woensdag 26 december 2012

Feliz Navidad!

Day 162, el domingo 22 de diciembre 2012 11:28
Christmas in Costa Rica is all about the food, well actually all days in Costa Rica are all about food. So in preparation for Christmas we made tamales, and a lot of them: 444. Tamales is traditional Central American food, corn mass, with herb mass, vegetables and meat wrapped up in banana leaves.
First on Friday we cleaned and cut around 800 banana leaves, they came from a farm from one of my uncles, always gotta have banana leaves ready around Christmas. Yesterday we got up early to go to Desmonte to the house of my uncle, they told me that we were going to get up at 5 but we always end up getting up at 7 anyways. At my uncles house I first slept a few hours more since I was, and still am pretty tired of all those busy days. I assigned as kitchen assistant under the leading chef cook trio of my uncle, aunt and hostmom, who were fighting all the time about how the Tamales should be made; interesting is that the grandmother of 89 years old always has the last call, old people are very well respected here for their experience and knowledge. As an assistant my job was to grain the herbs, we used a lot of herbs and everything had to be as pure as possible, you don’t buy pepper powder in the supermarket, you buy real peppers at a market and grain them with a wine bottle. Hours passed of getting the ingredients ready and cooking the mass, and then finally after 7 hours we could actually start making the tamales.
Making tamales is done in the following order:
1.      Grab 2 banana leaves
2.      Put 1 spoon corn mass on it
3.      Half a spoon herb mass
4.      1 piece of pork or chicken
5.      Vegetables L
6.      Fold them into a package
7.      Put 2 together and tie them together with a piece of rope
8.      Cook them
Too bad we only make tamales one time a year so I can’t really learn how to make them but I’ll do my best next year in The Netherlands with Christmas.

Day 162, el Domingo 23 de noviembre 2012 22:54

I noticed another Christmas tradition of Costa Rica today, parties a lot of parties. They are like the New Year receptions we have in the Netherlands; people get together drink and eat something. Today was the party of Taekwondo, it was not such a good party, not that many people came and we practically just ate meat in tortillas and drank coca. One of the trainers told a pretty funny story about a teammate of mine who broke his leg a few days ago during the national championships; good imitations will always be funny, not important which language.
The best part of the party was before the party, I went with Chino and his dad, also Chino to a nearby river. We climbed a bit over de rocks to a small pool within the river, and from there we threw ourselves from rocks a few times. I really like Chino and his dad, they are very good to talk to and I like how they see life, they aren’t like the average Ticos. An example:
-I’m not sure if I want to swim.
- What’s going to happen? You will get wet and then you will dry.
-Pura Vida.
I love it because most Ticos are like, oh no you will get cold, and you didn’t bring a towel. To me they are living very Pura Vida, more Pura Vida as most people. They invited me to do a lot of stuff, so I hope we will actually do it, I guess so since they are not like the average Tico, but still the initiative has to come from me.

In the evening I cooked dinner and watched a movie with my brother, it is always good to do something together. But still I have to be honest that sometimes it feels kind of forced to do something if you haven’t done anything together for a while. That’s what I miss, the fact that everything is natural in my family in The Netherlands, nothing forced. Also I sometimes still feel that I am invading a life, I know it is not that way, they are happy with me and I know that, but these ideas will always come into my head time by time, either during television commercials, under the shower or in bed; ideas good or bad come and go.

Dia 165, el Miercoles 26 de diciembre2012 10:10
Christmas; the event of the year in a lot of cultures around the world. In Costa Rica it is a big deal, 2 months before the magic days people start talking about it, decorating the house and putting up trees. And with all this talking and decorating and singing the same Christmas song (actually just 1 sentence over and over again) with all this; they still don’t plan. Christmas presents are bought in the 24th and the Christmas party is organized 3 or 2 days before. But I now I finally got how come they don’t plan and still a lot of people come to the parties, and the parties still are good. It is because of the fact that nobody plans; nobody has plans for the day so if they get called, they can always come, and everybody brings some food or cola so that isn’t a problem either. This ‘system’ works pretty well, but it doesn’t really work for me since I do make plans and I get called when I already have plans. So I never understood why they call me on the day itself and that way I missed out on a few things.
Now about Christmas; the 24th is preparation, I went to my uncle in Desmonte with Marcela a really cool cousin of mine who works in San José but actually just spends all day on Facebook, which actually is her work. She works for Múúú milk and promotes it on Facebook, seems like a nice job to me. And she has a cool beachboogie which we will take through a river someday! So, at my uncle’s house I made my famous chocolatechip brownie orea fudge cake for the party later in the evening. At 8 I went to the church with my hostbrother and the grandmother to keep her company. I must honestly say that I did not like since I am not religious, I felt like a liar being there.
After the church it was time for the party, a lot of food, cola karaoke and dancing. It actually was just like every family party we have but with a bit more people. It was nice but it did not feel like Christmas at all, there is no cold, no cooking and preparing family dinner all day, no snow, no Christmas songs ( we don’t have a radio). I did have a good time, it just didn’t feel like Christmas. After the party we drove around Orotina without any purpose, just to drive. That is another thing Costa Ricans like, after you have been somewhere they love to drive around, just through the streets of the town or to another town; just driving. I have no idea why they do it, maybe it is culture, or maybe they are crazy.
The next morning I slept till 11:20; extremely late in Costa Rica. It is a tradition that everybody can sleep until they want, and I loved it. Normally we have a wake-up time, like most little kids have go-to-sleep times I have a wake-up time. First we went to my other grandmother where I could use the internet to talk with my family for a bit and later it was present time! It felt a lot like 5th of December except for the fact that the presents were under the tree instead of in big brown bags. It felt very good to give all my gifts, half from the Netherlands and half I bought here in Costa Rica. They were very thankful, and I got very very nice gifts as well. I had a huge smile on my face during the present sharing.
Later we went to the beach; we went to an open-sea beach about half an hour away from Orotina. The beach was not that pretty but it was very nice to swim and just to go somewhere with my family. First we drove the whole beach up and down, just because. And then we settle down at a huge rock formation. I had never seen something like that in Costa Rica. it is like Great Britain, but a bit smaller, just 300 meter of rock, 5 meters high standing there, separating 2 beaches; I loved it. We took a walk over it and we saw some beautiful houses. And I always can’t led it to think about how it would be to have a host family here. And I dislike myself for thinking that way, but thoughts are there, they come and go. There was a beautiful sunset. The sunsets in Costa Rica simply are just way more beautiful as the ones in Europe, the sun is so much bigger and it just is.
I made dinner with my hostmom later in the evening  and after it everybody was tired and went to their rooms to sleep, I would have liked to have a game night sine my hostbrothers got cool presents from my parents in the Netherlands, but that has to wait till another night.
So Christmas was not the special for me, I had a very nice time and I bonded more and more with my family but it was not epic. But with that comes that I have not been homesick because if Christmas, so that is a good point!

zaterdag 22 december 2012

The best days of my life, in the best year of my life ---> Epic delischous days!

