My experiences during the second week of my three weeks in Costa Rica have really distinguished this trip in my mind as a unique and worthwhile adventure that I hope to repeat in the future. On Wednesday, we visited coffee factory in Heredia to nurture our taste and passion for high quality coffee. The tour guides at Cafe Britt, the factory we were at, were incredibly funny and knowledgeable. After my tour, I feel like a budding connoiseur, ready to enjoy coffee from across the globe with an appreciation of what growing conditions contribute to what flavor. On Thursday, we visited a local high school and elementary school. The students were fun and filled with energy. I was interested to see the differences between pedagogical philosophies in Costa Rica, versus the U.S., and how that manifested in a school that had vastly more green space and many more students walking around outside. The elementary school students performed a traditional Costa Rican dance for us and, afterwards, we treated them to donuts and fusbal. The positive energy of the students, as well as generally in the Tico culture, was energizing and helped fuel my interest in deeping my grasp of the Spanish language to further generate these experiences.
On Friday, we did white-water rafting in Catrago. I have difficulty expressing in words how beautiful and enthralling this experiences was. Moment-to-moment I would be paddling forward into waves of white water, getting spashed in the face, then looking up to luch, looming trees with vines extending hundreds of feet to the ground. Driving to Cartago, over moutainsides and by one of Costa Rica’s many volcanos, I was able to appreciate the more idyllic countryside that I had yet to see. Despite the relaxing fog that hangs over Costa Rican highlands incessantly, I could see deep into valleys filled with farms. Driving across the rolling hills, I felt an immense sense of calm as I began to realize my world opening up. Soon in the winter, I will be traveling to India for an academic conference– visiting Asia and South America for the first time. In our deeply connected, and ever closer world, the possibilies available to me are limited far more by my imagination than circumtance. By saving money and spending it on what I care deeply about, I can continue to visit new and ever more diverse parts of the world. With this sense of optimism, I am excited for La Fortuna and week 3 of my time in Costa Rica.