Pura Vida! // Feliz 3 meses

Hola amigos!

I can’t believe that it is halftime already. 3 months ago I arrived in Costa Rica with zero spanish and zero knowledge about this country and its people.. well I can definitely say that I feel so welcomed here, and that I have gotten to know this country better and better everyday. I have experienced A LOT the past 3 months, and I’m feeling the change constantly. I embrace the process that I’m in and can’t wait for what’s yet to come. My current state of mind has one big theme, and that is GRATITUDE. Lately I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed, excited and happy about everything in my life. I am living the best life here, even though nothing is perfect and shitty things happen to me, I am so grateful for all of it. Once again in my life has a bad experience shown me how short life can be, and that focusing on the good things will always take you so much further. All I can say is: Embrace the change, for life is an ongoing process and rollercoaster ride.

If you have time today, write down 3 things you are currently grateful for.

 

Costa Rica – you beautfiul, evergreen goddess! I can’t believe you sometimes. Actually I can’t even get over the fact that I live here. I am so grateful that I can wake up to the sound of birds chirping and dogs belling in the morning. I personally love the little things most about Costa Rica. Every morning when Charlotte and I walk to the school, we are greeted by every neighbor and shop owner on our way. I love when our students ask us questions about Germany or just general questions, because they are so curious about everything. My favorite thing is the bus ride from Alajuela to Poas or the other way around. The ride goes through the mountains and you pass a waterfall, multiple coffee plantations and soccer fields. At night you can see Alajuela and San Jose from above, with the lights shimmering in the distance. Just the other day I was talking to Lina about how a place really becomes special because of the people you meet. While traveling you will see so many different and beautiful places, but when you encounter the right people at the right time, it will make your time there even better, and it’s guaranteed that you won’t forget about this place. And this is exactly how I feel about Costa Rica. I get along with my students, my co-workers and I have Lina and Charlotte, who are awesome people! We also made some new friends through Freakz, the youth program where we practice aerial silks on saturdays, and I am just so grateful for all of the people that make my time here so special. Living in a little town for a while, is  a nice change as well since I come from a big city. It has its good and bad sides – there’s not too much to do here, I mainly work, cook, read, do yoga or go the gym. Poás basically consist of shops and sodas (costa rican restaurants), a church and a park. I try to take every opportunity to get out of the town, just so I can explore more of the rest of Costa Rica. Last weekend Lina and I explored some of San Jose’s nightlife and we went to a chocolate fair with some friends. I also was able to meet Annika and Theresa for the first time, who are also volunteers through Kulturweit and both live in San Jose. Theresa organizes a german cooking evening every two weeks, where anyone is invited to join. Last wednesday we cooked some “Rouladen”  and “Knödel”  which was really good, and we all had so much fun. This weekend I am headed off to Tamarindo on the pacific coast! Hopefully I can catch some waves! I am super stoked for everything that’s yet to come!

Honestly, I’m so happy to be here and to do all these amazing things. I am beyond grateful for this experience and for the process of being and becoming. Thank you for reading my blog and sharing this special time with me.

//Olivia

Kulturweit Seminar en Las Manzanas // Part IV

Hi friends,

in this blogpost I will tell you about what we did during the 5 day seminar in Mexico…

First of all, the seminar is mandatory and the travel expenses were covered by our organization Kulturweit. Each “region” had their own little seminar with about 20-30 people. Most of our people were volunteers located in Mexico, so that’s why the seminar happened there. Other volunteers were coming from Ecuador, Jamaica, Costa Rica  (us) and Columbia. I think in total we were about 20 people. We all met up with each other and our coaches for the week (Maria and Jero), at the Goethe Institute in Mexico City. I also met Nici again, who is my coordinator, as she works at the GI. She visited me and Charlotte a while back at our school, and just checked out the german classes and how everything was going. If we have any problems or questions we can always write her an email. And she’s a super sweet person as well!

