all excited to see George for a couple days! Sadly, not many pictures were taken, but as usual, George brought out our crazy sides:

After a trips to T.J Maxx, the Salvation Army, Goodwill, Old Navy, and the Mulham Craft Show, I've made some pretty exciting purchases! The cute storage box, pillow, "El Producto" pencil box, mason jars, coffee cup, and mrs. butterworth vase will make excellent additions to my dorm room. The much needed pair of sunglasses were a wonderful find and we've been inseparable ever since. And how could I pass up metallic gold sandals? Thanks to my Mom I can be stylish with my new tank top and romper, work out comfortably with my new workout tank and shorts, be pain free with a flower printed rice bag, and have pretty nails and feet with a glass manicure/ pedicure set that I highly suggest everyone purchase:

June 16, 2010

Running Machine

As always, one of my summer goals is to get into the habit of running. I have ran twice this week and both times were painful, in a good way. My run today was actually pretty perfect. There was a nice breeze the entire 2 miles, and I am pleased with my new "running machine" playlist which includes...

1. Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap
2. You Make My Dreams by Hall & Oates
3. God's Not Listening by Mosquito Fleet
4. What Matters More by Derek Webb
5. Viva La Vida by Coldplay
6. Wake Up by Acrade Fire
7. Times Are Changing by Mosquito Fleet
8. Oh Indiana by Mosquito Fleet

This summer I also want to read one book every week. Although I've already read Passion & Purity, I started reading it again because it's just THAT good. I have a lot of reading to do if I want to finish it by Monday, but South Haven with the family on Friday should help with that.

Read it. You won't be sorry.

Having a productive summer without having a job is going to be easier than I thought. I have tons of work to do for my internship credit, I need to find Forensics pieces, and I also need to find volunteer opportunities every week. Not making any money stinks (I'm still keeping an eye out for babysitting jobs), but I'm excited to see the plans God has for me during the rest of my summer!

June 15, 2010

Mosquito Fleet

I have decided that Mosquito Fleet is the perfect band all around.

They are perfect for road trips.

They are perfect for plane rides.

They are perfect for early morning and late night runs.

They are perfect for cleaning.

They are perfect for just about anything.

June 13, 2010

COSTA RICA (week 5)

Updating on my last week in Costa Rica from my house is so strange.

Most of the last week was spent working on projects and studying for tests. By Wednesday I needed to finish an e-mail, a paper, a resume, and a cover letter. I also had a test on Wednesday that I needed to study for. Thursday I had a final project due, and Friday I had an oral exam and an "album of errors" due. But despite all the work, I managed to have some fun during the week, too.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010:

There wasn't a cultural activity this week, so originally I was going to go white water rafting, which would have been awesome, but I couldn't afford to be gone all day because I had so much work to get done. So instead I went on a "café Britt" coffee tour with a few of my friends. Café Britt is like the Starbucks of Costa Rica except better! The tour was really awesome and our actors/tour guides were hilarious. We learned all about how the coffee was made, and at the end we got to sample all of their coffees and chocolate. Everything was so delicious, and I definitely didn't leave empty handed! I bought a bag of their "Tarrazu" coffee, dark chocolate coffee beans, and little bags of coffee for friends and family!

Tour guides!

Yay for coffee samples!

The group minus Emily, who refused to take a picture with our "creepy friends"

Café Britt!

Thursday, June 10, 2010:

After class on Thursday I could breathe easy because I was finally done with all my work, and I was excited to get together with the group one last time. ISA organized a dinner for all of the summer session 1 students. The buffet was delicious and the view of San Jose was incredible! The way the entire city was lit up was beautiful. It was such a wonderful way to say goodbye to everyone!

Before we stuffed our faces!

Our entertainment for the night!

San Jose at night!

Friday, June 11, 2010:

What a surreal day for me! I couldn't believe it was my last day in a place that had become so familiar. The 5 weeks I spent in Costa Rica were a roller coaster, but I am so happy I decided to take advantage of such a memorable experience!

For the last day of oral and written expression, our professor took us all to the market and then to the University of Costa Rica. I had already been to the market, but it was still fun being able to talk to Ticos and look around. The University of Costa Rica was also really cool to see. It was a lot bigger than ULACIT and felt more like a university.

I didn't end up getting back until around 3:30, which gave Kate and I just enough time to do some last minute shopping at a market close by and a market in central San Jose. By the time we got to the center it was pouring, and my bad luck with rain continued! Crossing the street in San Jose is always dangerous because the cars and buses don't stop for pedestrians, so as I stepped off the curb to make a run for it, one of my sandals fell off into the deep puddle of water by the curb. There I was standing with one foot off the ground in the center of San Jose as a group of Ticos laughed at me as I struggled to find my shoe in the water. Eventually a nice Tico stuck his hand in the water and finally found my missing shoe. All that being said, I was super embarrassed. Haha.

