“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other countries, other lives, other souls.” -Anais Nin

 

I’m thrilled to say I finally had a visitor here in Costa Rica! My best friend of over 15 years and counting came to relax and see all that this beautiful country has to offer. It was an amazing experience sharing my new life with someone I cherish. I’d be lying if I said I never get homesick or miss my friends and family back home, so this week of vacation was an unforgettable soul filled reunion.

And what better way to welcome a guest other than taking them to the beach! I had a week off of work due to Semana Santa, so we took a special trip to playa Uvita in the Marino Ballena National Park on the southern Pacific side of Costa Rica. Let me tell you, the weather was HOT!!!

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We rented a cabin at the Flutterby House. I highly recommend this hostel to anyone.

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And spent a day in Dominical watching a surf competition.

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For the grand finale, I took my bff Cori to see the night life in San Jose and enjoy some typical tico food-my personal favorites chifrijo & patacones.

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We ate, laughed, enjoyed the beach, made new friends and memories for a lifetime-my heart is full!

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“She flirted with life, and life flirted right back with her, as if all the universe became more alive just for her, and everything felt her glow, in the dew, in the stars, in the colors of the sky, it all shone for her, bright as it could, in the hopes to catch her eye.” -Atticus

To all the potential ESL teachers looking into moving to Costa Rica to get TEFL certified and teach, here is my advise for you: Do it now! If this is your dream as it was mine, don’t procrastinate another moment. The risk is worth the reward. My life here as a teacher in Costa Rica has been an adventure unlike any other. I have learned more about myself in 6 months and witnessed my own strength, courage and inner growth in a ways I never thought possible. The truth is, it takes guts to make this kind of move and that I completely understand, but don’t let fear hold you back from such a unique opportunity.

JUST DO IT!

I returned this week from a trip to Bocas del Toro, Panama. As I write this, I am still in a daze, still in awe of the pristine paradise that enamored me to the core.

The long journey began with an early morning bus ride to Puerto Viejo for an overnight layover before heading to the border. Rocking J’s Hostel is a one of a kind experience I must say.

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The next morning began with a 6am bus ride to the border in Sixaola. After walking across the bridge you are officially in Panama awaiting customs.

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After a bus ride full of backpackers and a boat ride full of world travelers, 2 hours later I finally arrived in Bocas.

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After arriving at the hostel, the next three days consisted of lavishing in the Caribbean goodness and bike rides around Isla Colon.

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I wish I could have taken a thousand more pictures of what I encountered on this trip, but at least now you can see a glimpse of the beauty that captivated my heart and soul.

“The purpose of this glorious life is not simply to endure it, but to soar, stumble and flourish as you learn to fall in love with existence. We were born to live my dear, not to merely exist.” – Becca Lee

Life in Costa Rica never seizes to amaze me. Whether it is a new word, new food, or a new experience, not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new. New experiences on a budget are easy to find too!

La Sabana Park in San Jose was a recent experience of mine. This is one of the countries largest parks with tons to do from soccer, paddle boats, kayaks, race track and more.

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El Museo del Oro Precolombino was a cool experience as well. Filled with pre-Columbian gold and miscellaneous Costa Rican artifacts.

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San Jose after dark is also an experience of its own with street performers, people, food and more.

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And a glimpse of the wonderful food I’ve indulged in lately, including pupusas, ceviche, a classic Tico meal, tamales, more ceviche, and my first time eating Gelato. If I haven’t mentioned it before, the food is to die for here!

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And some random snapshots of friends and I including a Gecko who loves to make appearances in my living room, a view of the last full moon, and a view of sunshine over Heredia.

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“I do this because I have finally found what ignites my soul. What feeds my passion and tests my resolve. Finally, I have found what I was meant to do all along.” -BMMPoetry

It is officially summer here in Costa Rica. Perfect weather this time of year– warm with blue skies during the day but (some what) cool with a fresh breeze at night.

My holiday break is over and this week I am back to work, but the last day of vacation my friends and I went to a beach called Playa Esterillos in Jaco, which is close to two hours away on the Pacific side. This was such a memorable day filled with fun, bbq, smiles, many laughs, music and more. There is something so refreshing and healing after a day spent absorbing the ocean air and elements. I never wanted this day to end!