Anyways, a bus then took us to a tiny village named “Las Manzanas” which literally translates to “The apples”  , and we settled in at this beautiful space –  wooden cottages, a nearby stream and all surrounded by the green mountains;  we found ourselves in the perfect environment for the upcoming seminar. A place where we would have time to reflect, think, maybe confront ourselves with problems and struggles that we have undermined, or to simply relax and get a quiet time-out. We spent the days talking about each others experiences, good and bad, our problems and challenges, our co-workers.. the things we miss the most about home, our future plans during our time abroad and also what we wanted to do when we got back to Germany. We had some really good exercises and talks with each other, and we just had created a “safe space”  where we could talk without being judged, compared – and where people would listen, help and support you. On my birthday, May 24th, we had a field trip to Mexico City, where we visited the Frida Kahlo Museum and the Diego Rivera Anahuacalli Museum. We had a little tour in each one of them, and a lunch break in between. Both were very very interesting museums that I can highly recommend. In the evening we had an appointment for a Temazcal ceremony , which is a type of sweat lodge that was used by indigenious people throughout Mesoamerica to purify the body after battle, to heal the sick or for women to give birth. Today it is described as a detox or cleansing for the mind, body and spirit. There were 4 rounds during the ceremony, in each more and more heated volcanic stones were brought in and thrown into the pit in the center, then a scented water was poured over them. Each round lasted about 20-30 mins, and we had breaks between them that lasted up to 20 mins as well. As most of us had never done anything like that before we had a moderate maximum temperature, but I don’t remember exactly how hot it got, but definitely hotter than in a regular sauna. The hut in which everything took place was round and made out of adobes. Everyone sat down on the floor with their backs against the wall. And just like in a sauna, we wore bathing suits. The hut was very small, so you couldn’t stand up straight in there (not even me). There was also a shaman, a woman (I don’t know if she was a shaman too) and a helper, who always brought the hot stones in through the little door. Before we started the ceremony we all got blessed by the woman. For every round they closed the door and it was completely dark in the hut –  we all closed our eyes and listened to the voice of the shaman. In the first round the scent of the water was rosmary, then lemon, then eucalyptus and in the final round we had menthol. They poured the water over the hot stones and the hut started to get  hotter and hotter, and the scent was just so strong that you could feel it going through your entire body. The woman and the shaman started singing and playing drums, they sang in spanish and in their own indigenious language – first we listened, then we sang along. We continously said “Ometeo”, which I don’t really now what it means to be honest, but I think it is their indigenous God. During the ceremony we also had to give thanks to whatever or whomever we were grateful for. We started the ceremony around 6pm and we got out around 10pm. At the end of the ceremony we all got an ice bucket dumped over us and finally we hugged each other when the Temazcal was over.

For me personally the whole ceremony really was like a cleansing, mostly for my body I would say, but the physical sweating kind of helped me to let go of draining thoughts and problems that I had cluttered up in my mind. Of course they weren’t gone after it, but I think I lessened the pressure and maybe even the importance of them. It was also more special for me, because it was my birthday and thus it felt like a “tiny rebirth.”  I had experienced something a week prior that had made my heart very heavy, and the ceremony  inititated a new beginning for me. Not  a big one, but a little one atleast. At the end of the day I hit my head on a window frame and I was bleeding a little, but mostly I was so in shock that I crawled up into an embryo position and I cried for a while. I cried because it hurt, but it also turned into a little burn-out. I cried lots, because I haven’t let out the tears that needed to get out a week ago, and I cried because at that moment everything was just too much for me. I had a mental breakdown and it was though, but I believe that these need to happen sometimes, to make you realize that you’re actually not okay and that being emotional is normal and necessary. I’m a person that tries to avoid conflict and problems.     I like to ignore them or down play my emotions – like “oh I’m fine, I’m not upset or angry”  – when I really am though.                    My birthday was great, in terms of that I had a very emotional day, with lots of different energies and experiences, but in the end it was a good day, because I confronted myself with myself, and that just needed to happen. The seminar in total was amazing. It was so much fun getting to know the other volunteers better and to share our different experiences. It was the laying back, and looking at everything as a bigger picture that I so desperately needed at that time. It provided the time-out and emotional processing that my mental being had craved, and it reinforced my motivation for my upcoming time abroad, and gave me a new and better perspective on my current time in life.

What is really  important to you? …

 

Back in  Mexico City on saturday, Lina and I explored the area called “Roma”, which is a very hip, trendy and european inspired area with lots of little cafes, shops and different restaurants. We bought some souvenirs, ate amazing sushi that I had craved for a while, and simply enjoyed the countrys vibe one last time. I can’t explain how much I already love Mexico and everything it has to offer, but now after so much has happened I also feel a emotional connection with this country. I have a very strong feeling that tells me that I will come back to Mexico, and spend a lot of time there. We shall see…

Gracias Mexico – por todo. Nunca olvidaré las aventuras contigo.

//Olivia

Aventuras con Erick – Puebla & Cholula // Part III

Buenos días!

