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Costa Rica La Pura Vida (Session 3)

July 23, 2017

Today we woke up and went to breakfast at the hotel. Everyone was pretty tired after our long day of travel the day before. We ate delicious banana pancakes and some fruit. After eating, we started our day of activities by driving to the cheese farm. While we were there, we learned how to make a variety of different types of cheeses. The process of making cheese along with how impactful this business is to the community was very intriguing. They try to be sustainable for the family and the community. While waiting for the cheese to separate, we played soccer and volleyball. After finishing the cheese, we had a great meal, which was soon followed by a tour of the farm. We learned and tasted many different types of fruits and saw a lot of animals. We even got to hold the rooster, milk cows, and see baby pigs. After a long day at the farm, we went back to the hotel and relaxed for a little bit. Everyone did something different with their time, for example, napping, swimming, and playing soccer. After our break, we had a dance lesson where we learned 3 different traditional Costa Rican dances. This lesson was followed by a nice dinner. Before going to bed we had some more free time in which we really bonded as a group!
Pura Vida!

Cassidy W. & Zoe S.

July 24, 2017

We woke up at the same time as yesterday (7:30ish) but had more energy because we caught up on our sleep. We ate rice, beans, and eggs for breakfast and a friend had Fruit Loops because he bought it at the market the day before. We drove in two vans and each person took turns playing their favorite songs. Along the way, we stopped at a place where we got to hold/pet a baby sloth that had been rescued! When we arrived at the zip lining place, we were fitting with helmets and harnesses and were sent on our way. To get to the highest canopy, we rode on a gondola/skytram. One of the people who worked there, Levi, rode up with us. He taught us about different words that they use in Costa Rica to say “cool” or “awesome”: acachete bon bon or tuanis! There were 7 total ziplines. The first and last were shorter, but on the longer ones we flew over trees and a giant chasm with a river in the middle (very good view!). It was drizzling but not enough to bother anyone. After ziplining we had lunch, which was a big platter of all sorts of foods and some mango juice. When we came back to the hotel, I played soccer with two kids (5 and 8 years old). For dinner we had chicken, rice, and salad. After that, we prepared for our homestays that start tomorrow. Overall great day!
Pura vida!
-Alden A.

July 25, 2017

We started out the day by waking up early and eating breakfast at the hotel. Today was our last day in San Carlos because we would be traveling to Cedral for our homestays. We loaded all of our gear into the bus and then jumped on board for the 5 hour trip to Cedral. During the car ride, we slept, listened and sang along to music, and made friendship bracelets. For lunch we stopped at a buffet. We all ate together on a balcony overlooking the mountains. When we arrived in Cedral, we went to the community center where we met our homestay families for the first time. They were all so kind and welcoming. After meeting everybody, we loaded our luggage into a truck, and drove/walked to our homestay family’s house. Once there we ate dinner, watched TV, and played with the family.
Pura Vida!
-Amelia C.

July 26, 2017

This morning my homestay partner and I awoke to the sounds of roosters, barking dogs and heavy rain at 5am. After some more attempted rest, we had breakfast of fruit and pancakes served by our “mom” Rosemary. We then walked 20 minutes down the steep and rocky mountainside to meet the rest of our Global Works group. We were divided into two groups – one to be working, and one to go on a tour of the local coffee bean fields. In my group, we worked on a house to make for a more comfortable stay for future guests. We accomplished a lot in only a few hours: removing railings, laying and mixing cement, and inserting new wall panels. Our entire group met back at the community center later on to have lunch all together. After lunch, I spent time with another family and played soccer and kickball all afternoon. At 4pm, it was time for our “pasta night” as we met with our entire group and the entire community in the community kitchen. We helped prepare the meal, talked with our families, and played games with the children. After dinner, we celebrated our group member Claire’s birthday with cake for everyone and a piñata that the children loved. Once the celebrations were over, we all went back to our homes to spend time with our families and prepare for another fun day ahead.
Pura Vida!
-Emily F.

