MelissaWinchell's Travel Journals


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  • Currently in Monteverde, Costa Rica

Monteverde, Costa Rica Adventure!

These journal entries will be a compilation of my experience on the Living Routes program to the Monteverde Institute. They will be addressing adventures I go on, processes I go through and awarenesses I gain from this experience.

Semana Santa--Does the Easter Bunny Exist in San Luis?

Costa Rica Monteverde, Costa Rica  |  Apr 27, 2011
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So it was Easter last weekend. It was really hard not to be home with family for it. Though at home we don't really DO anything, it's more about visiting with relatives and catching up. I'm a bit homesick I guess...

I had never experienced Holy Week before. All week my family didn't work. Paola was home for the week as well. It was so much fun having her around. Since she has only come home a handful of times since I've been here it was great to spend some extended time with her. She is pretty funny and even though we have a language barrier it's very easy for me to connect with her since we're closer in age.

We were given Thursday and Friday off to celebrate with our families. Since we have our project due within two weeks most of us were doing our work. Even so, I was able to experience a San Luis Easter. On Good Friday we ate questionable seafood. Clams, muscles, squid, octopus, all in a vacuum packed bag from who knows where. We had a bisque of some kind. I've been amazed with how my pallet has shifted since being here. I'll almost eat everything at this point. I get really hungry tromping around and since the only means of transportation are your feet, well I burn a lot of calories.

From Thursday until Sunday the television was continually on watching various ancient Christianity-related themes. I've come to love Spanish overlay on movies. It's endearing and reminds me of cuddling with my host sister and snuggling into our warm house on chilly Monteverde nights. Though I can barely understand what is going on due to my limited Spanish, I'm getting pretty good at lip-reading the English the actors are actually speaking.

On Saturday morning I milked the cow for the first time. The calf had been born two days before and Noe was going to teach me how to milk. I got to try raw milk--I don't like it. Later that day we had a feast! We had meat for the first time in a long time. I think that because meat prices are fairly high and because many families wait to eat meat until one of their own/a neighbor's animals is ready to be butchered, we barely ever have meat.

For Easter my family was going to stay inside and spend the day not working. I'm sure there was a level of reflection that I didn't understand, but what I gathered was that they were not going to engage with any activity. So, Melody and I decided to go to the Quaker meeting at 5am at the Friend's school. So at 3:4am I woke up the next morning and met up with Melody at 4am to climb La Trocha. It takes exactly 50 minutes to climb La Trocha. It involves almost slipping on loose rocks at the beginning and then traversing a VERY steep hill. My quads are incredible after doing the La Trocha for a month.

Since the Friend's school is closer it only took us 40 minutes. We thought we would watch the sun rise, but we were too early. It was beautiful at twilight on La Trocha having the birds just begin to wake up and chirp. Tropical birds have the most beautiful calls. We arrived at meeting exactly on time. For those who do not know what a Quaker meeting involves, it's a type of meditation where there is no leader and if someone feels moved to speak they can. We watch the sun rise and froze on the bench.

After meditation there was a rejoicing dance we participated in followed by a feast! A potluck of foods that I actually recognized and eat at home was placed in front of me. Much of the Quaker community here are Gringos from the States so it was interesting to interact with others than Ticos and fully in English. We had several people talk to us about what it was like living in San Luis and being a student in Monteverde. I guess this is good preparation for our return to the States.

After leaving the Quaker meeting I went to the Institute and was able to conference call my family. It was AMAZING to talk to them all at the same time. It felt like we were around the kitchen table again. Though I am sad to leave, I am very excited to see my family soon!

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