After a chill day in Mexico City, we packed our things together and took the metro towards the local bus terminal. We asked for 2 tickets for the next bus to Puebla, and as we were both so tired and exhausted we misunderstood the lady at the counter. We thought she said the next bus is at 2:40pm but it really was at 12:40 so we had like 10 mins before depature! But we didn’t realize it, and we sat down and complained about how we have to wait for 2 hours now and that we should’ve left earlier etc. … Then Lina looks at the ticket again and realized that the bus leaves in 5 mins and we rushed to the gate. Embarassed about our carelessness and stupidity we also almost got in the wrong bus. But hey, we made it to Puebla in the end!  For some reason, these things happen to Lina and me all the time – it must be our travel chemistry or something. At least it never gets boring with us! As we arrived in Puebla, Lina’s friend Erick picked us up at the terminal. We were planning on staying with him for 2 days and we were super grateful that he and his family were kind enough to host us. It was late afternoon already so we just walked around Cholula, a suburban town 20 mins outside of Puebla (where Erick’s family lives). We hiked up a huge hill that had this beautiful yellow colored church named  “Nuestra Señora de los Remedios”  in the center, and we enjoyed a stunning view over the whole city of Puebla and its suburbs. This is also the place where 20€ slipped out of my pocket as I got my phone out to take some photos. Oh well.  Later on we enjoyed some torillas with cheese, mushrooms and some sort of edible flower – and it was super delicious! We also tried a beverage which was just simply cacao and water and sugar of course, but it was really fluffy and yummy. We ended up watching the german movie called “Er ist wieder da” (“Look who’s back”)  with Erick and his parents. The next two days we adventured around Puebla and Cholula with Erick as our local tour guide. We visited the “Great pyramid of Cholula” , which is the largest pyramid in the world. We walked around its underground tunnels and explored the history of the site. The pyramid actually just looks like a hill because most of it is overgrown by plants. We also walked around the historic part of Puebla, which we immediately fell in love with. The buldings were all in colonial style and reminded me much of some places in Italy and France, nevertheless you still had that hearty and welcoming vibe from the mexican people with their tiny little souvenir shops and restaurants, with street vendors selling handmade goods and entertainers hosting shows in the local parks. We also had lots of good food, like ice cream made out of blue corn (I think it’s my new favorite flavor now)  and some good italian pizza, which we haven’t had in a long time! After a long day of exploring with Erick, we went back to his house in Cholula. Thank you Erick for showing us around your beautfiul home! The next day we already had to leave again, so we took the bus back to Mexico City. We arrived in the late afternoon and went back to eat the best vegan tacos  – yes, again! (because they were that  good) and just chilled out for the rest of the night. The next morning we had to meet up with all the other volunteers that were also going to our seminar, which was organized by our organization Kulturweit.

Next up: 5 day seminar in the mountains of Mexcio + more

Thank you for catching up with me!

//Olivia

 

Puerto Escondido – Becoming a Yogi & Surfer ? // Part II

And the adventure continues…  we drove 10 hours by bus from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido, the touristy Surfparadise of Mexico. We were super tired but we managed to get to our hostel at Zicatela beach and the first thing we did was simply relax. We had an exhausting tour day and bus ride behind us and we were looking for a timeout by the ocean. In the late afternoon we dragged our butts to the beach, and luckily it was not too hot so we were able to do some yoga as well. The next day we started off with a power breakfast at a vegetarian/vegan cafe called Elephant, and afterwards we organized ourselves some surf lessons. We met up with our teachers David and Rene in front of the surf shop, and we got a quick introduction and practice on how to stand up on the board. Afterwards we kind of expected to hop in a car and drive to the next beach, where the waves were better for beginners…well that did happen, it just took a few minutes to organize a cab that had racks on it for the boards haha. As we arrived at the beach Carrizalillo, we were stunned by the view. It is a beautiful bay located north from Zicatela beach where we were staying, the water was shimmery and had that perfect sky color. The waves were crashing on the cliffs, and we could already see some surfers try their best in the water. A few rocky stairs later, we got in the water to start our surf lesson. Our teachers were extremly friendly and helpful, constantly motivating us to keep going. When a wave was coming they told us to paddle and then they pushed the board so we would catch the right moment to stand up. We had such an amazing time that we booked another lesson for the next day. And we even got a discount! The next two days were spent with more surfing, good food and lots of sun. On our last day we got introduced to Silas, the surf legend of Puerto Escondido! He was this super sweet old guy, who looked 10 years younger because of his daily surfing. David and him told us many stories about the town and their experiences as surfers. We had some pizza together at a local place (It was so good!) and then we went down to the same beach again at night, and watched the stars and just talked. Silas told us about his connection with the water and nature and you could really tell that these guys have such a different approach to life and the environment, because their whole lives they went to the ocean to surf, to swim or simply to enjoy the water. Every single day. And for a moment I imagined my life being like theirs. How beautiful it must be to grow up in a town by the ocean, to be able to surf everyday and be with mother nature constantly. My dreamy thoughts were interrupted by the guys, because they decided to go night surfing. They even wanted us to try it but we weren’t in the mood and neither did we have our swimsuits on, so we watched them from the beach. And what we witnessed was one of the most amazing things, I think I’ve ever seen. They were able to surf in pure darkness with only a gimpse of a light, and they even did  handstands while surfing!! I was like what the..!??? HOW?? We were so impressed and at the same I just felt pure happiness. Only these guys could surf in their home  waters at night, knowing where the rocks are and which parts to avoid. Their comfort in their own home and surroundings was splashing over to me. This night was definitely one to remember. We wanted to stay in Puerto forever…

