I am very excited to officially announce my next trip: Jersey City, New Jersey! Only this time it’s definitely more permanent. I will be moving to Jersey City on May 6th, without a return date in mind. I’ll be there a minimum of a year but possibly many more after that! The idea here is to make a life for myself. I will be living with some of my cousins, Tanya and Tony Langston and their kids Brooklyn and Shiloh, for a couple of months until I find an apartment and roommate and all that jazz. They pastor and awesome and thriving church that I’m super excited to get involved with. I have also interviewed with a nanny agency and am in the process of looking for a nanny position. I’ve always wanted to be a nanny in New York but seriously never thought it would be possible. This is so cool! Also I will be 20 minutes from Manhattan!!!! Aaand 45 from the beach!!!! I’m ecstatic to say the least. I can’t wait! I will absolutely be blogging throughout this whole process! It will be an adventure that I’ve never experienced! I’ll be going somewhere that I don’t have a lot of connections; whereas here in the midwest, I know a ton people in every neighboring state. I’m completely starting clean and fresh in Jersey City and I couldn’t be more excited. More to come!
It’s currently 3:04am. For those of you who aren’t understanding the significance of that.. thats 3 IN THE MORNING. As in, middle of the night, 3am. And yes, I am awake sitting outside the only place still open with in my established 3 mile radius of wondering. After fighting the intense thirst for the past 3 hours with my weak 10 second trips to the water fountain, I broke down and bought a drink. Yep. 4 something dollars for a Vitamin Water. I only got that because it was the same price as everything else and I haven’t had one in forEVER. But anyway, let me give you some background on the situation. Have you ever seen Meet The Robinsons? The bowler hat guy turns on a lamp and says “Allow me to shed some light on the subject” in a hilarious voice. Picture me saying that…
At about 12:30am I decided, since my layover still had 8 hours to go (I think; you do the math..), I would attempt to get some sleep. First I tried out the chairs. I contorted my body into all sorts of positions (good thing I had on leggings. HA!)- legs here, arms there; arms here, legs there. Every now and then I would find something that would be comfortable for about 10 or 15 minutes; that was fantastic. But most of the time it was miserable. So then I tried out the floor. I laid one of my bags on the floor for a pillow and held the other close to me like a 12 inch, really wide blanket. This would have been fine except one thing- the freaking radio. I know what you’re thinking. The freaking radio? Not just the radio? The FREAKING radio? Yes, the freaking radio. It was SO LOUD. They had the local news on the … I don’t know what its called. Like in a store where music would be playing, overhead. Well the Miami International Airport decided to turn up the play by play of the Mars “Curiosity” launch to about 873432 decibals to loud for me to able to think of anything but aliens taking over the world- let alone sleep. So I get up and walk to another gate to see if it was playing everywhere. To my grande dismay, it was. So I mosey back over to my gate and pick a spot more off to the side instead of in the middle but with little triumph. It was only 44 decibals lower than it was in my other position. So I give up and decide to try the seats again. But at around 2:55am I decide to just give up. And so here we are.
Perhaps the most colossal tragedy of this whole scenario is that I forgot I had a Cuban cookie with Dulce De Leche in it (like a giant oreo but sugar cookie flavor, filled with dulce de leche and with powdered sugar on top). As you can imagine, it was crushed to pieces. I moved that bag around so much and laid on every inch of it; my poor pastry had no chance. Nevertheless, here I sit, eating away. I’m happy to report that despite its unfortunate demise, it still tastes fantastico! The best news of all- it was only 1$ something!! Thats a deal for the airport. I just found a turkey caesar wrap that was calling my name (literally I could hear it screaming EAT ME) and it was 9$. Regrettably, I only have 8 left. And after that Vitamin Water I only have 4… Oh mercy. I don’t expect to eat anything else until 1:30 tomorrow! Maybe I should save some of this cookie.
It’s probably a good thing that none of you can see me right now. To all the random people that have passed by (all 3 of you in the past 2 hours..) No, I am not high. No, I have not been smoking weed. I’m just tired. And that is sole purpose for the color of my eyes right now. As for my rumpled clothes and hair…. Well, I am in the middle of my 10 hour layover. And its 3am. Enough said.
I was just about to post this but I’d like to add one more thing. To the girl who is very LOUDLY and perkily ordering coffee, please go away. You’re way too awake and happy for me to handle right now…
That is all.
Today is the big day! The day to finish packing! I have the whole day to myself. I’ve got music going, the fan on, and I’m ready to go. Here’s the problem; cockroaches (cucaracha=cockroach). Occasionally over the past two months, I would find a roach in my room. Now to kill them, you just grab a shoe and flip them over because they can’t flip themselves back over and they die very quickly. But every now and then I would see one and before I could grab a shoe and flip it over, it was already under my bed. Well my bed isn’t very big so i would just wait for it to come out another side. Sounds like a good plan, yeah?
The trouble here is that the roach would never come back out. Ever. And since this happened a few times, I’m not exactly sure how many roaches are stashed under my bed. Now I know what you’re thinking. 1. EWE 2. Just don’t look under your bed. Just leave them be. Well that would be a great plan. However, my other suitcase and backpack are also stashed under my bed….
Yeah. So now you get the whole picture. I’m afraid I’ll stick my hand under there and pull out a suitcase full of dead roaches. YUCK. Just the thought of this makes me want to go buy a new suitcase and just leave that one under there to rot with the dead insects forever. I’ve been putting it off for days but today is the day. I have to get that suitcase out from under there. Ayayay.
Here we go……………
Hola muchachos! I can’t believe I am leaving the beautiful country of Costa Rica in a short 3 days. Contrary to the cliche “It feels like only yesterday that I arrived…,” I do feel like I’ve been here for two months. I just can’t believe I’m actually leaving. So as I was reading through some of my probably, too-few, posts, I realized I haven’t talked much about my school! So here it is!
