North America · 36 Days · 37 Moments · July 2016

Ally in Costa Rica

7 August 2016

Day 35: Last day in Costa Rica! We woke up in the morning at the hotel and walked down to the hotel breakfast. Then we got on a bus and went to the ziplining. It was just as fun as last time and I LOVED it!! Then we went into town and Meadow Olive Abby and I went with Maria and Orlando to a Mexican resturant for lunch. After lunch we got on the bus and drove home. Elodie put in music at the end and all the girls were singing and dancing. After I got home, packed, had my final dinner, I met the group at Mar y Tierra to say goodbye. We said good bye and then Abby Meadow and I took a cab to La Finca and hung out there for a little while. Then I got a cab home and went to bed.

6 August 2016

Day 34: Today we went to Arenal (my favorite trip!!!) again. We pretty much did the same thing as last time but with different people. We stopped at La Fortuna first and Elodie and I climbed up onto this dirt ledge and jumped into rocky water. Then we went to the hotel, swam and then went back to the waterslides and hot springs. The waterslides were still really fun and scary even though it was the second time. Then we went to the buffet dinner and drove back to the hotel. We hung out there for a while and then went to bed.

5 August 2016

Day 33: Today I woke up and went to meet my friends to take a cab to the town. But I missed their cab and had to take mine separately. At the town we all got on a quick bus to the Market. We did the same thing as last time but I didn't have to do as much because I had already done the activities. We came back, had fruit salad and then I got my certificate and coffee for my end of the program. After a bunch of friends and I all went to La Finca for lunch and then walked home. At 2:30, Katie Kaighley and I went on a hike up the hill for like three hours. It was really foggy and beautiful by the top of the hill. Then I came home, had dinner, watched Harry Pottet and went to bed.

4 August 2016

Day 32: Yesterday we woke up in the morning and went to class where I learned and practice subjunctive. I'm getting the hang of it now and hopefully won't forget what I learned when I come home. After class and lunch we all met to play soccer. While we were playing it started pouring rain and we played in thunder and rain for like 45 minutes. It was so much fun! After I got home, changed and dried off I went on a tiny run to the town and run-walked back up the hill. Then I had dinner, met everyone at Mar y Tierra for dessert and then went home and went to bed

3 August 2016

Day 31: Yesterday we woke up at around 6:30 and took a cab to the church down town. Then we got on a bus and went to San Jose for the day. First we went to the Art Museum and the market with all of the little souvenirs. I bought a few cute pieces of jewelry and a bag of coffee. After the market we walked through town to go to the food court. At the food court I bought a burrito bowl with chips that tastes kinda like a chipotle. After lunch we walked to the bus and got on a 2 hour bus ride to go home. I read the book Room pretty much the entire time and it was really good!! When I got home I showered and had dinner. After dinner I met my friend Abby at Mar y Tierra and we watched Friends until curfew. Then I went home and went to bed.

2 August 2016

Day 30: Yesterday we were picked up by our houses and drove to do community service. We painted the walls of a building for probably around 2 hours. Afterwards I went home, had lunch and then met up with a group of people (Abby Olive Maggie Katie Kayleigh) and went to a coffee shop a little bit past the town to pass time. In Costa Rica they don't drink iced coffee and either have coffee or a blended mocha-like sweet coffee. I ordered "cafe con solo cubos de hielo" but they still blended the ice and put milk in. Then we hung out in town until 5:30ish. When I got home I got ready and went out to dinner to la finca with Amelia Ella Elodie Matt Will Meadow Alex and Daniel. I walked home with the guys because none of the girls wanted to walk and then got home right at curfew and went to bed.