Unfortunately the same night ended up pretty rough, after hanging out with some other people, and I kind of screwed up. It’s very personally so I do not want to share but I just want to say that I felt many emotions, and I still do. It kind of threw me back in time, and for the last 2 weeks now I’ve had a very very emotional and hard time with myself. I didn’t let that ruin my ongoing trip, I can actually say that the rest of our time in Mexico has helped me to overcome and be okay again. I am okay now, and I’ve definitely learned another life lesson, if not a couple honestly.. But didn’t I ask for that in my last post? Lol, life can be interesting sometimes.

Anyways.. Lina and I decided to fly from Puerto Escondido to Mexico City, for a couple reasons. First of all Lina got sick, she was struggling with a bad cold from the first flight and the night bus, and she generally has not the strongest immune system, and we also wanted to stay longer by the beach than we thought, so if we would’ve driven back with the bus it would’ve taken another 2 days (with a stop in Oaxaca again) to get to Mexico City. So we arrived in the big city on friday around 11am and we went straight to our hostel to catch up on the sleep we had missed out on. In the late afternoon we strolled around a park and we went to a vegan Taco Truck for dinner. They had the best vegan tacos I have ever tasted, I swear!! The place is called “Por Siempre Vegana Taqueria”. And if you know how much I love vegan food than I’m sure you can imagine my facial expression while eating these pieces of heaven! Also it was very weird to be in a big city again, actually even weirder because I think it was the biggest city I’ve ever been in so far, the city has about 9 million habitants or even more with all the non-registered people. Riding the metro was fun too after almost 3 months haha. Well so far Lina and I had a great time in Mexico with so much going on, but also with many good talks. We were dreaming often about the future, we talked about opening up a vegan cafe in Oaxaca, becoming professional surfers and yogis and how we would spent our time living in Mexico. We love this country so much, there is no doubt that we’ll come back soon.

Next stop: Puebla!

//Olivia

Vamos a México! // Oaxaca mi corazón // Part I

Hi friends, I know it’s been a while since I have posted but I’m back now with lots of great stories from Mexico. So let’s just get  going!

Before I went abroad to start my volunteer program, my organization Kulturweit  organized a 10 day preparation seminar, and they told us that after 2 months into our time we would have another short seminar. Our seminar was scheduled for the 22nd – 26th of  May. Lina and I decided to fly to Mexico a week prior because we wanted to take advantage of the fact, that Kulturweit is paying for the flights (honestly who wouldn’t?). So we flew from San Jose, Costa Rica to Oaxaca, Mexico on May 11th. We only had the first two nights booked in Oaxaca de Juárez, the capital of the state Oaxaca. Without lots of planning we started our first days of travel. We explored the small capital by foot, just wandering really. The town has a beautiful colonial architecture, lots of cute little cafes and shops, and lots of street art as well. We immediately fell in love  with Oaxaca and made plans of opening our own cafe there one day. So who knows what the future might look like..

For sunday we spontanously booked a 1 day tour for 20€. First we went to Santa Maria del Tule, where we got a look at the thickest tree of the world: “El arbol del Tule”. The diameter of the stem is 14,05 meters and the tree is 2000+ years old. Well that was definitely a fun stop haha. Next stop was a traditional Zapotec weaving site, where the owner explained the process of weaving and the creation of the colors with natural resources like tumeric, trees, lemon etc. We also got some time to shop, and Lina bought a pillowcase, sadly I didn’t buy anything and now I regret it. Next we went to “Hierve el agua” which translates to “the waiter boils”. It is a set of natural rock formations that resemble cascades of water, so it kind of looks like a waterfall. The site also has natural pools and two artificial pools where people can swim, but they look really natural as well so I didn’t even notice that they were built by humans. To me this place was the highlight of the tour. I was standing at the edge of the cliff with my feet in the water looking into a  huge valley surrounded by gigantic mountains that seemed endless. I think it might have been one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. After exploring Hierve el agua, the next stop was Mitla. Mitla is the second most important archeological site in the state of Oaxaca and most important of the Zapotec culture. It was built as a gateway between the world of the living and the world of the dead, and the architecture is mostly Zapotec and Mixtec. The site represents the Mesoamerican belief that death was the most consequential part of life after birth. The Spanish arrived in 1520 and built a monastery next to it and unfortunately also destructed parts of Mitla and used the site for their own benefits. It was a very interesting place to me. We finally had lunch close by (we were starving!!) and afterwards we went to the last stop of the day – Mezcal tasting. Mezcal is distilled alcohol made from the heart of an agave plant, also called piña, and is a traditional mexican beverage. We got a short tour around the site and tested different types of Mezcal. And trust me it’s so strong. It is also mainly produced in the state of Oaxaca. So I asked myself: What is the difference between Mezcal and Tequila?

