Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Last Day!

Today was my last day as a student in Costa Rica! How Sad!

I went to animal nutrition class this morning. The 2.5 hour class only lasted 30 minutes. Not bad!

Next, we went to the university farm to do a couple of things for a project that the class has going on. We had to wait a while, so I asked if there was a dairy. They said their was, so we wandered up to see it. On our way we saw sheep, and a goat dairy. When we arrived to the dairy, there were a few Jersey heifers. Come to find out, there are about 50 Jerseys at this dairy, and they are all just a 30 minute walk from my house! Why didn't someone tell me about this four months ago?!
The sheep.

The dairy goats.
The methane digester for the dairy goats.
The Jersey heifers!
Force feeding the rooster...not fun.
This evening, my host mom took me to a restaurant up on the mountain that has a view of the entire Central Valley. It was a beautiful night, and bittersweet as I look to leave Costa Rica tomorrow (Thursday, have to be at the airport at 4:15am!) to go home.

It has been a great ride. I'm anxious to see everyone upon my return. Thank you for following my blog. Please keep checking in, as I am hoping to update it with happenings over the next few weeks and during graduation. Eventually I hope to turn it into an agricultural advocacy blog to share info about the importance agriculture plays in our lives.

For the last time from Costa Rica,

Pura Vida,


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Officially Done!

Today I took my last exam in Costa Rica (although I don't think it was my best exam in Costa Rica...we'll find out tomorrow!)! The rest of the day was mine to pack and get my things in order. Tomorrow I have a long day, including animal nutrition class, making last minute purchases, and finishing packing. I can't believe my time has come to an end...everyone is sad to say goodbye.

I have included a photo of a couple of baby doves (paloma in Spanish) outside of my window here at the house. They were hatched in a hanging basket, and have fled the nest, but still hang out in the backyard all day (including when it rains...they look miserable!). They have been fun to watch.

Pura Vida,


Monday, May 3, 2010

Final Dance Class

The 'finals' have finally come. Today we had our final dance class, I said a few final goodbye's to friends that I probably won't see before I fly out Thursday. What a strange feeling.

Today we had a 'final' in dance, which included us trying to remember the dances in front of the teacher (who, by the way, didn't even bother to watch us...I'll mark that up as an automatic 'A'). I hadn't been to dance in three weeks, so needless to say I was just a little bit rusty. I have included a couple pictures of one of the girls and I doing the merengue.

Pura Vida,


Sunday, May 2, 2010


This evening I headed to another soccer game at a different stadium. The game was held at the team's stadium called Saprissa. Very similar to the last game, minus getting drenched. It was an extremely unexciting game with a final outcome of a tie 0-0. Saprissa has the same colors as K-State, so I naturally had to buy a jersey.
The view from the stadium of the mountains.

The field with the game in progress.

The cheering section.

The view out the other end of the stadium after sunset.

Pura Vida,


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Alejandro's Birthday Party

Today, Alejandro (my host sister's son, I guess that makes him my host nephew!) celebrated his 5th birthday with a party. About 20 munchkins attended the event at his mother's house.

Having a go at the Dinosaur piƱata (Alejandro is obsessed with dinosaurs).

His Aunt Raquel dressed up as a payaso, or clown, for the event. It was pretty funny, because I thought when she came down stairs she looked like a pretty scary clown. Not long after that I heard children screaming and running...guess there is such a thing as a scary clown! They warmed up to her after a while, though.

Alejandro opening his mountain of presents.

Alejandro playing with his mountain of presents.

Before the party, Mabel had been invited to a meeting, which was similar to a city council meeting, to represent the school she works for. She said we would go to this event for a little bit, and I didn't think anything of it. While I have never crashed a wedding, I did a pretty good job of crashing this important meeting! I walked in wearing shorts and sandals while everyone else was in suites. And then we were the first ones to eat lunch and the first to leave! After telling Mabel that I was embarassed afterwards, she laughed and told me not to worry. Didn't bother her since she didn't even want to be there!

Pura Vida,


Friday, April 30, 2010

Futbol - Soccer

Here are some pics from the futbol (soccer) game from Wednesday. We went to Alajuela to watch the team called La Liga play. Enjoy!

While waiting on the bus we saw a couple of guide dogs fighting off the rainy season with their very own rain coats! They even had flaps for their ears.