Day 161, el Viernes 21 de Deciembre 2012 12:40
Happiness is beside a feeling a memory forever.
I didn’t write my blog for a week, with a very good reason I just didn’t have my computer and I didn’t need it either, I was taking the best of life.
I have been happy all the time in Costa Rica, and I still am happy, very happy, demasiado. And then, during the happiness I got a moment of pure happiness, so much happiness, so perfect that I call it the best moment in my life so far. It was not winning the lottery or a special sport event it was just the people, the moment and the love.
Last Saturday I went to San José with my uncle, aunt and host brother to go to the festival de la luz of San José. We went to the house of my aunt and 2 cousins in San Pedro, the university neighborhood in San José. It was cool to be at a student house again, like I visited my sister in Amsterdam back in the Netherlands. We took a bus to downtown San José and went to China Town which was just 4 Chinese shops, not like I expected but yea, I didn’t come here for China Town anyways. We walked all the way through to San José to eat lunch at a fastfood square. San José was very full, people everywhere, I loved it. It was a lot like Queensday because there were people selling stuff everywhere; like on Queensday. After lunch we went to my bus station to buy my bus ticket for the next day. Later we searched for a spot to watch the carnival. After 2 hours of waiting it began, first sailors, coastguards and policemen passed showing off their boats and helicopters, yes with boats on trucks through the busiest street of Costa Rica; Ticos Locos.  Then people on skateboards doing tricks, quads and commercial cars, a lot of useless bullshit to fill up the time but it was cool to see it. Later in the night the real stuff started. Beautifully made things passed, silver carts with painted dancers, ‘standard’ carnival stuff, clowns, dancers, gymnastic clubs and the bands a lot of bands. The band from Orotina won the competition, I’m proud of my little town. It was amazing to see this festival, Carnival is amazing and it was really good. And the bond I have with my cousins, uncle and aunt got even better. After 5 hours of seeing wonderful things we walked back through San José at night to a bus stop to get back to San Pedro. I slept at the student house and the rest went back to Orotina to sleep there.
I woke up at 6 the next day to catch my bus to Guanacaste. It was cool to walk through San José in the early after the biggest festival of the year. The sun was shining nice and the morning smell kept me company while I walked through pretty vacant streets except for the drunken people still awake from the night before. I had to wait in the bus station for a while before my bus left. I felt like a backpacker sitting there with my backs in between the other backpackers. The bus ride wasn’t that bad, it actually was good in some way; I had time to sleep and time to think. Sitting in the bus for so long gives you a lot of time to figure some things out.  After 5 and a half hour I arrived in Brasilito and there Frida picked me up. I met her host family, and ate a nice fish lunch with them. We went to a pool party with Frida her host sister and friends of time. If was nice just chilling in the pool, playing ball for a bit and eating chips.
After 2 hours we left to pick up Louisa and Valentina who took a bus later. We got settled in the cabin, and went to the supermarket to buy all the stuff we needed for the week. I always turn into a little kid when I go to the supermarket, I don’t know why but it just is that way and I love it; it is good to be a little kid sometimes, but not all the time. Maybe it is because of my dad, he sometimes gets like a little kid, and I probably just copied it, I love it. In the evening we cooked, ate and chilled. We stayed up pretty late just chilling, eating ice cream and talking, we are always talking. I love talking it makes you feel so much better just sharing and listening to the others; serious stories and funny stories, scary stories and jokes. Just laughing and loving.
The next day we woke up early, and took a walk around the area. Guanacaste is very different from the rest of Costa Rica. It is dry and more like a prairie including the cowboys and plains. The culture is different as well, the language is a dialect and also the food differs from Central Pacific. After the morning walk it was time for the beach! We went to playa conchal; shell beach. It is called this way because the majority of the beach it just shells and no sand. You have to cross a river and climb a mountain to get there, as Frida told us. It turned out to be a little stream and a small hill but it makes a cool story. The beach looks so pretty; the most beautiful I have ever seen. We lay in the sun, swam and walked the beach. It was so cool, so beautiful so perfect. We planned to do horseback riding and snorkeling and stuff like that, but we decided not to, we didn’t need to do that expensive tourist stuff, just chilling is what we needed We also spotted a lot of monkeys close to the beach, never have seen them so close!.
After 5 hours on the beach we went back to pick up Lena she missed some busses but that was no problem because that way we had more time on the beach, thanks Lena. It was great to see Lena again, such a wonderful person. We bought ice cream, again because yeah, ice cream is delischous. We walked back to the cabin, trying to talk but also trying not to get run over by a car. We settled Lena in and cooked our dinner; mac ‘n cheese. That’s always a really good part of going on holidays, getting to cook yourself, getting to do everything yourself just the way we want in, good thing we are all on the same line doing stuff. We stayed up very late, talking and eating snacks again. I have never had such good conversations about everything and nothing. These conversations are indescribable, so much idea’s topics and meanings. At 4 we were long gone from ending our talks but Frida and Lousia already fell asleep and we decided that it was best to go to sleep as well because we would be fried fish the next day if we didn’t.
We got up a bit late; around 9 and cooked breakfast. We made Gallo Pinto and a lot more stuff but that took more time as we expected so around 2 we arrived at playa Tamarindo. Tamarindo is one of the most touristic places in Costa Rica, but still it was not that full. We lay on the beach again, it was a way bigger beach as Conchal but a bit uglier. We walked a bit of the beach to a river splitting the beach in 2. It is cool that the rivers in Costa Rica actually reach the beach, in the Netherlands all the rivers are being used as harbors so you don’t have them on beach, and rivers make beaches even cooler. I swam across this river and arrived at the other side of the beach. This part was way more beautiful as the other part, there were barely people because you have to swim or pay a boat to take you. There were not shops behind the beach, just trees. I didn’t walk this beach as well even though I wanted to but I didn’t feel like walking there alone, even though I sometimes love walking the beach alone.
