But First, Let Me Take A Selfie

Taken from Emmanuelle’s facebook.

For our final week in Costa Rica, we’ve decided that it is necessary to take at least one selfie-a-day. Especially post-workout.
#wecute ?

1044608_10152593882733630_2363979158183081344_nDia 2: Con Joshua

10561678_10152595478978630_2167994760720057774_nDia 3: Selfie victim of the day: Our dog Lonni. Needless to say, it was not a success…

10577941_10152598483008630_1035634464_o-1 Dia 4: Today’s selfie consisted of roof climbing with our beautiful Mama Tica to get a better glimpse of God’s beautifully painted sunset.

10569214_10152601272338630_388187452_nDía 5: Our selfie of the day consists of our gelato-eating selves at the first place we explored in Costa Rica, and now the last. Love you, roomie

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Been Around The World, I Speak The Language

In my mind any experience is “worth it” if you have done one of two things: 1. Enjoyed yourself  or 2. Learned something


To begin very basic: The whole reason I went to Costa Rica was to learn Spanish. So I am sure all of you are wondering, are ya fluent??

A: Give me a break, I have only been studying Spanish for 3 months. Who do you think I am? A super human?? Jk.

But for real. I end the summer (I say this with a humble heart, just trying to be honest) with a good comprehension, a pretty good accent, a great base foundation, and a lot more to learn.  I can understand most conversations, if I pay attention, but still have a lot of growth on my speaking ability as well as vocabulary and correct grammatical usage.

As far as the rest goes I learned about what it means to be in a family. I learned that you have to work at those relationships, just as you do friendships. Even more, I now fully understand that the most important thing in life is being a good family member. Without family (in whatever sense you may define that), you have nothing.

I know that people constantly talk about how much going abroad changes them and it’s cheesy. They write long statements about how they’ve grown over their time in another country. But the thing is there is nothing false about it. Sure not everyone practices what they preach when they return to the states, but they will have been changed forever regardless.

From a point of view of being abroad the past two summers I can honestly say I have never learned so much about the person I want to be and at the same time become so confused about the person that I am.

While if don’t know who I’ll become, the impact I’m going to have, I am working to adjust the scale by which I define greatness and accept that it will be different from I first dreamed.

So many of us grow up with the idea in our head that we want to change the world. How? Most of us aren’t lucky enough to know how. Most of us also don’t have a complete grasp on reality to say in what scope (local, global, etc.) we would feel accomplished. But I have been trying to wrap my mind around fully believing: we are all changing the world. Each and every one of us changes the world by simply living. Some of you may be thinking, okay well that’s stupid because that’s not what I meant when I was thinking about making an impact on the world. Don’t get me wrong, I totally feel you. But before we get to the grand scale of world shifting, we have to understand the following: We are all important. What we choose to do with our lives matters. We have complete control over our emotions, happiness, and relationships. We all have the ability to change a life or lives everyday. We often forget about the small acts of kindness we can do for others that could have a much larger, even life changing, impact on someone else. Once we understand that, we can get to the next part.

I ask you to think of how many people you know right now who knew that they would be doing what they are doing, in the company they are doing it in. Really think. The reality is that most people don’t. Life is constantly changing and opportunities are constantly arising that we never even knew existed. So we all need to relax. We can’t just wake up tomorrow and have our whole lives planned out and we can’t plan how we can change the world. I have come to believe that the largest impacts one can have is usually something they stumble upon. Hear me out. If we do things that we are passionate about, then we will be led in the direction of happiness, from there we are given a desire to spread this “thing” to as many people as possible, and maybe just maybe the energy created will be enough to change the world, just as we thought we could do as little kids. I’m not saying we can’t plan and I am not saying that there aren’t ways to make sure these types of impacts occur. But what I am saying is that if you are constantly looking for ways to change the world, then maybe they aren’t as genuine. Sometimes we just have to be patient (something I know I struggle with) and see what life throws our way.


 

I am also definitely still trying to learn that I’m not a slacker if I spend a weeknight hanging with friends. I am still trying to learn that I can still be making a difference even if I am not constantly running from meeting to meeting. I am still trying to learn that being incredibly busy and always doing work is not what makes me the person others tell me I am. I am still trying to learn the work/play balance that doesn’t make me feel either like a workaholic or a slacker. I don’t think these lessons are going to come over night – but in order to make any of this happen, I have to start believe I am changing the world everyday. I need to live my life with what makes me happy and give up the self judgement. There are no shoulds in life. Someone wise once told me to rid that word from my vocabulary and I made a very good progress with not making commitments to things I didn’t want to do, but thought I should do. However, now its time to apply this to how I treat myself. There is nothing that I should be doing. If I do the things that make me happy and that I want to do, then the rest will fall in place. I have a lot of self growth to do in this department, but the only way to make my dreams come true is if I can start learning this now.


