Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Back to the City

We just arrived in San Jose after spending a few days in La Fortuna, a sleepy town nestled at the base of Costa Rica´s most active volcano. Perhaps the ¨active volcano¨ part of La Fortuna escapes most tourists, because oddly enough, it´s where everyone wants to go. ¨A smoking, quaking volcano that spews out red hot molten that has historically killed dozens of people? Dude! Let´s go camp out at the base!¨

La Fortuna is in the rain forest, so our hostel´s lush grounds sported giant fuscia and purple flowers, papaya palms, and swarms of tropical bugs. We were very lazy during our stay in La Fortuna, and spent most of our time exploring the tiny town, reading, hiking, and trying to keep the foul odor in our bathroom from wafting into our bedroom. I´m fairly certain there was a dead skunk hidden in our bathroom walls that pooped right before he died.

There´s really not much else to say about La Fortuna. Now we´re going to escape our hostel in San Jose that smells like cat urine, by going to a nearby movie theater. There really is a wide spectrum of foul smells in the hostels across Costa Rica. We are looking forward to returning to the foul smell with which we are familiar: good ol´Los Angeles pollution.

See you fellow Glendorians in just 2 days!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Highlights, continued.

5. Jalopies. Who doesn´t drive one down here? And if you´re going to make a statement by driving a dilapidated old car, then why not make sure you drive one that periodically self-combusts?

6. The impish chauffer. This bus driver got a kick out of pretending to drop us off at an old, run-down warehouse, (at night, no less!) claiming is was our hotel. Our subsequent laughter was purely from relief. He made up for his joke though, by giving us a tour of the town and helping us get signed up for a canopy tour the next day. His kind gestures initiated a string of events that allowed us to meet some really neat people we wouldn´t have otherwise met, including Chad and Tara, some fabulous Canadians.

7. The Franco-Israeli New Yorker. Need I say more? I´m sure you can imagine. Words really minimize this lady, so I´ll keep it short. "Maggie" was a hoot. She was energy incarnate and had us laughing throughout our entire 5-hour jungle tour.

8. The strangling fig. This jungle vine grows upside down; it begins growing in the jungle canopy, and grows toward the ground. As it grows, it gradually wraps itself around the jungle trees, and eventually strangles them. I think Tarzan used the strangling fig to whip through the jungle. I got to try out my Tarzan skills on a hanging strangling fig, but I think the only thing that even remotely resembled Tarzan was my war-like cry.

9. Bread. Did I mention we eat it for every meal? At night we lie awake and dream about the mounds of steamed broccoli and squash we will eat when we get home.

10. The Valiant French Canadian. I´m going to devote an entire blog to him when return. For now, just thank God for him.

The putrid mold smell in here is suffocating. I think I´m turning blue from lack of oxygen. Better go! Love and miss you all!

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Inevitable

Well, I've come down with the inevitable traveling bug. I don't think it'll last much longer, but it's kept me in bed all day. It hasn't been bad really; clean mountain air dances through our open window, and I enjoy watching the horses on the nearby hill graze and roll around in the wet grass. The brown horse (Rebecca calls him Edgar) is spunky, vivacious, and a little impish. Edgar is always ready for a romp. Sam, on the other hand, is a stately, white horse, who is a little more aloof. Sometimes, though, when Sam thinks no one is looking, he joins Edgar for a good roll down the hill.

As I've been lying in bed all day, I've thought through some of the highlights of our trip. Here are just a few:

  1. Tuna and crackers. We eat them for lunch almost every day. We eat bread and cheese, crackers and cheese, and just plain old bread for all our other meals. This diet has been easy on our pocket books and kind to our stomachs. All of this bread has given us an unwavering confidence in our ability avoid Latin American Diarrhea.
  2. Burnt bridges. When the bridges are broken around here, the locals just drive through the river. Who knows why they even build bridges to begin with.
  3. Sloths. The laziest animal in the world can be found lounging in almost every jungle down here. We've seen quite a few. They look like large clumps of dirt, or enormous nests high up in the trees. It is hard to discern any signs of life when observing the sloth, as they only leave their high-up perch to defecate.
  4. Traveling dentists. For those of you that have inquired, the dentists were on a mission trip with their school. Aside from keeping us in stitches, they saved us from a near-catastrophe involving a perriwinkle duffle and a broken strap. In the nick of time, they produced a life-saving safety pin. I'm thinking of writing a ballad about this band of traveling dentists from Georgia. Sounds poignant, doesn't it? I think I will have to finish this high lights list later. There is a line for the computer.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Feliz Navidad

Dearest Friends,
We are safely in the jungles of Costa Rica, staying in a very clean cabin nestled in the hills. Every night as I climb into bed, I gaze fondly at our recently recovered luggage. I am now equipped with deoderant, tooth paste, a tooth brush, and several changes of clothes! What more could a girl want...:)

We spent a few blissful days at the beach, enjoying white sands, turqoise waters, curious monkeys, tropical flowers, and a group of traveling dentists from Georgia. The dentists were about our age, and were loads of fun. God has been faithful to bring good friends into our midst wherever we go. The only downside of our days at the beach, was the frigid water that our shower insisted on producing. I quickly learned that doing the Hokey Pokey while showering was the only way to endure the icy process.

Now we are in in the north of Costa Rica, celebrating the birth of Jesus, his death, and ultimately, his resurrection. We have whizzed through the jungle canopy on a zip line, toured a coffee plantation, made new friends, tasted comida tipica, and endured fierce late night winds, all the while relishing God's goodness and favor as he continues to pursue intimacy with us, much in the same way he did 2,000 years ago when he came to earth to save us from the mess we created.

Daily we encounter people who haven't yet said yes to Jesus and all that he offers. Please pray that God uses us to nudge them toward friendship with their creator.

Hope all is well! See you soon.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ode to a Costa Rican Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the hostel

Our luggage was missing; the airport said it was lost still.

Our passports were shoved down our pants with great care,

For fear that a bandit soon would be there.

We slept in our shoes, to keep ourselves warm,

Tossing and turning while we waited for morn.

As we lay shivering in our semi-clean beds,

Visions of deoderant danced in our heads.

When suddenly there arose such a clatter,

We pulled back the shades to see what was the matter!

There on the roof, was a Costa Rican man,

Wearing his tool belt, a hammer in hand.

He hammered and whistled, shouted and sang,

While a nearby old car died with a BANG!

We looked at each other and began shaking

From all the laughter our bodies were making.

For in that moment God helped us remember,

We walk in his favor, no matter what our adventure!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Day 1 in Costa to the Rica, narrated by an exhausted, bleary-eyed traveler

Once upon a time there were three girls on opposite ends of the west coast that decided it would be a good idea to meet each other in Costa Rica over break. The first two girls, Megan and Sarah, left LA together and had a fairly effortless flight to Mexico City. They were thrilled to find that Mexicana Airlines serves tasty cuisine, most certainly unparalleled by any other airline. They ate, chatted, and laughed as they soared over the coast of Mexico. Unbeknownst to them, their third party, Sarah's sister Rebecca, was stuck in a plane in Denver, that needed to be de-iced.

While the plane thawed Rebecca's connecting flight to Costa Rica left without her. When her plane was finally thawed, she ran to her gate, but it was deserted. She ran up to the front desk and asked the kindest looking lady for help. Hastily, the attendant began looking for any flight (or series of flights!) that would eventually end up in Costa Rica. She typed in Rebecca's name and said, "Well, somebody must be looking out for you. There are 70 people on a waiting list for this flight to Miami but your name just got bumped to the top of the list. It looks like you're getting the only seat available. And you're in first class." Grateful and weary, Rebecca thanked the attendant and exclaimed, "God is good!" The man behind the counter agreed with an emphatic, "All the time!" Then, he searched the entire baggage area in the basement for her apparently lost bag. When he couldn't find it looked again. He never found the bag, but he bought her a smoothie and talked with her about their shared Christianity.