1 August 2016

Day 29: Today I woke up and went to help the teacher at the school again. Although I was tired and a little bored, it was still a lot of fun. I got back and had lunch and went on a run around town. The majority of the run is downhill so it's pretty easy but still really nice. I ran into a neighborhood I had never seen before past the town and it was nice to have a change of scenery. I ran into a bunch of the kids in my group when I ran into town and we hung out for a while at Soda Tio Mano. Then we went to the baking class and made empendadas with caramel. We all walked home and

31 July 2016

Day 28: Yesterday I woke up at 5 in the morning with my friend Abby and we went to the beach and swam and watched the sun rise. It was sooooo fun, serene, and beautiful. We went back to the hotel at 6, slept a little and then met the group at 8 to go white water rafting. This time I was in a boat with Ella Amelia and Elodie and it was tons of fun. The rapids were lower, white made it crazier because there were more rocks. After rafting and lunch we drove home on the bus and chilled for the rest of the afternoon. After dinner I met up with Meadow and Abby and we hung out at Augustos for a while. Then we went home and went to bed.

30 July 2016

Day 28: Yesterday we woke up and drove to Manuel Antonio Beach for my second time. Like last time, we stopped to see alligators, got to the hotel and then walked through the park to the beach. We spent three hours at the beach but this time there were tons of monkeys. One pretty much touched my head!! After we got back to the hotel, Abby and I walked down to the other public beach and bought a very late lunch and walked along the beach as the sun set. It was sooooo gorgeous and I had one of those omg moments. We then went back to the hotel and went to dinner with the group. After dinner I hung out in a hotel room with Amelia Elodie Ella Matt and Daniel and then went to bed.

29 July 2016

Day 27: Yesterday I woke up in the morning and went to my class at the school. The kids are definetly warming up to me and I took on a much bigger role this class. They learned the numbers 11 and 12 and had PhysEd. I saw one of the kids downtown later in the day and he recognized me. They're soooo cute. After lunch, I met with Ella Amelia and Elodie and we took a cab downtown and went to the church, Soda Tio Mano, and some shops. It started raining so we took a cab back to our neighborhood (Sabana Larga) and watched a little tv and Michelle Obamas speech at the democratic convention. Then I went home, had dinner, showered, called to Fam, read and went to bed.

28 July 2016

Day 26: Today I woke up in the morning, got ready, and got on the bus to go to Poas Volcano. At the volcano we did the same thing as last time (walked up to the crater, took photos and walked back down and had lunch). Then we went home and, since it was Meadows birthday, had cake and chilled for a little bit. Around 4:30, I went on a walk with Abby, Kailey and Katie for around an hour and a half up into the neighboring town. When I got back, I played cards with Amelia and Elodie and then went home and had dinner. After dinner Amelia, Elodie, Ella, Hailey and I went out and hung out until around 9.30 (curfew). Then I went home and went to sleep.

27 July 2016

Day 25: Yesterday I woke up and walked to Green Valley Atenas School. When we got there, we talked to the principal and she showed us to our classes. My class is called preparatory and I their ages are 5-6ish. The school has a really good English program and the kids pretty much learn everything in English from day one. My job is to speak English to them and Spanish when they don't understand. Since it was the first day and I was still learning how the classroom ran, it was a little awkward and I didn't have much to do. But I think it'll get better as I become more comfortable. The kids are so sweet, cute and outgoing. After it ended at 11:30, we went home for lunch and had the tipical Chicken Rice and Beans. I don't really like the rice anymore so I pretty much just eat Avocado Chicken and Cabbage for lunch every day. At 1:20, I walked downtown with Kailey and went to the dance class. After the class I went to the gym, went home, showered and then went to dinner with the group.

26 July 2016

Day 24: Yesterday I woke up and went right to the school. At the school we split intro our new classes, im with this new teacher, and she's only teaching us Subjunctive. I'm glad she's teaching me now because I learned so much more with her than with the other teacher. After playing a charades game with the entire group, I went home for lunch. After lunch we chilled and then met a bunch of the new kids, walked down town, hung out with them for a while at Tio Mano. Then we all went to the cooking class with the entire group and made the same empendadas as last time. I walked home with two girls, Maggie and Olive, read and then went to bed.

25 July 2016

Day 23: Today I woke up in the morning and walked downtown with the new group of people. Although it was awkward and quiet, I really like this group. The vibe is really different than the last group, but I think I have more in common with these girls. After walking downtown, we drove up to the school but I realized that I forgot my purse downtown so I took the car back downtown, got my purse and then went back up. At the school, we did interviews and I talked to the assistant director about working with preschoolers at a nearby school instead of taking more classes. So excited! After lunch, we met the new people at Mar y Tierra and talked for a little bit and then Meadow and I went to a different restaurant and bought her chicken wings. We headed home, had dinner and now we're relaxing before bed.

