Just So You Know…

This doesn’t make me an unpatriotic American, just a human being with a bleeding heart.

I dread the day the Affordable Care Act is repealed and dismantled. Which seeing as it has passed both in the Senate and the House, is becoming an unfortunate reality.

As an aspiring writer and future grad student(hopefully), I was excited about being covered by my parent’s insurance until I was 26. It would give me more time to not worry about  being in a ‘real’ job, and allow me to pursue art with passion because insurance is expensive and…

…I have medical conditions. My parents’ insurance is generous and helps me afford my doctor visits, but more importantly, my medicine. Without it I. Could. Not. Function. But if the pre-existing medical condition protection clause that fully protects my care, regardless of pre-existing conditions, is repealed (which of course is happening)…

…I’d be spending ~$200 a month on medicine. Not to mention I’d struggle if not be  unable to obtain insurance because of my health conditions. And I have to see specialists so I wouldn’t be able to afford all my doctor visits either.

I’m a 21 year old college student. I should be prepping myself for class, studying for GREs, and perfecting my craft. I shouldn’t be stressing about how to keep my medical costs reasonable, and be thinking about the unfortunate possibilities my future might hold. (Will I have to emigrate? Will I have to take up a job that kills my soul? What if my disease progresses? What do I do if I can’t afford to live?) 

 I’m just one person, and this is one tiny issue. There is climate change, poverty, immigration, class, race, and so many other problems. Progress and the change that come with it can be scary at times, but we cannot regress. Things cannot be the way they were ever again. But we can try to learn, move forward, and find ways to better ourselves and the situation at hand. 

The repealing of this flawed, but progressive and monumental legistaltion will not make my America ‘great’ again. It’ll make it hell.

Genuine Souls and Banana Ice Cream

I have learned a lot in Costa Rica. Not just Spanish and culture and another way of life, but things that are so much  less tangible. I have learned a lot not only about myself but about people too and life and perceptions and everything really. It is hard to put it all into words, even harder into a brief-ish blog, but here goes.

Everything is coming together as everything seems to be falling apart. Here I have seen my social life atrophy in my last month, and while I saw it coming I am okay with it. This last month, as I spend more time alone I have had a lot more time to think about things. I have barely done any journaling in the past four months, something almost completely unheard of for me. But good things are coming up. I find that I am crawling out of my sea of sadness and depression. I am growing stronger, and the world is becoming beautiful. Not to mention all of the opportunities that I have blooming in front of me. I am so excited for the fall, and the most annoying and hard part about getting a summer job is not that I am in short supply, but that I am not conveniently home to easily return phone calls and go to interviews.

I think what I have come to realize most and appreciate are the people who love and care about me. Being so far from home in uncertain waters you have to reach out when you are lonely, something I have always been terribly afraid to do. I have such wonderful Beautiful souls in my life, who love me, care for me, and seek to uplift me. Even though everyone home is 2000 miles away, I have still managed to have their support, love, and have deep and profound and sometimes downright silly conversations. Laughing and smiling with them, despite the distance, is so important.

In Costa Rica I have many a lot of different people. People I hate, People I find intriguing, and People I genuinely like and adore. I have met people who lead different styles of lives and who have different priorities than me. While I have always prided myself in being open-minded it has been difficult here. At times it has been overwhelming how much I have not liked, whether it is people, food, or things. In the process I have learned that it is okay to not like everything, in fact it is impossible to like somethings. What is important is that you try to understand, keep things in perspective, and be patient. We are all learning, we are all on different planes of existence, and all have different paths leading in different directions.

And, I too have come to realize that I am a beautiful, genuine soul too. That when I choose, I let it radiate out of me in my heart, words, smile, and confidence. The process of self love is a hard one, but I feel like I am making strides here. I will always find people with whom I connect and celebrate my life with. Sometimes, you just have to accept that they may not be in the places that you are looking.

In the end, in my opinion, you can always tell the true character of a person by how they treat a dog or by their favorite book. Dogs because well I love dogs. And if a dog doesn’t like you it is for good reason, they can sense your fear or hate or malevolence. And what reason could you possibly have for treating a dog with anger, cruelty, hate, and fear? Sure it is okay to experience them, but how you act and manifest those feelings is what counts. If you can treat an animal mean, what is to stop you from treating me the same way? As for books, choosing to give into helping create a post-literature society is alarming. I don’t care if your favorite book is “The Cat in the Hat” for the love of the world take the time to exercise your literacy. Choose to be educated and aware. With literacy you have greater control of your circumstances, of your fate.