We met up with some friends of Frida later at Tamarindo downtown, well downtown it is just the main street. Most touristic beaches have 1 main street along the beach and that is it, the rest are just houses or hotels. Because Tamarindo is so popular the tourist street was pretty big and the souvenir shops actually sold different things; most of the souvenirs shops in Costa Rica sell exactly the same useless stuff you want but don’t need. We drank iced coffee at a smoothie store and it was damn good! I love the fact that Costa Rica is just splendid with smoothies stores because they are so good and not that expensive.
Valentina and I went for a sunset swim and that felt so good, I love swimming in the sea even more when it is a bit darker. It didn’t last that long since it got darker pretty quick and then it gets dangerous. And as they always say: ‘watch out with this, don’t take Columbian women to your cabin, and this is dangerous and you will die of you do this and you should not do this’, yes a lot of things are dangerous in Costa Rica, too bad. We took a bus back to the cabin but stopped at the supermarket first, to buy ice cream, obviously. The next bus didn’t come but some Italian traveler fixed a taxi we took us for free, that is just so nice, so Pura Vida; so inspiring, I love the people here. We wanted to go out to dance but we couldn’t, that is a bit of a problem in Costa Rica going out is pretty hard since there is no transportation if you don’t have a car. But we enjoyed the last night that Lena was here with more ice cream and more talks, stories and jokes. During these talks we really got to know each other, we are such good friends, best friends but before these days we didn’t REALLY knew each other I knew this people from 1 week camp and some trips, sometimes I think I know people but they turn out to be so different. Especially on my exchange, everybody has their lives and it takes time to really get to know people.
On the 4th day we went to Conchal in the morning to have a good time again, and we did. We met up with some other friends of Frida. We were being crazy in the sea everybody launching, ‘smashing’ from my shoulders doing summersaults in the air, cool pictures, cool pictures. We ate a nacho lunch and then we walked back to bring Lena to the bus stop. She missed her bus again, so we waited an hour at the bus stop spending our time with making crazy pictures and hugging. I’ve become pretty huggy hugs are just so good and important, a sign of love, knowing that people care about you, as a greeting, as a goodbye or just random because it is possible. Lena bus came and we had to say goodbye, for a longtime a very longtime I wrote about goodbyes before and this was the hardest, it is weird since it has never been really hard on me, at least a very good hug. All my goodbyes here are in busses or bus stops, always that last image of a person graved into your brain, hoping to never forget it.
We walked to Playa Flamingo and luckily we got picked up by a bus on the way. We stopped at a café to drink some coffee, we were pretty tired and I didn’t have coffee for days and got to keep my addiction satisfied. We walked over playa potrero to playa flamingo, a nice walk to a beautiful village. You kind of have to cross a mountain to go the beach, this time it was a bit bigger hill filled with resorts and hotels. The hill was beautiful paved with stones, it looked like Italy, all of Guanacaste looks like Southern Europa by the way. Playa Flamingo was stunning, again a main street, a palm tree strip and then the beach. It wasn’t as beautiful as Conchal but it is a better beach to me. The waves are a bit bigger and that makes the swimming more fun. The sunset was begun and playa Flamingo is the best place to see the sunset in Costa Rica. We were swimming in the sea, the sky and sea turned orange it all was so extremely perfect. Frida was singing beautiful songs and Valentina and I mummed with her. The sun lowered and it got better every second. Nothing could have been better and I felt so, so warm inside it is indescribable, these moments are the best moments in my life so far, and I will not ever forgot them. After enjoying these moments to the max it got dark and it was time to go back.
At the cabin we made epic burritos, and got our bellies well filled to get ready for the next activity, going out! I got ready in 5 minutes and the girls took about an hour more to get ready, yeah. We went with the friends we met on the beach earlier that day and we drove to a beach club 15 minutes away. It was so so so so good to go out again after 5 months not going out. We had so much fun together and we met some people we met earlier these days and we made new friends. The music was mostly just dance music with sometimes reggae, I heard an Oppa Gangnam style remix, and I have never heard one before, that made me realize that I have not been going out for so long. There also was Salsa music, but I can’t dance salsa, yet. So I went outside the grab some air with a new friend from the states to chill on the beach. At 2 the party ended and we had to go, too bad because I was having so much fun! I loved it, and we created good memories.
The next morning we were all very lazy and tired but sweet little Valentina cooked us a delischous breakfast. We cleaned up the house, packed our bags and went to Brasilito to buy our bus tickets. We ate some lunch and drank smoothies at brasilito and went to playa brasilito for the last time. I didn’t want to swim but I totally should have gone swimming, the last swim is always important.
I lost all the stress I had in my life except for the busses, I always stress about the busses, probably because of that one time in Jaco. So we were at the bus stop pretty early and waited there. We called with Lena and spent our last minutes together. The bus came, it always a heartbeat more when the bus comes, you have to get ready and you have to say goodbye, I gave Frida a big hug and got ready for the bus, my bus ticket flew away so I had to get it, a good excuse to hug Frida again.
The bus ride was around 5 hours and I slept most of the time, and talked a bit with Valentina about the days before. I got out in Esparza, took a bus to Puntarenas and from Puntarenas to Orotina, almost all the time sleeping.
I arrived back at my host family in the evening, I love arriving back home. It feels so good, telling about the trip and seeing them again. I was, even though I slept a lot in the bus still tired so I went to sleep early.
These days were so special, so perfect with so much happiness that I turned our happiness into memories forever. I now am for sure that these people or my best friends, I can trust them with everything and I love them. I barely say I love you, but to these people I love to say ‘I love you’.
It all seems so short ago, all the places where I have been, I remember them like they are just moments ago, and I am afraid for the time when Costa Rica just seems moments ago
Pura Vida.

