zaterdag 25 mei 2013

The beginning of the end

Dia 315, el Sabado 25 de Mayo 2013 23:20
The beginning of the end.
The end now really is near. These days have been days of doing things for the last time and I even had my first goodbye party already.
On Tuesday I went to Chino’s house last time to watch a movie and chill a bit, I loved being there; as always. Wednesday I went to school just to ‘make’ some exams and I spent the whole afternoon in the park with my friends. I had a dinner in Esparza in the night as a closing event of EF, another thing which indicates that it really is the end. Thursday was a wonderful day; I woke up early and walked the Chompipe Mountain with my hostmom. It was a beautiful walk and it was very nice to spend some time with my hostmom. We got all wet by the rain on the way back and after I had a quick shower I took a delicious nap with the rain streaming outside; the best naps there are. In the night I had a futsala game with my hostbrother and I must say that I played pretty good, I was the goalie and I saved our time a few times. We won 14-8 and ate some tacos afterwards; overall Thursday was a wonderful day.
Yesterday we went to the University in Heredia with school, while I was there I noticed that I have already been there on the very first days of my year, it is beautiful to realize something like that, and it also indicates how fast the time really went. It was a fun day just vasilando with my classmates.
Today was my first goodbye party; it was the party of the family of my host mom’s side, the side which always makes the parties. It was a very nice party at the house of an uncle where also the first family party was, that made it extra special for me. There was plenty of food as always and I danced a lot and even sang a few karaoke songs. I had to say goodbye to a few uncles and aunts already because they live for away but it was no sad event, it was a very happy event.
Over the last days I realized that I really am done with my year now. It really is over; at least my normal life. I will go to school again 2 days but I won’t receive normal classes anymore, I don’t have taekwondo classes either. These things are driving my mind crazy, it is trying to make the best of the last days; something which is going pretty well for me. I am not bored for any moment, I invite a lot of people on a lot of things; pizza, ice cream or hiring a movie I am busy all the time. If I would by sitting alone in my house these days that would mean that my year would have been a failure; something which is not that way, and something I mean so damn thankful for.
I decided not to give a goodbye party by my own; I will just let everything happen to me and life moment to moment until I leave. This Monday to Thursday I have my last trip; we are going to Sámara with some EF students so those will be a few nice days of and chilling.

dinsdag 21 mei 2013

A message to all the exchange students out there in the whole wide world:

Who can understand a culture shock?
Who can understand this double feeling you're feeling in the last weeks?
Who can understand having 2 families?
Who can understand platonic love?
Who can understand how it feels to build a life from nothing to leave it behind later?
Who can understand that there is no ''home'' no more because there are 2?
Who can understand double patrionism?
Who can understand the sacrifices of an exchange?
Who can understand the gains of an exchange?
Who can understand an exchange?
Who can understand...
Who can..

YOU can because you are an exchange student. 
Exchange students are a special society and sub-culture in this world. You can be proud to be part of it, because it isn't something everybody could do.
You have been very strong over the last year, you've learned thing you thought you'd never learn. 
You did amazing things, you helped people and people helped you. 
You took everything to a new limit, you found your borders and crossed them, litterly. 
You are new bicultural and a world citizin.

My exchange year is the best thing that has happened to me in my life, it wil effect my life for ever.

maandag 20 mei 2013

High class weekend.