I go to the The Spanish Language Institute, or ILE (thats short for its spanish name). I’ve been taking the intensive course that they offer. My days go something like this:
- Wake up at the agonizing hour of 6:30 for school everyday. Even with Costa Rica’s “PuraVida” laid back lifestyle, everyone gets up super early here because the sun comes up at 5 and goes down at 6. I hate early mornings so everyday is a challenge for me.
- Leave for school around 7:10 with my friend Brittany who meets me at my house. We always stop at Anna’s house and the three of us continue our trek to school. We walk about 6 blocks, give or take a little. I’m not sure exactly how far it is. But trust me, in the mornings those uphill 5 or 6 blocks seem like Mt. Kilimanjaro. We make it to school with a few spare minutes before the bell rings at 7:30. Now here’s an interesting point. In movies or tv shows, whenever there would be a school setting, the bell would ring and then the students would mosey off to class. Well that’s never how it really works. You better be in your class when the bell rings or you’re late. I always thought that was such an inaccurate portrayal of real schools. Well, here in Costa Rica I attend the hollywood version of a school, where the bell rings and then 5 minutes later we all work our way to class- teachers included. I’m telling you, I was made for this lifestyle.
- I have two back to back, hour long classes in the morning over conversation. We tell stories, play games, or anything pretty much that has us talking. This class is so much fun! And it has really improved my conversational skills a lot. Its only 3 of us too so we all get ample time to talk per class. However both of my classmates left early and now its just me!
- Next we have an hour break during which we can study and do homework. Also on Tuesdays and Thursdays we have chapel. I rarely make it to chapel though; I’m usually catching up on homework that’s due for my next class.
- Last hour of the day is spent in a much-too-short grammar class. So far I haven’t learned a whole lot of new material but all this review was definitely necessary. I had forgotten SO MUCH of what I have learned over the past four years in school. And there were always extra rules or exceptions that I was never taught in school. So I love this class equally!
- After grammar we all head home for lunch, where we gorge on rice, beans, some kind of salad, some kind of meat, and occasionally platanos maduros (cooked plantains! My favorite!)
- Then we have the rest of the afternoon to study and talk in Spanish out in the city. Sometimes we take the bus to downtown San Jose or go to the mall. We immerse ourselves in Spanish! After we take a nap of course… :)
So I will be saying goodbye to all my new friends tomorrow on our last day of school. We have a small graduation where each class performs something in Spanish. I, however, am exempt because I have no classmates! Fred left a week ago and Emily left on Tuesday. So I’m all alone. I absolutely don’t mind though!
Well I know its been a while since I last wrote (I feel like I begin every post with that..). I could lie and say I’ve been extremely busy but in reality, I’ve had a lot of lazy afternoons where I just simply did nothing. So I apologize for that. Let me update you. Last time I wrote, I had been to Jacó, La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Irazu Volcano. Since then I’ve been to the beach pretty much every weekend, and thats really it! Haha. What can I say? I love the beach!
I organized a trip to Manuel Antonio, which is like thee beach of Costa Rica. Its like the unofficial (or maybe it is official..) national beach. It was stunningly beautiful! Although for part of it, you had to pay to get it because its a national park. What we didn’t know was that to get to the actual beach you had to hike for what seemed like 437 miles. And we were all in sandals with our bags of beach attire. It was totally no fun. But the beach was almost worth it. Personally, I liked the free beach just as much as the Park. The hostel we stayed in was completely awesome. The main “hang out” area was a balcony type room filled with hammocks and had a phenomenal view of the mountains and the ocean. It was great!
The trip was a lot of fun. But on our way home it took a turn for the worst. I took the last bus home with 7 other people. When we got back to the bus station in San Jose, we decided to take taxis because our bus stop was kind of far and it was dark. And downtown San Jose after dark is really dangerous. There were 2 guys and 6 girls. The smart thing to do would have been to put 1 guy in each cab but 2 guys and 2 girls lived close and then me and 3 other girls all lived close. So thats how we split the cabs. Here’s what happened. The four of us all live near a big park, 2 on one side and 2 on the other, so the cab stopped in the middle. ( this is really hard to explain so bare with me) As me and my friend were walking home we got a little spooked because a car (going the opposite way we were walking) stopped beside us. But I’m pretty sure it was just because he was parking at the house we were walking past. But nevertheless we were a little frightened so we just turned the next corner. My house was on the next street (one block down from the street we turned on) but to avoid being followed we turned there. Then all the sudden a different car turns the corner and is now following us. We’re walking on the sidewalk and its driving, the same speed we are walking, directly next to us on the street. We speed up. The car speeds up. We panic and break into a run (keep in mind we’re coming home from a weekend at the beach and have all of our bags). When I say run, I don’t mean jog. I mean we were terrified for our lives at this point. When we start running, the car speeds up and is still following us. Finally we get to the end of the street, cross it, and turn the corner, only one block from my street. At this point the car stops following us but we run all the way to my house anyway. I think the two Costarican guys in the car where just messing with us. They probably lived on that street and saw us walking and decided to mess with us. But you never know. We didn’t turn around to see what made them stop following us. It was completely terrifying. All I could think was that Brittany and I were about to be shoved in the back of a car. When we got to my house I had to dig out my keys from the bottom of one of my bags and unlock the gate with trembling hands. As soon as we got in the door Brittany grabbed my hands and started a prayer thanking God for keeping us safe. I was almost too rattled to even know what was going on. But after she prayed, while we were reviewing what just happened, she said “I was praying in my head the whole time.” “Me too!” I added but she corrected me, “No, you were praying out loud. Screaming Jesus.”
Needless to say, after dark if I’m out of the house, I’m constantly terrified and never ever ever with out a guy to walk me home. I have never been so scarred in my whole life. When my Tica family got home, I asked my dad to drive Brittany home so she didn’t have to walk alone. All was well.