When Sarah and Megan found out Rebecca's flight was delayed, they began praying fervently. They prayed that God would place kind, caring people in Rebecca's path, and that he would direct their plans. They quickly came up with a tentative plan B, canceling their immediate trip to the beach, and hoping to find a place to stay an extra night in San Jose. As they prayed, they boarded their plan to Costa Rica. Their seats weren't next to each other, although they tried to get them moved. The plane was just too packed. The doors closed, and the girls kept praying for Rebecca and their plans. Right before they took off they realized that there was one empty seat on the entire plane. Right next to Megan. It turns out God cares about even the littlest details of traveling, like sitting making sure that two friends get to sit together.

Rebecca made it to Miami, and stayed the night in the airport while she waiting for her early morning flight to Costa Rica. She was cold, so she asked the cleaning man for some plastic bags to wrap up in. While she shivered and tried to sleep, an elderly man brought her a blanket.

When Megan and Sarah arrived in Costa Rica at 1 am, they discovered that both their bags were also lost. For the next 12 hours they called repeatedly to get news of their bags, but the airport was just as clueless as they were. While they waited they easily booked a place to stay in San Jose, and quickly found bus tickets for their postponed beach trip. They prayed that God would place a burden on somebody's heart to work diligently and go out of their way to get their bags to them as soon as possible.

Shortly after Rebecca arrived in Costa Rica, she got a call from a airport baggage claim worker. He called the girls' hostel from his cell phone, determined to help her get her luggage. He committed to help track down all three girls' luggage when he heard their story, although they flew with different airlines. He is still working to track everything down.

This narrator is having trouble forming intelligible sentences, so she's going to hit the sack. More news of God's goodness and grace to come in days 2-14.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ah, the Spirit of Giving

Yesterday, my students made coupon books for their parents for Christmas. They created their own coupons, gifting their parents with anything from breakfast in bed, to help in the kitchen and a sparkling clean bathroom. There were a few coupons that stood out.

"This coupon is good for a 24-hour mashash [massage]"


"Turn this coupon in and I will pretend to like your outfits from the mall for 20 days."

And my personal favorite,

"Turn this coupon in and I will do the laundry for four weeks if you pay me $10."

Oh, how I love my job. :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


This morning, after calling my roommate twice, fiddling and refiddling with the coffee maker (who knew it had so many confusing nooks and crannies?), and saying a little prayer, I brewed my first EVER pot of coffee. It turned out looking something like this:

Needless to say, I could not taste it, nor finish it. And I am still very groggy.

Friday, December 5, 2008

More poetry from room 341

Here are a few more poems about city wildlife.  Enjoy!

The Slug

Oh no the slug
eating on that
poor sunflower.
How sad.
Oh I wish slugs
would not be pest.
Oh how dear that
the sunflower was,
not dead.  Thank
you slug that you
didn't eat the whole


Today I saw 
a coyote in the
big, tall, mountains.
It was as big 
as a mountain
lion.  Big, gray
and fat.
His teeth were 
scary, huge, and
rotten with spit
all over them.
His ears had
blood on them.
I was the 
one who
dfeated that
coyote because
I'm NOT a
scardy cat!

The Staring Chipmunk

By the mountain hill,
I saw a chipmunk,
non cute nor ugly.
It looked kind of
weird in a way, so I
kept my face away.
Its beady eyes where
staring at me so I
backed away.  But
I found the reason 
why that rascal stared
I had an acorn in my hand!
Oh chipmunk, what a waste
of time!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I have a secret admirer.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Vicious Squirrel

My students learned how to write non rhyming poetry today. I asked them to write a poem about some type of city wildlife. Their imagery made me chuckle. Here's one of my favorites (completely uncorrected):


Today I saw
a baby squirrel.
The squirrels teeth
was fricken me out
its teeth were all black.
The squirrel's head
was shining like
Its nails were
sharp like a
porcupine's thorn.