My Experience in Costa Rica has really been a bowl of Banana Ice Cream. It sounded exotic and interesting at first, and while apprehensive I was eager to try. Then I came, nosed around and discovered that I didn’t like banana ice cream as much as I thought I would and had 3 more months of it. So I tried avoiding it, actively disliking it. But then, I discovered that I do like banana ice cream, with a hint of chocolate. Homemade and fresh. But I am dreaming of chocolate fudge brownie with dinosaur sprinkles.

[In case you failed to grasp or care for my explanation of above metaphor let me elaborate. I was really excited about Costa Rica, and for about the first month I was pretty okay, but then it wasn’t. It was hard, and I was bitter and critical. But in the end I found out how I like to travel(solo or in small numbers), that I liked certain activities and places, and how to cope with all of the drastic changes in my life (Star Trek, Reading, and Ice Cream). Even though I am excited to leave I am still a little sad to go.]

I really like solo travel I have come to decide. You meet new people, it can be incredibly uncomfortable, and yet all the same this solitude has made me that much stronger, that much more resilient to everything. Sure there is always going to be that flutter of panic, that edge of anxiety. But you can let it control you, or just roll with what things happen. You have to go out and take the initiative sometimes. In the end it can be re really rewarding, like learning your favorite type of bird is a toucan.

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The Uneventful Weekend

This weekend was for the most part uneventful. I didn’t go anywhere really and I spent a good chunk of it sleeping, but I needed it. Constantly listening to another language is exhausting and I had a lot of things that went on last week including two major tests and a quiz.

But even though i lazed around I still accomplished things. I applied to 6 jobs in one day, bumping up te number of places that I have applied to 16. Someone has gotta hire me right? Well I hope so anyway. Its hard to say which job I’d like the most or where I want to be. I don’t have a lot of things I really feel like I have to do this summer except I do want to make a quilt for when I go away for college next year. Also making a blanket and a braided rug would be nice too but we cant have everything now.

I went out to dinner with a friend on Saturday, and on Sunday went with her to the farmers market. This time I bought bananas, 6 mandarin oranges and a large container of strawberries. Again for an ammmaazzzing price. I wish there were some water apples (Manzanas del agua). I have been looking to see if they were around but no such luck yet. What is a water apple? Think of the texture of a peach mixed with the taste of an apple. Its something liked that. Very sweet, very juicy, and very good. Then of course we had to buy American fast food and ice cream at the multiplaza before trudging home.

Spanish is an uphill battle, like running up the mountain only to realize it was flat to only realize you have a cliff to scale. It is horribly frustrating at times. Like today learning the difference between por and para. I said ” She went to the beach for sunbathing” using por, because thats the reason she went, only to be told no. By a substitute that made you feel stupid if you had the wrong answer. Unfortunate, and frustrating because now I get to teach myself what was supposed to have been taught in class. It is always soooo aggravating having the people who know it rush everyone else along, and even though they aren’t in the majority it was them who the teacher listened to.

I am nervous about my grades for this semester because I am not doing anywhere nearly as well as I normally do. Language acquisition is hard and really should be spaced out over time so that you have the time to fully grasp the material and the concepts. Lesson learned. My only hope is that the colleges I am applying to understand that and that it doesn’t negatively impact me and my scholarship money.

What else, I still love my short hair, I dream about cooking myself food, and try to make the most out of every day and experience. 6 weeks, 5 days till my plane ride home.

Also, Say hello to Albercicio!

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Give and Take

This weekend was a busy one. A field trip on Friday to a wood factory. It was okay, I got to take some nice pictures. Like of this Peacock.

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Then I went to Mannuel Antonio and Quepos for the weekend for a friend’s birthday. I had my first experience with dorming in a hostel (not bad at all) and went on a sunset catamaran cruise. I got seasick and even though I took medicine, I still felt sick on and off for the rest of the ride. We got to snorkel and dolphins came up and swam next to our boat!

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They say that it takes you around 2 months to fully acclimate to the study abroad way of life. At least that is what they say. I, however, beg to differ. 2 months in and I feel more lost than when I first got here, and I find that I am more homesick than I have ever been in my life. I can complain about a hundred and one things and even though everyone is happy and content, deep down I feel absolutely miserable. How can you enjoy yourself and your time here when that is all you feel?