ANYway. While in Costa Rica, other than almost getting kidnapped, I have also met so many wonderful people that I will miss so dearly! Students at my school that are also from the States and Ticos too. On the Sundays that I’ve been home I’ve been going to a UPC missionary church that I just love. The Riveros are so nice and welcoming. Also, probably my proudest moment so far, last sunday at church I understood 75% of the message!!!! YEAH! It was awesome. Think of how Pentecostal preachers preach. Now picture that in Spanish. Yeah, its pretty hard to understand. But I got most of it!! Yay!!
Lunchtime is my favorite time of day! I come home from school for lunch everyday. Its marvelous. I love to walk into the house and smell the Platanos cooking. They’re my favorite!! Mmmm!! There’s always some kind of salad (my favorite is simply tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro and lime juice- MMM!), some meat (usually pork- her pork chops are THE BEST), and rice and beans of course. OH! and usually a side of Platanos Maduros (cooked plantains). Its so yummy. Some people at school have been complaining that they miss American food. But I know that when I go home, I’ll miss Costa Rican food! Luckily, my mamatica said she can give me some of her recipes before I leave! Yay!
Overall, Costa Rica is great. Although to be honest with you, I don’t LOOOVE it. I like it for sure. But every other time that I’ve traveled I never wanted to leave. Here, I’m ready to get home. This is such a foreign feeling to me. I’m not exactly homesick though. I’m just ready to not be here. I always always always pictured myself ending up in Central America or Africa. But ever since my trip to Poland, I’m not so sure. My heart strings were definitely tugged towards Poland in those short 3 months! I can’t WAIT to get back to Europe. I’ve already started planning a trip! Haha. I’m sure I know what you’re thinking. The same thing my dad always says when I talk about my “next trip” usually while I’m still on one. “Aren’t you ever happy with what you have?!” But in the traveling department I can assure you, I will never be content! I want to see it all! I want to experience every culture! There’s no place that I wouldn’t go for at least a little while. Well, actually, to tell you the truth I’m a little scared of Russia. After Rhonda’s stories from their month-long trip to St. Petersburg, I’m not so sure about that. But any other place!
Anyway here are some pictures from my past couple of beach trips!
Sunset at Jacó
Manuel Antonio (National park and Free beach)
And last weekend- Puntarenas
I know it’s been forever since I wrote. Or at least it seems like forever because so much has happened since I last blogged! I have so much to spill! Pictures at the end of the post. First, the waterfalls…
We went to La Paz Gardens not last friday but the one before that. It was incredible! I felt so poised and confident traipsing through the Costa Rican jungle with a big group of people. I felt like a real adventurer. It was magnificent! I loved every second! While there I did a couple different things. One of my favorites was holding a toucan!!! We walked into a room that had something like gates or fences for walls, it was like a giant bird cage, filled with toucans! They would just fly around and you could hold out your arm and they would land on you. It was the experience of a lifetime! Then the next room was filled with hundred and hundreds of butterflies! All you had to do was put your finger in front of it (the ones that weren’t flying around..) and then BAM! You’re holding a butterfly! I so badly wanted all of them to land on my arms and to be known from that moment on as the butterfly whisperer. It almost happened too! Ok well… a girl can dream can’t she?
But above all, we saw the waterfalls! They were simply breathtaking, spectacular, stupendous,phenomenal, extraordinary. We had to walk what felt like miles, and climb what seemed like 2.5 million stairs but it was worth it. ¡Qué increíble! So as you have assumed, it was a great day and I will never forget it! Thanks so much, Dad, for paying for it for my birthday!
The next day, 3 of my friends and myself, decided to never stop exploring and take our chances at the beach. Oh how I adore la playa. I love it. I love it. I love it. We met up at 6am (not my choice) and headed downtown to catch the bus to Jacó- the closest beach. When we got there, the tickets were sold out and we were so upset. We would have to wait until 9 to leave; which obviously meant less time at the beach. But at the last minute, someone returned 2 tickets! So we bought two tickets and two “standing room only” tickets.But let me tell you it was the worst bus ride I’ve ever been on. I don’t generally get carsick but I was trying to hard to toss my cookies all over the lovely American girls I had lucky been seated next to, who by the way became good friends of ours and accompanied us the rest of the day! We were sitting in the back- the last row- and maybe that had something to do with it. But also we had heard the bus ride was only an hour and half. But it turns out our bus driver must have wanted to take the scenic route and therefore covered every curvy, mountain road in Costa Rica. Meanwhile, we arrived 2 and half hours later. I have never been more grateful to step onto land.
So anyway the day at the beach was filled with sand, rocks, sun, bananas, “oh yeah this one time..” stories, and the Jacó Taco Bar (which was very very delicious). And it only rained at like 4:30 which was great!! Only about an hour of our whole day. Thats pretty rare here. It rains a lot. Maybe something to do with the fact that we’re in the rainforest…
On Saturday, my friend Anna asked me if I wanted to go with her, her Tica mom, and her Tica mom’s friend, to a volcano. Ok it was more like begged. It would have been really awkward had it just been them 3. Haha, just thinking about that makes me laugh. So she tells me we’re going to leave around 7:45 or 8. Well since we’re in Costa Rica and we’re all on “tico time” we didn’t actually leave until around 8:45. Once we were getting pretty close, we started to smell something hot. Like fire or something. Anna and I simultaneously looked at each. “We must be getting close.” Haha like that indicated anything.. Much to our dismay, there was no actual lava at the volcano. But it was really beautiful and interesting. We took lots and lots of pictures and had a great time being stupid and laughing a lot. Also her Tica mom is really funny because she speaks no English and sometimes theres a pretty big language barrier. She just laughs and laughs at us. Sometimes she doesn’t understand why do something either. For instance, to take a picture, Anna and I had put our stuff on the ground next to her. When we came back it just looked kind of cute with our bags there and our sunglasses next to them. So Anna took a picture and they just could not figure out why in the world we would take a picture of our purses and glasses. Then they laughed and laughed. It was so much fun!