Here’s what I’ve found out:

  1. Tequila and mezcal are produced in different states of Mexico (though there is overlap).
  2. Tequila can only be made, by law, with one variety of agave:  the Blue Agave.  Mezcal can be made with upwards of 30 varieties of agave, though most are made with the Agave Espadin.
  3. The production process for mezcal is different from tequila which leads to a distinctly different flavor profile for mezcal.

That was the end of the tour and let me remind you that this was only 20 per person!! We truly enjoyed our two days in Oaxaca de Juárez and we literally fell in love with Mexico the first day we’ve been there. We even got to witness a wedding celebration outside of a church. And not without reason is the old town of Oaxaca de Juárez part of the UNESCO world heritage since 1987. Sadly we didnt’t have time to visit the famous Monte Abán site, but we are already sure that we’re coming back sooner or later, eventually to open up our cafe..? If you want to know more about the scientific, cultural and historical background of the sites and more, check out the links I have provided down below.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierve_el_Agua

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitla

http://mezcalphd.com/2012/08/tequila-vs-mezcal/

https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/latin-america-and-caribbean/mesoamerican-indigenous-peoples/zapotec

 

Thank you for reading. Hasta luego!

//Olivia

 

 

 

¡Feliz dos meses!

Welcome back friends and not-yet friends,

today marks exactly 2 months of my time here in Costa Rica. And all I can say is that time has flown by extremly fast! It seems just like yesterday that I was still working my butt off at my local bakery, smiling all day, serving coffee and pastries to customers.. well I’m glad that I am not stuck at that point in my life right now. I definitely feel like I have settled in pretty quickly, I got to know my ways around town, how to get to Alajuela, San Jose and Heredia, how to recharge my phone and pay my bills etc. And now that I am getting better and better in spanish I also feel more comfortable because now instead of understanding nothing, I can at least understand something. I think I will make another post about how I learn/study spanish here.

What I can definitely say is that I have struggled. Maybe even more than I think I have. I have touched upon this subject before but I gotta do it again because I think a lot of people can relate to it. Learning a new language is hard. Living in a completely new country where they speak a language that you do not speak is even more difficult. Living on your own for the first time is a challenge as well. All of a sudden there’s so much responsibility! Gotta pay bills, clean the whole place (although I did that at home too), take care of your stuff while you’re gone, try not to break things etc.  And of course working at a new job and getting started wasn’t easy  as well. Especially since speaking spanish is kind of necessary for it. There were a lot of times where I felt uncomfortable, not knowing what people were saying, and not being able to talk to them. The fear of saying something wrong or the moment when you want to say something so bad but you don’t know how to say it in spanish. I have definitely felt angry, sad and frustrated in the past two months. And I think that I have shut down when everything was just too much for me. Hearing, learning and speaking a new language can be quite exhausting you know?  Nevertheless I slowly started to overcome my fears, and i simply didn’t want to feel bad about myself anymore. Not understanding anything at all continously motivated me more and more to keep stuyding and practicing everyday. I started to ask more for help. I started talking more to people. And I will keep doing that until I can speak spanish decently. There are also some personal issues that have affected my mental being as well, but I keep learning more about it, and I try to work on it. Sometimes it just feels very heavy. Luckily I have my faith that keeps me going.

Gratitude is what I feel constantly. I mean I get to wake up in this beautiful, green country everyday! Sometimes I can’t even believe it myself. I am surrounded by genuine and loving people who make my time here very special. And I am nearly 19 and living on the other side of the world. Damn. I am truly blessed, and there is nothing more to say except that I wish everyone feels gratitude as well. Just take a moment and appreciate what you have in your life.

I am looking forward to my upcoming travels, experiences and adventures that await me during my time abroad and I am eager to learn more life lessons, whatever it might be.

 

Muchas gracias for following my journey! I truly appreciate you.

//Olivia

Roadtrip to Manuel Antonio

Hola amigos!