Getting warmed up for the game. On my side of the stadium we had a roof over us so we weren't in the rain the entire time, or sun during the dry season.

This group of energetic folks sat in the far end of the field. They are a group that attends all of the games, and they beat on drums and cheer and dance the entire time. The ENTIRE time, all 1.5+ hours! They definately made the atmosphere more fun (not that it wasn't entertaining enough to learn all sorts of new words from the disgruntled fans, even if they were words I wouldn't use around my grandmother!).

Pura Vida,


Lo Siento

Lo Siento, or I am sorry for the lack of posts lately. Internet at home has not been working.

Highlights from the last few days include:

Went to a soccer game Wednesday night. Had a great time. Got absolutely drenched getting there. My umbrella started getting leaks, and I had to walk through a river that appeared in less than 5 minutes. Shoes still aren´t dry.

Got my other pair of shoes completely wet today.

Raining season is now on my list of things I officially DO NOT LIKE!!!!

I hope to get internet going again soon. Look for pictures then, and my smiling face back in the states on Thursday night!

Pura Vida,


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Random Pics

Today we went to my teacher's home for breakfast and class. It was great fun to eat in her backyard and enjoying the nice weather.

For lunch, we had our last cooking class, and the teacher and her husband cooked for us. It was supposed to be in the park, but it rained. Thank you rainy season.

Here are a couple more photos from the university that I visited this weekend. Hope you enjoy them!

Pura Vida,


Monday, April 26, 2010

Rainy Season

The rainy season has started here in Costa Rica. It has been a gradual process over the last few weeks, starting as overcast afternoons. Now almost every day in rains at least a little bit. Some days it absolutely pours for an hour about 3 in the afternoon, and other days it will rain steadily for just a little while (it poured last week when I was headed to the airport to go to Panama...I had completely wet shoes and jeans until I could change that night in Panama!).

This tropical changing of the seasons brought me a very nice sunset last week as I looked out at the mountains from my room. Its odd to think that there are only two seasons here, and the only thing that changes is whether it rains or not!

Pura Vida,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cooking Class

It may be a little late, but here is an update from last Tuesday's cooking class!
This week we made homemade spaghetti. Yes, once again, I am confused about what part of Latin America this comes from! It was fun to make the noodles from scratch, but I think I will stick to going to the store and buying them. Much simpler. We made a regular red sauce, and then a white sauce, also, which was delicious.

Making the noodles. It got a little messy.

For desert we made 'volcado de bananas.' This is kind of like a sweat bread with bananas on top. Also delicious, and definately something I will be looking at making when I get home!

Pura Vida,

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Today I went to Turrialba, about a 2 hour bus ride from San Jose. In Turrialba there is an agricultural research university that I wanted to check out. Luckily, today they also had an expo with a few booths highlighting programs that the students have made. It was a beautiful place that was fun to walk around, although they wouldn't let me visit the dairy! This place is what I imagined all of Costa Rica to look like before I came.

One of the main buildings with a massive open space for soccer and recreation.

What I assume to be the director's house. Not a bad perk, if you ask me, with a huge tree in the front yard and a view of the pond.

One of the booths in the expo was Argentinean food. There was a booth for every country in Latin America. I was very dissapointed that I had already eaten!

A 'cafetal,' or coffee plantation on the side of a hill during the bus ride home.

We took a stop in Cartago on the way back to visit the church ruins. This church was built in the late 1500's. It was destroyed in the 1800's by an earthquake. They tried to rebuild, but it was destroyed again in 1910 by another earthquake. Then they just gave up. The only part that must have been constructed poorly was the roof, because the walls are still standing strong 400 years later. Now it is a park with gardens in the interior of the walls.

Pura Vida,


Friday, April 23, 2010

Panama City - Last Day

On the last day in Panama City we had just enough time to hit two sites before our plane left. We started the morning off by visiting Panama Viejo, or Old Panama. Panama Viejo is the site of the original city that was built in the early 1500's. Many of the stone buildings still have remants of walls remaining.

Pics include: Old church, water storage system, ruins with modern buildings in the backdrop, walls of a convent and tower.
We also had the opportunity to visit El Parque Nacional Metropolitano, or Metropolitan National Park. This is close to 500 acres on the edge of the city, known as the lungs of Panama City. Not much to see except the city skyline in places, leaf-cutter ants, and mosquitos.
During the flight home, I had the unique opportunity to be in the window seat. I got to see the entire city, and the Panama Canal. We also flew over Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica, where I went the second weekend here. Then we circled the beach over the Pacific Ocean for 45 minutes because it was raining too hard at the airport to land. Not a big fan of the rainy season so far!

