Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fears and Foolishness

So, today I made my way out to Turrialba, the town where I will be doing the research after the summer. It is about an hour drive from San Jose but two hours by bus. (And, as far as my first busing experience in Costa Rica, it isn´t as entertaining as it was in Ecuador- but that can be a good thing) I got up this morning and left myself plenty of time to catch the hourly ¨express¨ bus for 10am. I got to the station, bought my ticket for less than 3 dollars, and unloaded all of my luggage infront of me while I sat at the station to wait the 45mins until we could get on the bus. I felt accomplished, confident even, as I hadn´t traveled to Turrialba alone yet despite the couple times I had been there. I was thinking about what I would unpack and leave in Turrialba to use at the end of the summer, in hopes of leaving my dufflebag at the apartment and allowing me to travel ´lighter´. And,I was even trying to decide if I was hungry or not, when it happened.

Now, let me first of all say, everyone has their fears. My mom, for example, is terrified of snakes. And, when I say terrified, I mean we were recently on a biking trip and she thought she saw a snake and....nevermind I´ll let her tell you the story. Anyways, everyone has at least one fear that might not even be logicial but for some unexplained reason, it is what it is. Mine, many of you know, is cockroaches. That´s right, cockroaches. I can hold random snakes, even sleep in the same room as taranchulas, but cockroaches- I don´t play around. At one point in my life, I tolerated them very well, but as ´friends´have teased me by pretending to and sometimes actually throwing cockroaches on me/down my shirt my fear has become very real. I think it is the combination of pure ugliness and their unorganized getaway/attack strategy. If you stomp on the ground really hard to get a snake away- 96% of the time, it will leave you alone, it isn´t going to waste venom or energy in attacking something that it can´t eat or isn´t threatening it. Spiders normally just chill in a corner, hole, under lose linoleum tiles whatever. Cockroaches, they just charge at you, whether they are scared and trying to get away or actually attacking, or flying or whatever. There is no way to predict where they are going to go. So, basically I think you get the point that me and cockroaches are not friends.

So, I´m sitting in my seat, waiting for the bus, thinking about stuff, minding my own business and I see this large cockroach running across the floor. I´m obviously not too surprised, I am in Costa Rica after all and just play it cool. It ran to some womans foot where I thought it would stay for awhile. But, ofcourse- because I was saying in my head repeatedly ´dont come here, stay over there´it makes a dead attack straight for me. Running as fast as its gross, little legs could carry it, STRAIGHT at me. Like it knew. So, I remained calm for as long as I could but when it was finally about a foot away, I couldn´t take it anymore, I got up-jumped over my bag sideways, and ran for the edge of the platform. I literally abandoned ship and left my bags behind, passport and all, because my life was at stake. Now, the Costa Ricans around me who had seen what made me react with a squeal and a leap were chuckling. And, those who hadn´t seen looked at me like I was some crazy tourist. I think they were waiting for me to react again because for like a good 45 seconds everyone just stared at me with pitty eyes, while I was busy staring at my bag where the cockroach was now hiding. I realized that people were staring at me and my hands were at my face as if to protect a flying attack and that is when I slowly started to become embarrassed. I understand I over reacted, but only a little. I wasn´t going to squish it because that is even worse than a cockroach charging at me *barf*. The guy sitting behind me, finally made the move towards my bag and moved it, and as I saw it there, I assumed he was going to squish it which resulted in another squeal and a very dramatic turn of my head, to protect my innocent eyes from the carnage that could push me over the edge. I glanced back just in time to see him kick the cockroach clear across the bus station. Now, extremely embarrassed, I returned to my seat and thanked him. Luckily, just about everyone who witnessed my scene was soon boarding the 9.30am indirect bus to Turrialba.

The incident gave me a good laugh when I thought about it a couple hours later, but no worries, I have fully recovered. I just don´t know if those 10 Costa Ricans will ever think of tourists the same again.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It's that time of the year

Well, a pattern is starting to develop- with the start of every summer, is the start of an adventure- so here I am again writing a blog in an airport terminal since I have a ridiculous amount of time to pass.

Obviously, last summer my blogging attempt failed. I blame not having a computer with me- and I'm sticking to that story. As most know, at the end of last summer, I returned to my apartment in the UK. Due to numerous reasons, I decided to move on to Calgary, Canada where I had an amazing 7 months working with my dad, living downtown, and braving the stupid cold weather. Why anyone would choose to live in a place where you are faced with -40C weather is beyond me. But, Calgary is actually a cute little city between the mountains and plains, so I enjoyed snowboarding and getting out to the mountains so easily.


I decided to work with Rustic Pathways again this summer and while a lot of the people I worked with last summer have decided to work in other countries this year, I decided to return to Costa Rica. In addition to working 3 months with Rustic, I will be doing several weeks of Toucan research as a research assistant after the summer in a town called Turrialba and then sort of winging it until I move on to my next venture- and already I have a couple different options to pursue. So, although staff training doesn't start until the first week of June, I wanted to get down early to settle into the place I'll be staying at after the summer and to get around Costa Rica a bit.

Yet again, I have way over packed- another pattern that is proving impossible to fix. Especially since I absolutely feel like I will need everything I packed…well I might not have needed to pack my pink nail polish..but I love the shade and let's be honest- that isn't going to break the weight limit. I have spent my almost 5 hours in the Houston airport hauling around a bookbag that is stuffed with my sleeping bag, pillow, and brownies for staff members, AND I also have a decent size duffle bag that is filled with all the clothes I couldn't fit into my actual backpack. Again, I need everything I have because I am here at least until December and need clothes for field work, the beach, and general stuff for the summer/days off. But, I can't help but be envious of those who are traveling with one simple bag. The true talent will come when I have to master traveling with my backpack, bookbag, and duffle bag around Costa Rica- but I have a pretty good idea of all the things I will leave in Turrialba that I can do without for the summer.

I propose a toast. Here's to not having anything stolen (like my sleeping bag in Ecuador), not losing anything (like my camera- also in Ecuador) [which could actually be argued that it was in fact stolen with my sleeping bag since it happened within an hour of each other, the day of the attempted coup-d'etat ], traveling without plans (did I mention that I don't have a hostel reserved for when I land), and to a great summer.
And to everyone reading my blog, thanks for following my travels.
Oh, and: happy birthday/anniversary/graduation/congratulations on your engagement(wedding)/congratulations on your baby- you know, just incase I miss it- but remember it isn't because I forgot, it's because I already said to you in this blog.