Page 2 of smebs Travel Blog Posts

Even though I have no access to the internet, I am writing a blog entry about my first 40(ish) hours at my volunteer project with the turtles. I know how quickly the strange becomes familiar, and I want to capture some of my thoughts before I completely adapt to a routine here. My journey to Cameronal Wildlife Reserve started out pretty normally. I was driving to the bus stop by someone from the language school. Within minutes of getting dropped off at the bus station, another international traveler going to Playa Samara (a 20-something blond woman from Copenhagen) and I found each other. We were practically like magnets as we navigated the bus station – figuring out which bus was ours, how to check our luggage, and the other mores of the Costa Rican bus system. ... read more

My plan was to write this entry before I left for the turtle place. After I was packed and ready to go to the bus, I sorted through my pictures and started writing. As soon as my fingers hit the keys, my ride arrived (over 30 minutes early!). So, now I am writing it from my bunk at Playa Cameronal. I have no idea when I am going to be able to post this, and I’m actually feeling a little overwhelmed (in a good way). But, I definitely don’t want to forget what happens on this trip, and the blog has been a good way to sort out my thoughts. So, here we go. After my week at the language school, I was definitely ready to go out and see some of Costa Rica. Fortunately, an ... read more

Phase 1 – learn Spanish. Check! Well not exactly, of course, but I have made a lot of progress. I’ve now been in San Pedro (just outside San Jose) for 5 days. On 4 of those days, I spent much of the day at the Costa Rican Language Academy (CRLA). I completed my course today, and in total I found it to be an excellent refresher to Spanish. My comprehension if Spanish has greatly improved (enough that I could participate in a cooking class that was completely in Spanish), and I’ve gained more confidence in speaking the phases and words that I do know. All it all, this phase was totally worth it. Since my arrival in Costa Rica, I have definitely been enjoying the tango between feeling proud and satisfied at overcoming challenges with the ... read more

After such a smooth travel day, things got a little “shakier” on my first night. There was an earthquake! I was so tired that, although I woke up, I convinced myself that I was dreaming. It wasn’t until the morning that I learned that there was quite a large earthquake (magnitude 5.6, whatever that means) on the border of Costa Rica and Panama. For me, this was very remarkable, as I have only experienced one before, but for my host family it was much less remarkable. However, it did give us something to talk about over the rice and beans, cheese, mango, papaya, and pineapple of our breakfast. The earthquake also provided excellent ice-breaking material on my first day of language school. After small talk and coffee, I had a verbal test to assess my level ... read more

Everything went as smooth as silk on my travel day. Both my flights were on time. I had just enough layover time to catch my flight. Customs was a breeze. My bags made it to the other side. As promised, there was a person holding a sign with my name on it just outside the airport. And my host family is fantastic -- plus, they have wifi! I'd say I'm off to a great start! Things definitely started to feel "real" when I stepped outside the airport, when two things immediately happened. First, the humidity started to work it's magic on my hair. Today wasn't that hot, but it's definitely tropical. I can't wait to see what more time here does to my curls (ok, let's be honest, frizz). Second, people were definitely speaking in Spanish ... read more

North America » United States » Illinois » Geneva May 26th 2013

After the amazing adventure that I had with the penguins in South Africa, I have been counting down the days until I could stretch my travel wings again. In 4 hours, I'll be headed to the international terminal of the airport again. This time, I'm exploring Central America. I have NO idea if I'll be able to blog again. I hope so, because I had a ton of fun with it last year. But, if I can get a solid internet connection, here's what I'll be talking about: A week of intensive Spanish courses at the Costa Rican Language Academy, while staying with a host family... 2 weeks of sea turtle conservation at Proyecto Buena Vista in Playa Samara 5 days of fun in the sun with my family, in a beach house, because ... read more

North America » United States » Illinois » Geneva October 17th 2012

I am writing this last entry from the plane on my second of two flights that is taking me back home to Chicago. For the sake of closure, I want to do one final post. I have thought of posting often over the past few weeks, but the longer I have stayed living at Aviva and working at Sanccob, the less my experiences have felt like “travel blog” experiences. Instead, my days and nights have begun to feel more like going to work at a job that I love and hanging out with people who have moved from acquaintances to friends. All the way to the last day, there were still “new” things that I felt like I was learning and doing at Sanccob. But, in many more ways, I pretty much knew what to do ... read more
Off to swim with seals!
How cute are they?
Me and a seal...

Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Cape Town September 27th 2012

I seriously can’t believe how time is playing tricks on my mind during this trip. Time is zooming by so fast, but I feel like I have been here forever. I feel like I have just blinked since my last post, and it’s already been over 10 days. I am about halfway through my time at Sanccob… When I think about how I have only 3 weeks left, I feel a sense of sadness that everything is coming to an end so soon. But, then I remind myself that I have only been there for 3 weeks – and it feels like soooo much longer than that. I know that leaving will feel bittersweet. Going “day by day” during this post seems silly, since many of those days have been “work” days at Sanccob. I could ... read more
Let's go!
Boulder's Beach
Come on penguins, it's time to go swimming!

Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Cape Town September 16th 2012

Wow, I can’t believe that 6 days have passed since my last post!! Over those six days, I have worked three and been off three. I was on one more day, off for three, and then I worked 2. The last time I posted, I was so excited to have held a penguin, and while my affection for them has continued to grow, the “penguin holding” novelty has worn off. I have held them a LOT. In fact, on September 10, the day after my last post, I was literally assigned to be a “holder”. Basically, after a penguin is washed from being oiled, he/she needs a really good rinse. They are slippery and wiggly, as well as looking for opportunities to bite, so they need to be held tightly. There are women who have been ... read more
More penguin snuggling
Castle of Good Hope
View from Castle

Africa September 9th 2012

Even though I am bone tired, I am determined to see this travel blog thing through, and since it has been three days since my last post I am dangerously close to falling out of the habit, so here we go! Since my last post, I have now had 2 days off and one day back at work. My first day off was pretty relaxed. I went grocery shopping, which I seem to do fairly often. I did a more major shop this time, but there’s only so much you can carry when you have a 15-minute walk home. I also got organized, cleaning my little corner of the Aviva house. I had to do things like put away laundry, which we send out (40 rands for 5 kilo). I also talked with my parents a ... read more
My group for the tour
Hout Bay
Chapman's Peak in Bloom

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