Archive | August, 2018

Hermosa (beautiful) Costa Rica

31 Aug

 

Costa Rica is so beautiful! I’m grateful for the opportunity to visit, to sight see, and to learn about the culture.  Here are six things I didn’t know about Costa Rica last week – that I know now!

1) Costa Rica is 8-11 degrees north of the equator.  (I keep telling my mom this fact and she keeps rolling her eyes. We are on a girls trip. Traveling together.) Being this close to the equator means it is hot….like H.O.double TT. …and we are here during what is considered the winter months! Being a southern girl I’m used to the warmth but this is WAY warm…INTENSE, some would say.

My mom is a minalmilist (although she didn’t know this about herself until she read my Facebook post earlier in the week.) …..News flash: Anyone who sells all of their possessions and travels around the United States in an airstream camper for 18 months has to be a minalmilist!…Yes, she really did that! My mom is an awesome adventurist!

Anywhoo, I mention this as my mimimalist my mother suggested that we travel for 7 days with just a carry on.  I’m down for the challenge so I accept.  The problem is, I can’t fit all of my hygiene and beauty’s products into a quart sized bag for air travel.

I tell her, I’ll buy sunscreen there…She says it’s expensive…I say  how expensive can it be?  $45…that’s how expensive it is! A $8 bottle of sunscreen at home suddenly more than triples in value near the equator.  So here is a piece of advice…ditch the shampoo and pack the sunscreen.

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2) Lemons and Limes are the same thing in Costa Rica.

I kept ordering vodka soda with lemon and kept receiving vodka soda with lime. No biggie…it was a vodka soda by the pool, for pete’s sake! I’m not complaining! (First world problems, Ugggh!)

It wasn’t until the entertainment crew came by asking to play a game of “hit the lemon” that I realized the two were interchangeable.  REALLY! The lady next to me said “lemon? That’s a lime!”  To which the crew said, “Oh in Costa Rica they are the same thing!”  Go figure!

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It kind of looks like both a lemon and a lime!

3) I saw more naked butts than I thought I would.

Thongs, g strings and cheeky bathing suits (that show more cheek than a regular bathing suit).  Some of this is cultural….some is sexual, let’s be honest…  Size, shape, nor level of fitness was relevant to this equation.  Less is literally more! Listen, if you want to bare your butt, go for it. It’s yours.  I on the other hand can’t figure out why swim suit companies can seem to find enough material to cover mine.  I want the WHOLE thing covered….like granny panties – but cuter.  The search continues…..

4) My broken span-glish (Spanish / English) can pass for actually knowing the language – at least for the first two sentences.

“Hola, commo estas?” (Hi how are you)  “Muy bien, gracias”.  (Very good thank you)

Then they continue the conversation like normal people do and I said “No hablo espanol”….Receiving perplexed looks and sometimes blank stares,  I say  “un poquito” (a little).    Sometimes we chuckle…

Thankfully they speak better English than I do Spanish.  They were so kind and taught me many new words.  Pura Vida!

5)Pura vida??

Pura Vida in Costa Rica means all good things….It can mean hello, good bye, it’s good, all is well, life is good…..and more! It’s used constantly and interchangably.  Culturally, they’ve summed up all the good in the world into one phrase – Pura Vida! How fantastic is that?

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Bar Pura Vida (The Good Bar or the Good Life Bar)

6) Pack Dramamine.

We are staying in Guanacaste, which our tour guide describes as the “wild, wild, west”….before I get concerned, he says that it is because this is the countryside where  80% of the beef is raised for the entire country (his words not mine…don’t google check me!) We decided to take a day trip to Arenol to see a volcano. The trip is 3 hours long and consist of very, very, very (did I say VERY) winding roads. Cars are constantly negotiating for space on the road as they are just not wide enough especially when a giant tour bus comes through.  That said, I was car sick within the first 15 minutes, and naively thought it would get better.

When we stopped to change busses I asked the guy working the mini concession stand if they sold anything for motion sickness….they didn’t.  They literally could have had ALL OF MY MONEY  at that point for a single pill….I would have paid anything! Thankfully, this gracious young man dug in the bottle of a box for two pills, which he told me was for nausea.  He advised that I should take one now, and one on the way back from the tour as we headed home.  Nodding,  I looked at the back of the packaging, having no idea what it said, and took the pill immediately.  In hindsight it wasn’t such a great idea.  “Don’t take pills from people you don’t know” I can hear my father saying…but I’m traveling with my mother, sooooo….

Before I can pocket the second, a young lady walks up asking for the same thing. She is nearly green and I know EXACTLY what she is going through.  I decide to share, and pray that I make it through the trip without regretting the decision to take a unknown pill…or the decision to give the second unknown pill away.