For fear of making this post way too long and unreadable, I cut out a lot of details! So I apologize that you’re not getting the full on impact and feeling like you were there like usual. But anyway, I still have to tell you all about church too! I’ve been a couple times now and I still haven’t divulged my experiences to you yet! I promise that post will come soon!
Stay Tuned :)
Lots of love.
Do I ever a story to tell you! It all started yesterday after school. (screen goes blurry and harp plays as if I am remembering)…
After school, my friend and I decided we were going to pretend to be bold and fearless and face our formidable opponent- the San Jose bus system. At first, we went out to the main street which was a couple blocks from our school and houses. I knew that the green school buses called “La Cabaña” went downtown so we waited and waited, keeping a vigilant eye out for it. Finally after about 5 or 6 buses had came and went, we decided to move along to another one of the countless bus stops. We discovered that each bus stop had a name. I assumed that the name on the bus stop was the destination of the bus. When we couldn’t find one that said San Jose, we relented and headed back to the school to meet up with some kids who were going to Walmart. I was not very enthusiastic about this. Walmart? Really? So anyway when we got to the school I decided to ask the student services coordinator (who is hysterical!) where to catch La Cabaña. Come to find out, every bus we let pass, went to downtown San Jose. Ha!
So we tromped back up to the main road and waited at the first bus stop. When it arrived we hopped on, paid- which I was a little nervous about because I had no idea how that whole exchange went down, but it turned out to be fine-and found some seats. As we were sitting there trying to look inconspicuous, I had a thought. I wonder which buses are coming back from San Jose and which ones are going to San Jose. I knew that buses on both sides of the big highway couldn’t be going to the same place; they were going in different directions! So at the next stop we hopped up to the front of the bus to see that map. We were definitely headed in the wrong direction. So we hopped off, crossed the street looking the frogs in frogger, and got on bus #2 for the day. This time, it was right! and at the last stop we got off and stepped into another world. Downtown San Jose was very different from San Francisco, where we live. I loved it! It was so pretty and there were a million people and I bought some candy and my friend and I shared some, what we thought was salsa and guacamole, but turned out to be pesto and marinara and expressos. It was muy bueno! So much fun!
After we walked most of downtown (at least we think we covered most of it) We decided to head back. When I talked to Grettel, the student services lady, she said that any of the buses will come back through our part of town too; so any bus will get us back home. So naturally we hopped on a bus that said San Antonio because we knew that the first bus we got on by our school was going to San Antonio. Wouldn’t you think that it would go back the way it had come? Yeah, us too…
After riding the bus all the way to end of the route without seeing our part of town, we asked the bus driver, “San Francisco?” And he told us which bus to get on- the one parked in front of him. So when we jumped on the bus, just to be sure, we asked again, “San Francisco?” And he said, “El pueblo? (the town) Sí, claro! (Yes of course)” So we got on and desperately scrutinized our surroundings for something familiar. When we passed a sign that said “Bienvenidos a San Francisco” (welcome), the bus driver yelled that this was our stop. I saw this sign on our first trip out of the city and it didn’t look familiar. We just assumed we were on the other side of our town. So we did what any normal tourist would do, we walked and walked like we knew exactly where we were going. We walked and walked and walked and walked until we came to a Walmart. This gave me hope because I had been here! We had to be close! But as the Walmart grew closer, it became very clear that this was a different Walmart. And I was guessing they don’t put two Walmarts very close together. We stopped and asked a security guard if we were in San Francisco to which he replied with a laugh and “Están perdido” (you’re lost). He told us we were very far from and just to take a taxi.
Long story short, there are 3 San Franciscos in the San Jose area and I live in the San Francisco de Dos Rios por el Bosque. We were so far from home that the taxi driver didn’t even know where to go. He finally called someone and figured it out. When we finally saw something familiar we both screamed with delight- so happy to be in our little town once again. When I walked into my house I exclaimed “Que bueno! Mi casa!” I explained to my Tico family that we were in Guadalupe. The size of their eyes conveyed how far we really were. Needless to say, I’ve seen much of this little country now. Contrary to what you may be thinking, I still don’t know how these buses work. All in good time.
I know what you’re thinking and yes, there is a walmart here!! I’m not sure why but it just struck me funny. And the night we went, there were more people in that building than there were in downtown Indy the night of the Super Bowl. No kidding! Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. But for real the lines were winding back and around and through aisles and it was insane! All I needed was a fan (I would just like to take this time express my deep, intense gratitude to God for creating such a wonderful device) and two towels because I didn’t bring any and we waited for like literally 30 minutes. and it was a third the size of the lines when we first arrived. It was really quite an experience.
My walmart excursion was saturday night. And then Sunday evening the most wonderful thing happened to me! I met someone! Ah yes! Finally someone who wasn’t my host family. Someone my age. Sarah was her name. And she has been here for a year. She was so super sweet to take me out and show me our little area of town and how to get to the school, (even though by this morning I had forgot). It was great! She also introduced me to a few of the full-time students that go to my school. None of which I saw today except from afar. But it was still really great! I was so happy to get out of the house. Other than my 2 hour jaunt to walmart, I hadn’t left the house at all since I got there. PS I’ve now seen the first 14 episodes of Desperate Housewives. And I may or may not be exaggerating.
