Archive for the 'Life' Category

Dos semanas en imágenes

The Loux's, Tico style...

March 5th sunset

The road to Playa Conchal

Playa Conchal

Scarlet macaws on the side of the road

On the side of the highway...


MEM on our porch in Manuel Antonio

Mi madre y me at dinner in Brasilto

Mas o Menos

After a few hectic weeks, things finally seem to be settling down here. I’ll be leaving at the end of February, in short, to make the most of my time in this country. While I love my students, there are so few of them, and I spend so few hours of my day with them, that I’ve decided two months is enough. My time traveling sans responsibilities will soon expire, and before I know it the “real” world of rents and jobs and teeth cleanings will be calling my name. But in the meantime, I want to live, and learn and contribute as much as I can.

At the end of February I’ll be meeting my parents and Meagan for a week at the, from what I hear, beautiful assembly of the jungle and ocean called Manuel Antonio. After that I’ll head north to work on an organic farm for a few weeks, fully embracing my Sussex County and sheep-showing little girl roots.  But that’s to come.

Right now, I’m in San Gerardo. After finishing up my last class for the week today, I’ll get on the school bus tomorrow morning to see the coast for the first time since I arrived, over a month ago. The extent of my Costa Rican experience this time around has been the not-so-lovely city of San Jose; San Isisdro, which is what the locals refer to as “the city”, and what I equate with downtown Newton, New Jersey, minus the ominous Wal-Marts and Home Depots; and here. That’s it. And I am craving, salivating over even, a change of scenery. I am quite looking forward to the opportunity to talk with people past 9 in the evening, and being in a place where you don’t have to feel awkward for having a glass of wine with dinner.

Maria and I house-sat for Jenny for a few days last week. It was the first time since I moved from San Francisco in November that I had a house and kitchen to myself. Almost like my own apartment, which will seem like heaven on Earth when I return. It’s all about the little things ATM… I did get a few hot showers and got to cook my own dinner – lovely. And I think the best night I had here was on Monday evening, when I talked to an old friend for hours on the house’s front porch, the moon overhead through the sprawling jungle trees; took a scalding hot shower; and fell asleep with a glass of wine next to my bed and a book in my lap. While the river roared outside. The doors to the balcony open wide to let the river in and the surround-sound of chirping birds with the sunrise. Like one of those nature sound alarm clocks. So nice.

I am beginning to love the food at the hotel where I’m staying. Yami, my host mom, manages to make things that are consistently super healthy and delicious. My aversion to beans is now a thing of the past, which is good considering I typically eat them twice daily.  They’re definitely the best I’ve ever had, and I managed to find out Yami’s secret for making such a simple thing. Lots of garlic….right from the start. Otherwise it’s lots of rice, lots of veggies, a tiny piece of fish once in a while, and fruits for breakfast. Fresh from the farm. Papaya, cantaloupe, pineapples, bananas, and sweet lemons. Lizano and the spicy pepper sauce are a new addiction.

¡Hasta luego!

Felicitaciones, Adrian y Jenny!

This past Saturday Adrian and Jenny got married.  Adrian is the son of Francisco and Yami, my host parents. The wedding was in the salon here in San Gerardo, which also acts as the exercise class room, our school, and anything the community generally needs a place for.

The house has been full of their six kids plus husbands and wives and kids and aunts and uncle and the list goes on. Craziness, so not much quiet time here. Marla, one of  the other daughters who also teachers computer classes through the Project, made the wedding dress and the dresses for the little girls. They were beautiful, and easily could have been been sold for hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the States. Add to that flower arrangments, decorations, food presentation and table settings and it was a true do-it-yourself celebration. And for do-it-yourself, it was beautiful.

We spent all Saturday morning blowing up white balloons for the trellace that we made as the couple entered the salon. I ended up making the centerpieces for the table – two white lillies, daisies and some greenery seemingly bursting out of delicate white netting and brown ribbon. The food was prepared by us the night before in bulk. Meat, rice, sauce, salad, and 300 individual plastice cups of jello mixed with cream…accomplished assembly line-style in the hotel kitchen.

It turned out they didnt have a photographer, so I got to do the official honors for the night. It was lots of fun and I felt good having something to give back to this family since theyve taken such good care of me.

Most of the customs were very similar to a traditional American Catholic wedding, except for one part where the bride and groom danced together and then people pinned money to their clothes to dance with them. By the end Jennys dress was covered in colones…somehow i could never see an American bride sticking her ridiculous $10,000 dress with safety pins.

What struck me most about the whole ordeal, including the week leading up to it with various family members at the house, helping in whatever ways their talents or drive to pitch in allowed, was what it meant for the finnished product. The smiles of appreciation for all the long hours of hard work actually meant something. They werent directed toward some stranger with the title of wedding planner whose only investment in the events success is her next paycheck, nor the brides parents who have sacraficed their life savings on a mere 6 hours. Instead  they went to family and friends, who all devoted countless hours of hard work, so the end result was a little piece of everyone.  Money is one thing, but it cant buy you heart.

Sitting in a park in Paris, France…

I’ve promised myself and quite a few people that I’d be diligent about updatingmy blog, especially given all the travelling I have coming up! Immeadiately after the New Year I’ll be on a plane to San Jose, the capital on Costa Rica. I’ll make a four hour trek way up into the mountains to the tiny (350 people tiny) town of San Gerardo de Rivas, where I’ll spend the next three months teaching English.  I’ll also be staying with a host family, which I’m super excited about to really immerse myself  in the culture and the language.

In the meantime, I’ve had lots of memorable days in SF the Bay Area, in between packing things up and planning for the next few months. My dad, Shiraz and I will be driving across the country in less than 2 weeks 😦

I’ve been going through lots of pictures and trinkets lately, which have resurrected a host of memories, so here’s a little tribute to you, my California nostalgia:

Bday in Santa Cruz 08 209

My b'day in Santa Cruz 2 years ago. Notice Jonas and Julie trying to distract from Maggie's lovliness.

Parents Visit Spring 08 026

The 'rents on 17 Mile Drive.

Lake Tahoe July 2007 015

The top of Mount Rose (American Teen Princess!!)

CAin08 175

Seanny and Jonas, spreading Firefox at Emerald Bay.

2009 160

NLx2 in Big Sur, Easter 2009

Mt Diablo 022

Meagan and I hiked Mount Diablo last weekend.

CAin08 239

The chickas at Outside Lands 2008.

Lassen National Park 07 029

Lassen National Park

SF! 001

Derelique and me heading to our first Bootie


The kids from NJ, all the way in Napa.