I’m back with a new blogpost for you guys. Once again the three of us (Charlotte,Lina & myself) have managed to travel to a new destination. This time we made it to Manuel Antonio, a beachtown on the pacific coast with one of Costa Rica’s most famous Nationalparks! We took off work for Monday because Tuesday was labor day, so we could have a longer weekend and more time for this trip.  After work on friday we met up in San Jose and went to a Chinese place for dinner, where I ate a really bad Chop Suey (actually I wouldn’t even call it Chop Suey). Lina managed to buy the bus tickets for us as she arrived earlier. We left at 9am the next morning and we had a pretty smooth ride to Manuel Antonio, about 4 hours. We checked in at our hostel (Millenium Hostel) and decided to go to the beach right away. Okay so now comes the time for one of my amazing fails that seem to happen from time to time.. The waves were really wild and strong, but I said I’ll go in first and check out the situation. It was not really a sandy beach so there were many rocks..  I went in very slowly because I was walking on rocks right, and the water was maybe up to my knees – then this big wave came but I was like c’mon I’m gonna stand strong – and to be honest the wave didn’t look that scary, but it was soo strong that it knocked me down, and not just my body but my bathing suit as well. There you have it. I was now laying on spikey rocks  covering my vagina and trying to adjust my bathing suit, when another wave knocks me over and I’m half naked again. By now about 8 other people on the beach are starring at me and I somehow manage to get up and my two friends are grinning at me. I had to laught too though, it was just an epic fail. The rest of the afternoon we hung out by the Hostel’s pool (big bonus) and in the evening we literally hiked to the ATM that was 2km away, and then treated ourselves at a pizza place (El Wagon) on the way back. On Sunday we went to the Nationalpark which was right in front of our hostel,we had to pay about 16$/13 to get in. We started walking around some trails and I took a bunch of photos with my camera. We saw some monkeys, lots of lizzards and iguanas, tucans, racoons and sloths. Besides wildlife we also saw stunning scenery, beautiful beaches with rocky cliffs and so much green fauna and flora! Costa Rica is an extremly green country, everywhere you look it’s green, and I love it. The nature here is unbelievably gorgeous. We enjoyed the day in the park a lot, and we even managed to swim in a relatively calm bay without getting naked. In the evening we cooked pasta and enjoyed some craft beer by the bonfire in our Hostel. We all wanted to try to save money so we decided to only eat out once and cook the rest of the days. On Monday we had pancakes for breakfast and afterwards we took the bus towards Quepos town. But we got out early because we wanted to go to Playa Biesanz. As we walked down the hills some guys offered us a ride and of course we didn’t say no! The beach was kind of crowded but not extremely. It was a beautfiul bay and perfectly calm, so we enjoyed swimming there – also without getting naked!  Unfortunately a storm was coming towards us so we decided to leave and we managed to hitchhike again. Lina took the bus back to Manuel Antonio and Charlotte and I wanted to go and buy our bus tickets for the next day (you can only buy them at the bus station in Quepos). We eventually hitchhiked a 3rd time, towards Quepos as I randomly pointed my thumb out as we waited for the bus. It’s definitely worth trying! It rained for rest of the day, so we spent our time doing yoga, reading and watching Netflix. On Tuesday morning we had smoothies for breakfast and chilled by the pool for the last time, then we checked out some souvenir shops and ate some ice cream. As it was time to go Lina realised that she had accidentally thrown her bus ticket away hahaha. So the Hostel staff was fishing in the trash but luckily they found it right away! ‘Glück im Unglück’ – ‘blessing in disguise’. We took the bus at 1pm and got home around 7ish. We had an amazing time in Manuel Antonio and I can definitely recommend it. It is indeed very touristy but I think the Nationalpark is totally worth it. Uploading photos soon!

Thanks for reading Mae! (costa rican slang for bro/dude)

//Olivia

 

 

 

Do it like the Drags

Hola amigos,

It’s been a while. I feel like so much has happened yet 50% of it is just part of my daily routine now. I have to say that it definitely feels like I have settled in completely. You know how? Because I started complaining about how tired I am. But when am I not tired though? So.. what’s been going on lately?

During the week Charlotte and I go to work together, and we also teach together. Since I don’t speak that much spanish it is really necessary that she explains the tasks to the students, because they wouldn’t understand it in german. For now I do as much as I can to help. I write on the board and try to interact with the students and help them with their problems. It’s not easy and I gotta say I’ve had my moments as well. You know when everyone starts laughing about some joke but you really didn’t understand anything at all? Or students ask you questions and you just look at them and say “Lo siento.. yo no sé..” . I am the teacher, so I am supposed to be able to help them right?! Regardless of those moments, I know that it’s totally okay.         I have been here for 7 weeks and I just started learning spanish for the first time. “Tranquilo Olivia..”  I know that it will get better with time and that learning a language takes continous practice and really lots of time.    I mean I spent 6 years learning french in high school and I’m not nearly as good as one might think knowing that I have been studying it for such a long time! So I constantly try to remind myself that I’m doing okay and   I think I am starting to work on my patience. I wouldn’t call myself an impatient person but I like to do lots of things at the same time and if they don’t work out I get pretty frustrated.. I guess there are still many things you have to confess to yourself and be able to take a step back and say “Hey! This is the way I am. I’m struggling with this! But that’s okay!” . What a sentimental blog post huh?

