10.19.2010

Can´t Believe It

Katrina is definitely inspiring me to blog more and I am just so impressed with her. I went to Nicaragua for a visa run because you are only allowed to stay in Costa Rica for 90 days are must leave for more than 3 days before returning to the country. So I went to Nicaragua. It was really hot, pretty dirty, very poor, but some parts were beautiful. Here is what I learned from either my own mistakes or mistakes of others on my trip:

1. I really dislike traveling in large groups (there were 13 of us). I recommend 2, 3 or 4 people who you like or at the very least people you know
2. Hostels are usually pretty dirty so I recommend bringing a little blanket or pillow if you can fit it in your bag
3. A large hiking backpack is a must
4. Rei and ems makes new and improved fanny packs, which I highly recommend
5. Hand sanitizer and moist towlets come in handy, especially after walking the mile across the Costa Rican Nicaraguan boarder in flip flops (oh and bring extra for the 13 people on your trip) or just wear sneakers
6. Motrin Tylenol and Neosporin are a must
7. Um…don’t drink water. Even if you are having cereal with powdered milk in the morning. Use bottled water. Also don’t drink the weird water that comes in a little baggie.
8. Check if restaurants use tap water in smoothies or ice in drinks…or just go with a milk based smoothie if you are not lactose intolerant
9. Be flexible. If you are doing Group Diners just compromise. If you don’t like broccoli just get over it and push it off to the side. If you get stuck in the back of the large transport car every time and want to puke just breathe.
10. If you are in a Group try to find alone time. It is wonderful to explore a new place by yourself (during the day of course)
11. A knife and a jar of peanut butter are a necessary item to pack. Thanks to my mother I bring peanut butter everywhere. And you know what, I ended up eating the entire jar. Such a great snack and energy Booster. Thanks Mom! I know we teased you for being way over prepared and overpacking but you always had the right stuff.
12. Don’t forget your camera charger. When you are leaving at 4am and were charging your camera overnight because u clearly forgot before hand, for god’s sake don’t leave the battery in the charger plugged into the wall in your room (yes I did this)
13. A really good cotton dress is a must. You can dress it up to go out, wear it during the day when you are sweating like a pig, and it can be folded up into nothing
14. If you are lost just ask (well it helps if you speak Spanish) but it really is more efficient to ask for help instead of walking in circles for hours in 100 degree heat
15. Bring two books. Or make sure you aren’t almost done with your book so that when you are lounging at the Laguna you actually have a second book to read.
16. Bring extra plastic bags incase things get wet. If you want to be extra careful put all of your clothes in plastic bags just in case.
17. Remember a towel for the shower or Laguna or pool

Song: Can´t Believe It by T-Pain (there is a pretty awesome Costa Rica shout out in the song...hence the reccomendation)

10.02.2010

Purple Rain

Blog Title: Purple Rain by Prince

Song Recommendations: "La Duena del Swing" by Los Hermanos Rosario
"Colgando En Tus Manos" by Carlos Baute and Marta Sanchez

Katrina: First I just need to say how amazing my sister, Katrina is. She has just started her amazing gap year adventure and I am so proud of her. She is the strongest/ bravest person I know. On top of all of that, the girl and write! I just read her blog and was just in love with her style of writing. She was extremely descriptive yet concise and organized (aka everything I am not).

Birthday: Second of all, I had the second best birthday of my life here in costa rica (my first was my 17th birthday when Carolyn Mulvey, Rachael Sessions threw me a surprise bday party at Laurel Lanes Bowling Alley). But really my 21st could not have been better. My students made me a giant card and spent art class hanging up little papers that said “Happy Birthday Allie” on them all around the room. Then at band practice the entire highschool band sang happy birthday, including drum rolls at each pause in the song…oh and a 30 second drum roll at the end that almost made me deaf. Of course the teenage boys loved embarrassing me the college intern, and only girl in the band…and I’m sure I was red as a tomato.

September 15th: The parade on September 15th went SO well. We got all dressed up at 6 in the morning and headed into town. It was SCORCHING and I was sweating by the end of the hour and a half march/playing around town but it was such an amazing experience. I felt very accomplished by the end of the day.In the evening i made dinner for the entire family which was SO stressful because Gera my host mom is an amazing cook. Allison and Sebas were a big help and i think it was a success. I made pasta with mushroom sauce and chicken, garlic bread, salad, and brownies.

Random: Since then I have been working, going to yoga at least once a week if not more (which I LOVE), and trying to stay dry which is pretty much impossible. The past two days have been beautiful but before that we had a good week of non-stop rain. Everything is starting to get pretty moldy and my raincoat and backpack smell like wet dog…but it is still wonderful. The temperature is also starting to drop a little bit so I’m trying to stay bundled up. We have three days of school this week and then we will be going to Nicaragua on Saturday. I am very excited for this trip as it will give me an opportunity to really get to know the other interns. I am a little nervous about traveling as the road here are horrible and we will have to cross the boarder but I am looking forward to the adventure. I am going to one of my student’s birthday party this afternoon at the indoor soccer field. I hope I don’t actually have to play! This week I have been planning my parents and ANNA’s visit/ booking hotels. I am excited for them to come see this beautiful place.