vrijdag 14 december 2012

Caribbean trip!

Day 153, el Viernes 14 de Deciembre 2012 10:25
Gotta love the Caribbean!
After 2 months of looking forward to this trip it is now time to look back on a beautiful and epic trip. Let’s go back to Tuesday when it started!
I woke up at 4:45 to pack my bags and eat a small breakfast. I walked to Ruth’s house and we went with her host dad to San José. Here we drank coffee and chilled in the big park I always wanted to go to. After this I went to the center to meet with Beatrice. We bought presents for Anna, drank some more coffee and looked for a cake to buy, didn’t find it though.
At the EF office we met all the other students; seeing all my friends again was great. In the mini-bus as always and ready to go to the Caribbean! After 2 hours we got a flat tire so we had to wait at the side of a road for a while and later when we stopped in Guapiles we had to wait more. After 7 hours after riding we finally arrived, I didn’t really mind it was so long I like sitting in the bus and talking with friends I haven’t seen for a while.
At the hotel we directly sat down to eat dinner, I didn’t eat that much all day so I really enjoyed the fish in coconut sauce. Later we got the rooms houses, including 2 queen-size beds, hammock and jacuzzi. We discovered the hotel, it was beautiful; a lot of small houses in the middle of the rainforest, birds whistling, monkeys jumping and snakes sneaking around, everything was green and 1 with the nature. We chilled a bit in the rooms and stayed up until 12 the celebrate Anna’s birthday.
The next day I woke up at 6 after a small 4 hours of sleep. It was great waking up with birds singing and little sun beams getting through the leaf roof. I walked to the beach with Bea; it was an amazing typical Caribbean beach, rainforest with palms followed by a nice sandy beach ending in a rough yet stunning sea. We collected firewood for the campfire we were going to have later. After this we went for breakfast: pinto, platanos, scrambled eggs, bread and fruits. Then we got ready to go to Puerto Viejo, the famous nearby town. It is the second biggest tourist place at the Caribbean side but still it was extremely small. Bea and I looked somewhere to buy a cake for Anna’s birthday and found at a Megasuper, we also walked into an ice-cream shop which looked very cute like a Pipi-Langkous ice-cream shop but unfortunately it was closed. We walked a bit through this fisher’s village and then you really notice the different culture Limón has. The people talk different, with a strong African tongue and of course rasta style. The houses are different as well; they’re like Swedish houses I think, always standing on pillars and in all kinds of happy colors. We drank coffee with everybody at a cute coffee place with very good coffee; the rastas know how to drink a good espresso.
We went back to the hotel to have lunch and after that it finally was time to swim! I loved the beach and the sea; I spent almost 3 hours in the water playing in the waves with everybody. The sea just makes me happy; I will be randomly clapping my hands of happiness and jumping around. Most people went back already but I stayed with some other people, and when I came back everybody were in the Jacuzzis, I couldn’t really join so that made me kind of sad but nothing could really destroy my temper. We played pool a bit until it was time for the dinner. After the dinner the cake was brought in and Anna was really surprised I am very glad Bea and I pulled this off, I like making other people happy. Then we went to the beach to secretly make the campfire and surprise Anna. It didn’t really work at first but I got my deodorant and got the fire going, it is cheating but the fire didn’t get less nice because of that. We chilled at the campfire; making marshmallows and telling stories how it is supposed to be. And campfires make you think about family and friends, because you make memories at campfires and remember them when you will be having a campfire again. But it couldn’t take my happiness away and I know that at my next campfire I can happily miss this campfire we had.
The next morning I got up early again, I walked through the forest alone to the beach, I like taking little moments for myself, to think and to be happy. Later we went for a last swim which again was extremely nice. Then it was time to pack and clean-up to go back. After a nice 6 hour bus ride we got back in San José and dropped off at the bus station. I said goodbye to a lot of people but the most special goodbye was to Ellie because it could be the last one. I’m glad goodbyes aren’t that hard on me but I will miss her, but I will visit New-Zealand once, I heard so much stories about it now that I have to go there. I took the bus alone and had to stand for 2 hours, I was pretty tired but I managed it. I listened to music and go kind of sad about nothing and everything I don’t know why but it just comes and goes.
When I came home I showered quickly and got ready for my brothers graduation. Ticos don’t really tell you when there is something going to happen, I don’t know why but it is kind of annoying. The graduation was very nice, the students entered under music, they sang the national anthem, there was a dance, a very good song by some students and they got their documents. I got kind of annoyed by the fact that my host family didn’t really enjoy it. I don’t know why but ‘Pura Vida’ doesn’t count for everything. Actually only if it is a private party or if they organized it themselves they will be satisfied, I don’t know if this is because if the little town life or not, could be. After the graduation we went out for dinner, for the first time in Costa Rica. It was very nice and it made me very happy. I got a really good connection with my host dad; I noticed that it is better as I knew before.
When I got home I opened the package that my parents send me, it includes ‘chocolade kruidnoten’ licorice, my chocolate cooking book, cheese and presents for my host family. Eating these things gave me an instant boost of happiness; it’s great to have these things back in my house again!
I fell in a deep sleep with a huge smile on my face while there were a lot of little earthquakes. I now have 3 more days to remember forever.


Day 149, el Lunes 10 de Deciembre 2012 15:00
About something else then my life here, about something important.
A recent study shows that Costa Rica is the most corrupt country in Central America, with 56 points from a scale from 0 to 100, 100 the most corrupt. I choose Costa Rica because it was ‘the less corrupt and best country in Central America’.
I still Costa Rica is the best country to be in for an exchange year in Central America. The people are amazing, the country is amazing and the language is awesome. But over the last years Costa Rica changed, the prices went up and the exchange rates down due to the economic crisis in the United States.
I also asked a lot of people what they think about the current president, Laura Chinchilla. Every single one of them answered me that she is the worst they have ever had. They tell me that she doesn’t do anything for the poorest and that money disappears into nothing. I don’t know if this is true, I doubt it but I cannot judge about anything, I only analyze what people tell me.
A month ago a new law was accepted, anybody who would accuse the government of being corrupt will be prosecuted. This led to a lot of anger among the Costa Ricans, which is understandable since it is a direct hit to the freedom of speech. There were some protest in San José, some peaceful, others with a lot of police violence.
I think that the new law is very bad, and I do not understand how this law came through. But I also think that some people here just see themselves to big. Because of the globalization they get to see the advanced life and infrastructure of Europe and North America, and they want that as well, which is totally understandable. But Costa Rica is a country in transition and they will get there, but have to work hard and they need a very good government to get there.
ou want to know more about the situation in Tibet or help them please check:

We just had a surprise birthday party for my host dad, with some family members. My uncle Geylor brought a BBQ so there was enough food and Coca-Cola. This was the first time we had a party at my house and I liked it a lot! I gave my dad a lottery ticket for his birthday, number 18; my lucky number! We ate and laughed a lot, mostly about the cow story of yesterday, I will hear that a lot of times I think.
Tomorrow I will go to San José and from there to Limon! So I won’t write until Friday. It will be a great tomorrow!

maandag 10 december 2012

boring days, happy days and being attacked by a cow.

Day 145, el Jueves 6 deciembre 2012 23:06
The worst days so far.
As the title says, these were the worst days so far, nothing bad happened, bad thing that happened is that nothing happened. No it were not the days that I was changing host family nor the days that I felt stuck in translation. In those days something actually happened, these thing were bad but the bad things learn you something and that is exactly the reason the go on an exchange; to learn. 
The first day of doing nothing I enjoyed the rest and piece, a moment for myself to relax and get everything together, the second day I got bored but today, today I just went crazy of boredom. My friends are busy, well most of them. I need to stop lying to myself and just fucking call them, I have to get out of the house. I will go crazy here, I am wasting my time.
But it is true, most friendships here are different, they don’t feel that natural and sometimes even forced. I thought that I would have really good friendships after 4,5 months here but it doesn’t seem to be that way. It is even friendship which is different here, everything is different every single thing, name it and it is different. Everybody here had a life before I came here and I had mine. But then I came here and everything changed for them, but mostly for me; I think I’m still searching for the new me, who am I? In the meantime my paused life in The Netherlands is changing but without me, damn going back home will be the weirdest thing ever.
I spent a lot of time on the internet searching all kinds of stuff about the Netherlands. First a read all the posts on 9gag about the Netherlands, after that just the internet. I am really proud of my country, I am not homesick and don’t want to go home but I do miss my country. The thing I probably miss the most is just simply the normality. In the Netherlands I know about everything, I know the how people think, what I can and can’t do and what is normal and what normal. Here I learnt those things and sometimes you learn the wrong thing, also a side effect of changing families.
But I still love my life, I will always love my life here, even though I will not love every moment I will always remember the good times and right now I just have to look forward, there are 2 holiday across Costa Rica planned within the next 15 days, that’ll be great.
I just had to write down these feelings, also pushed by anger, or more by disappointment because of the fact that I should have had this internship this week. Writing down or talking about something really helps, glad I have my blog and some incredible friends.

