Sunday, May 29, 2011

And its time for another adventure

As most of you know, I returned to the U.S. the week of Christmas with the determined plan to move to the UK after receiving a working visa through my Canadian citizenship. I really had no idea what I was going to do, professionally, where I was going to live and looked into many different options before deciding to at least settle in London for a bit. With two years for the visa, I do plan on spending as much of that time in the UK. I have spent the past three months there and have enjoyed it very much- I will upload some blogs about my time in London…eventually. For now, I really just wanted to upload a quick blog before I set off to Costa Rica- I know, I know- I just keep bouncing around at the moment.

I will officially be in Costa Rica from May 29 until August 10 working for an organization called Rustic Pathways. It was difficult for me to make the decision to leave the UK for the few months, as I had just started to really get settled in having recently moved into a flat, etc. But, I am really excited about spending my summer kicking about Central America. Rustic Pathways is an organization that provides community service opportunities, cultural and language immersion, and conservation initiatives for high school students. And interestingly enough, I participated in a language immersion program of theirs after my first year of high school. As with Ecuador, I really only am slightly aware of what I’m getting into and have no specific knowledge at the moment for where I will be and what contact will be like from the base house I will be staying at. But, as I go through training over the next week, I will get a better idea and will hopefully get the opportunity to post a bit more information about what projects I’ll be leading, where, and when.

So, until then- I appreciate the curiosity and well wishes about my work in Costa Rica. I’m all packed up and ready for my 6am flight in less than 5 hrs. I just can’t believe I’m actually taking more clothes with me to Costa Rica for three months then I did for 6 months in Ecuador. But honestly, who is to say that I wont need all 14 pairs of my shorts, 4 pairs of pants, and 15 shirts. I must say the collection of items I’m taking with me slightly impresses me because half of my friends from Ecuador will technically be traveling with me as I take: Sam’s pair of jean shorts I inherited, two of Edwin’s field shirts, a copy of Steve’s reggaeton CD on my iPod, a rope anklet identical to Olly’s, and a pair of hiking socks I ACCIDENTALY stole from the clothes line in Ecuador. Well, I suppose I only have myself to blame for such a massive bag, I didn’t have the time or dedication to cut back on my packing list but at least I’ll have clothes for almost every occasion :-)

Bargain Shopping

As the rest of my time in the jungle rapped up so much quicker than expected, I was left trying to organize souvenir/Christmas present shopping before returning. I made a couple trips to Otavalo, to grace the market with my presence…and money. I mainly shopped aimlessly decided that I could assign presents once I got back as long as I had enough to give me some flexibility. To be honest, quite a bit of shopping as for myself as well. I couldn’t resist- its naturally in my genes as a female.

Anyways, I indulged in sweaters, scarves, jewelry, an alpaca wool blanket, and basic t-shirts. The key to getting all those items is intense bargaining. Naturally, they try to take advantage of any tourist who may not know the going price a nice pullover with the pattern of alpacas grazing across the belly. And, even after leaving Otavalo, I continued on in the much smaller version of the same market in Quito just to be entirely sure I shouldn’t waste any more money. Just as I was heading through one of the last aisles convinced I didn’t need anything else, I saw something that caught my eye. A permanent stand that sold something entirely unique to the rest of the market including the master market of Otavalo. I carefully asked how much my interest would cost me- and after hearing $5 and repeating it to make sure I had heard right, I decided I couldn’t pass up such a great bargain.

So just like that, I decided to get my nose pierced.

No, I’m being serious grandma and grandpa.

Anyways, my fearlessness as overpowered by such a reasonable price. But, as I sat down in my seat to see a kid who couldn’t be over 15 years old prepping my selected piercing- I was immediately nervous. WHO JUST DECIDES TO GET THEIR NOSE PIERCED IN A MARKET IN ECUADOR BECAUSE IT’S $5?! Well….me obviously. But, that’s not the point. I think the part where I actually considered death might be an outcome of the piercing was when I saw the boy using SANDPAPER to sharpen the dull stud into something significant enough to be used as a piercer. A little spray of some funny stuff on my nose to numb it, a little dot of a pen for accuracy requiring a reluctant approval to continue, and I closed my eyes just in time to see him force through the once dull clear rhinestone stud into my nose. I couldn’t have done it without the hand of Jenn, one of the GVI staff, which was near broken when the piercing was done, and the mocking encouragement of Olly, another staff member. I honestly didn’t feel anything besides a slight pressure, so with that, I convinced Jenn of the true bargain at hand that needed to be taken advantage of. So with a few positive and encouraging words and persistent insisting and bribing of paying for her piercing- I essentially forced Jenn to get her nose pierced- who ended up loving it as well- so our bargain shopping really paid off!