"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' "
Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, August 20, 2012

22 candles.

I have been here, there, and everywhere except my computer to write a blog post.  The simplicity of life here is so great.  It is such a change to be "unplugged" but a good one at that.  There are days that I don't turn my computer on at all, and I neglect my cell phone even more.  You can usually find me swinging in a hammock with my nose in my kindle.

I was on a mini staycation so blogging was not on my mind and when I returned I  neglected work, such as exam writing, to catch up on.  Two weeks ago I got the best birthday present ever, but I had to wait until 8 pm to pick it up from the bus station--nothing happens fast around here.  My momma, my poppa, and my tía Barbara came to visit me!

We had a blast. Or at least I did.  They didn't much care for the humidity and lack of air conditioning.  Now they know my new way of life, though.

I was thinking back to last year on my birthday I did something I had never imagined I would do:  I got my first tattoo!  That was so adventurous for me, but I didn't do anything daring this year.  Then I realized, HELLO!  Morgan you have taken a huge leap of faith and are living and working in in a foreign country!  Now if that doesn't rate high on the list of "craziest things Morgan has ever done," then I don't know what does.

throwback to 2011

We stayed in this beautiful house for the week while my family was here.  It was right on the ocean in Montezuma.  The house is a two-story with the bedrooms upstairs.  There ended up being a twin sized bed on the porch upstairs that I claimed.  Aside from the mosquitoes, it was so nice sleeping outside and having the sound of the ocean lull me to sleep.  ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz!  And the sunrise!  A written explanation can not do it justice.  I only got bit by one spider (YIKES!) and it wasn't even while I was sleeping outside.
Casa Sol, our home in Montezuma for the week

view from the house!

I got to show my parents and aunt some of my favorite places and spaces, and introduce them to typical Costa Rican cuisine.  They now know the little town that is the center of it all, my school, and the people and house that I've come to call my home away from home.

first found this rock last year; such a peaceful place to sit

I think what most surprised them was the trip getting here.  No, not the 2 hour 45 minute direct flight with airconditioning and snack.  It's the half-day journey to get down here to Cóbano.  Getting from the airport to the correct bus station in downtown San Jose, then taking the bus, the ferry, more bus, stopping in Cobano, unloading your luggage and switching busses to finally arrive in Montezuma.  Oh and then pulling the luggage up the hill on the unpaved road to finally arrive at the hotel.  No need to take a taxi when you have legs that work, right?!

I obviously don't live in the hotel, so I can cut the last part about getting to Montezuma out of my personal travel itinerary.  Nonetheless, it is quite a trek to get all the way down here in the Southern Nicoya peninsula.  I guess I should be a little proud of myself for having now done that trip two times by myself.  I kind of felt like a pro, making sure my family had their luggage off the bus and that we switched to the correct bus after we met in Cobano.  It does make things a whole bunch easier that I speak Spanish, too.

On my actual birthday I had to work, but it was so nice of the country of Costa Rica to make the day after my birthday a national holiday.  I really do appreciate it, Costa Rica.  My students sang to me in five different languages!  (I really don't know how they knew it was my birthday because I didn't tell them...)  When I woke up my host family stood outside my door and serenaded me with Cumpleaños Feliz and my host mom baked a tres leches cake, which was to die for!

My "sisters" and I with the yummy peach tres leches cake

This post is so out of order because it follows my train of thought!  Where was I?  August 2nd, I had the day off from school so we basically just spent the day in Cobano.  I gave them the grand tour that lasted all of 5 minutes.  Cobano is just soooo BIG. not.  But we saw iguanas just chilling.  It's funny how used to iguanas I am now.  Yea, that's an iguana running across the road.  Nonetheless it was fun to "play tourist" and whip out my camera.

To the left you see the center of town. That is the only four way intersection in these parts.  Do you see any traffic lights? Me either.

And to your right we have the local post office on the left half of the building and  police station on the right.

Then Thursday night we went downtown Montezuma for dinner and a movie at Sano Banano.  The closest movie theater is about 3 1/2 hours away, so you go to the restaurant  instead because they show a movie every night at 7.

belated-birthday dinner
Friday I had to work again and do some errands in town before heading back to Montezuma for the night.  Saturday I woke up outside and it was so bright I thought for sure it must be at least 10 am.  Nope, it was 6 something.  Why not get up and enjoy where we are at?!  We sipped our coffee, laced up our tennis shoes, and applied the sunblock and bug spray.  We headed to the cataratas.  (waterfalls).  It had been a while since I had made the trek, and I can't say it was a complete success.  I definitely missed my fearless Aggie leading the way.

I didn't remember being on any sort of trail when I hiked this last year.  I'm climbing over rocks looking back at my dad and aunt crawling on their hands and knees.  When my mom saw a trail above us I figured I just didn't remember the trail from last year.  So we crawled back over the rocks and hoisted ourselves up onto the slippery red clay.

Well I should have trusted my instinct.  Turns out the trail did not lead where I wanted to go.  The trail led up, up, up and I am not so fond of heights.  It led to a point across from the top of the waterfall.  If we would have not taken the trail we would have ended up at the pool at the bottom of the waterfall; however, the view from the top was spectacular also!

this only shows the top two-thirds or so of the fall!

After nearly killing my family on the climb, I led them on yet another adventure on this fine Saturday morning.  We took a bus to Mal Pais/ Santa Teresa.  What do you mean a bus ride is not an adventure?  I am soooo glad I do not have to make that trip from Mal Pais to Cobano everyday...what was I thinking when I was considering moving there?!  40 minutes on a bus, up and down those rocky mountainy roads.  The bridges.  That's what gets me everytime.  The bridges are maybe a foot wider than the width of a bus.  And that's a generous estimate.  And there are no guard rails on these bridges.  I'm getting nervous just typing this.  Uhh.

The bus ride back from Mal Pais wasn't 40 minutes, just 30.  Is the trip back shorter, you ask?  No, it's not.  The bus driver clearly wasn't getting paid by the hour.  We sat in the back of the bus, and I think we all have a little brain damage now.  One of my friends was further up toward the front of the bus and she asked me later, why were you guys screaming back there?  We were flying around, that's why.  I think that bus ride is something you won't understand until you've done it.

Sunday we were supposed to go to Isla de Tortuga and I was so excited because it is soooo pretty there.  It was a gorgeous day, too.  Our trip got cancelled though, because the seas were too rough.  Makes me wonder how our trip was not cancelled last year....
Tortuga trip in 2011

Monday, back to school back to school.  Are you bored of reading this blog post yet?
Can you tell I'm kind of bored of writing it?

Where was I?  Monday.  Oh yes.  My family met me at work to see the school and meet my students.  I really enjoyed that.  Now they have can put faces to names when I tell stories, and they can see where I spend 40 hours of my life each week.

Mom and I on the playground (classrooms behind us)
My kids are still talking about when mi familia came to visit.  The funniest thing was the day after my parents came to school, one of my boys asked me "is your dad a police officer?"  "No, why?"  Turns out they were quite intimidated by him, his serious demeanor, and his size!  My boys started flexing their muscles and one boy made this serious face that [until then] only my dad can make--lower the chin, furrow the eyebrows, and gaze upward.  Oh children......

my 5th grade class--just so cute!
So after reading this, who else is ready to come visit me?!  Any takers??? I wish I could share this wonderfulness I have found with each of you in person, but until then I will have to share it with ya'll through this blog.

Thanks for reading!

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