I have to give credit for the title to Jessie. I think it fits, considering the amount of rain we get here. So…we have a week left in Costa Rica. Where did the time go? I’ll tell you:

Day 14: Let’s soak up the sun.

It was another sunny day! Yay for tans! So far, no one has been badly sunburned (knock on wood!) We worked on the curb of the sidewalk we built. Thankfully, we had Dana and Madison to motivate us. They chanted, “What are we working for? HOT SPRINGS!” We definitely worked hard knowing we would get a well deserved break the following day. However, our work was cut a little short with a thunderstorm. We covered the curb in plastic in an attempt to save it from the pouring rain. After all was said and done, we found out that the storm did some damage to the bridge. Not just damage, I guess. Actually, the bridge that we usually used to go to the city collapsed. We were worried that getting to La Fortuna the next day would be a challenge, but we were reassured by Heidi and Jadi when they told us we would take a different route. With that in mind, we could all sleep in peace.

Day 15: We get to sleep in how long?

I’ll answer that. Almost 3 more hours than usual! Our work day usually starts at 8, at least that’s when we’re expected to be by the salon. It seems to get later everyday since Jadi and Heidi like to be on Tico time (Ticos are the locals, Gringos are Americans). Today, we had to meet at 10:45! It was a dream come true and everyone was happy to have a chance to sleep in. Since the bridge was still broken, we had to wait for the bus to arrive. We ended up leaving around 12 and arrived in La Fortuna about an hour and a half later. We were more than ready to get off the hot bus and settle into our hotel. I roomed with Dana and Carly. We ate the lunches that our host parents packed us and had until 5 to explore the town. I got some yummy ice cream and bought some presents for my family and friends. After all that fun, we gathered to go to the Baldi Hot Springs and Spa, ready to relax. We had about half an hour before dinner started, so I used to time to explore the tropical garden with Madison, Dana, Lucy, Devin, and Carly. We had plenty of fun taking pictures in the beautiful landscape.  Dinner was amazing to say the least. Everyone was glad to have an option besides rice and beans. Waterslides, anyone? Everyone rushed to those right after dinner. Those were, without a doubt, the fastest waterslides I’ve ever been on. We got a few bumps and bruises but had a night of endless fun. After getting enough adrenaline in our systems, we wandered around all the different thermal pools. My favorite would definitely have to be the one that had enclosed pools of cold water within the bigger pool of hot water. That and the waterfall with super hot water! Although we stayed till 10, time seemed to fly by too quickly, as always. Nonetheless, everyone in my room passed out as soon as we got back to the hotel.

Day 16: “Do you hear that?” “No!” “Exactly!”

We woke up, thankful to have no screaming children, annoying roosters, or cows to disturb our peace in the morning. We had breakfast around 8:30 and had until 12 to relax and do some shopping. After a delicious lunch at a local pizzeria, we were off to the rope swing! The fearless ones in the group jumped off a few times and some even managed to show off some skills. A few of the girls, including me, decided to sit and watch the fun from a short distance instead. But hey, we did get some great pictures on Jadi’s camera! After we had enough, we went back to Buena Vista to continue our homestay. We even managed to squeeze in a spontanteous kickball game before dinner. It turned out to be a great day!

Day 17: Back to work!

Unfortunately, breaks don’t last forever. It was time to get back to work on our sidewalk, and finally, the police station.  We were all ready to work, but there was not much work for us to do since Juan Pedro, our jefe, needed to prepare some things for us. We ended up getting an early lunch break. The morning was sunny, but don’t let that fool you. Rain always comes eventually, and today was no exception. I spent my afternoon playing Uno with Devin, Madison, and their host siblings, dancing with Madison, and talking to Michal, while it poured outside. After dinner, it was time for game night! We gathered at the school to talk about the trip and how everything was going since we had just passed the halfway point. When we got the talking out of the way, we broke out Pictionary and Risk. Dana revealed her amazing drawing skills to everyone. She draws some awesome fountains! When we had enough laughs for the night, it was time to hit the hay once again.

Day 18: Fiesta? Yes, please!

I woke up to a beautiful, sunny sky today. What a great day for working! We definitely made up for the work we missed out on yesterday. But our motto is work hard, play hard, so by no means did the festivities end just yet. We were all invited to a birthday party for a local teen, but Jadi and Heidi prohibited us from attending because of inevitable situations we would face. However, we were not discouraged when we heard that Ryan’s parents invited us to their house for another cookout! There was plenty of food to fill everyone, but most of us passed out before we even left. We did a lot of work, so it’s no surprise that we were all tired!  Needless to say, we all slept pretty well that night.

Day 19: Family Day

Today, we were asked to see each other as little as possible and spend the day with our families. I slept in as much as I possibly could, but that was hard with the roosters, cows, and children. I finally rolled out of bed around 10. My mom made me breakfast and we went down to the arcade, where I played a confusing pinball game with my brother and my dad. Rather, my dad kept on putting coins in, and I pretended to know what I was doing. After hanging around with my family some more, my brother and Emily’s sister, Stephanie, took Emily and I down to my dad’s lecheria. They showed us the whole process of milking the cows and we even gave it a try! It was definitely cool to see the origin of all our dairy products. We walked back, only to find everyone finished with their family activities for the day. The rest of the night was spent mingling with our group members and the locals.

Day 20: Shwahh!

Time to get back to work once again! The boys declared the police station their “man cave,” so the girls mixed cement for the curb and the wall of the police station while playing psychologist. That was the majority of the day. For dinner, Andrew’s family invited us to their house. His family was really excited for us to come and even decorated with some balloons! They lived more modestly than Ryan’s family, but they were very hospitable. They turned on music for us and made sure everyone had food and something to drink. We ate, danced, took plenty of pictures, and played a game called Shwah. I’m not sure of the spelling, but I think that’s pretty close. Basically, we passed an imaginery ball around and had to say shwah, boink, or bounce, depending on the direction you wanted the ball to go. Carly’s mom, Andrew’s mom’s mom, joined in on the fun and we had plenty of laughs whenever she said “Shwah!” After we had enough fun, most of us went to watch the soccer game in the salon, while some went home.  After the game, I stayed up, waiting to call Michal when it turned 12 back in Chicago since it was his 17th birthday.

Day 21: Party time!

More work and more psychologist again today. In the evening, we had a birthday party for Emily’s 17th birthday along with the English class at the local school. Her family made a delicious cake and we played some musical chairs along with a balloon popping game. You had to pop a balloon with a piece of paper that had an animal written on it and then act out that animal. After busting up a piñata, we took it outside for some limbo! I think Emily enjoyed her birthday celebrated the Costa Rican way.

Day 22: Happy Birthday, Emily!

We continued with our cement mixing, curb making, and wall building today. Since it was the official day of Emily’s birthday, she got to sleep in, while we started work at our usual time. However, her birthday didn’t stop her from working to her fullest. Nothing too exciting went on today because of the festivies yesterday, so it was another average day.

Day 23: Done!

Today, we officially finished our community service work for the village! It was very exciting. Along with playing some more intense psychologist, we put the finishing touches on the curb of the sidewalk and the wall of the police station! What’s even better is that we’re done with one day to spare.

We’re almost at the end! It’s weird how fast the time flew! Here’s another link to our group blog:

http://www.walkingtree.org/2010/07/2010-costa-rica-immersion-c-2/

As always, I appreciate comments! I miss you all and can’t wait to see you soon!

With love from Costa Rica,

Elina