Thursday, February 7, 2013

Life Lately


Here are some snapshots of my life lately! 

Eating gusanitos! 
I went to a bug museum with my class and I ate a worm, it was super crunchy which was kinda gross...and it kept trying to crawl off of my tongue while we were posing for the picture. 

But the flavor actually wasn't that bad! 

We went to a traditional cooking class and I had another SUPER embarrassing moment. It basically involved me falling backwards out of my chair and rolling on the grass. Not to mention the raw tortilla and flour that went flying everywhere, and the grass that I was picking out of my hair days later. 

Thank goodness I wasn't hurt, just super embarrassed but all of my SOLmates were really great about it. As Dad would say, "we should have named you Grace" (Miss you Dad, and your corny jokes).

I had the opportunity to go the Manuel Antonio national park- one of Forbes magazine's top 10 most beautiful national parks in the WORLD. 

It certainly didn't disappoint.

*Not my photo- none of mine turned out very good

My classes are going extremely well, the Spanish language is so beautiful and I feel so blessed to get to spend 4 months devoted to learning it (even if it makes my brain hurt sometimes).

I'm becoming more and more comfortable here everyday, learning about myself and the world around me. 

I'm trying really hard to do something daily that scares me, or pushes me outside of my comfort zone- not letting insecurities or self-doubt get in the way of doing something that is fun or educational. 

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while- but I guess that is kind of a good thing because it means I've been out living my life :) 

Hugs to you! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Humiliation, Travel, and the Rock.

I can't believe it's been a week since I posted last...I'm sorry! I've been meaning to post but I've been so busy!

I'll give y'all the highlights.

1. I experienced the MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT OF ALL TIME. It happened in my first class with all Costa Ricans. We had to get up and talk about our personalities and I was reeeeallly nervous and all around dreading having to speak in front of the class. There was a girl speaking and the professor started clapping, so I thought the girl had finished introducing herself and started clapping with him. It turns out that he was only trying to get the attention of some of my chatty compañeras. So not only did I rudely interrupt my classmate, but I was also clapping loudly alone for no reason.

This would have been humiliating...but on top of that I suddenly got struck with the giggles and I couldn't stop laughing- face red, tears streaming down my face, can't breathe, silent laughs. This managed to draw EVEN MORE attention to myself.

During our class break I put my head on my desk and prayed that God would give me powers of invisibility, when a really nice guy in my class came up to me and told me that he studied abroad in France and he totally understands how I'm feeling. He said I spoke really well and shouldn't be embarrassed by what happened- it could happen to anyone!

2. I went on my first excursion! A bunch of people from my program went to "Playa Hermosa" (Beautiful Beach), it took us about 2 hours on bus and a round trip ticket only cost 8 dollars! I experienced my first Hostel, figured out I didn't bring enough money and had to each a frozen hamburger for breakfast,  and I got my first Costa Rican sunburn! It was an adventure and an awesome bonding time with the other gringos in my group!
The Hostel we slept in, ignore random sleeping girl!

Playa Hermosa, it was so beyond beautiful

Every day I'm struck by how beautiful this country is, both naturally and culturally...but that's for another post.

3. My host family took me to a delicious restaurant and to explore another volcano (my second in a week)!

Mi familia tica!

4. I attended the first of many movie nights with my 9 year old host brother, we watched La Isla Misteriosa (Mystery Island)- which stars Peeta and the Rock.

5. I learned that the Pura Vida motto translates over into a lot of areas that frustrates my inner gringo (trying to find something in the library, arriving to classes on time, getting textbooks for class, cutting each other in line). Its a cultural difference that I'm learning to navigate, its good for me to learn that I can't control of a lot of most things here.

Wow. That was a looong post, thanks for sticking with me. I promise I'll try to be more punctual with my posts but..if I'm not, blame it on the Pura Vida.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Routines and Rodeos

Hey everyone! 

Today was our second day of classes, so far I've only had my intensive spanish classes with other students in the SOL education abroad program (they call them my SOLmates, ha!) but tomorrow I have my first class with the locals...wish me luck- I'm a little nervous! 

I'm still getting oriented to the campus, the town, my family, the heat...but having a routine and classes and my own university ID card makes me feel way more comfortable (not to mention super fancy and Costa Rican). 

Here's my student ID (called a Carnet here).

As told by my last post, adjusting to life here has been harder than I thought, so to ease the transition, I'm going to focus on all of the awesome parts of life here. 

One really awesome part is my host mom, Marlene. She is a hardworking, loving, spunky lady; when I arrived she told me "we don't have a luxurious lifestyle, but we will love you and treat you like family." And she has. 

The first night, when I was homesick/nervous/overwhelmed, she found me crying in my room (I know, so pathetic) and made me get in her bed with her, under the covers and watch the costa rican rodeo on tv. It was just strange enough to cheer me up. 
My home for the next few months!

TTFN, ta ta for now! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Volcanos, Lagoons, and Homesickness

I'm here, and it honestly has just sunk in that I'm going to be here until the end of April. I'm feeling so many things, excitement, nervousness, and homesickness

My host family is adorable. The house is mint green and tucked away on a street near the University and the Plaza. My nine year old host brother Josue is a gem, convincing me to get "crema de limón" when we went out for ice cream, constantly poking his head into my room to make sure I'm okay, and telling me stories to make me laugh when he knew I was homesick.

That is something that has been harder than I expected- I've been pretty homesick. But I know once I start classes and get into a routine I know the time will fly by.

Today all of the Sol students went to the most popular national park in Costa Rica, probably because of the beautiful active volcano and lagoon.

This is the crater that houses the volcano, see the smoke?

This is the lagoon, one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.

Another highlight of the day is making friends with the people in my program, they all seem nice and I hope we can all get closer as classes start and we settle into life here.

Pura vida, 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Anchors Away!

Confession: I've wanted to keep a blog for a long time, but I've always been too big of a wimp to start one. Little Morgans in my head would tell me: "Your life isn't interesting enough to write about" or "No one would read it anyway" But, at my mother's request I have silenced that voice (sidenote: it is totally normal to talk to yourself in your own head, right?) and I'm starting a blog. I feel a little more confident in this endeavor because I will have a lot to write about in the coming weeks-tomorrow I leave for a huge adventure: I am studying abroad in Costa Rica for 19 weeks!

I will be living in Heredia, a small town right outside the capital (San Jose), taking classes at a local university, and living with a host family. I am beyond excited!

Well, if I'm going to be completely honest- I'm also nervous and afraid. I have a fantastic group of friends, an incredible family, and frankly I'm comfortable in my life at school...things are familiar and safe.

But that's exactly why I need to leave! I want to see a new part of the world, a part that's completely unfamiliar to me...I want to experience culture and try new foods, I want to work on my Spanish, learn how to paint with watercolors, and go to a La Liga game! And to do that I have to leave my awesome, supportive, loving group of family and friends.

So I hope this rambling hasn't completely bored you and that you'll follow along as I depart for what promises to be the trip of a lifetime.