So today was the big day!! Orientation. My day started at the excruciatingly early hour of 6am. I always, since I was in probably 7th grade, have got up extra early on the first day of school just to be safe. To insure every hair was in place, every pencil was packed, and every chance of me making a fool of myself was terminated. And today was no exception. School (I thought) started at 7:30 and I had to leave around 7:15. So I got ready and headed out the door. But, I know this is probably a huge shock to everyone since I’m so good with directions…not, but I got lost. I walked every street between here and the school. It was quite the adventure. I kind of started to freak out. To be honest I don’t even remember how I found my way.. it’s all a blur of palm trees and broken sidewalks… But eventually I found it! And so afraid that I would be late and the last one in because my inability to know where I’m at interrupted my on time schedule. Thankfully there was only one other person in the classroom and the girl I walked in with, whom I stuck to like glue the rest of the day. Everyone else showed up around 8. apparently I the three of us who were there at 7:35 didn’t get the email that it started at 8. It was really great though after that! We took a test so that they knew what classes to put us in, we got a tour of the compound, and then we talked about what to do and not to do in Costa Rica and where to travel on the weekends and stuff like that. It was great. I can’t wait for school tomorrow. But more than that I really can’t wait to go to the beach! Me and couple girls are planning to pay the 6 dollar bus ticket this friday because we don’t have school, and go to the beach! Our director said we can get a really nice and safe hotel room for 20 dollars!! So split between 4 people thats nothing! Ah I’m so excited. More to come later~
Right now, I’m writing to you from the living room of my new house for the next 8 weeks in San Jose, Costa Rica! Wow. Thats still blowing my mind. I have so much to tell you, I’m not sure where to start! So why not start at the beginning.
Taking Flight Once we boarded the plane at 2:00, scheduled for take off at 2:05, the captain comes on the speaker and says there has been a delay and we will not be taking off for 55 minutes. I almost cried. Here I am, worn out, completely drained and ready to get there, expecting to be on this plane for like 50 minutes and now we have to linger on the ground for an hour. But eventually we take off. The captain says we will arrive at 3:20 and I glance down at my phone to see the current time is 2:55. I’m ecstatic! It was an even shorter flight than I expected! However, 3:20 comes and goes and we are still flying high. Confused, I open my window shade and see that we are not only in the blue, we are over water. As I become livid at the captain for getting my hopes up for nothing I realize he meant 3:20 Costa Rica time. Really, the flight was supposed to be 2 hours all along. I just forgot about the time difference. 3:20 is actually 5:20. Feeling rather stupid, I sink back down to try to sleep once again.
Donde Estan Mis Maletas? Once we get off the plane and go through the infinitely long line at immigration, we come to baggage claim. After a long, futile and unsuccessful hunt for my luggage, I hopelessly meander over to the lost luggage counter. Then I hear those terrible unfortunate words. “Mees, your bags are in Dallas.” So there it was. My worst nightmare coming true. They lost my luggage! What am I to do without the seriously overpacked bags containing everything I may possibly need an any situation no matter how bizarre?! I think I may die right then and there. But then he tells me (yes! there’s hope!) that there is a plane leaving Dallas shortly and they can be in San Jose by 8. He also tells me they will deliver them to my house at 10. So this morning, when I wake up, my bags are in the living room. An inexplicable joy comes over me and I hurry to unpack.
My House and Family I was a little nervous that it would be very awkward. But it wasn’t at all. When I first get to the house I am introduced to my mom, Adriana and her son Fabian. I’m shown my room and I stay there for a minute and just kind of take it in. Then dad gets home and gives me the wifi password for which I am eternally grateful. But after I get it, I don’t really know what to do. So finally I just decide to go start a conversation. And it works! We talked for at least a half hour maybe more, IN SPANISH and I am bursting with pride. I probably had the biggest cheesy smile on my face, looking like such an idiot. Haha! But we talked about everything and not just simple stuff but harder stuff and I did it. Ah I was so happy. Then later while we’re talking, the last person I meet is Imeda (I have no idea how to spell Iit. Thats just sounding it out), my 4 year old little sister who could not be cuter if she tried. She decided instantly that we would be the very best of friends. Later she told me all kinds of secrets (none of which I understood. She has her own language and I can’t understand anything she says. Ever) and then we danced and played all kinds of game with our hands (like patty cake type things. Miss mary mack mack mack…) Anyway the house is really beautiful too! Pictures to come! So after I met everyone and settled in and was just sitting on the couch while they all did whatever, my stomach started snarling at me, reminding me I hadn’t eaten since 11am and it was currently 7pm (Costa Rican time. so really it was 9pm). Finally someone asked if I was hungry to which I was once again enduringly grateful. So my first Costa Rican meal began being prepared.. By calling it in. Haha yes my first Costa Rican meal was Pizza Hut. Because there was a really big fútbol game on and she said when theres a game we just order pizza. After dinner, I took a shower and went to bed, completely exhausted.
Right Now I am sitting in my living room with Costa Rican music playing and the sound of kids laughing and playing drifting through the open windows and doors. It’s a little warm in the house because we don’t have AC or fans but outside it feels great! I really want to go to the beach! Today my madre is going to introduce me to someone who lives across the street who also is going to The Spanish Institute. Yay! Someone to walk to school with!
Pictures to come! Stay tuned!!
So here I sit in the Miami airport! Its loads of fun let me tell you. I left this morning at 4:30am which means I had to wake up at 3:30. I got all of like 2 or 3 hours of sleep. I was wide awake on the way to the airport though and Chrisi and I (Thank you so much Chrisi for waking up that early to take me to the airport!! you’re the BEST) we laughed and laughed at everything. Good times at 4 in the morning. Anyway I tried to sleep on my plane to Miami but the plane was so small it looked like one that Chandler used to play with. Since I was seated next to a very large Hispanic man (probably South American) who’s English vocabulary included the words you, yes, and no, I didn’t get much sleep.
Currently, it’s 11:17am and have nothing to do until 2. Since 9, I’ve eaten half a bagel from one of my favorite breakfast places (Au Bon Pain), had lunch at a Chinese place (It was pretty gross), and people watched. There some very interesting people in the Miami airport. Everyone I’ve seen falls into one or more of the following categories:
- super tall and beautiful; looks like an Amazonian model
- gangsta thug major
- dressed to nines with LV luggage
- looks like the wife/girlfriend of a man with a sketchy business. drugs? guns?
