A Swimsuit full of Shells

This week marks the end of our third module, the end of yet another class. It was a difficult week full of projects, tests, and presentations. We were all exhausted from the chaos. On Tuesday we had a break from class and went to a museum with our history teacher. It was a Japanese art exhibit, which was strange considering the week before we saw a performance about Japanese culture as well. There was a lot of interesting pieces at the exhibit. We even saw some cool graffiti on the walk there.

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We had a lot of unexpected adventures this weekend as well. From a giant moth flying into our room one night (we thought it was a bat it was so huge) and trying to make it leave, to a taxi taking us to the wrong bus station, things were interesting to say the least. Friends and I explored downtown Heredia to find some little pieces of wood to paint on and found a cute souvenir store. Our teacher drew us a map to help us from getting lost. We saw new parts of the town and even managed to avoid the rain.

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Later in the week we had a baking class at my neighbor’s house. While I cannot bake or cook very well, we basically just had to roll dough and make shapes. It was a lot of fun. I made braids, hearts, and even a snowman and then covered them all in sugar. My favorite was a cheesy bread covered in natilla (sour cream). When we finished baking we drank some delicious hot chocolate while we ate our pastries and chatted. We talked about each other’s spirit animals and got know one another a little better. It has been one of my favorite activities. It was also great that I went home with 4 bags of leftovers. It was delicious.

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We also got to volunteer with the animals again. There were only 3 of us so we could only help so much. I had a huge dog who loved attention that I worked with for most of the time there. She would nudge against me until I would pet her and then roll down the hill. It was a great stress relief during the week. I also played with the adult cats this time and they were precious. One cat kept crawling onto my shoulder and playing with my hair. It acted like a kitten. There were also some other cats that were not such sweet hearts, but it was still a great experience.

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While we have learned a lot of Spanish and cultural aspects of life in our time here, this past Wednesday we took a break from Spanish and saw the midnight premiere of Mockingjay Part 2. My roommate and I dressed up like Katniss and got there two hours early. The mall was closed and security was very strict that night. There was a decent amount of people there to see the movie, but it was nothing like that of premieres in the US. People did not dress up or wait in lines to see the movie. Most just acted like it was a normal day at the movies. For us though it was a lot of fun. However the next morning we had class at 8 am, which was only a little rough.

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After a hectic week my friends and I wanted a relaxing weekend on the beach. We left at 6 am on Friday to go to Playa Conchal in Guanacaste. When we arrived at 2 in the afternoon, it was sprinkling outside, but that didn’t stop us. A few of us walked to Playa Brausilito, but the water was a little too rough. The small group of us decided to walk onto Playa Conchal. To give a little background, this beach is only of few beaches where instead of sand, the beach is full of little seashells. It was the most gorgeous beach I have seen. The water was completely clear and a beautiful shade of turquoise. Because of the likeness to a cove, the waves were fairly calm and we could just swim without fear of waves breaking on us. It was almost like a pool. And in case you’re wondering, it did not hurt to walk on the beach. I don’t know how it didn’t but I was not going to complain. The only thing was, instead of a pile of sand falling out of my swimsuit, a pile of shells fell out after changing clothes!

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We only had one full day at the beach. A few of us got up early and walked there at 8 am. At that hour it was almost a private beach. As we swam schools of fish around us jumped out of the water enjoying the water. With that being said, we also saw a lot of pelicans diving towards the water and catching fish. It was interesting to see what the beach looks like without many people there. It was a very unique experience. As the day progressed and more people arrived, things changed a lot. There were a lot of Ticos there, but also a lot of travelers. There were a lot of characters on the beach rolling on the sand in the waves. We had a great time just relaxing on the beach.

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The ride back felt a lot longer than the walk there. The windows were open the whole six hours and my allergies flared up. When I came home I basically ate and then slept for 12 hours. We only have 4 weeks left here to enjoy this country. It’s starting to sink in how little time that is. We had a SOLmate go home this past week, showing that goodbyes are going to be difficult. We all realize we need to make the most of this last month. From beaches, rivers, and mountains, we still have so much more we need to see. But before I get too sappy, I realize four weeks is still some time! Until then, Pura Vida!

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