July 27, 2017

Our day started around 7am with a breakfast of rice and eggs. After, we watched the music channel with our family before heading up the road to a coffee tour. Which is one of the activities the village has put together for tourists. From there we rejoined the group who were working on the ecological building, after a short break, three other group members and I were sent to assist with the mixing of cement for the cabin we worked on yesterday. Thereafter, we went to lunch and had a group meeting where we played a few games and were given the goal to learn a recipe during family night. From there we played a soccer game with a few of the local kids and a couple of the young men, all of which were quite adept at the game. We finished that at 4:30pm and returned to the house. My roommate and I played a game and we helped make dinner. We watched the Avengers movie in the evening with our family.
Pura Vida!
Brennan S.

Swords shall be broken
Shields shall be shaken
Spears shall be splinted
A bad day
A good day
Ride now

July 28, 2017

According to all known laws of land and sea travel, there is no way a Rita (me!) should be able to hike. But Ritas don’t care what people think is possible and she hiked anyway. While half the group hiked, the other half taught English in the local school. Meanwhile on the hike…”One! Two! One! Two!” A single pair of footsteps crunched along. Now, this hike was in no way easy for our dear travelers. The route to the waterfall was far off the beaten path, full of rocky hills and sharp and wet and mossy rocks (on which there were a few little slips). And trees! Lots and lots of trees! Some trees has pear-shaped fruit called water apples. The travelers tasted this sour but welcome treat. Our travelers came across 2 ducks, several cows,  a lizard, some butterflies, and a neat little dung beetle. The trip was well worth it. Not just for the feeling of accomplishment, but also the gorgeous waterfall that greeted the travelers. The freezing water was rather welcome after the long hike, the water so pure it allowed for a water bottle refill. After returning from the hike, it was almost time for lunch. Everyone planted some plants in their own mini planter. After that, lunch was had and later dinner was had. Tortillas were made by all. We pounded the small dough balls gently into a round flat shape before pan frying them and filling them. Then each of us returned home to sleep.
-Rita X.

July 29, 2017

Once upon a time, a bunch of young fellows woke up in the midst of a rainy day to start their new adventure. As they divided into their usual two groups, they also started their different activities. While one of the groups remained inside the community’s perimeter to work around the construction site, the other went on their trip to the mythical waterfalls. After a relatively long journey, through an incredible and vast jungle, they arrived at the waterfall where they adventured in the cold and pure water. After their difficult and tiring journey, they headed back to the community, and they stopped by Clara’s house (one of the host moms) to open a very unique doggie spa, where they washed and renewed the style of the free roaming, muddy dogs of families in the community. After having lunch with our families and a bit longer break after lunch, the whole group met back at the Cafetería, where they started preparing homemade bread. While it cooked, games of cards and more friendship bracelets were made. They managed to eat the bread until every last roll had been consumed. After this, when everyone was completely filled of bread from the top of their heads to the tip of their toes, they all happily separated and all went to sleep at their own homestay houses.
Pura Vida!
Lorenzo C.

July 31, 2017

In the morning we went to the cafeteria and got to try different types of coffee that the people of Cedral produce. Some of the families came and helped us make breakfast. After that, we walked down the mountainside to the ecological center/lodge to wrap up the service projects we had begun over the course of the week. Rita finished the mural and it looked amazing. We all went into the lodge and put our handprints on the large rock. It was a special way to leave our mark on Cedral. A little later, we worked on our goodbye speeches to our families. After we finished up at the lodge, we went home for lunch. At 2:00 many of us met up for a final “mejenga” (pick up soccer game) and we played with the locals. Soon, it was time to head back to our houses to get ready for the “despedida,” or farewell party. At the despedida, we danced (one of the locals even led us through Zumba for a few songs!). The food was muy rica (super tasty!) and the DJ played local and American songs. At the end of the night, each pair of GW students gave speeches to their host families and some people even cried because they were so sad about us leaving. It was really special and unforgettable.
-Claire J.