- possible CIA agent
- probably in the South American mafia (if there is such a thing..)
- white trash, tramp stamp, jean-shorts-and-white-ribbed-tank kind of people
So where do I fit in to this group you may be wondering. Well, I don’t! I feel like I look like a little girl traveling for the first time ever by herself. I want to stand in the middle of the concourse with a sign that says “I am 20 years old! I have traveled to Europe alone before. This is not my first Rodeo” If only I could find a marker……
I can’t believe I’m going to San Jose. I know no one. Not one person. So far I’ve been through these feelings: Nervous, excited, nervous, anxious and now I just don’t know what to expect. I hope my family likes me. I hope they have kids my age. I hope I make friends. I hope I get to go to the beach every weekend. I hope my family is awesome. I hope I like my family. I’m just pretty much freaking out. That what you call it. But at the same time. I’m almost to tired to care any more. But oh my. A thought just crossed my mind. the airport in San Jose . What do i do?! What if my family forgets to come get me. What if they lose my luggage. What if I can’t carry all my luggage. What if it all doesn’t fit in the car. What if what if what if.
Well, I’m going to go explore the airport. Or sit here and stare at my shoes. Or something fun like that. until 2pm when I leave for San Jose, Costa Rica!!!!! AAAAAHHH
Hello again!! I’m super excited to get my blog back up and running! I’ve decided that because my life in the States is so exceptionally monotonous and uneventful, I will only blog when I’m living elsewhere. So this time around, elsewhere is San Jose, Costa Rica! Ah yes, the tropical almost-island that is polar opposite of Poland- the location of my last trip. There will be no castles or European cafes; instead there will be rain forests and exotic animals. No hard-to-pronounce Polish words like przepraszam (that means sorry or excuse me), but instead the simple and easy-to-learn language of Español; where I already know how to say the phrases that I’ll need the most.The objective of my upcoming voyage is to become fully and perfectly fluent in Spanish (woohoo!). I will be attending a language intensive course at The Spanish Institute. And even though I loathe school with every fiber of my being, I love Spanish so hopefully education and I can make nice for my short 8 week trip. Now although I have promised and taken an oath, pledged and vowed to focus on school and learn Spanish, I am also extremely jazzed to explore the country! I’ll be visiting a volcano (ooo, ahh) and touring a rainforest and hopefully bathing in the sun on a beautiful white beach every Saturday. Just to make you happy Rachael, mother, and dad, I may even schlep my books and highlighters and thinking cap (if I can find it) with me.Now, looking back on my trip to Poland I can say I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and experience about how Chelsea travels. For instance, in some of my first blog posts about Poland, I had all these plans to take Europe by storm and carpe diem and see everything worth seeing within a 100 mile radius of Krakow. And as you read on through my posts, you will see that I only took about 1/100 of Europe by storm. So as I’m telling you all these plans I have, in the back of my mind I’m thinking, I wonder how much of this will actually happen? Knowing this doesn’t fluster me though. It encourages me to plan twice as many adventures so that twice as many actually occur. Either way, this trip is going to be AWESOME.Here’s some things I hope to do: see a toucan, get married, learn how to salsa, eat some really amazing food, pick a banana right off the tree and eat it, make some new friends, get lost in downtown and spend hours finding my way home, lounge on the beach for hours and hours at least 5 times, see a brightly colored frog, learn spanish of course!, see the volcano, see the rainforest , volunteer in the orphanageSome things I hope not to dodie from hot lavasee any spidersget bit by something poisonousbe ‘taken’ (because my dad is no Liam Neeson as he informed me)be sold to an ugly fat Saudi Arabian oil Sultanbe robbedmiss any flightscontract any diseasesThose are just a few things I thought of off the top of my head. More to come later.. maybe.So goodbye for now! I’ll be sure to post updates as I get ready for departure Friday morning at 6:30! Hasta Luego, <3
I know its been awhile since I’ve written a blog and I do apologize! But here I am once again and hopefully I’ll keep it up this time.
So here’s the first thing I want to share. When I started this blog I named it “Off to the trenches” because the mission field can sometimes be described as a war. You war against formidable opponents that you would never even think of facing if you were in the comfort of your own country surrounded by your family and friends. But now, I’m not on the mission field. I’m not living an exciting life in the beautiful country of Poland that I miss oh so much with my family [the Adams] that are so dear to my heart. I’m living in Noblesville, Indiana! For those of you who don’t know, nothing exciting ever happens in Noblesville, Indiana. Except this one time in high school when we had a couple bomb threats but thats another story…. anyway! I was thinking maybe I should rename my blog. But then I got to thinkin’; you know, sometimes my every day life feels like just as much of a war as the mission field- just in a different way. So while I may not be in a foreign country (you have no idea how much I wish I was!), I’m still in the trenches trying to live a Godly life, stand firm on what I believe and get to know this all powerful being that I claim so shallowly to love. So I’m keeping it “off to the trenches!”
Secondly, a lot has changed since we last talked! I have now moved out of my parents house!! I was super excited to make that step toward adulthood. But- don’t get too excited- I just moved in with more family. So I’m not actually out on my own. I live with Rachael and Jimmie- my aunt and uncle. But I do pay rent! I moved in on Dec. 31. You should have seen it! My brother helped me move and when we tried to get my mattress from one house to the other, Oh it was funny. We’re standing at the bottom of our steep driveway trying to get this massive mattress into the back of my dad’s Yukon XL that seemed like someone put it in the dryer and shrunk it. I’m balancing the heavier-that-it-looks mattress on my head while I get my bearings. Chandler is running around to get in the back seat to pull it forward because its stuck on something. I start to push it in, leaning with all my might while having to stand on my tip toes because lets face it- I’m like a midget. It was great. Then we had to get it up the excruciatingly narrow staircase to my new room. It was awesome. We put all my furniture together and set my room and here I am!