Pura Vida,


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Panama City Day 2

On day 2 of our trip, we started off by making our way to the Causeway. The causeway is a series of three islands with a approximately 1-mile-long strip of road to get to the islands. The islands were built from the excavation of the Panama Canal. Now, the Causeway serves as a popular place for people to run, ride bikes, and roller blade. There are also numerous restaurants on the islands, as well as a couple of hotels.

From the islands, we took a boat to 'Isla Taboga,' or Taboga Island. The boat ride was about one hour as we weaved through the ships anchored off-shore waiting to go through the canal. Isla Taboga is home to the town of Taboga, a quaint little village with a small beach. It is a popular spot for Panamanians to come during the weekends.

One of the ships that we passed on the way to the islands. I tried to count all of those that were waiting, and counted somewhere in the neighborhood of 35.

Once we arrived to the island, we found the second oldest church in the western hemisphere. Unfortunately, it was not open for us to visit the inside, but nonetheless was fun to see. We wandered around the town for a while, which resembled a town from Italy or Spain with the mountain serving as a backdrop on one side, and the ocean on the other.

After eating lunch, we enjoyed the beach for about an hour before having to catch the boat back to the mainland. There were all kinds of shells in the sand, which were fun to collect, and the water felt amazing in the Panama heat! Can you imagine living somewhere that is close to 100 degrees every single day of the year with high humidity? I was sick of it after two days!

That evening, we decided to give Sky Bowling a try. Sky Bowling was a bowling alley on the 10th floor in downtown, with a great view of the city skyline. It was the fanciest bowling alley I have ever been to, with screens above the lanes to watch sporting events and music videos. Pretty plush!

Pura Vida,


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Panama City Day 1

Whew. Finally made it back from Panama, and what a trip it was. I highly recommend Panama as a vacation spot if you are looking for somewhere to travel internationally. Just take me with you when you go...I'll do the translating!
After waking up and cooking chocolate chip-banana pancakes for breakfast, we began to explore the city since we got in late the night before. We enjoyed making pancakes every morning, as well as cooking dinner every night at the hostel.

Next, we headed off to the Panama Canal. We went through the museum, and then got to watch a ship go through the Miraflores Locks. It cost this ship $193,000 to pass through the canal, which saved it over $2 million should it have to go all the way around the South American continent!

Note the change of the level of the ship as it sank down with the water in the locks. They are getting ready to build a new set of locks that are more efficient. The current locks are too small for really big ships, and the canal will become obsolete in the trading world by 2012 if they don't improve the system.

Afterwards, we headed to the walkway between downtown Panama City and Casco Antiguo. It is probably a mile long, with great views of the city skyline and the Pacific.

Next we headed to Casco Antigo/Viejo. This is an older part of the city that has parts fixed up very nicely, and others are more like slums. The parts that are fixed up are very pretty, and there is a lot of history in this part. The president lives here, and it is also the location of the national theatre and many places to eat and shop. This pic is an example of how the historic streets looked.

Remember you can click on the pic to make it bigger in order to see more details.
Pura Vida,


Friday, April 16, 2010


Sorry for the lack of postings the last couple of days. Please check back Monday for an overview of my trip to Panama City this weekend. We will spending 2.5 days, so I should see some pretty cool things, including the Panama Canal!

Pura Vida,


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cooking Class/National Theatre

Tuesday at cooking class we made a dish that had a layer of potatoes, followed by breaded meat on the top. It was delicious.

Then we made a 'torta de fresa,' or a strawberry tort. It was one of the most delicious things ever.

Last night we went to the National Theatre for a dance show. It was about an elephant that got lost and ended up in a dance studio. I finally figured out it was an elephat at halftime (intermission). I decided that either I am not mature enough to handle artsy events like that, or I am just not appreciative enough of the arts. Maybe it is both.

Pura Vida,

21 Days

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cooking Class

This is a cooking class update from last week. Last week we made 'crepas,' or crepes. Yes, it is the same type of crepes as they have in France, only I think it has a little bit of a latin twist on it (at least I hope...I am taking a Latin American cooking class!). They were delicious!

Here is also a photo of my classmates sitting outside during a break.

Pura Vida,