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Some delicious food I had recently (shrimp ceviche and pupusa)…

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And finally, a sunset approaching over La Sabana Park in San Jose

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“You are an artist of the spirit. Find yourself and express yourself in your own particular way. Express your love openly. Life is nothing but a dream and if you create your life with love, your dream becomes a masterpiece of art.” -Don Miguel Ruiz

My first Christmas and New Years in Costa Rica was an awesome experience, and I got to see first hand the Tico traditional food and holiday customs. My heart is full, and I am grateful for the love and joy I received from my friends and family.

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Christmas Eve I spent the day with my host family who I became very close with in a short time. Doña Vicky fed me her homemade tamales, which are a holiday ritual here. And finished the evening with a late dinner at my friend Rebeca’s house with her family and a few of our closest friends…

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Christmas Day I was invited by Rebeca to a traditional family brunch. This is an event her family has done for many years. Blue skies, good company and delicious food–more tamales of course…

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While enjoying two weeks vacation my friends and I visited La Paz Waterfall Gardens where I got to see more of Costa Rica’s beauty…

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And finally New Years Eve. I had a lovely evening with close friends more delicious food and firework shows from every angle of town…

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Wishing you all blessings in 2016!

“Step into this experience with butterflies in your bones; with a nervous feeling so beautiful, you know your doing something right.” – D. Antoinette Foy

The holiday season is here, and as always, it snuck up on me. The month of December here in Costa Rica went by in the blink of an eye, but nonetheless full of work and fun. I utilized the season to pick the brains of my English students, asking them questions about what Christmas means to them and how their families celebrate. By doing this, I gained valuable insight to the Tico culture as they expressed to me the emphasis on quality of life here, also referred to as pura vida.

As of last Friday, I am officially on holiday break for two weeks, so the first thing I did in honor of my vacation time was take a trip to the Caribbean coast to a small town called Cahuita. After breathing the air of the tropics, lavishing in the bathwater temperature ocean, and tasting the unique and flavorful foods of the Caribbean, I am in awe of the beauty that Costa Rica beholds. This was an absolutely unforgettable experience.

I went to Cahuita by buswhich took about 5 hours total. Passing through the countryside and enjoying the view is all part of the experience.

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After a quick stop in the city of Limon, I arrived in paradise. I stayed at a quaint hostel called Hakuna Matata, owned by an Italian family who welcomed me with open arms.

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If you know me at all you know that 7 is my number. When this number shows up in my life (as it does often) I know the universe is letting me know I’m exactly where I need to be. 7 just so happened to be my room number.

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Taking a stroll through town, this is what you will see.

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And food of course! There’s nothing quite like Caribbean flavors. The BEST coconut flavored rice.

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And the beach at last!!!!

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With Bob Marley murals everywhere, reggae music playing from every end of town, and coral reef beaches, Cahuita captured my heart.

Living abroad in Costa Rica I am reminded daily that I am truly alive–embracing the essence of each day and what it may bring to my Sol Purpose journey. My life and my spirit are forever imprinted by the charm and delicacy of this beautiful country.

“The healthiest response to life is joy.” -Deepak Chopra

This was another lovely week here in Costa Rica. Life as an ESL teacher has been a wonderful experience so far, and I’m looking forward to what is to come in my career path.

Saturday at Lapa Verede, one of the schools I teach at, there was an open house for everyone to see what classes are offered and get acquainted with the school and staff. One of the best parts of working at Lapa that all cultures are embraced here, and there is a strong emphasis on family and sense of community. I have some amazing coworkers and amazing students both of which are influential sources of knowledge and personal growth.

 

Many have asked me if Costa Rica celebrates Thanksgiving, and for those of you still wondering, the answer is NO. So, last week there was no turkey dinner, instead I spent the day teaching two different English classes and ended the evening at a BBQ with close friends. I am so blessed to have found two of the most kind hearted and genuine people to spend my time with here, and I call them my Costa Rican family. We are a random mix of nationalities–a Gringa (me obviously), a Cuban (Felix), and a Tica (Rebeca). I love these two dearly and can’t imagine living here without them and the joy, smiles, and laughter they bring to my life.

 

And to finish, here are a few random snapshots of Costa Rica:

The view from my apartment…

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I sat in the park in Heredia recently and watched this precious lil lady feed the birds…

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And if you have ever been to Costa Rica, you may know about Lizano Salsa. It is the sauce of choice for many locals and has been referred to as “liquid gold.”

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PURA VIDA!