24 July 2016

Day 22: Yesterday was a second free day. In the morning I woke up and did nothing for a really long time until I was really bored. Then I went on a run to town and then when I got home I chilled for a while and went on a long hike through Atenas and the neighboring city Jesus. I ran from the end of the to back home. When I got home, we chilled, had dinner and went to bed. Very slow day but I'm glad that the new group of kids is finally here.

23 July 2016

Day 21: Day off! Today we woke up late (8:30) and chilled until lunch. After lunch I met with Rebecca who is staying for a week next session and we walked downtown and spent a couple hours talking at Soda Tio Mano. Then we walked to Carreta with the friendship library thing and dropped off one of her books. It was pouring rain but since we both like rain, we walked all the way back and got SOAAAAKED. It was really fun and we had a really good conversation. Then I showered chilled, had dinner, chilled and went to bed. Tomorrow the next group comes and I'm excited to meet all of them. We looked up the girls and one of them is a serious volleyball player so it'll be really good to practice with her!!!

22 July 2016

Day 20: Today was the last day for the majority of the group. In the morning we went to a little show at the school in Atenas for "anexion del partido de nacoya" holiday. The kids performed cute little dances and poems called "Bombas". There was a bunch of local foods there and I bought a (nut free) cheese corn tortilla. It was really good and I'm glad that I'm trying really different local foods. After snack, everyone walked home, changed and then was picked up by a bus and taken to a pool for the goodbye party. We swam for a while and played games like Mafia and sticky lizard. Julie and I had made a dance a couple days before and we performed it for Maria (the head of SOL Costa Rica). Then I went home, chilled, went for a run, had dinner and met everyone to say goodbye. It was sooooo sad :(. Then Meadow, Hailey and I met at "La Finca" and hung out until curfew.

21 July 2016

Day 19: Today we woke up in the morning and has Spanish classes. We finally learned some new material that I actually wanted to review at the end. After snack, we came together and presented our projects on Guanacaste. The directors were there and the group that is leaving tomorrow (all but 3 ppl) got certificates and goodbye packets of coffee. I went home and watched pretty little liars with my friend Andie and then went to lunch. After lunch Meadow and I hung out for a while and then went to the field by our house and practiced volleyball for like 45 min. I'm glad I got a little practice in. After relaxing more, I walked downtown and met the group at La Finca for a final dinner. After dinner Julie, Andie and I walked home and Julie and I stopped at a cafe for water and to talk about Andies terrible political views. Then I went home and went to bed.

20 July 2016

Day 18: In the morning we met downtown and went to an Internet Cafe thing and did some research on the integration of Guanacaste into Costa Rica. Since my group is the most advanced, we researched the reasons for why Costa Rica appealed to Guanacaste. Then we went back to the school and just hung out until it was time to go home for lunch. After lunch we were picked up by a bus and drove to community service. Since the paint brushes that we were supposed to use were broken, we ended up playing games with a group of local kids. I learned so much Spanish in that place alone and I had an insane amount of fun with the kids (probably the best experience so far this trip). I drew, played dominoes, taught and danced with the kids. One girl gave me her drawing at the end and asked if I would come back. Afterwards Julie and I went to the gym and stopped by POPS on the way home to buy her a milkshake. I got home, had dinner, called the parents, watched tv,read the Martian and then went to bed.

19 July 2016

Day 17: Today we woke up in the morning and went to classes. I had previously mentioned needing a new pair of sunglasses, so my teacher brought a huge selection of them for me to try. Class was a little slow but it was good to review some phrases that we went over. After lunch I read "The Martian" and brainstormed ideas for what to do for my 16th birthday. At 2:15, we walked to town to meet for art class. We were supposed to make cultural clay masks but a lot of people made other stuff like food and animals out of clay for fun. I just stuck with the mask. Afterwards I got a cup of coffee with Julie (she got a smoothie) and talked for a while. At 6:15 we headed to a restaurant that I found on trip advisor. It was super cute because the walls were filled with books and the restaurant doubled as a "trust" library. I got a burrito because I am a little tired of salads and the traditional "Gallo Pinto" dish. Julie and I then walked home, stopped at "Mar y Tierra" for wifi and went to bed