I also have a new job babysitting 3 very demanding and trying children that you can’t stay mad at because they’re like sour patch kids. First they’re sour then they’re sweet. Did I mention they’re 4,3, and 18 months?? Ya. Even with good kids, it’s very stressful with 3 that young. But they’re so cute and sweet so I don’t mind. I still however, work at the good ole Children’s Place. Some days I work 7:30am- 9:30pm with only enough time between jobs to get from one to the other. It’s pretty tiring but welcome to being a big kid right?
Poland changed my life forever. I will never be the same and I genuinely mean that. It’s not one of those things like where you go to one service, bawl your eyes out, scream and shout, say you’re forever changed then find yourself in the same situation 2 weeks later. I went to Poland a child and came home an adult. Now don’t get me wrong, I still have a lot of things I need to work on. Like the fact that I can’t seem to save money because I constantly feel the need to eat out. And when I’m at work, even if it’s a short shift, I am compelled to order Jimmy Johns. (that might have something to do with the cute delivery boys though…). That just one of the many. But I’m really learning how to become a functional human being that can contribute something to society. Even if it is just a funny video on youtube :) But I said all that to say, Poland was life changing but the transformation didn’t stop there. This coming year is a transition for me. I live Rachael and Jimmie and even if they don’t recognize it, I’m soaking up everything about them. Their way of life, their passion for the word of God, their zeal and love for people. Poland gave me the tools I needed to be transformed and this year, I’m making those transformations. I feel like when the year is over I will be able to conquer the world. Or rather, save the world.
Needless to say, I probably won’t be taking many trips this year. I am going back to my first love- Cuba- in May and I CAN’T WAIT. Oh how I miss that breathtaking island and its beautiful people. And Juan. Mi tio Juanito! For those of you who don’t know Juan, he’s the most amazing person on the planet probably. Anyway that’s off subject. I would love to go on the European trip in the summer but I really need to save my money this year (I think I can, I think I can, I think I can) and then next year I will have the funds to go where God tells me to go. So stay tuned folks as I take you with me into the depths of my very being and share my struggles, my successes, my laughs, my tears and everything else that goes with that. As Tommy from Rugrats would say, Hold on to your diapers! It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
My flight from Krakow left at the excruciating time of 6:50am, meaning we had to leave the house at 3:40am to catch the bus to the tram to the train to the airport. So I didn’t go to bed at all that night because I figured it would be more difficult to wake up after only 3 and half hours of sleep than it would be to just sleep on the plane. Tony told me that he usually crashes on the last flight of the 3. But as my plane from Krakow to Munich lifted out of my too-soon “ex-city”, I zonked out! Well, not exactly “zonked” but I was in that dreamy half sleep-half awake state. I thought the flight attendants were angels flying around the plane, the clouds right outside my window were candy and that sort of thing. As I boarded my flight to Newark, NJ, I suddenly became apprehensive. There was a couple situating themselves behind me with a baby boy no older than 2, with a broken arm… Hmm that can’t be good. Usually when a baby has a broken bone, he cries….a lot… Then a couple sat down right in front of me with a baby girl about the same age. Well, needless to say, I got NO sleep on that 9 hour flight. The boy behind me simply wailed the whole time while the girl in front of me took an immediate liking to me. Every time I tried to close my eyes, she would bang on her seat (standing of course and facing me), begging for a returned smile- as went the game I unwillingly played the whole time.
When you fly back into the states, you have to pick up all your luggage and recheck it. Well, when they told me this I immediately became a little panicky. I had a backpack and my enormous carry on with me. If I had to get my bags, that meant I had to pick up my two monstrous (and hideously puke green) suitcases. Well let me just tell you, it was not so simple. Once I managed to get my suitcases off the belt, I found it quite impossible to pick them up while keeping my other 2 bags secure. Every time I would get my backpack on my back, my carryon on my arm and one suitcase, the other suitcase would tumble down. This nauseating cycle continued for at least 20 minutes. Not to mention I have on a long-sleeved dress, leather jacket and scarf, leggings, socks and boots. I was dripping sweat. And I don’t sweat. Ever. But Nov 20, 2011, I did. A lot. Once I finally managed to get all my bags in my hands and made my way the 100 feet where I had to then load them up on another belt to go through security, I then had to repeat the whole process of trying to pick them all up! It was humiliating to say the least.
The moment I boarded my flight to Indy, before we even pulled out and started taxiing to our take off position, I was out. And this time it was a deep sleep. I looked at my phone as I sat down- 3:05pm. Next thing I knew, it said 5:20. It was heavenly.
I rushed through the terminal and was re-united with my family!! Chloe brought me flowers and a card and something she drew, Chandler brought me chips and guacamole (for which I am eternally grateful. that was my favorite) and nana, papaw, Jodie, and Chrisi brought an excitement to see me that I didn’t expect! It was great. I distributed gifts in the car. I was so glad to be off those planes!!
Well that was horrific and sickening to say.. To be honest, I don’t think it’s really hit me yet. Really, I feel like it hasn’t even hit me that I’m in Poland yet. When I left for Krakow, I kept waiting for that “awe” moment where I realized, hey! I’m in Poland! You know what I mean? That moment where it all finally hit me; all the work trying to get here paid off and I was actually here. But it never came. I think when I get home, I’ll have that moment. But anyway.
Today I’m thinking of that night before I left for Krakow. This is what I was so terribly worried about [and I quote/copy and paste]
- What if I miss my flight?! I picture myself running (already, there’s something wrong with this picture) dragging my two ENORMOUS and hideously ugly suitcases after me, wiping out, and toppling loudly onto the airport floor. While chaotically sprawled out in a very un-ladylike manner, I’ll look up hopelessly to see my flight taking off into the blue.