Moto Story: I have been learning how to drive a motorcycle with one of my friends here. Yesterday we (well me at this moment in time) were driving to the gas station (aka a family that has converted their house into a gas station in which they carry out jugs of gasoline and pour them directly into your car/ motorcycle illegally because the ONLY gas station in Monteverde was shut down) and we had to stop at the house. Unfortunately my friend didn’t really explain the stopping part to me very well, and when we stopped I put my foot down, but clearly I was not prepared for the weight of the bike and so we both tipped over and the bike fell on me/ I was stuck under the bike for a second. In the midst of all of this my leg fell on the muffler and I have a beautiful 2nd/ 3rd degree burn on my leg now. Once I got out from under the bike I rolled to the floor/ aka a huge muddy puddle and was crying from laughter. After getting up and attempting to brush myself off I told my friend that I would not drive the bike until I had proper attire, aka my rubber rain boots, thick leather pants and a helmet. Of course, I ended up driving home after we got gas and have been practicing since then. But honestly, Capri jeans and flip-flops are not the best to wear when learning how to drive a motorcycle.

Clown: Last week on Tuesday I came to school at the usual 7:45 and was about to enter the room when this woman came walking down the hallway with one of the teachers from highschool. She was introduced to my teacher Erica, as Susan, and Erica quickly gave me a task to do so i had to leave. but when i came back Erica formally introduced me to Susan the peace educator who is also a clown, and was going to be visiting for the day to give clown shows and peace presentations. i walked Susan the clown to the office but noone was there to greet her. she then told me that she would like me to talk to all of the other teachers about her arrival to find out when would be a good time for her to give her presentation, but before this she HAD to have some coffee. so she goes to have coffee and i realize that i have to create a schedule for this woman. but she can't come with me because if the kids see her before she turns into a clown then it will ruin everything (i dont know i was confused) so i go to 6 different teachers to create a clown schedule. now none of the teachers were very excited about the clown, let alone the fact that she wanted to take 10 minutes of their precious schedule to give a little magic show...so they already were kinda annoyed. so i go back to the clown with her schedule and she says, oh it is SO wonderful that i have a clown assistant today. now is there any way that u can rearrange this schedule a little because i need a break to rest my voice every once in a while, so i got back to the teachers and fix the schedule. then she says, oh and here is what you can say when u introduce me to each class..."Hello boys and girls, today is the international day of peace and we have a VERY special visitor for you today, so if you could please give a big round of applause for Peacefull the CLOWN!" ok so then i have to translate this into spanish for the younger grades and practice it!! Then she says, oh and we need a projector for a powerpoint presentation...can you get me one?.." Oh and can you carry my backpack around to each class with my computer and go into each room a few minutes early to set up my computer at the front of the class" "oh and i will need some water for my parched throat" "oh...and i totally forgot to bring lunch, where can i get some? do you have any at school?" "Oh, and please take pictures and videos when we talk about peace in EACH class" "oh and can you get some big paper to put on the white board to write down any cute things people say" So...i realize that this job is super stressful and is going to take up my entire day...but i roll with it. so we do our first presentation and it goes smoothly...and then we are about to start our full rotation of presentations (10 mins in each elementary grade) and i look over and Peacefull is walking away to the highschool with two 11th graders. I call out "Um, where are you going Susan?" and she says, "Oh i dont know to english class, wanna come?" and i look down at my clipboard and i look down at my watch and i look up at her and then back at my clip board, and then the highschoolers say, well we are ALL waiting for her, we are so excited! and i say,,,,"um well we have a schedule that we have to stick to" and she says "oh well can't we just change it" so she says, "oh why dont u just run up and figure out the schedule with the highschool" (you should know that it is pooring and the walk up to the highschool takes about 5 mins and is muddy) so i run up to the highschool and i walk into this room FULL of the ENTIRE highschool (which really isnt that many kids probably less than 40) but still, and they all start BOOING at me. so I talk to the highschool teachers and they say, oh well we already talked to Erica and have the clown scheduled to come now (erica had never told me this) and i say "well if she comes now then you will be taking the opportunity away from the kindergarteners and 1st grade, and i think the clown performance is more suited for the younger grades" and they looked mad, and said that she had to come now or else the kids wouldn’t get to see her, so i run back and get the clown and she goes up and does her presentation. While she is there i run to kindergarten 3rd 1st and 2nd to tell them the bad news, first 3rd grade teacher says, "you are kidding right?" and snaps at me, "this is ridiculous" the kinder teacher says, "well do you know how to tell them that in spanish cuz i sure as hell don't" (with 10 tiny costa rican toddlers looking up at me) and then the other teachers were ticked off too. so i go back to the clown and get her to come down to the little kids. first one kid sees her and starts hyperventilating and trying to climb up the wall, then the clown asks me to take some pictures and video and when i wasn't standing close enough proceeded to tell me to move closer to her" and then i finally went back to 3rd grade to ask them if they wanted to see the clown and the teachers said, "no it is just too late, our chance is up, i know its not your fault but i just hate when things are planned last minute and then the schedule changes and i am just so sick of this and no, no, no, no the clown cannot come!" so im standing there looking at the 3rd graders who are all trying to squeeze out of the door to say hi to the clown, but they couldn’t leave the classroom. so basically at the end of the day i wanted to kill Peacefull, and on international day of peace i felt more stress than i ever had in my life. i came home and took a nap! That’s my story. i hope it was kind of funny. i'm even worse at typing stories because i can then actually read how HORRIBLE my stories sound!

So basically that is all for now!