Because it's been about 3 weeks since I've posted, and I love lists, I'm going to make a list for this post.
What I've Learned in Costa Rica in October
- Cooking American food in foreign countries is somewhat trying, but totally worth it. A few weekends ago, I made meatloaf and brownies for my host family. I figured you can't get any more American than that, right? The whole process took pretty much the entire day, but it was worth it when one of my sisters grabbed the bowl of brownie batter, and tried to hide. Yep, I've got them hooked.
- Studying abroad does not indicate a lack of homework. The last 3 weeks were crazy, with various presentations and papers. Thankfully, they are all done now, and I can start on the next round of homework!
- I love watching The Office. There is something about watching the new season's episodes illegally (because it won't stream out of the states) with 20 other Americans, eating pizza, and cringing on behalf of Michael.
- I have the coolest university ever. I say this because I was able to spend a weekend at QERC this month. For those of you that are unfamiliar with QERC, Southern Nazarene University has a research center in the Costa Rica. It is in the cloud forest, and the area is absolutely gorgeous. We were able to hike, and just enjoy the wonderful scenery, and the great people who take care of things there (thanks, David, Sarah, and Meredith!).
- God lends strength. Never before have I had to wake up every morning, and say to God, "Hey, please lend me some of your strength, because I can't make it through the day without You." I have to ask every day, but God always provides that boost when I need it.
- The destination is worth the bus ride there. I have been fortunate enough to also travel to La Fortuna and to Quepos/Manuel Antonio National Park on 2 separate weekends. In most cases, the bus rides are somewhat cramped and uncomfortable, but they're cheap, and the destination is totally worth it. At La Fortuna, we enjoyed some hot springs (natural pools heated by the Arenal Volcano) and a fantastically beautiful waterfall. In Quepos, we had a room complete with a hammock and a fantastic view of the ocean. After lying on a beach that is 20 feet from the jungle, I don't think I will ever be able to enjoy Galveston, Texas, quite as much as I have in the past.
- God has surrounded me with amazing people. I have been blessed to get to know and travel with a great group of girls. They make me laugh, make me think, and don't make fun of me too much when I burn the cookies, because I didn't realize that 300 degrees meant 300 degrees Celsius, not Fahrenheit. Oops.
- I have no control over what happens to me in the next 6 weeks. Last week, all of the LASP students finished our Core Seminar classes. This week, we split up into our 3 separate concentrations: Business, Language, and Latin American Studies. The latter is my concentration, in which we have speakers for the rest of this week, then we all pack up, and live with a different family in a different part of Costa Rica for 3 ½ weeks. To be honest, I don't know where I'm living, who my family is, or entirely what I'll be doing. The most I know is that I will be a lunch lady at a school. (Commence the hairnet jokes now.) In all seriousness, though, November will be difficult, because I will be entirely on my own for almost a month, and I have no idea what the situation will be like. I am praying that I will be open for what God wants to teach me and I don't get too caught up in looking ahead to the upcoming weeks. Which brings me to my next point…
- I AM GOING TO CUBA. That's right, people. The United States government approved our permit, and my concentration is headed to Cuba at the end of November. We weren't sure if our permit would be approved in time, so when we found out on Monday, there were quite a few hoots and hollers. (Our prof first told us that he had bad news, and that we couldn't go. His smile betrayed him, however.) I am so excited to have to opportunity to learn of a completely different reality from my own. And, let's face it, some of the excitement probably comes from the fact that Cuba is a "forbidden land." For United States citizens, anyway.
- I love you. Ok, so I already knew that. But I appreciate all the thoughts and prayers that you have been sending my way. Thanks a bunch!