- What if I can’t find my terminal? I see myself looking very confused and vulnerable and nothing good happening after that. I’m not sure what but the end result would definitely be me looking like a fool.
- What if all my luggage gets lost?! I could never recover from that. I would never fly again.
- What if the people next to me on the 9 hour flight are psychotic? Did you ever see the commercial where that girl was in between two loud, smelly, massive men who like to talk to each other over her? Enough said.
- What if I somehow lose all of my money? I have no idea how that could possibly happen but it still worries me!
- What if I accidentally packed something that you’re not supposed to and am therefore interrogated in a very violent manner and sent to jail where I will be forced to share a cell with a woman named Sparkle Plenty who can give you a tattoo with her nails and some kind of mysterious ink? Highly unlikely but possible!
- What if my plane falls right out of the sky?! This thought has never tortured me before- I love to fly! But for some reason It’s nagging at me now!
All these fears are coming back to haunt me now! I’m a little nervous! Except the fear of losing all my money. Cause that would be a total of 30 USD. Not as big a deal as the 600 that I came with.
Today I’m thinking of that first day here. I was a little bit nervous, to be honest, about living with The Adams. You see, I knew who they were; we may say hello in passing. But I had never spent any time with them or even said more than hello. I was a little nervous that when I arrived, jet lagged and a hot mess, it would be that awkward silence of meeting someone new. I was also wary that it would take too long to get comfortable with them and that awkward silence would drag out for weeks. But I can honestly say that the exact opposite occurred. As soon as I ran to meet them- oh so very thankful for someone who spoke english!- we clicked. We talked all the way home and haven’t stopped since then. Tony and Rhonda Adams will never know in a million years how much they have meant to me and how much they have helped transform my life. Maybe the evidence isn’t visible quite yet, but it starts at the heart. I can promise you that my heart has changed completely. Rhonda always knows the right thing to say (even if it’s what I don’t want to hear). She is wise beyond her young age. She’s an inspiration. Actually, the whole Adams family is an inspiration. They have had so many struggles to overcome. One major thing they deal with is missing their family. I know it’s so hard for them. But God told them to come to Poland. So they left their family and moved here to start from the ground up. And look what He did- they now have a church and friends and new family to help ease the pain of their homesickness. If one day, I was half the woman that Rhonda Adams is, I would be the happiest woman in the world.
Today, I’m thinking of the major and insanely awesome opportunities I had over here. I traveled to Prague- the number one city on my bucket list, Germany- where I met so many new friends, and was a part of the first ever Apostolic church service in the city of Krakow, Poland. That’s amazing. How did I get here??? I’m amazed at how God has worked this out for me. And still is working things out for my future. I’m just watching them unfold and following His will. I’m so excited to see what’s next. I have a stronger sense of purpose than ever before. All my life people have prophesied to me about the great things I would do but that’s all it was- a prophesy. It was an empty thing that I couldn’t see happening. But now, I’m living those. My calling is unfolding right before my eyes and I wouldn’t give that up for anything in the world. I’m so immensely thankful for all of the people that have stuck by me and never given up; the people that poured into me and saw my potential even when I so far from where I needed to be. Mom and Dad, Rachael and Jimmie, Nana and Papaw, Josh and Shelly, Billie and Brad- I love you guys so much. You’ll never know what you mean to me. Thank you.
Today, I’m thinking of my God. The past few days I’ve just been overwhelmed by his love. I’ve had this burning desire in me to seek Him. That’s something I’ve prayed for but never felt so strong as now. Today, I’m singing “I Need You” by Eddie James and I can feel the words echoing from the deepest part of me. My soul and heart are aching to be closer to Him. I feel such a longing and yearning for Him.
Today I’m remembering all the laughs I’ve had during this trip. The Adams are so goofy and silly. They tell me a need to loosen up al little. Just because I wouldn’t act goofy and silly in public does not mean that I’m uptight!! But they seem to think thats not the case. But in any case, we’ve laughed SO much. But we’ve also cried. And they always know what to say. Always. I feel like maybe they’ve gone through some things in their past so that they could tell me, “I’ve been there Chelsea. You just need to do this or that.” You always hear people say that what you’re going through may help someone else later in your life. Well Rhonda, it’s me. I’ve never related to anyone the way I do to you. I’m eternally grateful for that.
A few months ago, I felt so hopeless. I felt like I was screaming out for help and no one could hear. I felt like there was no hope for change. I felt completely disgusting. Like I was as low as you could go. But someone heard my cry for help. And He sent me the perfect couple to pick me up, dust me off, and send me on my way. I’ll never forgot the day that I finally told someone that I felt like I was on the floor helpless, just waiting for someone to pick me up. And from that day I decided that I had to something about it. One week after that day, Tony Adams walked up to my dad and said, “It’s the will of God that Chelsea be in Poland. Right now.” And here I am a few months later. Thank you Tony, for listening to God and not questioning what He told you.
Today, I’m remembering our dedication service for Krakow Gospel Church. It was incredible. The things that were said and the anointing that was there will forever remain with me. I know that God is going to turn this city upside down. And He’s using the Adams to do it. This city is so hungry for God and I can’t wait to come back here and see Krakow Gospel Church with 3000 members.
Today, I’m thinking of my future. I’m not sure what exactly it holds. But I know I’m headed in the right direction and I can’t wait to see what’s next. I feel like I can take the world by storm. In only two months I went from feeling completely helpless and hopeless to feeling like I can give hope to the hopeless and pick up the helpless. What an amazing thing that this.
Right now, I’m thinking that this post is getting a little too long. So that’s all for now. If I shared everything on my heart, I’d be writing a novel!
Don’t stop reading though! I’ll continue you posting. I may be leaving Krakow, but when I get home my life is changing drastically. And hopefully I’ll be taking another trip in the not-too-far-but-not-close future!! Stay tuned :)