Monday, October 11, 2010

Marking Things Off

This past week has truly flown by. Time seems to be in hyper-speed. I looked at my watch today and realized October is almost half way gone. It's a crazy thought. I still have so many things I hope to accomplish while I am here. I have had a list of things I want to do in my life since I was in high school. Granted, I have changed several of those things and I have accomplished some of those things since I first made my list, but I still have tons of things to do.
While I am here, I still have a few I am anxiously awaiting completing. A few of those things are: to see lava, to learn to surf and to go zip-lining through the rainforest. I have plans to do two of those three things, but I am looking for a way to mark off learning to surf also. Costa Rica is such an amazing country. I have three different locations to do these things that are important enough to me to have on a list, and ordinarily I would have to travel to three different countries or at least board a plane to accomplish these, but in Costa Rica, all are just a bus ride away. I love it. Hopefully, all those three can be accomplished and I can mark those off my list.
Today, I was actually planning on marking one more thing off my list: to take a train ride, but that didn't happen. My friends and I were ready to catch the train, but the train never actually came through. It was a little disappointing, but maybe there will be more time for that as well.
Also for the record, if you don't have a list, I would seriously encourage you to make one. Sometimes I tend to be a little excessive in my list making, but, this is something I would really encourage. When you accomplish something it is truly great. It also serves as such a motivation. If learn Spanish wasn't on my list, I may not even have ended up in a study abroad program. I could've been still back in Tennessee, not having the capability to mark off multiple things off my list all within the four months I am here. This is truly a fantastic experience.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I Spy!

I'm finding I live in somewhat of an I Spy book. I feel like along every turn there is something new to experience, and something new to see if I just look in the right spaces. I Spy books when you're little are something to pass the time more or less; something you could check out from the library and not actually have to read anything. It was an adventure, but often it took time to seek out the individual objects.
Here, it's the same way. San Jose, for instance, is not exactly what I would describe as a beautiful city. It is a city and it has lots of nooks and niches where really cool things can be found, but that is the catch, they have to be found. Walking around Central Avenue is not going to give you the best cultural experience. It will give you an experience, sure, but not the best. It's when I step off the main pedestrian avenue I find the small things that make this place great. Walking around the other day, I saw a home with drainage gutters shaped like hearts. I have seen the true hearts of people who are willing to help me when I have no idea where I am going. There are new things it seems around every corner. Often, when I walk around, I feel like I enter into new worlds. I find I can literally feel the changes of the neighborhoods. I just have to be ready for the changes. I have to be ready to spot the differences, and at the same time the similarities.
This weekend, my friend Sarah and I took our long awaited graffiti tour. Since we arrived in Costa Rica, we have been wanting to take a tour of the artist expressions painted along sides of buildings and walls. Here, graffiti is not like at home. When we see graffiti at home often it is an indication you are in a bad neighborhood, and you should probably leave quickly. The first change here is that it is legal. People submit their designs to the owner of whatever structure, where then they get approved and then painted. Of course, there are the abandoned buildings with graffiti plastered all along the edges, but overall, it is an accepted form of art, not a warning to guard your belongings.
Sarah and I embarked on our trip with bus money and not a clue as to where we were going. We headed off the bus when I looked out the window, pointed to graffiti and our anticipation took the best of us when we ran to the front of the bus, without pulling the string for a stop, and little recognition to anything other than a wall of graffiti off in the distance. We hoped off the bus, and then, we spent the next 9 hours walking around, looking for any kind of graffiti we could spot. We walked all through who knows where and we found graffiti that would literally boggle the brain and the eyes.
All these things are what you make of it. We found places I had no idea existed, and probably could not find them again. It was a great adventure, and who knows what all you can see when you're looking for it.