18 July 2016

Day 16: Today we woke up and went to very boring Spanish classes for three hours. We did a ton of review of 8th grade content. After coming back for lunch, we relaxed for a while and then I went to the front patio to workout because it was pouring. Then I ran in the rain to the town to meet my group, btw I now LOVE running in the rain. On the way I found a bunch of other girls walking and stopped to walk with them instead. We got to the town and walked to the baking class with the group. We made dessert empendadas with caramel and watched music videos while we waited for them to cook. After the cooking class, Meadow and I took a cab home to dinner. After dinner we both walked to the town and we ran into a sloth walking down the sidewalk and took a bunch of selfies with it. Sooooo cute. Then headed home and went to bed.

17 July 2016

Day 15: We woke up at the hotel in the morning, got ready, had breakfast and went to the ziplining course. We all did a bunch of Ziplines and jumped off a ledge into a huge drop. It felt like I was gonna die and it was soooo cool. I had so much adrenaline that I was shaking a little bit after!!! The view when ziplining was gorgeous and there was an amazing view. After ziplining, we went into town for lunch and hung out for a while and then drove back to Atenas. The drive was almost 3 hours and I read most of the way down. I got home, changed and then met Haley, Meadow and her half-boyfriend Jose for dinner. After dinner we met with a bunch of other people and went to go see bull riding at this annual event near our house. Although it was sad, the bull riding was really cool and I don't think I'll ever see anything like that ever again. One guy was knocked out by the bull but I was luckily in the bathroom during that part. After the bull riding, I walked home and went to bed.

16 July 2016

Day 14: Today we went to Arenal! We drove for a few hours in the morning and immediately went to La Fortuna waterfall, which was a gorgeous waterfall in the middle of the forest. We swam against the really strong current for a while and hung out in then cold water. Then we stopped for lunch in the town and drove to our hotel, which had an amazing view of Arenal volcano. After hanging out at the hotel for a couple hours we drove on the bus to a hot spring resort. As you walk up the hot springs get warmer and warmer until you get to the warmest one. There was also a cave that acted as a sauna, that was really cool. We spent an hour in the beginning going from hot spring to hot spring and going on crazy fast waterslides and then went to dinner. After dinner we spent another hour doing the same thing and Andie, me and the guys had a screaming competition when we went down the slide (I won of course!). Then we came back to the hotel, showered, played cards and went to bed.

15 July 2016

Day 13: In the morning we walked to town and all got on a short bus ride to go to a market. At the market we walked around asking the names of different fruit in Spanish and talking to the people selling fruit. One woman said that my Spanish was very good! We were given 5mil colones to buy fruit and all drove to a house and combined our fruit into a big fruit salad. After snack and talking about the market, we went back home for lunch. After lunch Julie and I walked to town and bought more ingrediants for cookies and got the credit card she lost back. We took a cab home and made chocolate chip and sugar cookies for the group tomorrow. For some reason, cooking in a kitchen makes a place feel like home. After, Julie and I went to the gym, worked out and then came home for dinner. After dinner Meadow and walked to this local karoeky thing and hung with the rest of the group. Andie sang bohemian rhapsody! and Meadow went w her Tico boyfriend. At 9:30 we walked home and got ready for bed

14 July 2016

Day 12: Today was a pretty normal day. We had school in the morning and watched a movie in Spanish (Called El Regreso) about a guy who came from his home in New York to his birthplace San Jose and had all sorts of issues. After classes and lunch we all headed down to the soccer field and played soccer for about an hour. I scored a goal but it was pretty much just luck. Then I headed home, relaxed for a little and walked downtown with Hailey and Julie to play volleyball. The guys joined us about half an hour later and we played for a while. After volleyball we walked to "La Finca" for dinner, had dinner, hung out afterwards and then headed back home around 8:30.