Once Kate and I got home we enjoyed our last few hours with the family and packed. I had to be picked up at 3:15 the next morning, and I was happy when my Tico parents woke up to see me off. They even made me coffee! I was so sad to say goodbye to them, and I genuinely hope I will get to see them again someday. As the other students and I drove to the airport I couldn't believe I was heading home!

Oral and Written Expression/Phonetics

I will miss my ISA directors!

Kate and I with our AMAZING parents!

Some other pictures I've been meaning to post....

Teatro Nacional!

View from my bus stop to school!

ISA office!

Courtyard of ULACIT!

"El reloj" aka how we took/gave directions!

View from the bus stop from school!

After having time to reflect on my trip, I realize how blessed I am to have been able to experience a different culture and get to know amazing people from different states and different parts of the world. I am truly thankful for everything God has shown me through studying abroad. I have learned so much about myself and so much about the world God has created. I will never forget Costa Rica, and Costa Rica will always have a little piece of my heart.

Until next time Costa Rica....


June 9, 2010

COSTA RICA (week 4)

It's hard to believe the next time I blog I'll be back in the states! Sadly, making the most of my short time here has been difficult. They don't call it studying abroad for nothing, and week four was proof of that. But I do have a few things worth mentioning.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010:

For our final cultural activity everyone headed to the main ISA office to learn a thing or two about Latin dancing. Little did we know we would be sweating bullets by the end of the lesson. The instructor was intense! All those dance camps in high school definitely paid off because I managed to keep up with her the whole hour. I can't say I remember anything I learned, but it was actually a really fun activity.

Workin it!

Thursday, June 3, 2010:

Other than hamburgers the only other food I've been craving since I've been here is pizza, so I was beyond excited when we celebrated my Tica sister's birthday with pizza, pop, and cake! The pizza tasted great in a weird way...there is nothing quite like Pizza in the states, I suppose. Unfortunately, I had to eat and run because, like I said, homework has ruined my life these last 2 weeks!


Friday, June 4, 2010 - Sunday, June 6, 2010:

After a busy week, a trip to Puerto Viejo was exactly what I needed. I slept almost the whole bus ride and was there before I knew it! When we arrived at "La Costa de Papito" I was excited to see the bungalow we'd be staying in for the weekend, and I wasn't disappointed. Despite not having any air conditioning, staying in the bungalow was really cool. Kate and I decided to take advantage of our first night and went into the small, yet lively, town to grab a snack and explore.

The bungalow!

That mosquito net was greatly appreciated!


The next morning we had an amazing breakfast at the hotel and then went to a beach about 15 minutes away that was more secluded. Even though it was supposed to be nicer than the beach close to where we were staying, I didn't enjoy it as much. Nonetheless, it was nice getting to go to two different beaches! When we got back from beach #1 Kate and I were on the hunt for cheap bikes to rent for the next two days. After much searching and buying an awesome chocolate milkshake from a french man, we finally found bikes. We spent the day swimming, riding the bikes, and browsing the shops, and for dinner most of the group went to "Chile Rojo" for their "Mexican Fiesta Night." The food was great, and it was nice having the whole group together! The bike ride back to the bungalow was quite the adventure as we biked down the gravel roads in the pitch black. We made it safely, though, and were ready to sleep soon after.

Beach #1!


LOVE the basket!

Beach #2

I'm pretty bummed because the next morning I was planning on taking more pictures of the beach and town, but a huge storm hit Puerto Viejo. As cool as it was hearing some of the loudest thunder I've heard in my life during the night, it was disappointing waking up to more rain. Instead of enjoying our last few hours in Puerto Viejo, we were stuck inside until checkout. But even with all the rain, Kate and I still ended up making memories. First of all, the porch steps were incredibly slippery, and my clumsy self and slippery steps don't mix. I wiped out right before we loaded the bus, and I have a bruise to prove it. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, so I did both! But our bad luck with the rain didn't stop there. Our bus driver was nice enough to let us load our bikes in the bus so we wouldn't have to return them in the rain, but somehow we missed the rental place and ended up having to ride our bikes to find it. Needless to say, the first half of the bus ride was spent soaking wet. At least it made for an interesting Sunday!

Que linda!

Living in Costa Rica has been such an experience, and it's crazy to think my time here is coming to a close. I know God has something planned for me back in the states, but I am so thankful for everything He blessed me with while I was here.

Thanks for everything, Costa Rica.