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Costa Rica: Surf & Service (Session 4) 2016


Hola CRSS4,

Can you believe in a little more than 1 month we’ll be in Costa Rica eating gallo pinto (a breakfast specialty of rice and beans, spending time in an amazing community, and surfing the endless summer waves! We are excited for our upcoming adventure exploring the beautiful country of Costa Rica and serving in a very special community with you!

Michelle is headed to Costa Rica and will be busy preparing everything for your arrival!  Brent will be meeting most of you in Newark for the flight down to San Jose!

We’ll be reaching out to you in the next few weeks to go over trip details and answer any questions! We can’t wait to meet you!

Pura Vida,

Michelle Nance and Brent Gerike

August 7, 2016

Where to begin…. Day 1 was so much fun. The day began with some incredible food. Even some of the best eggs I have ever had. The people at the hotel are so nice as well. Next we drove over to a local church and met some really young kids. They were all so cute! I gave them some old jerseys that didn’t fit me anymore, and they loved them! They were even so polite that they tried to give some shirts back to me.

Today we also got to meet everybody in the group. Everybody seems really nice. We also had a dance class in the evening which was a lot of fun. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but now I really like it. We capped the night off with traditional Costa Rican dance which was really cool to see. The first day was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week!

Pura Vida,

August 8, 2016

Today was so much fun working on the church. As a group, with the community members, we helped make cement to create the foundation of the church. We really got to connect with the community members and realized it was important to have that connection in order to work well together. We bonded and got to know each other well, but not just within the group but with all the community members. It was a lot of fun to work with the sand and rocks to actually make the cement; something we don’t normally get to do.

When we got back, we wanted to go swimming but there was a storm during the whole free time! Instead, we hung out with our friends and watched the Olympics, etc. Then we had dinner and played more fun games as a group. Then, spontaneously we went swimming where we played more fun games and bonded. We also got to reflect on the day. It was the perfect ending to a long, hard working day!

Pura Vida,
Hana and Rachel

August 9, 2016

On the third day, we woke up at 6:20 am and did early morning yoga with Michelle at 6:45 am. It helped to relieve the soreness of our bodies from the hard work the previous day. At 7:30 am we went to breakfast and had the traditional rice, eggs and bacon and then we were off in the van for another day of work at the church. Since it rained in the morning, we started off with painting the window bars and doors while listening to Brent’s wide variety of fun music. We met up for a break and shortly after, the group started moving 30 lb. cinder blocks. We moved them from the back deck down to the worksite and stacked them into two groups: each with 100 cinder blocks! After we finished, the ladies at the church taught the group how to make tortillas and arepas (a sweeter and thicker tortilla). They were delicious! After we left the church at 4:00 pm, the group did some bonding in the pool during free time. We headed back for some showers and Olympic watching. We then headed to dinner and had some delicious nachos made by the restaurant. After lots of talking and eating, all of us went over to the pool deck to play some card games! It was a great way to end a tiring but memorable day!

Pura Vida!
Emily & Ryann

August 10, 2016

After breakfast, the day started off with everyone loading into the bus and saying goodbye to Hotel Heliconias. We stopped at a store to purchase snacks for the 5 hour bus ride, and then began our journey. The drive was filled with quality bonding time and many laughs. After a huge lunch that filled our bellies, we got to stop at a beach that hosted the World Championships for surfing! We saw two different heats of pro surfers from all over the world! Michelle said that this was the first competition that surfers could earn points towards the Olympics. I had a really great time watching the surfers shred the gnar. We then drove to our new hotel and had a quick dip in the pool. Dinner was 10/10! The night ended with games, bonding, reflection time, and makeovers. Tomorrow we get to learn how to surf like the pros!

Pura Vida,

August 11, 2016

This morning started with an amazing breakfast with fresh fruit, four types of homemade jams/spreads, delicious Costa Rican coffee and other incredible foods. After, we got to have our first surfing lesson! Everyone stood up today which was really fun! The water was really warm and everyone had a great time.

After lunch, I learned how much harder it is to surf with a smaller board! Today we got to try a few tricks as well, like “switching to goofy” (hopping from one foot in front to the other). We are looking forward to a lot tomorrow! A few people got some minor bruises or rashes, but we are still excited for more surfing!

After surfing this afternoon, we stopped by a fruit stand to buy coconuts and mamones, a cool fruit with a red, spiky peel and a squishy, white inside. Then, we hung out by the pool and got ready for dinner, which consisted of tilapia, rice, salad, and seasoned chickpeas. After, Brent and I played the ukulele and sang, while everyone chilled and unwound from a filling day of “shredding the gnar”. We are all looking forward to surfing (and breakfast) tomorrow!

Pura Vida,