Anyways.. other than working, Charlotte and I have signed up in our local gym. It’s really nice to have something to do in this little town because there really isn’t much else.. we try to go 3x a week. Last wednesday we had the day off – some sort of holiday – and Lina, Charlotte and I went to San José for the day. There was a free festival going on for about 2 weeks and there were different types of performances everyday like music, theatre, dance and photo exhibitions as well. Most of them were free and held in public places. We watched a puppet play about myths of the indigenous tribes of Costa Rica, which was really interesting. Afterwards we strolled around in the art quarter of San José, where we happened to pass by some people who were doing acrobatics on aerial silks. I was so excited to see that because I used to do it in the children’s circus when I was little. They kindly asked us if we wanted to try and of course we did! They invited us to their practice which is every saturday. We definitely couldn’t resist that offer so we met up again with them on saturday. The whole thing turned out to be some sort of  christian youth group organisation that exists all over Latinamerica. It was really an awesome day and I personally was overwhelmed by the kindness of the people there. The group offers many different programs such as hip hop, aerial silks, breakdance, singing, theatre and more! The aerial silks group was pretty big and it got divided into different levels, our “teacher” showed us different figures and how to handle the silks properly. During the break there was a little preach and  they offered some food. Then we would practice a little bit more and the program was over. It is every saturday from 3-6:30pm and I’m so excited to go back! Hopefully I can upload some photos of that soon. Last weekend I slept over at Lina’s house in Heredia and we did some bar hopping with her roommates which was really fun. The other night we went to a Club where we saw a professional Drag show which was mind blowing. There was Drag Queen called “Laganja Estranja” and she actually participated in RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2014! (If you want to know more about her https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laganja_Estranja) But how are they so flawless and dance so well?! Honestly their energy was just so inspiring.. That weekend included lots of drinks but very little sleep which is probably why I have been kind of tired all week..but it was worth it. Yesterday Charlotte and I had some drinks in a bar with Marco and Isaac, our fellow german teachers that we assist. Okay this really sounds like I drink a lot but I promise it’s not like that! Also if you want to see more photos of the places I travel and the beauty of Costa Rica, make sure to follow my Instagram account @oceansandemotions (the link is in the right corner of my website).

So I guess you could say life on the other side is pretty good right now.

//Olivia

¿Qué paso?

Hola amigos,

It’s been a while. I feel like so much has happened yet 50% of it is just part of my daily routine now. I have to say that it definitely feels like I have settled in completely. You know how? Because I started complaining about how tired I am. But when am I not tired though? So.. what’s been going on lately?

During the week Charlotte and I go to work together, and we also teach together. Since I don’t speak that much spanish it is really necessary that she explains the tasks to the students, because they wouldn’t understand it in german. For now I do as much as I can to help. I write on the board and try to interact with the students and help them with their problems. It’s not easy and I gotta say I’ve had my moments as well. You know when everyone starts laughing about some joke but you really didn’t understand anything at all? Or students ask you questions and you just look at them and say “Lo siento.. yo no sé..” . I am the teacher, so I am supposed to be able to help them right?! Regardless of those moments, I know that it’s totally okay. I have been here for 7 weeks and I just started learning spanish for the first time. “Tranquilo Olivia..”  I know that it will get better with time and that learning a language takes continous practice and really lots of time.    I mean I spent 6 years learning french in high school and I’m not nearly as good as one might think knowing that I have been studying it for such a long time! So I constantly try to remind myself that I’m doing okay and   I think I am starting to work on my patience. I wouldn’t call myself an impatient person but I like to do lots of things at the same time and if they don’t work out I get pretty frustrated.. I guess there are still many things you have to confess to yourself and be able to take a step back and say “Hey! This is the way I am. I’m struggling with this! But that’s okay!” . What a sentimental blog post huh?