Day 147, el Sabado 8 de Deciembre 2012 12:08
Very extremely happy!!
Being bored and going a bit crazy of that completely changed to happiness when my host family came back yesterday. I noticed that I actually missed them a bit! They were back when I came back from taekwondo and I directly joined the dinner table to eat. Over dinner we spoke about all the things they bought and had done. This mainly just was shopping in dirty and tiny stores at the border.
Now comes the good part, they bought a lot of Christmas presents! They bought me: 2 shorts, 3 shirts, slippers and epic Nikes! All of these divided over my host dad, mom and aunt. It made me so happy! Not the gifts them self but just the fact that they thought about me! I will buy them epic Christmas gifts as well. But I got to find a good day for that since the coming days will be very busy, por dicha! Por dicha are Costa Rican words without translation, it means something like: luckily, happily something like that. An example:
-How are you?
-I’m fine and you?
- I’m fine as well,
-          Por Dicha!
Something like that :p

The taekwondo practice was very cool as well, most of the people were early so we just played a bit of soccer and we were just kidding and stuff. They really are my friends now as well!

Day 148,  el Domingo 9 de Deciembre 2012 22:48
Crazy cow attack
Saturday was a chill day. I spent a lot of time in the house with my family, helping cleaning, cooking and just talking over coffee. It felt really good, and my boredom is totally over! In the night me and my hostbro went to a festival in the park; the enlightening of the Christmas tree. This event wasn’t even close to the one we have in Gouda. There was an ugly fake Christmas tree which was horribly decorated. At the moment of enlightening all the lights in the park went off and the lights of the tree were turned on. That was a kind of cool moment. My host bro went on with his girlfriend and I found some friends a met some day. There also was another Japanese girl who is living in Orotina now. First Orotina was ‘my’ village, but now there are 6 exchange students, but I’m very glad they don’t go to my school. It doesn’t sound like a nice thing to say but it is just how I feel about it. So I spend the evening with these friends chilling in the park and eating ice cream.
Today we woke up, ate breakfast and went to Desmonte to my uncle. First we talked with my uncle and aunt a bit and later we watched James Bond, Skyfall; nice movie by the way! During the day more family members came, some went away after a while others stayed. I put up a small pool for my little hostbrother and played a bit with the water tube with him. It was a fun thing to do, but it is just everything the other way around, instead of me in the pool and my big brother splashing me with water it is now me splashing the water with somebody else in the pool, that’s still kind of weird to me. It’s not that I don’t like it, but it is more that I still need to get used to it and I still need to figure out the role of big brother exactly; which is even harder with him not being my real little brother.
In the meantime a lot of uncles and aunts came. One uncle brought meat of a whole sheep, and around 25 fish. We always eat a lot there, so today it was almost a half sheep, 25 fish a lot of Patacones and 5 baquettes; always accompanied with rice and beans. Also we drank a total of 15 liters of Coca-Cola, like I said before the Costa Ricans love Coca-Cola.
We went for a small walk down the hill into the nature. The walk didn’t was that far but I really liked it, I cut of a branch with the machete I brought and made a walking stick of it; like I always used to do when I went on holidays with my family in The Netherlands. Every Costa Rican family has at least 1 machete by the way, that’s because almost every Costa Rican has a farm, and at farms there are snakes and snakes have to be killed with machetes. So I aslo brought this machete to kill possible snakes. We didn’t see any snakes though. On our way back we took some photos and chopped of some sugar cane, and ate those. That’s something else I love about Costa Rican, just eating straight from the nature!
In the afternoon we were cooking outside as always. I was making patacones with my aunt while there suddenly  a cow came running down the mountain straight towards us. And it did, it almost ran into the house but it fell, it got up and started a fight with my uncle, he grabbed the machete to defend himself and led the cow away from all the people; the grandmother and my little brother were there so it was pretty dangerous, and this cow really was into a fight and pretty damn crazy! The cow tried to jump over a fence to the neighbor’s house. There it had no way to go. Then the cowboys we lost the cow came, and they were the most stereotype cowboys you can imagine: cowboy had, heeled boots, jeans with a shirt into and a big belt and of course, lassoes! They seemed a bit drunk but they managed to get the cow the jump back over the fence and then get it with their lassoes and lock it up. It all happened really fast but it was a pretty cool experience!
Furthermore we danced a bit of salsa, we watched another movie and we cooked and ate more and more. I thought about the fact that I don’t have that many friends here but today I realized that I have something else, a huge second family that loves me. 

woensdag 5 december 2012

Taekwondo tournament!

Day 141, 2nd of December 2012 21:46
La festival de la luz y la festival de la pelea!
Yes! These were two great days; they just don’t seem to stop! Yesterday evening was the festival of the lights in San Mateo.  Since I feel way more connected with San Mateo as with Orotina was that the place to be last Saturday.
There weren’t so many lights as I expected, but it is a little village. It was pretty much like carnival; all the local bands came in a row past by the park and even the band of San José came. Every band represented either a school or a place and every one of those also had dancers, and carnival cars. But also the medical people and the fireman participated. The fireman just used there fire truck because they are so awesome already. They all made nice things, elephants, the birth of the baby Christ but our school was the best of course. We had a big truck with a forest at the back with huge butterflies and the 3 meter Iguana we made, it looked beautiful.
I really enjoyed the festival; I first went with my family but quickly met up with some friends. There were food stands, a lot of people and live music. Walking around through all of this kind of made me feel back in Holland where we have these kinds of things more often.
Afterwards I asked what the other people thought about it, and surprisingly they all thought it was horrible. According to them there was too much chaos and it wasn’t good organized. Here I kind of miss the Pura Vida way of thinking; Ticos can complain a lot sometimes.
And then today, today was so epic cool. Today finally came the day of the Taekwondo tournament, where we have been training for the last month. The tournament was in Heredia so I drove with the coach in a car there. It was at a gymnasium of a school, so there was plenty of space for the public as well. It felt so good to be back at a big sports event again.  Orotina was represented by 8 competitors including me, we also had some supporters from Orotina, there are always a few moms watching at the training, and they also came to the tournament. We got our own spot where we put all our bags and everything and then the waiting started. First went the smallest and youngest kids. It was funny to see them fight, but the pressuring parent is a problem here as well. I had to wait until 4:30 for my fight, we arrived there at 9.
There were some black belt people demonstrations which were pretty cool, but I spent most of my time watching the other people fight, which is pretty nice actually. I also spent some time training with my teammates at the training area. It was so cool that there were so many Taekwondo people together and everybody was just kicking all over the place. It felt a bit like the PSV-tournament we have every 29th of December.
I got all ready and set for my fight when my time came; I already met the dude who I had to fight with. When the time was there it appeared that my body protector was too small, so we had 1 minute to change. We didn’t have one ourselves so we had to search all over the place. When we came back they said that I was disqualified. But my opponent was so nice to say that he did want to fight. First everything got checked by the referee and then we had to bow and put our helmets up, I put it on reverse the first time but that is a common problem. After the referee said ´Shi-Cha´ we could start, first there was some jumping and looking for an opportunity. Everything went really fast after the first kick, I did a double ‘kick & spin combination’ after that there were some single kick which all got blocked by both of us. Then I kicked him twice in the stomach which made him stop twice, that got me 2 points, so it was 2-0 for Bram. After 1 minute I got to kick him in the face, this is worth the most points; 3. So the score was 5-0 for me; looking pretty good. But this dude was lying on the floor and apparently I had already won because of K.O., knock out. I didn’t really understand but it apparently it was really special and good. So I greeted my opponent, who was sitting at the medical spot and happily went to pick up my gold medal. When I walked back the public was clapping their hands and congratulating me! It was an epic experience!
On the way home there was a lot of traffic, this is like the third time I got stuck in a traffic jam here in Costa Rica and all of these times it was in San José, some things are so nice about a small village!

