Costa Rica is all about the coffee, but with coffee comes a lot of work. We went to pick coffee at an organic farm, which proved to be a very interesting experience. It was cold and rainy, and basically in the middle of the forest. This basically meant as we picked coffee beans, there were huge spiders (and probably snakes) among us. It is amazing that people work all day in those fields, because after 10 minutes of it I was ready to stop. It was crazy how everywhere you stepped you had to check to make sure you would not run into spider webs. I could not do that every day like the workers.
Later in the week we learned Christmas carols in Spanish. One of them was the most challenging Christmas song I have sang. It had Spanish tongue twisters, which as a group we stumbled through. The other song however was super easy and has been stuck in my head ever since (Burrito Sabanero). We sang some of the songs in Spanish and then some in English to a group of older people at their nursing home. Afterwards we decorated cookies together, where I went a little overboard with decorating them. All our professors were there, and overall it was just a lot of fun.
This weekend I went to Jaco for the first time. It is just 2 hours from San Jose and it has the most gorgeous sunset over the ocean. The beach was completely different than every other beach I’ve gone to. A lot of the Ticos told us in general Jaco is dirty and ugly, but I thought it was beautiful. The only down side is the fact that most of the people there are tourists rather than locals. We met a lot of people who did not speak any Spanish and just wanted to enjoy a Costa Rican beach.
Jaco is also a huge party town. As we walked down the street, it seemed like every block had a bar or club filled with people. It also seemed like more people went to the beach at night than in the day. My friends and I swam through the waves as the sun set, and by the time we got out of the water the beach was packed. Thankfully our hostel was behind all the commotion so we couldn’t hear the music all night, but that was about the only good thing about it. One of the girls’ bathrooms didn’t even have a toilet seat. It was definitely an experience. Even with some of the less convenient aspects of the trip, we still had a great time. It was the last beach trip of the semester, and it was with some people I’m going to miss the most when I leave.
Our host mom surprised us with inviting to a 15th birthday party. It was the craziest experience I have had all semester. The beginning ceremony was beautiful, ending with the birthday girl opening up a box of butterflies. Then they hired a famous Costa Rican singer (who sang about every other song in English), then people in stilts came in and danced with us. They brought out black lights and a face painter as we danced the night away. A drumline came in with dancers and people started conga lines and limbo. We left as they started shooting off fireworks at 11, but the party was still going strong. Who knows what happened after we left! It was a great way to spend my last Sunday in Costa Rica. I had experiences I thought I never would. I am sad I only have this week left, but I am ready to get home and see family and friends. Until then, Pura Vida!