Anyways.. other than working, Charlotte and I have signed up in our local gym. It’s really nice to have something to do in this little town because there really isn’t much else.. we try to go 3x a week. Last wednesday we had the day off – some sort of holiday – and Lina, Charlotte and I went to San José for the day. There was a festival going on for about 2 weeks and there were different types of performances everyday like music, theatre, dance and photo exhibitions as well. Most of them were free and held in public places. We watched a puppet play about myths of the indigenous tribes of Costa Rica, which was really interesting. Afterwards we strolled around in the art quarter of San José, where we happened to pass by some people who were doing acrobatics on aerial silks. I was so excited to see that because I used to do it in the children’s circus when I was little. They kindly asked us if we wanted to try and of course we did! They invited us to their practice which is every saturday. We definitely couldn’t resist that offer so we met up again with them on saturday. The whole thing turned out to be some sort of  christian youth group organisation that exists all over Latinamerica. It was really an awesome day and I personally was overwhelmed by the kindness of the people there. The group offers many different programs such as hip hop, aerial silks, breakdance, singing, theatre and more! The aerial silks group was pretty big and it got divided into different levels, our “teacher” showed us different figures and how to handle the silks properly. During the break there was a little preach and  they offered some food. Then we would practice a little bit more and the program was over. It is every saturday from 3-6:30pm and I’m so excited to go back! Hopefully I can upload some photos of that soon. Last weekend I slept over at Lina’s house in Heredia and we did some bar hopping with her roommates which was really fun. The other night we went to a Club where we saw a professional Drag show which was mind blowing. There was a Drag Queen called “Laganja Estranja” and she actually participated in RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2014! (If you want to know more about her https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laganja_Estranja) But how are they so flawless and dance so well?! Honestly their energy was just so inspiring.. That weekend included lots of drinks but very little sleep which is probably why I have been kind of tired all week..but it was worth it. Yesterday Charlotte and I had some drinks in a bar with Marco and Isaac, our fellow german teachers that we assist. Okay this really sounds like I drink a lot but I promise it’s not like that! Also if you would like to see more photos you should follow my Instagram account @oceansandemotions. I post photos of all my travels on there (the link is in the right corner of my website).

I guess you could say life on the other side is pretty good right now.

//Olivia

Off we go…

So the scenario is this: I have been in Costa Rica for about a week now. Easter holidays are coming up. What am I doing? .. Where am I going? – Since Semana Santa (holy week during easter) is a one week holiday, Charlotte, Lina and I decided to go on a little adventure. Lina is also a volunteer through the Goethe-Institute but she works in a private american school, which is about an hour away from us. Charlotte had to leave the country – let me just say this: the Visa for Costa Rica was a lot of work. And it doesn’t stop when you get here. You have to leave the country every 90 days, not necessarily for a long time but you have to leave and then you can come back and stay for another 90 days. Until you have to leave again. The authorities take too long (maybe intentionally) to give you a 1 year visa. By too long I mean 2 years. Anyway there is no way around it for us as volunteers but that’s just something we gotta deal with. So we girls decided to make a small vacation out of it and go to Bocas del Toro, Panama. The islands are on the Carribean Coast north west of Panama and are a popular travel spot. The 3 of us spent friday night in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, because we had to leave early in the morning to get to the border. We bought the tickets at the bus station but we only got seats for the 8am bus instead of the 6am one that we were planning on taking. We weren’t sure wether or not we would be able to arrive in time on the islands because the last water taxi was leaving at 6pm. We just said ‘tranquilo’ ..which translates to slowly, chill – and it’s already one of my favorite spanish words. We were stuck in traffic for quite a while as we were definitely not the only ones driving towards the coast, but we eventually made it to the border in Sixaola, CR.  We had to pay about 15$ to enter Panama, then cross a rustic bridge with our backpacks and fill out some papers. It was pretty easy. From the other side of the border we took a cab towards the dock and from there we took the last  water taxi to Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro. The following days were filled with a lot of good food, too much sun, extreme relaxation, adventure and good talks. On one day we took a tour where we were supposed to watch dolphins first but sadly we didn’t see any, then we went off to see some starfish – which we saw, afterwards we had a short snorkeling session and then we drove to this phenomenal island, with a beach that looked like it was photoshopped out of a travel catalog. For me personally that was one of the highlights on this trip. The islands was uninhabited, there were only a few other tourists and the ocean had a beautiful shimmery turquoise color. A few sunburns and beers later we we’re already on our way back. We spent 4 nights in Bocas and after crossing the border again we stopped in Puerto Viejo, CR – a small hip beachtown,  for 1 night. We wanted to stay longer but unfortunately everything was booked out! We ended our trip with a satisfying beachwalk during sunrise. I personally love sunrise walks – it’s like the calm before the storm. No lights, barely any people and the sounds of nature. We saw some vultures looking for food in the trash and heard the roar of the monkeys from the nearby jungle while walking back to our hostel. When we were in the bus going back to San Jose I started talking to the guy next to me. He kindly offered us a free uber ride to our next bus station because the last bus stop would be in the Coca Cola district of San Jose, which can be a dangerous area at night. We took up his offer and were grateful for his kindness. The 3 of us then seperated as Charlotte was going back to our home in Poás and Lina and I were going back to her place in Heredia. I spent 2 more nights at her house and we just hung out and enjoyed the last days of our break. On Sunday I finally got back home. Muchas gracias Panamá!

& thank you for reading!