Day 144, Wednesday 5 December 2012 8:08
I didn’t wrote on my blog the last 2 days because of bajansia, or in English; laziness. Laziness actually is a pretty bad thing her I Costa Rica and they can get pretty disturbed if you are lazy. An example, my host mom asked me a few days ago if I drank coffee that day, I replied no, she said why, it isn’t because you were too last to make coffee right? It’s funny because Costa Ricans are very lazy themselves!
And what I did these 2 days actually just being lazy. I didn’t do anything special just being at home watching television; I really started liking NCIS, CSI, Criminal Minds and all that kind of stuff, so that is kind of bad I think. But it saves me money and since I am going on  a lot of trips next 2 months I need that money.
The only special moment was Monday at Taekwondo training: I was welcomed as a hero and we watched my video all together. I know really have some friends at taekwondo as well, so that’s always nice. And it also made me very proud.

zaterdag 1 december 2012

Paradise Pictures

Paradises and beaches

Day 138, el Jeuves 29 de Noviembre 2012 8:44
Busy and awesome life!
I didn’t use my computer the last days with the thought of enjoying life more and stop wasting valuable time with my computer. And that paid off, I had awesome days!
I went normally to school on Tuesday, there were no classes but we practically just chilled in school and the park. I got my math note back, a proud 85%! I spent the afternoon at my grandmother’s house, without any other host family member. I went there to see my uncle, I had to give him some papers about my internship. And yes! I have an internship didn’t wrote about that yet. I will be working in Hotel Marriot Los Sueños next week! I got it because my uncle’s wife works there and it is masked as a school project; I can’t work because of my visa so we just made it into a school project, so school that school just cooperates with that!
Carara was yesterday’s program; I went back to the park where I did my internship. I went with Louisa after showing her around in ‘mi bella Orotina’. It’s funny; I noticed that my patriotism for the Netherlands also counts for Orotina and Costa Rica. We got free entrance to the park because I know the people, and I was very happy because the entrance is 10$ way too expensive for a walk through the park, like the Tico’s say it ‘Hijo Puta tan caro’. The park was as lovely as always, the trees, plants and animals amaze me every time I come there. There was a big part closed when I worked there but now it was opened so I got to see way more of the park as before and it amazing. We also got to a house where some volunteers slept and worked, they are from all kinds of countries and doing volunteering around the world, they impressed me! We saw 1 snake, a dragonfly which is a beautiful libellee, more insects and a washing bear, don’t know if that’s its English name but it was cool to see. Only the frogs lacked because the rivers where dry because of the dry period.
We decided to go to Jaco to lunch after we had seen the entire park. When we arrived it started to rain like crazy, so apparently it wasn’t dry season yet after all, so we searched for shelter in a Subway. And if you are in a Subway and it’s raining like crazy outside, then why note a 30cm long sub? So I enjoyed my lovely sandwich while watching the rain outside. We saw 2 surfers walking outside, and Louisa told me a story about a surfer with a surfboard on a bike, it made her realize that she’s in paradise. Everybody has their own moments of realization of pure happiness. The rain stopped, and we already had to look for the bus stop, our Jaco tour kind of failed but I had nice sub so you don’t see me complaining. I went to this coffeeshop I have seen every time I went to Jaco but I had never entered it. I bought café mocha with mint to go. And that was delicious, and it give me a bit of a feeling of being at home. Drinking café mochas to go is just a ‘me thing’ it remembers me of the waterpolo practice with the national team, the train ride home with some good coffee. It made me very happy. I had a nice bus stop conversation with a woman from Portugal, I would have never done bus stop chats in the Netherlands, but now I love them, just a little chat with an unknown person can be so nice.

Day 139, Thursday 29 November 2012 20:15
Sitting in the sand.
It was a nice day, a day ‘pura vida’ day. I went to Puntarenas with Henry, pretty funny; I went there 2 times in 4 months now I have been there 3 times in 1 week. We went there just to chill, as a last day together.
Henry wanted to buy a Puntarenas soccer shirt; it is an awesome orange shirt with a shark on it. I’m going to buy one someday as well. He didn’t buy it today though, he forgot his credit card. But it was no problem, tranquillo; he’ll buy it another day. We just sat down on the beach, because sitting on the beach simply is so much better as sitting at home. We just talked, mostly about international stuff than we stood in the water, and talked more. Our main conclusion is that the United States are pretty weird, your argument is invalid. We had hamburger lunch and walked a bit more through the centrum. We ended up back at the beach and the conversation went on. We actually planned to go to Jaco but we didn’t it seemed rainy over there, and we were fine sitting at this beach.  It was getting high-tie and we were talking about the Dutch water works, my bag almost got wet so I decided to make a little Dutch water work myself. I love making sandcastles, or just walls against the water. I didn’t care what the other people thought about me, this is just something what I like and because of that I just do that. The water didn’t reach it though, but it was fun making it. It made me think about all my holidays, either with my family or one of my best friends in Southern France, that’s the thing about Costa Rica, it is such a holiday country that all my memories are about holidays, and fortunately those are all happy memories. We also spoke about Singapore, I would love to go there, it’s a cliché but now that I am on this exchange I want to continue traveling and there are a lot of countries on my list.
We went back in the afternoon, we had to say goodbye at his bus stop, it is a goodbye for a long time but I am sure I will see him again, and I’m not just saying that, I really am sure. I had an awesome time here with Henry; he is one of my best friends here. It has been the last days that we are pretty much the same; we have the same thoughts, weaknesses and strengths. I will miss him.  Though, goodbyes aren’t that hard for me, and because of that I don’t always do them right. I didn’t say a good goodbye to my sisters, and sometimes I feel sorry for that. I can’t remember my goodbye with Akke, only that just means that I should have done that better. With Rosa I remember that I was too lazy to walk to the train station, on that while train station goodbyes are so awesome. I have no idea how my goodbye here will be, so far away in June, but also so close; I will be at the airport crying, obviously. I wonder if I will be flying back with other exchange students or not, I hope so, it will be our last adventure together.
I saw my old host family on the bus, I don’t know if the mom and sister ignored me or just didn’t see me, the last is not very possible since I still a very blond and very tall. My ex-host brother sat next to me, yes the one who stole my money, but he was surprisingly nice to me. Well, maybe I just see too much good in people, I mean he just greeted me and asked me how I was doing, which is something everybody always does.
I was about to write something about the Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla, everybody always says that she is very bad. So I wanted to write that she actually is bad, but my host mom told me not to. She said to me that I do not know her, so that I cannot judge her and that I should not talk bad about her. It was one of the few times I saw the real side of her, I’m not saying she is fake, but Costa Ricans barely talk about serious stuff and tell most things cloaked in jokes or little white lies. But now she spoke to me very serious, and it is very right what she told me; another lesson learned.  