 

I have been taught something that matters more than all of those: being a good friend. Hong Kong and now Costa Rica I have seen that I don’t spend enough time just being with my friends. After Hong Kong, I became much better at putting aside time to friends and just hanging. But after Costa Rica, the thing I realized the most is that I don’t truly know all my friends. When you come to college everyone has had 17-19 years of their life already and in most friendships its hard to cover all those years. But those years are important and they make us who we are. I truly believe that those I think of as my best friends, I need to get to know more: who they were, are, and want to be. I don’t mean any of this in a lovely way, but in the sense that I want to know, really know, those I care about most in life. Once I can do that, I think I’ll have become the type of friend and person I have always wanted to be.


Being home has been weird. I still say simple phrases in Spanish: gracias, lo siento, si, permiso, con gusto. I am still confused about the time of day because it doesn’t get dark here until 9pm. I am still struggling with being back in a much more materialistic lifestyle. I know there are so many things that I don’t need, but yet have a desire for them, even after spending 3 months in a place totally content with all my belongings, and this makes me sad. I still miss the mountains, the sunsets, the language, and my tica family – but I grew a lot this summer and I am really excited to see the person I become in the next year.


Sorry if this list is repetitive – Things I want to accomplish in the next year:

  1. Continue Spanish lessons everyday (30 mins to an hour)
  2. Cook on my own and get my eating behavior under control
  3. Expand workout routines
  4. Get to know my friends and family better (skyping once a week or twice a month and hanging out with those near me)
  5. Get rid of the impossible and silly standards I set for myself
  6. Understand that I don’t always have to be working and stop feeling like a slacker when I am not

 

7 Things, 7 Days Revisited

Okay so the title is a little misleading, although the idea was to do something everyday – the reality of our lives and schedules made it so one thing a day was not possible.

1. Watch a Sunrise. Yes, waking up really early to do so. 

While this technically didn’t happen together, I watched the sunrise as I cried my way to the airport.

2. Watch a Sunset in the city. 

Our first attempt with this was a complete fail. On Tuesday, we were on our way to see the sunset when we realized that it was extremely cloudy out and we wouldn’t be able a good sunset. Therefore we went home to save this for another time.

While making Tamales, I noticed that the sun was setting extremely brightly and figured it would be a beautiful sunset. Although Emmanuelle was at school working on a project, I decided to go out to see the sunset. I went out and walked to the spot Emmanuelle and I had planned on watching it from, but unfortunately there were too many buildings in the way for the direction the sun set. So I started walking, legitimately  chasing the sunset to find a good look out. I was able to find two that were prime locations (one outside of another University and along a street). I figured that neither of the spots were particularly okay to stand for a long period of time, especially by myself. Yet, it was awesome to be walking around the city while the sun was setting. In our fast paced everyday lives we often forget to take a few minutes to take in the natural beauty of our world that occurs everyday.

After snapping a few pictures, I walked home and asked my Mama Tica if there was a way to get on the roof to watch the sunset. And just our luck, there was! So Emmanuelle (who had returned home), Mama Tica, and I went to the back, climed up the ladder and chilled on the roof for a few mintues. Sadly, we still were not quite high enough to get a wonderful view – but hey we made it on the roof with Mama Tica so thats pretty swell.

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3. Try the Rice n’ Smile at the mall (arroz con leche).

Welp, this was not as bad as I thought it would be. Not only were there different flavors ( I got coffee), there were also toppings! Sadly, it ended up being way too sweet for me. 20140801-105125-39085439.jpg

4. Go to the Reggae bar in Heredia. 

I’ll probably kick myself the most for never having done this sooner. Not only did the bar stock free drinks for the ladies, but the inside was such a chill environment. (More to be told).

5. Have a final mojito at Hooligans (we haven’t been in over 6 weeks). 

This was replaced by eating gelato at the first place Emmanuelle and I got ice cream.

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6. Try the weird chocolate covered marshmallow candy. 

Really disapointing. On Monday (possibly Sunday – the days run together) we decided to try all the Costa Rican chocolate we have neglected trying. It was probably for the best; the chocolates weren’t that great, very sugary though.

The actual marshmallow of the marshmallow candy was underwhelming. There was no marshmallow taste, only a weird texture.

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7. Go to skating on Ladies Night (its free!). How did we just find out about this??

This was replaced by a last trip to San Jose, to the market, and to POPs (YUM!)

While not everything was accomplished in the final week, it was everything and more than I could have hoped.

40 Things Every College Girl Needs To Be Reminded Once In A While

Such a great list!

Thought Catalog

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1. The number of weekends you have in college to go out and let loose is not infinite, go out at least once a weekend.

2. So you’ve gained a few pounds? You’re becoming a woman you’re not supposed to look 18 forever.

3. College wouldn’t be college if you got 8 hours of sleep every night. Embrace being tired it means you’re doing something right.

4. Pizza is one of God’s great creations, you’re hurting God’s feelings when you act too good for it.

5. Don’t let one creepy guy form your opinion on an entire fraternity.

6. Do not minimize what a privilege college is. Many people who are capable to be where you are can’t get there for a variety of reasons. Respect your opportunities.

7. Don’t settle for attention from icky guys

8. Don’t settle period.

9. Don’t give up if you’ve…

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The Hardest Part Of Traveling No One Talks About

“All of these lows are erased by the complete highs you experience.”