Day 310, Lunes el 20 de Mayo 2013 13:07
Surfing for da’ weekend
The school week was full of loads of fun during the ‘propagandas’ double daily events had nothing to do with politics. It was just jokes, dancing, singing, games and selling food; we took the change to sell loads of food while all the students got together. Friday was the big voting day but I was kinda suck so I missed the first part, which of course was the best. So I just voted for the party with the nicest looking flag since nobody really convinced me why they were better, most people base their votes on the games they think of.
Later this Friday Frida arrived to Orotina after a long hug we got ready to go with the bus to Jaco. Once I arrived in Jaco my life rolled into the ‘high-class’ Costa Rican life. I hopped in the convertible and the 4 by 4 big ass pick-up truck followed us with the bags. We drove to Playa Hermosa where our gated-community apartment is. There I got to hug Vali and Franz and Ruff as well; they are the friends we made in Semana Santa and Franz was an epic bro by inviting us to this epic weekend. We unpacked the bags and a mountain of quality international food and later we headed for the big ass pool at the beach. We chilled and caught up about everything in the pool listening to the waves and floating around; I love being in the water. The dinner was delicious but the fact that I was sick was working against me and I couldn’t eat a lot. We spent the night chilling on the roof and looking at the perfectly clear sky full of stars. Just chilling, dancing and talking about life.
The next day it was surfing time, after a nice international breakfast of cereal, toast and gallo pinto we got back in the convertible and drove high speed to Jaco. Being at the beach with a lot of people and cars is so much easier and relaxing as going in a small group; no worries about bags and shit (: . We surfed for about 4-5 hours straight with just some small breaks to drink something. Surfing, as always was epic. I really see some progress in my surfing skills; to bad surfing is near to impossible in The Netherlands. We picked up Henry we arrived later and headed back to the house in the afternoon to relax a bit in the pool. After an early and again delicious dinner we got ready to go to a live music bar to chill there for the evening. In this bar we met some professional surfers we were on the surfing contest earlier that day. We chilled a bit in the bar and later we went back to chill on the roof. On the roof we all fell asleep under ruff’s meditation music.
On Sunday we stayed at Playa Hermosa to chill at this huge and quiet beach. We played in the huge waves and had a great time together in the sea, later we switched the sea for the pool to switch pool for the sea again later on. We basically passed the day just chilling and after a hamburger lunch it was already time for me and Henry to go home. It was a sad goodbye, I will see Frida again in August when I am going on a holiday to Sweden but Valentina; I don’t know when I will see her again. After loads and loads of perfect hugs we hopped in the convertible for the last time and we set of to Jaco to catch our busses.
Back in Orotina the next party was already waiting, this time the goodbye party of Sarah. It was a very nice and relaxed party. We chilled a bit and I enjoyed the available Costa Rican food.  I didn’t have a lot of time with Sarah but I already have had plenty of time with Sarah in Orotina, even though it never seemed enough time. We had an emotional moment with a few small speeches. Mine was just a few sentences about our time in Orotina but it almost made my cry. Orotina will not be the same with Sarah. If you read this Sarah: TKM BBY :&%
This weekend existed o fast cars, nice food, pools and surfing. I lived a weekend like the upper class of Costa Rican. I love the fact how my life gets thrown around from one life style into another, you can spot the differences and the equalities. There is something to learn from every life style.   