13 July 2016

Day 11: First thing this morning, we woke up and walked downtown. We spent the morning interviewing locals about Atenas ex: their favorite store, the climate. We then drove to the school and quickly talked about our interviews and went home. My friend Andie came over and watched pretty little liars with me, both before and after lunch. At 1:20, we got in a bus and drove to San Jose for the second day in a row. We went to a HUGE mall and Julie and I ran from store to store asking where we could get a volleyball. We finally found a ball and then ran over to the movie theater just in time. We saw the new Ice Age in Spanish and I was really surprised that I pretty much understood the entire thing without having to focus really hard. Then we headed back home and got veggies at the cafe near my house and hung out. After dinner at home I met up with Julie and Andie and walked downtown to buy stuff at the MaxiPoly. I bought ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies with friends on friday.

12 July 2016

Day 10: Today we woke up super early and walked to the town to get on the local bus to San Jose (about1.25 hours). We got off the bus and went to an art museum that was built on an old airport. Although the art was beautiful, we had the most tedious tour guide and everyone, including the teachers, almost fell asleep. Nevertheless, it was beautiful and we saw an amazing room with wooden walls that were engraved (see picts). Afterwards we went to a cute little market that sold touristy stuff and I bought some souvenirs for the fam. Then we all walked to lunch at a food court and headed home. When we got home I chilled for an hour and then ran to the gym with Andie. We worked out for a little while and then ran back 2 miles uphill with headwinds. When I got home I almost fainted and the room was literally spinning!! We ate dinner and now I'm just hanging out and reading. I finished "The Girl On the Train" on the bus for the second time and now I have to find a new book to read.

11 July 2016

Day 9: Yesterday we woke up in the morning and had our usual school classes. We practiced subjunctive which helped clear a lot confusion that I had in school about it. After lunch we all went down to a restaurant near my house and finished our Uno tournament and played a huge game. I won the game but everyone else cheated and said that I didn't lmao. After cards we took a cab to MaxiPoly (Walmart) and the guys bought themselves food. Then we headed to the cooking class where we made empanadas with cheese, beans and potatoes for dinner. For dessert we had homemade blackberry and peanut butter Popsicles and they made me a special blackberry nut-free one. Then we all walked back home and watched a movie and went to bed.

10 July 2016

Day 8: Today we woke up in the morning and headed to the bus to go see the Poas Crater/Volcano. We were only there for like an hour and it was really cloudy, but the clouds went away for a second and it was gorgeous!!! There was a big crater with mountains around it and the fog was actually really cool. The drive to Poas was also gorgeous (see Picts) We had lunch at the volcano and then headed back home to Atenas. When we got back, we went to a restaurant for a little to watch the France vs Portugal soccer game but got bored and ran downtown. After we got back from our workout, we hung out at "Mar y Tierra" near my house and talked for a while. The guys eventually came and brought over uno cards and we played Uno and card games for a while. Then I headed home for dinner. Here is the link to all of the water rafting photos

9 July 2016

Day 7: Today was a pretty simple but fun day. We went the classes in the morning and made like mini newspaper articles. After classes and lunch I walk down to the town with Meadow and she met up with someone while I went to the gym. After the gym I hung out with a big group of girls that I ran into from our group for like 15 minutes and then headed back home to play soccer with the guys. We played "soccer" for a little and then Max ran down to his house and got Uno cards and we played Uno for a while. For some reason all the guys we're teaming up to prevent me from winning, so I lost. Later we all found a tiny puppy underneath a car and fed it tuna and it was probably the cutest and tiniest thing I have ever seen. We thought it was a wild dog so we were planning on trying to keep it and it was so funny because the owner came up and was like oh you met my dog. Then I headed home for dinner and played cards with Meadow and we watched Zombieland. (Netflix is soooo much better here)

8 July 2016

Day 6: Today we woke up at our hotels and got ready to go white water rafting. The rafting was really much fun and I'm looking forward to doing it again. Andie, Julie, Rebecca and I all went in a raft together with an amazing instructor guy who intentionally made it more intense for us because we told him we wanted to have fun. The rapids weren't that big and were mostly class 2, but there was one that was class 4 that was really fun! We got stuck between two rocks at one point. Andie had a GoPro so I have videos of the rafting. Then we drove back to Atenas and watched part of the second avengers in the bus. For the rest of the day we just hung out, played cards and watched tv.