What is it that is making me so unhappy? So many things.
The food is a good place to start. I eat fairly healthy at home but here, it feels impossible at times. Apples cost a dollar and I can only find unripe bushels bananas at the weekend farmers markets which I never seem to be here for. I haven’t had a salad in months and I am definitely quite deficient in vegetable consumption. And all of this makes me crave sweets, or anything that resembles what I would eat at home, which quite frankly there is not a lot.
Then there is the being stared at and verbally harassed. But, so we’ve been told, acknowledging even hellos can make it worse. And it does. I am not safe here, not as a white girl and the fear of being jumped coming home from simply class is an actual reality. I got oogled for a solid 3 hours on my ride back this weekend because I am white, and have blonde hair.
And the socialization via alcohol. I can’t drink. I’m a lightweight and one of the medications I have to be on amplifies the effects of alcohol. I had maybe a drink and a half this weekend and I hated it. So no more. But it is hard to socialize when that’s how people do it. I have no desire to be around it not to mention bed by 10/11 is the only way I can have enough energy to face the day.
Not to mention my Spanish classes. I am so, so frustrated with my classes. I cannot understand what I am being taught and my teacher is anything but kind and understanding. I am trying but half of the times I leave class so frustrated that I want nothing to even do with it for the rest of the day. And I cannot retain the vocab to save my life. And there are just tiny things that people do and say that drive me absolutely insane. I feel myself on the verge of boiling over into rage an increasingly large amount of the time.
And I feel like I have no actual privacy, or the ability to completely withdraw myself for the recharge that I so desperately need right now.

I love Costa Rica as a gorgeous country full of wonderful beauty and nature. It just isn’t really the place for me I guess.

Por mi Tia Ginny

Yo odio espanol. Yo no quiero estar en costa rica nunca mas. La pais es muy bien y me gusta pero yo odio la universidad, mi professora, muchas personas, y esoty muy frustrada.

Give me Fried Chicken and Chocolate Cake

Even though I am not taking as many classes, I’m not working, and don’t have to worry about all of my time commitments that I have at home, I feel like I have significantly less time. I don’t know what it is but I have been slacking not only in blogging but writing in my journal, and taking and posting pictures. Aiiee!

Well this past week was a bit rough. I had an encounter with sun poisoning on my back, but my two awesome roommates nursed me through the brunt of the pain and I don’t know if you knew this, but Plantains feel absolutely amazing on sunburned back. My back is much better now, and I have a swim shirt now to protect me from the strong sun at the beach.

We had our first exam for Spanish and while I didn’t do as good as I would have liked I am doing quite well, and learning a lot. I am glad that I ended moving down to basic one. I feel a lot more comfortable and I am actually learning a lot more that I thought I would taking basic one again.

Our trip to Puerto Viejo (El Carribe) this past weekend was pleasant. I really liked the food there. I really enjoyed the food. I liked the coconut and tiny kick in the rice and beans and don’t even get me started on the shrimp and rice I had. It was AMAZING. The town had a very different feel than Tamarindo and I liked the more laid back feel but I wasn’t a fan of the fact that there was a large cockroach in someones bed. And the ants. If I had to pick a bug that grosses me out that I’m just 100% done, it is ants. Spiders come close too. Really all bugs honestly.

I went to yoga class last night, and man I have missed my intense yoga sessions. I do yoga at home but its usually not as intense, rapid, and sweat inducing as my home practice. I’ve needed that here and I think it is an excellent addition to dance class. I missed my om-ing with other people, and having a teacher to point out tiny things to focus on, like keeping the inside of my palms on the mat and remembering to fully spread my fingers and toes.

I have been feeling a bit homesick, it really comes and goes. I just really miss my family and my dogs and American food. I really was missing American food. But today, was an excellent food day and I feel a lot better, at least about the food situation. I had an awesome pancake with maple syrup for breakfast. Then for lunch, vegetables, rice, and fresh amazing fried chicken. I have never had such amazing fried chicken in my life. And of course Mora Juice, aka blackberry juice aka the best stuff you will ever consume ever. Then at the cafe at school I had cake. Chocolate cake. With Carmel for frosting. I was so happy and it really was what I needed. When everything seems to be going wrong and I just feel done with everything, a slice of chocolate cake makes the world of a difference.

Para Mi Tia Ginny:

Yo no quirero frijioles, pero hay mucha frijoles. Para Desayuno, Almuerzo, y Cena. Yo Bebeo cafe en la manana con leche y cinco azucar. A mi me gusta mucho. Encantanto juego de mora y marmelada de mora. Es muy rica y delicioso. Yo hablo un poco espanol pero yo aprendo un poco cada dia. Yo pienso en espanol con un poco palabras.