Good news, the pill worked like magic! Both the young lady and I have a magnificent day touring Aernol.  On the way back though, the young lady doesn’t fare as well. Nor did at least two others.  She spent the majority of the next three hours well….you get the drift.  Sitting near the front, I was okay as long as I looked out of the windshield. … Long story to say – pack Dramamine! You could likely pay for your trip by selling them off!

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Costa Rica is beautiful and magical. The people are lovely and kind.  If you ever get the opportunity, jump at the chance.  You won’t regret it…just pack the sunscreen and the Dramamine!

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Sunset in Guanacaste – No filter needed

 

 

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I like long walks on the beach….

28 Aug

My mom and I arrived in Costa Rica a few days ago. We’ve been bonding over food and vodka sodas while soaking in the beauty around us…drinking in the heat of the sun and learning Spanish from the locals. This morning I woke up early (6am) and decided to go for a walk on the beach. The ocean was calling my name and my spirit needed the detox of the salty air.

The day before, My mom found a rock, with a full white circle imprinted on the gray stone, while walking in the surf. I thought it was so unique and I admired her find. So cool! I thought, I hope I find one too! She said there were lots to be found!

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As I walked, I kept  my head down towards the volcanic sand for the first half mile, I looking for anything similar. Lots of rocks were scattered before me.  I could spend all day looking for this rock, I thought!

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On an evening stroll a day prior, my mom and I had seen two mana rays in the water, shin deep, swimming along. The edges of their fins reaching out of the water as they propelled forward. I could hardly get the words out…”LOOK! LOOK!” I said, as I quickly tapped my mother’s shoulder  before the mana rays could disappear. It was such a site! As long as I’ve lived near a beach, (nearly 43 years) That was a first!

With this thought reappearing I heard my spirit say, “Pick up your eyes. You may miss what is happening in the sea!”

There was so much to see. So much to experience. I want to see it ALL, I whispered. I meant (and mean) that to the bottom of my toes! My bucket list consists of anything I haven’t done yet.

As I continued my walk, now conscious that I needed to keep my eyes wide, some large hermit crabs danced along the sand. Cleaning their houses by emptying sand balls onto the beach. It almost looked like an arts and crafts project to me and I chuckled. So frantic they were. Never leaving to much distance between their home (hole) and the beach. I thought, I know people like that. To scared to venture out.  I said “Lord, thank you for my passion to explore. Help me to not be fearful.” Sometimes I say quick prayers for no real reason…this was one of those times.

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Further down I saw what I think was a some sort of Costa Rican shrimp. He was barely alive and I bent down to put him back in the water. Tossing him in the shallow end to make sure he could swim, I watched his tongue stick out to taste the sea and salt, no doubt parched from the sun that had nearly killed him. I thought, people can be like that too. They’ve drifted, and need a little help getting home. “Lord, help me to not venture to far from you.”

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A bird, similar to a herring, moved near the rocks that rose into a mountain. He scared me because 1) I’m afraid of birds…but 2)  he blended in so well that I never would have seen him had he not moved! I thought, we can be like that too… To afraid to show who we really are. “Lord, help me to see clearly.  Give me discernment. Help me to be transparent.”

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As I started to head back towards the resort, a rock caught my eye. While it wasn’t a full circle like my moms, it spoke to me. Curled on the ends, almost in the shape of a heart, maybe even a silly smile… This design seem to represent me…. I knew it was mine to keep, and to ponder. “Thank you” I said out loud.

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There are moments when God just shows up out of the blue.  As I was walking back towards the resort, rock clenched in my left hand, I felt his presence arrive on my right. It was like he took a break from swimming, and ran to catch up with me. His voice almost breathless but not quite. Speaking to my heart he said,  “Do you trust me enough to show you what you need to see?”

Hmmm. I think I do. Actually, I thought I already did! But as God often does, he showed me through this walk that I hadn’t come as far as I originally thought….

Yes, I nod in a silent childlike response. “Yes I do trust you. Look at all of these things you brought to me today. I would have missed them if I had stayed focused on trying to find the circle rock …trying to find what someone else has…….my voice trails off at the new realization…..”

He means more than just today as he nudges the depth of my spirit.  Will I trust him? Will I relinquish control ?

I realize I have more growing to do…..As he repeats his mantra… “trust me…”  “I will not let you miss what you need to see. Trust….me.”

I nod. My soul recognizes the voice of truth.

I grab his imaginary hand on my right. Intertwined, I thank him for the walk, for the small blessings of the day. I know I am his…and he is mine. There is no greater peace than this.

 

If I believe that God will show me what I need to see, when I need to see it – at just the right time, I’m free to just be… To effortlessly enjoy what is in front of me.  I am in awe of his beauty and of his magnificent  artistry….. I relinquish control (again). My job is to breathe….and see…and to be open to possibility.

He will do the rest.

 

Thank God!

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