August 1, 2017

In the morning, my roommate and I woke up early to pack and get ready to leave Cedral. We had a nice breakfast with our host families. We received letters from them and at around 9:00am, we hugged them goodbye and left towards to beach. I was very sad to leave them because of how loving and kind they were to us. We rode on the bus for about two hours and arrived at a place for lunch; they had some really nice French fries! Afterwards, we visited a souvenir shop and then took a 5 minute drive to the hotel. Once we quickly changed into our swimsuits at the hotel, we went to the beach. At the beach, the water was very warm and everyone had fun in the water. We also went into a cave that was really cool and warm. After the beach, we arrived back at the hotel just in time for dinner. For dinner, we had pasta with vegetables that were delicious! When everyone finished their dinner, we reflected about our stay at Cedral. Most of us agreed that although they didn’t have as extravagant things as we did, they lived happier and more relaxed lives. When we finished our activity, we had some free time. During free time, some group members and I played cards and ate our snacks that we had previously bought. Overall, today was emotional leaving our families, but also fun at the beach!
Pura Vida!
Jenny C.

August 2, 2017
We started the day off with breakfast at 7:30am. The eggs and toast tasted amazing with Sabina’s spreads. After, we took a 30 minute drive to the beach where we met our surf instructors. At the beach, we learned how to do the Figure 4 position and stand on the board after catching the wave. We grabbed our boards, split up, and headed with our surfing instructors to practice. During our first few times, we wiped out frequently. After some time, we were finally able to stand on the board and ride the wave. After surfing, we went to eat lunch and also grabbed delicious fruit milkshakes. We were able to go souvenir shopping, so I bought a really pretty tapestry for my room. We then went back to the beach and hiked a trail to get to the “whale tail” side of the beach. We played in the water until we were able to walk to the whale tail because of low tide. The tail was so unique, and the view of the beach and the sky was unbelievable. After the beach, we went to the supermarket to restock on snacks. We got back and took showers, realizing that we had all gotten quite a bit of sun despite our many efforts to reapply sunscreen during the day! Our dinner was also so delicious and the tilapia was so fresh. My roommates and I chilled afterwards and played cards. It was a great day, and I’m excited for surfing tomorrow!
Pura Vida!
Connie H. and Florence A.

August 3, 2017
Today we had breakfast at 7:30 but with our comfy bungalows and tired bodies after surfing, we almost missed breakfast! Luckily we all made it and tasted even more of the amazing jams here at Cabinas Alma. After all the bread, fruit, and juice, we went back to our rooms to finish getting ready for another morning of surfing. Everyone made a ton of progress on their surfing skills. At lunch, we all sat together for a meal of chicken, salad, and fries, and many of us got the famous batidos (fruit shakes) at the place we had lunch. After lunch, we went back to the surfing beach but this time just to relax, play games on the beach, and swim in the amazing water. On our way home, we made a grocery run, but we also stopped at a little fruit stand and picked up fresh coconut water that we drank from straws straight from the coconut! When we got back to the hotel, a few of the girls made some guacamole and ate it with plantain chips. After pool time and showers we headed to dinner: chicken, potatoes, veggies, and salad. So delicious! We wrapped up the evening with a group reflection about our trip and a gratitude activity where each person in our group got to hear from others about what makes them awesome. After that, we spent the rest of the night hanging out and spending time together.
Pura Vida!
Mia S.

August 4, 2017
Today was a GREAT day which made it even harder to realize that it was our last full one in Costa Rica. We woke up at 7:30 for our 8:00 breakfast at Cabinas Alma. After an eventful bus ride, we got to lunch around 2:00. We stopped for souvenirs so don’t worry families and friends, we’re bringing you back some good stuff! We made it to dinner right around 6pm, just in time to see the last of the daylight head down over San Jose. It was beautiful, and the restaurant even included a mini-park to look down on the city from. After dinner, we made a final stop at the supermercado to stock up on snacks since many of us may be up late tonight. We have to leave the hotel at 3:30am to make it to the airport! When we got back to the hotel, we got our phones!!! Even though it was exciting, it made us all realize that this experience is coming to an end…so for whoever is reading this, all I have to say is that if you want to make a difference in amazing people’s lives and create amazing friendships and do amazing, once-in-a-lifetime things, this is the trip for you.
-Avery B.