Day 139, el viernes 30 de Noviembre 2012 21:20
Costa Rica, the country of the infinite paradises.
I always had 1 fieldtrip a year in my elementary school in The Netherlands, and maybe 2 per year in my high school. These trips were mostly to museums and old buildings. I always enjoyed these trips, the best trip to the Ardennes 2 years ago, that was so awesome. But here in Costa Rica, here they know about fieldtrips. Teachers organize trips when they feel like it; they just search for a nice place, make a letter and get a good price. So today was one of these trips, destination: paradise. Of course isn’t the name paradise, there actually is a village called that way but that’s boring, I’ve been there, done that. The place where we went is called Si-Chi; the tourist name is Waterfall Gardens.
I got up at 4, I didn’t have that much trouble getting up, I changed into a morning person here. I went to buy bread at a bakery, this morning walk was delicious, just me and my music and the morning glory. Every street smelled like bread, because there are so many bakeries. What surprised me was that the park cleaning guy already was sweeping, good guy park cleaner. The bus picked us up at our house because my host mom organized the trip, of course it was one of these mini-busses, Costa Ricans just love mini-busses, or maybe it’s because of the lack of cars by the most people, I’ll keep it on the love.
We drove to the school the pick up the others, the cool thing about mini-busses is that they are so small, so with 18 people inside it is all so cozy, but with a Costa Rican beauty next to you is that no problem of course. We drove towards Vulcan Poaz and we got pretty high, so it got cold and I actually put on a sweater for one of the first times her, but I love hoodies and sweaters so it was good to wear one again. We drove through all these small mountain coffee farmers villages and one of my classmates told hilarious stories about everything we saw, the Costa Rican humor is pretty bad most of time, the majority are fart and bad sex jokes; pointing at someone and saying he is gay is one of the funniest things they know.
We arrived after driving 2 hours over the bumpy mountain roads. I got stunned by its beauty the moment I entered.  It was a beautiful wooden building, a gift shop; they always have exactly the same gift shop, with all products by café Britt, including stuffed animal sloths! There was a small artificial pond and some insect cases like we made in school, but 10 times better. And outside at the balcony you could see over the park and the cloud forest, a beautiful view. We entered the park, which was pretty much just a zoo, but an epic zoo. It all looked beautiful, everything made of recycled wood and rocks. There was a big bird hall, all kind of tropical birds flying around including Toucans!  There was a butterfly house, frog house, and a snake house. There were 2 beautiful sloths in the butterfly house, they were just sitting there and hugging all time, they looked up one time for a photo, I love sloths so much. The snake house was pretty impressive as well, with huge very deadly snakes. Furthermore, there were wild cats, including a jaguar and there were monkeys as well.
It only bothered me how small the habitations were, snake actually just lied in a small glass box, the sloths barely had space to move, not that they move a lot but still, and there was one cage of birds with over 10 birds in a small cage. I actually expected better from Costa Rica at this aspect, but it didn’t take away the amazement it gave me. Another thing, Costa Ricans are the worst zoo visitors ever, they just keep ticking the glass of the snakes, they drive the animals crazy, that disturbed me a bit. Sometimes I really wonder what is going on in their heads, sometimes they are so grown up in between friends, and sometimes so so childish. A different culture it is.
The waterfalls were the next attraction, and they stunned me even more. A nice trail led us past 3 huge waterfalls, all of them between 35 and 40 meter. They gave some nice pictures, but more important as the pictures was seeing them self, they are breathtaking; pure nature, pure power. Then it was lunch time, we were starving in the mean time since we woke up so early. Our hunger got well satisfied by a eat what you want buffet, it was really nice and my stomach, tongue and mind got very happy.
And if you go on a school trip, then you have to go to a mall afterwards, and so did we. We went to small mall in Alajuela but it was pretty boring so I and 3 friends just hit downtown Alajuela to look and stores and stuff, I felt so much like a normal Costa Rican teenager, or just any normal teenager, something I didn’t feel for a long time. The bus ride home was as much fun as the bus ride in the morning. I really started to like bus rides, public busses because they just give so much time to listen to good music to think and the mini-busses just because they are a part of the trip and everybody is just kidding and being crazy, with Bob Marley on the back ground of course.
I was so tired when we got home that I directly went for a nap. In the night I did my Taekwondo practice like normal, it was the last practice before the tournament. I’m so excited about the tournament, the teacher told me that I have a golden potential so that’s my goal. Nobody trains to be number 2.
Today Costa Rica showed me one of his many paradises, of its infinite beauty. The bus driver told me that he travels around all of Costa Rican and that he keeps discovering new paradises. He also said that this place is the most beautiful of all Costa Rica so I am very happy I went. I almost didn’t go because of the money but I am so so happy I did go, and in the end it was worth so much more as what we paid.
Costa Rica holds so many paradises, and that is what people search for, a paradise. Well they should definitely come to Costa Rica to find their paradise!

dinsdag 27 november 2012

Isla tortuga!