maandag 13 mei 2013

Monteverde and the school elections

Day 303, Monday 13th of May 2013 17:39
Monteverde & Elections!
From pretty much my first weeks everybody told me that I should go to Monteverde, a national park on a few mountains with the fairy tale-like cloud forests. So this weekend I finally went, Sarah invited me to go to visit here and her parents there and Valentina also came with me. After some early morning bus rides through the middle of nowhere just going up and up and up we arrived in Monteverde. Arriving there was just back to the normal world; everything was highly developed: good streets, international food; pretty much like all the touristic places but yes, Monteverde is a nice village.
The people were very right about the fact that it’s a place where you have to go, it is beautiful. I am glad it was low-season because I can imagine the amount of gringos walking around there. Actually, that is not right. In Costa Rica there are various types of tourist places with the 2 most important types: Gringos, think of Jacó and Manual Antonio and the other type: Hipster / Indi, think of Monteverde, Dominical. If you come to a hostel in those places you will find hipster / indi types of people, and you will make friends with them; they have nice travel stories and they are mostly from cool countries like UK, Canada and New Zealand.
So when Vali and I dropped our stuff at the hostel we started looking for Sarah, too bad we have to crappy Movistar provider and we couldn’t call her. We decided to go to the Santa Elena Reserve instead. For just $7 we got the transport and entrance, awesome to be a resident, normal tourists have to pay about $24. It was a very nice walk through the cloud forest this national park really is very different as all the others, you can see it in the vegetation and the amount and types of birds. Monteverde isn’t known for its wildlife even though it does have it, it is more known for its vegetation and birds. We saw some nice birds and we the nature was stunningly beautiful.
When we got back to the village in the afternoon we managed to have some contact and we to her hotel through the rain, me and Vali under the umbrella; such cuties. At the hotel we met Sarah her parents (yeah Europeans J ) and we stayed to talk with them for a while. Later Sarah, Vali, some friends of Sarah and me went back to the village to eat pizza. After the nice pizza dinner we took Sarah back to her hotel and Vali and I returned to our cheap-ass but epic hostel. At the hostel we became friends with those Hipster / Indi people I spoke about and all the sudden we decided to go out with them. We spent a lot of time in ‘bar amigos’ practicing our salsa moves, I am getting better ; that pretty much means that not ALL hope is lost for my dancing skills.
After a short night of sleep we had an breakfast of Nutella and white bread (O MY GOD YESSSSS :DDDD ) and a banana. We went – this time with Sarah and her parents- to climb the ‘Cerro amigos’ which goes to the highest point of Monteverde. It was a pretty big climb over a pretty normal gravel road. When we arrived at the tope we had a small pick nick and we enjoyed the little bit of view the clouds gave us. Going down was less tiring and we were luckier; we got to see the Quetzal. This really is the most beautiful bird I’ve ever seen and I managed to take a perfect picture of it, besides this beautiful turquoise long-tailed bird we also saw different species of toucans.
But the best things of whole trip came last, the Ficus tree. We had to walk another small trail to as Sarah told us ‘some kind of magical tree’; I was suspicious. But there was no reason to be suspicious I should trust more in Sarah. This tree was so F*CKING EPIC LIKE O MY GOD SO FRIGGING INCREDIBLE EPIC LIKE FUDGE PUDDING! (I miss you Ellie). I have no idea how it is formed but here is an photo so you can imagine how it is (finally a photo on my blog).
I climbed the tree all the way up to about 30 meters. Here I chilled for a bit with Sarah living the adreline rush it give us and enjoying one of the most epic things I have done in my life, the best thing is that it came so unexpected. Another nice thing is that this tree is completely unknown, of the 23230953 tours you can do in Monteverde this one is not in it, it is totally Gringo free; and I love that.
Then we said goodbye to Sarah and her parents. I will see Sarah one more time on her goodbye party next week but she will never be with me in Orotina again, a part of my –our- life ended there. I will miss you a lot in Orotina, these weeks won’t be the same without my Sarita baby girl <3.
Going to Monteverde was a very good decision and I enjoyed to the max. The only sad thing is that now it really is almost over. I have 23 days left in Costa Rica and that is less as nothing. I cannot really believe that I am going back to The Netherlands so soon; my life is here, isn’t it? It is so close that I am scared.
On Sunday I went to a visit a friend to eat lunch at her house. They are a very traditional and the loveliest family. I ate a delicious lunch and later we made some Dutch pancakes, it was a lovely afternoon chilling with friends.
And today, Monday; the day which is most hated but the people was another nice day in Costa Rica. I returned to school after being absent for 2 weeks. It was nice to see most of my friends again and to catch up with them. This week is extra special because there are school elections, here called ‘propaganda’ a bit ironic I think. But if there is something out of the pattern of the ticos with a positive feeling then there is a reason to party and that’s what we’ll do this week. We have 2 ‘acto civicos’ (cultural meetings) where to political parties can show their ideas and say what they want to say. We don’t really care about these campaigns because we are last years and we are almost leaving the school. But I personally, I ,I love it. I have never seen something like this in the Netherlands and the Ticos will have their own cool way of doing it.
The ‘sextos’ almost need to raise money for our graduation so we will be using these cultural meetings to sell food and drinks to raise the money. This might be the most inspiring thing of the Ticos; they do everything to raise money for pretty much everything: Taekwondo tournament, a school trip or the graduation. This way they learn that there is no money for everything, except for IPhone’s and big TV’s there is always money for that.  Living in the Tico community you will also walk around with some ‘rifa’ tickets, local lotteries people make to raise money. 

donderdag 9 mei 2013

mommy and daddy visiting!