7 July 2016

Day 5: Today we went to Manuel National Park. I have tons of pictures on my camera that weren't included. In the morning we got on a bus and drove to the hotel and then walked through a forest to get to the beach. I saw my first sloth! The beach was gorgeous and I swam around for like 3 hours and hung out with pretty much everyone in the group at some point. Then we walked back to the hotel, showered and then my friends Meadow, Haley, Ashley, Sam and I walked to a restaurant by the beach and got drinks. Then I walked around with my other friend Julie and looked at the clothing they were selling on the street. At 6:30 we met the group for dinner. Maria, the director, is really good with my nut allergy and they made me my own dish for dinner. It was funny because since I couldn't have the dessert they brought me canned peaches with sprinkles. Afte dinner, we walked to the hotel and just hung out for a while. Really good and fun day and I loved being in the water for sooo long.

6 July 2016

Day 4: Today we woke up and went downtown and interviewed local businesses in Spanish and then went to the school and drew maps of the town. Then I came home and ate a lunch of beans rice and carne. A couple friends then came over and we played cards until it was time to go to soccer. Although my back hurts really badly, soccer was still rlly fun and I scored 3 goals! After soccer I went on a run with my friend Andie to the gym and then worked out with her. I really LOVED running today and thought it was soooo much better than running indoors. Then I came home, showered and had dinner. So glad to be in Atenas and I'm having a really good time. I've been having really good conversations with a lot of people in Spanish and sometimes I even think in Spanish! I like how I'm literally living a life extremely similar to that of a Costa Rican and I'm already learning so much about culture. This trip is gonna really allow myself to rethink my perspectives and reprioritize things in my life.

5 July 2016

Day 3: Today was so much fun! In the morning we went to the school and played some name games and then went to our classes. I think I'm in the most advanced class with 5 other people. Then we went home for lunch and at 2:50 we walked to the town, which is around 2 miles away, and took a salsa dance class. I'm not very good, but I had a little fun. Then a bunch of us walked to the sand volleyball courts and 3 of us played volleyball with the locals (who are amazing) for a couple hours. One guy on the court invited us to a party tomorrow but were not gonna go bc they were saying interesting stuff about me in Spanish that they thought my friends and I couldn't understand (hahaha). But it was rlly fun and I held my own!!! I think I'm gonna keep going back to play volleyball because it was definitely the most fun I've had so far. Then a big group of us went out to dinner (see picture) and talked for a while. Then we took a cab home and I played poker and spit with my roommate for a while

4 July 2016

Day 2: We woke up at 6:30 and met the group outside of our house. All the kids are really nice and I got to talk to pretty much everyone. We all walked together to the cute town and exchanged our money and walked around the town for a bit. Then we all got in a bus and drove back to the school. At the school Maria (the leader) read through the intro packet and did introductions. Then we had short interviews to see our placement and the teacher interviewing me was really nice. Then we went home for a lunch of chicken, watermelon and salad. The traditional Costa Rican dish is beans, rice and a meat and we have that at most meals. I also had homegrown avocado and plantains. After lunch I met with four girls (Andie, Sophia, Haley and Julie) and we all walked to town and went to the gym, and then spent an hour trying to find our way back. We got home and all played cards for a couple hours and then I had dinner with my host fam. The town here is so rustic cute and unique (see pictures)

3 July 2016

Day 1: Landed at around 12:50 and met two girls and the director of the trip. Everyone is super friendly and outgoing. I got to my house and met my host family and they are also so kind and friendly and make me feel really comfortable talking in Spanish. The parents speak no English, which is really good for practice for me. I then walked with two girls to the cute town, which is a 30 minute walk, and walked around their for a minute and then grabbed a cab back to the house (it was like 5$!!!) I then hung out with my roommate for a few hours in my room and we played the card game Spit and talked for a while. Then I had dinner with my host mom and her daughter and she showed me her parrot. Although I didn't do much today, Costa Rica is so beautiful and I can't wait for the activities to start!
Newark ➡️ San Jose