Day 133, el Sabado 24 de Noviembre 10:22
Isla Tortuga!
I can proudly say that I have been in of the paradise places our lovely earth has, Isla Tortuga. There aren´t turtles on this island though, its name comes from its shape, it looks like a turtle.
The trip to paradise started on Thursday, a normal school day. I made math exam and then take a bus to Esparza. I met up with Henry, who is leaving back to New-Zealand in 2 weeks.. So we need to chill a lot these days. We went to Puntarenas, and just chilled at the beach drinking smoothies and stuff. I went to my IEC’s house back in Esparza for dinner and to sleep. I’m very happy with my new IEC; she’s really nice and cool.
The next morning we went back to the park to meet with the others, we went with one of those over popular mini-busses, honestly Costa Ricans are addicted to those. We drove to the harbor of Puntarenas and got on our boat. We had to wait 45 minutes for some other people to arrive, a group of middle aged beer and Smirnoff drinking Costa Rican women. The boat trip itself was beautiful as well, we saw dolphins within 5 minutes and they were jumping on front of our boat, we were pretty lucky! We came past all of these beautiful islands with abandoned beaches; I will buy one of these islands one day, maybe when we’re old. The boat was supplied with some nice party music including Gan nmam style and Party Rock that made the trip even cooler. We stopped after 1 hour to do some snorkeling; there were beautiful fish in all colors and sizes, too bad that I got stung by a jellyfish after 15 minutes…
Then we arrived at the island, a small beach with a lot of palms, white sand, blue clear water and some cabins. We got some tables under some trees with a mini kitchen included. The staff made the fruits ready while we explored our little beach. After some photos and a bit of swimming we rested with the fruits, while eating the fruits we got a better fruity idea: Banana boat! Some guy took is with the banana boat, and to be honest: he is the worst banana boat driver ever. Because he was so bad we decided to make the fun ourselves and started jumping of the banana boat, doing Gan Nmam style on the banana boat and wrestling on the banana boat, the banana boat guy didn’t like that though, but: Pura Vida!
After the banana boat it was lunch time, we had some delicious fish with a salad. There were marshmallows with ‘leche condensada’; they eat so much leche condensada here that it’s horrible. It practically is just syrup like milk with a lot of sugar. We heard to there was a snake on the island which you could put around your neck and stuff, we couldn’t find it but we did find the souvenir ship which sold nice and way to expensive souvenirs. Also there were a few tropical birds, we just chilled with them a while. We spent the last 2 hours sunning on the beach and swimming a bit. At 3 o’clock it unfortunately already was time to leave the island, but the good part was that we had the beautiful boat ride again.
I took the bus from Puntarenas to Orotina together with Yukari, the Japanese girl who lives her as well. I never really talked with here so this bus ride was a good thing; I asked here a lot of questions about Japan, got to go there some day. The bus ride itself was relativity long and to full. There was an old guy screaming at the bus driver all to time to hurry up and stuff, that was pretty funny.
I did go to Taekwondo in the evening, just because I love it so much. It was a big change though, from lying and the beach to kicking around.
This morning I learned some cooking things, I learned how to make Gallo Pinto and I made a delicious soup for lunch.

Day 134, el Domingo 25 de noviembre 2012 20:31
Relaxing & partying
It was such a chill day yesterday, I loved it. I woke up around 9 ate some breakfast and then just lied and my bed and chilled. After lunch I made the tour for my parents for when they come here, that’ll be awesome as well! Then in the afternoon I slept deliciously in the hammock for a few hours, Pura Vida.
I went to Ruth’s birthday party in the evening; it actually wasn’t really a party but more like a dinner. It was Ruth, Sarah, Lea, Jadeli, Ruth’s host parents and me. We ate delicious and just chatted, in Spanish of course, it is so cool that we now speak Spanish between exchange students as well. We went to the park for a bit to pick up some more people. When we returned Ruth’s parents put up the piñata I bought and the cake was ready. Piñata are so much fun! Everybody just goes back to their little kid’s time, (well actually just the boys but still) we were all crawling over the floor grabbing candy, lovely part of the culture. Then we ate the cake, with of course Coca-Cola, people here are addicted to cola, they’ll buy a bottle for every little thing; it is always like: ‘coca coca! Yo amo el coca!’ We went back to the park after all these birthday thingies, just to chill. We waited there till 12 to sing ‘happy birthday’ to Ruth. Some idiot threw a ¼ dynamite pretty close to us; crazy homeless guy spends his begged money on fireworks, stupid. They sell fireworks here during the whole year and people really don’t know how to handle it.
Today was a bit busier day, I went to Ruth’s house in the morning to pick up my bike, but she wasn’t there, or still sleeping. This country really misses the phenomenon called a doorbell, the people here just scream somebody’s name at the door, but I don’t really feel like doing that, just because. A read somebody’s blog about an exchange student in The Netherlands, she wrote the next: ‘The Dutch always say: ‘het is gewoon zo’ (it just is that way)’ and that is so true, I really live by these words. About living by words, the magical words ‘Pura ‘Vida’       -the slogan of Costa Rica- didn’t really get me yet. If I say them it always is a bit forced. But Pura Vida isn’t just saying the words, it is a lifestyle. And this is one of the reasons I choose Costa Rica, so I should learn more about and from this life style, to complete my goals.
Anyways, I liked the walking though. I walked through a regular Costa Rican neighborhood, colored houses, some corner stores and chickens walking on the unpaved street. Seeing that, always remembers me of being in a third world country, along with the poor people, the infinite happiness and the way people think of me. A got picked up by my host dad halfway while walking back. We went to the farm of an uncle with 2 other uncles. We fed the cows, picked mangos, lemons, oranges and star fruit and went back, I love getting a bit of this love here during my exchange. I quickly ate back home and I took a bus to Desmonte, to my uncle. I am so happy that I besides having a really nice host family also have really nice relatives. We just eat, laugh, and watch movies over there. These moments there are really important to me, I’m always so happy when I’m there, I’m always happy actually, but when being there I am extra happy. I forgot my camera, but sometimes it is good not to take pictures, if you spend all your time taking pictures then you don’t enjoy the moment. Sometimes it is better to just take a memory; memories are way more precious as pictures, just a memory for yourself, a story to be told one day.

Day 135, el Lunes 26 de Noviembre 2012 21:58
The River!
Yes! I finally went to the cool river I wrote about. I started the day being very bored, I feeling kind of down because of that. But then I called Daniela to go to the river, so we went. The river is at 4 esquinas, my old neighborhood. Her we met up, and from there we went to Daniela’s house. The river is practically in her backyard, we just had to walk like 400 meters down. I saw a beautiful bird while walking down; to bad I didn’t bring my camera.
The river was in one word amazing, in the middle of a forest there was this small river with rocks and trees on both sides softly flowing through the forest. There was a rope hanging from one of the trees, and something which could be called a pebble beach. We first made a fire on this pebble beach to make some food, I loved it to make fire again. After this little pick nick it was time to swim! I climbed up into this tree, grabbed the rope and swung like Tarzan into the river. After a few times we started doing tricks and stuff from this rope, it was awesome. We spotted one nasty and huge spider on one of the rocks, again to bad I didn’t bring my camera.
I got my Taekwondo suit in the evening, now I feel like an epic Korean warrior dude, only I black belt is missing, but I’ll have it one day.