While I don’t agree that we are running off when we’re traveling, I have felt the travel bug itching out of me the past few years. As I have told many people, this is the first trip I have left with a complete understanding that I need to spend more time at home with those I love and who will be apart of my life forever.

On a completely different note, this feeling that she describes about changing when no one else around you has, is exactly the feeling I got when I came home from college the first time and visited my high school. It was like I had all these thoughts to share and stories about my “new” life, but everything in my high school had stayed the same. Almost like time hadn’t passed.

Thought Catalog

image - Flickr / Corie Howell image – Flickr / Corie Howell

You see the world, try new things, meet new people, fall in love, visit amazing places, learn about other cultures – then it’s all over. People always talk about leaving, but what about coming home?

We talk about the hard parts while we’re away – finding jobs, making real friends, staying safe, learning social norms, misreading people you think you can trust – but these are all parts you get through. All of these lows are erased by the complete highs you experience. The goodbyes are difficult but you know they are coming, especially when you take the final step of purchasing your plane ticket home. All of these sad goodbyes are bolstered by the reunion with your family and friends you have pictured in your head since leaving in the first place.

Then you return home, have your reunions, spend your first two…

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7 Things, 7 days

Given we now have a week left in Costa Rica, Emmanuelle and I made a bucket list of things we still haven’t done. Most of them are small and relate to food, but hey we’ve been here for a while to give us a break. We’ve done a lot.

1. Watch a Sunrise. Yes, waking up really early to do so. 

2. Watch a Sunset in the city. 

3. Try the Rice n’ Smile at the mall (arroz con leche).

4. Go to the Reggae bar in Heredia. 

5. Have a final mojito at Hooligans (we haven’t been in over 6 weeks). 

6. Try the weird chocolate covered marshmallow candy. 

7. Go to skating on Ladies Night (its free!). How did we just find out about this??

+ I’ll be posting once we have accomplished these!

Have any suggestions of what we should do our last week? Comment here!

Bungee Jumping

This is what happens when you don’t want to jump off the tallest bungee jump in Latin America…you forget to dive and jump feet first. Needless to say, it was a terrible experience. Nevertheless, the video is sure to bring some laughs to your day, especially my ending face.

Gratitude

Everything else, is immaterial.
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There are so many things we think we need in life. There are so many times where we get caught up worrying about an event or action that seems life threatening. Coming to Costa Rica has reminded me that the people in your life, the passion with which you take experience, the awareness with which you think about events, and giving to others is really what matters.

At home, my room is cluttered with things I have wanted over the years. But here, without any of them I realize that even if I don’t need any of the material goods to make me happy – I just need my friends and family by my side. With them I know that anything is possible. When a stressful life event happens, remember to be thankful for getting the opportunity to push through it and be grateful for at least one thing everyday.

To all my family and friends out there – you are the reason I laugh, smile, and love.

Dulcita de leche

What’s good muchach@s! Alright…my apologies for not keeping up with this blog as much as I would like. To all three of my readers, if you’re still out there give me a sign (wave?  smoke signal? anything?).

As I’m nearing the end of my stay here in Costa Rica, I can’t believe how fast time has flown by. Before coming to this beautiful country, I knew no one, had a rustic understanding of the language and didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. Five weeks later, I’ve met some wonderful people, can actually keep up a conversation with a native without saying “lo siento” every 15 seconds, and have experienced some kickass adventures through rain forests, beaches, volcanoes, mountains – you name it. Throughout this fantastic journey, I’ve been given the opportunity to see a part of the world that has SO many beautiful things to offer.

Saying that I feel…

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Worry-Free Wednesday: Everything Happens for a Reason

My big gives some pretty awesome advice!!!

Adventures of a Yankee Belle

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Unfortunately, we can’t control everything. For a Type-A-must-have-an-organized-plan-for-anything-and-everything like myself, this can be a difficult concept to grasp at times. Add that to an already especially tumultuous period in one’s life, the twenties, and you have a recipe for a stage 5 mental breakdown.

Welcome to life as a twenty-something. It’s a decade that is held up on a pedestal by those yearning for the independence and adulthood they naively believe turning 20 automatically brings, as well as by those who pine away for their so-called glory years. But for those who are actually experiencing it in the present, to quote lyrical genius, T-Swift,”we’re happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time.”

We’re faced with so many big life decisions and opportunities, all while trying to figure out who we are as individuals and what we value at our core. We may be moving far away from the comforts of home to a city…

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Studying Abroad vs. Tourism

She summed up so many of my thoughts into a very well written post. Check it out.

Sol Education Abroad: Student Blog

Three weeks ago, I left the United States for the first time in my life to fly across an ocean to a country that was very different from my own, and I was nervous and unsure of myself, of course, but I was never afraid. I never once thought to hold onto my own culture with a death grip because I was afraid of change or having to sacrifice comfort to embrace a new culture.

But since being here, I’ve realized that not everyone is like me in this sense. Not everyone is able to leave their way of life behind I’m favor of a new, temporary one. Most people are terrified of change, even if it results in their own betterment.

There is a difference between tourism and studying abroad. When you’re a tourist, you can wear cheesy American clothes and use phrase books and refuse to adapt all…

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