Its nearing a month since Ive come back from Costa Rica, but I don’t think there has been a day where I haven’t thought about the people of San Salvador or my group members; I miss everyone dearly. During my stay in the host village,I always admired the simplicity. The village was small for the most part and it was as if everyone was family. In the village there was only one small store where my group members and I would often hang out at after a long days of work, just talking and sipping on sodas. Ive come to find myself wishing I could experience it all again, at least for a day.

I miss the 15 minute walk to my friend Katie’s house that I made almost everyday. I miss laughing with her younger host sister, as I myself didn’t have any. I miss playing soccer with all the other kids and never failing to be impressed with their skills.I miss the early mornings and early nights (I didn’t quite mind being in bed at 8 almost everyday!). After being with the same people for three weeks you develop a routine and sense of familiarity and its odd to be thrown back into a seemingly different world. During my stay I gained a new family and 8 new best friends, and I can’t help but be sad at the fact that it will be a while before we reunite, if ever. But with the sadness, comes great happiness that it happened.

It feels nice to have an experience that Ill never forget and can always look back on with a smile. Whenever I hear the song Upgrade U or Rich Girl, I’ll remember the long car rides and even longer workdays spent with my group; and whenever I hear the song El taxi I’ll think back to all the kids in the village whom I adore. Although, there were a couple challenges I faced while there, the main one being the language barrier, it was all so minuscule in comparison to what I have gained.

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A few days ago my sister gave me a journal in order for me to organize thoughts for my documentation project as well as write down any general happenings during my trip. Having a journal is great, but the best aspect of the journal are the words written on the cover. Words that will serve as constant reminder to me throughout my time away.

Carpe Diem is Latin and is commonly translated to, “seize the day” and it couldn’t be more applicable than when I am in Costa Rica. I’ll see these words everyday when I look at my journal and I will be reminded not only to seize the day and capture as much as I can for my documentation video, but also to enjoy my time to the fullest and immerse myself in the culture.

In honor of Independence day tomorrow, I hope everyone “seizes the day”, watching fireworks with friends/family.

-Chelsea read more →

There is a fine line between overpacking and under packing. I seem to be able to find an excuse to pack everything I own, for example, my graphing calculator. You never know when you’ll need to find the inverse of a matrix or solve a trigonomic function. But all jokes aside, how do you minimize bringing excess baggage without leaving out important items?

I’ve decided to think up a buddy system for this trip. If I’m ever conflicted on whether or not I should bring something with me I ask my sister and a friend. So far this method has helped reduce the stress of packing and its helped me feel well prepared. Packing lists are great, but friends and family are nice help too! And now that I am almost fully packed, I can feel the excitment rise, tres días más!

 

– Chelsea read more →

There’s no denying the fact that Costa Rica has a “history of peace and neutrality” and remains one of the most peaceful countries in the world.  Therefore, researching an event that has stirred up various opinions in country like Costa Rica proved to quite an arduous task. However, as I scrolled through various Twitter headlines and clicked through countless pages on Google, I couldn’t help but realize the one issue that seemed to always pop-up.

The Costa Rica- Nicaragua San Juan River dispute dates back to 2010, and there have been hearings as recently as last year. The conflict centers around an event in 2010 when Costa Rica claimed Nicaragua crossed Costa Rican territory while dredging the San Juan River. The Nicaraguan government denies this claim by stating, “they can’t invade [their] own territory”.

The tensions have led to an array of different opinions regarding Costa Rica. In the Christian Science Monitor, Tim Rogers claimed that the dispute will “force Costa Rica to reexamine its commitment to disarmament and confront the ghosts of its wimpy image”.

NPR’s Renee Montagne gave insight on the views of many Costa Ricans. While Costa Rica sees that the land has always been their own, Google Maps mistakenly attributed that land to Nicaragua in their database.

One can clearly see the different media biases. For instance, a  CID- Gallup Poll shows that 91 percent of Nicaraguans think the crisis was caused by unclear border limits and 73 percent of Costa Ricans think the crisis is because of Nicaragua’s military invasion of their country.

Despite the contrasting opinions, it is up to the International Court of Justice to finally put an end to the dispute.

Chelsea

Sources:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=131183082

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2011/0207/Border-dispute-with-Nicaragua-has-Costa-Rica-rethinking-its-lack-of-army

 

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