Day 299, el Jueves 9 de mayo 2013 11:52
After 290 days without my mommy and daddy I got to spent 10 awesome days with them before having to say goodbye, but this time for only 4 weeks; 4 weeks.
I got to hug them on the airport and I welcomed them with a warm heart to my country; Costa Rica. We drove to Orotina with our rental car and after a visit to my school we drank coffee and ate tortillas ate an aunt’s house I couldn’t really stop talking about everything all the time. We visited some more family and they got installed in their hotel. We drove over the chompipe mountain with Sarah and there we enjoyed the perfect view. We arrived at Desmonte and there we had the welcome party, all the uncles and aunts were invited and there was plenty of typical food which my parents had tot taste of course. They chatted with some people and Sarah and me worked as translaters since they don’t speak Spanish.
The next day we set off to Uvita, to the Marina Ballena National Park, where I’ve also been with school. We had a nice eco hotel with pool and first rested from the drive at the pool, we wanted to go to a small beach but it started raining really hard but we did get to spot some Scarlet Macaws! We had delicious dinner and I pretty much just chilled with my parents at the hotel.
The second day in Uvita we had to get up a bit early to get to the speedboat trip I also made with school. We saw the nice beaches and a lot of dolphins, the trip was very different as with school, first of all because it was with my parents which made it extra special but also because of the fact that tour guides treat international better than a huge group of students.
After the boat trip there was another long ride ahead since we headed for the Penísula de Osa, in the far south of Costa Rica. After 4 hours we arrived at our destination; finca kobo, an organic chocolate farm, CHOCOLATE FARM! My whole life the thing I wanted most was going to a chocolate farm, and I finally got there and it was A to the W E S O M E plus some more epicness. We just read our books and chilled in the hammocks. I read ‘The hunger Games’ in pretty much one breath, it’s such a good book, thank you so much Marleen for giving me this book. The nice dinner came with the best cold chocolate milk ever.
The next morning we had the chocolate tour, after seeing the fruit trees which were pretty normal to me we headed for the cacao plants, which are actually trees I found out. We saw the whole production process and got to taste pure cacao beans and grained cacao beans, so damn bitter! After the trip we had a chocolate fondue, and I am pleased to let you know that it was the best ever. Later we went to check out the village of Puerto Jíminez, a very nice harbor village, one of the nicest villages I’ve seen in Costa Rica actually.
The 5th day is was time for the main event of our trip: parque nacional Corcovado, a national park which I wanted to go to for a long time. It is the most bio diverse place on earth and just the best preserved primary rainforest in Central America, a must go for Costa Rica visitors. First we went with a special taxi 20 kilometers to the entrance of the park, you have to go there by taxi because, well how shall I say it? You have to cross a river, 20 times! Getting to the park itself already I so much fun, imagine how awesome the park is.
And yes the park ís awesome! The first hike was about 27-28 kilometers first through some hills with slippery mud and later flat. It was a beautiful hike, being so far away from the world in the middle of the nature, just nature, nature and more nature. I caught a glimpse of a puma and we saw several birds and all 4 monkey species of Costa Rica. We crossed several beautiful rivers which gave some beautiful jungle images. We arrived at ‘La Sirena biological station’ where we stayed the night. This station was full of 20-ers estilo backpacker and indi, I felt so on my place as a 17 year old schoolboy and my parents.
We got up at 4 for the second hike, so we could so some night hiking, both because of the heat and to be able to see some night animals. We got the see the Tapir, better known as giant ant eater, and yes it was giant it was about 2 – 2,5 meters big ant eater, very impressing to see. The hike was along the beach switching between walking on the abandoned, windswept beaches and primary forest. We saw a lot of scarlet macaws and monkeys on this hike. After 6 hours and 22 kilometers we arrived at the end of the park, and the end of our tiring but beautiful hikes. We slept in a nice hotel at the border of the park, I slept but the afternoon and evening because there was a lot of energy to get back.
To get back from the park to the normal world we had to walk a bit more the next day and we had to take the ‘collectivo’ a truck where some 14-16 people fit in the back. The road wasn’t thát crappy but it wasn’t that good either, but going with the collective was an experience itself as well. We returned to the chocolate farm where we were staying one more night and headed to a small beach where we could rest some more. At was a nice and quiet beach and we got the nice surprise of Toucans when we arrived there, something else very special about this beach is that it is covered in (dead) coral, also impressing to see.
The day after this day we had a long ride ahead of us, over ‘el cerro de la muerto’ or in English the dead’s pass. It’s a highway which goes over some of the highest mountains tops of Costa Rica, at its highest point 3500 meters. The view was nice but the smell when we got out of the car even better, nice and fresh air and no heat at all, for the first time I felt a temperature below 15 degrees Celsius. We went through the city of Cartago to see the church and we moved on to the small town of Orosi where we stayed in a nice lodge for the night. At night we had a very nice dinner which was as well our goodbye dinner, again.
The last day was an easy day with some sightseeing, we first went to the Irazu volcano which again gave even more impressive view and the air gave me a skiing feeling; I love fresh air. After the volcano we went to the ‘haunted hospital’ on the mountain slopes, again something very impressive to see. Later we went to some botanic gardes and the day trip ended in San José, we ate a nice lunch and we went to the Mercado central. And then, then the trip was already over. The time went so fast but I enjoyed it so much. Saying goodbye to my parents wasn’t that difficult since it’s only for 4 weeks.
I loved showing them my country, letting them get to know my life. Besides the epic places we went to there was also just the fact that I was reunited with my parents.
Now I have only 4 weeks left on the double feelings are starting to get stronger and weirder, I have almost all my time fully planned and it is time to stop. This is the beginning of the end. I have done so many things, I did everything I wanted to do and even more, way more. Could I say that I’m done? Finished? Ready to go? No I don’t think so; I am ready to go for the part of things I needed to learn, but I am not ready to leave my life here, the life I built over the last 300 days. The life I live like it has been my life for years. For that, for that I am not ready to leave and I don’t think I’ll ever be.