Monday, February 27, 2006

Well I call this Hangover Monday in the Cartago house, it`s quite ridiculus how many of my house mates do not know when to stop on the weekends and they can`t even work on Monday. I think this has been the toughest part for me out of all the physical and emotional challenges, i thought that the people who i would live with would be some what more mature than my high school peers, but i was sadly mistaken. The country director is trying to send a couple home but they only have a week left. But really, why would you sign up for a program that you know you have to work at yet party the entire time. Sorry, i`m just a little pissed leaving my room that smells like moldy clothes and somthing i don`t even ask my roomates about...
But on the bright side i had a fabulously sober and relaxing weekend in Uvita. The most gorgous beach on the pacific, the town has a population of app. 200 and no tourists!!! We really roughed it and stayed in a Cabina for $4 a night, it actually wasn`t bad and it was right on the beach. I m officially in love with.... my wheelchair. i figured out how to take it on the sand and went racing across the shoreline, so beautiful and so much fun. The town had about three resturants and a couple bars and that was it, great food great coconut. Went with Mark, who was really great and carried me everywhere, or at least where i couldn`t get in. And Jess who is hilarious. It isd really interesting how this program is some what a microcosim of life. You are forced to build relationships with people you will only know for a week and then break them when they leave, and repeat this over and over. Creates a lot of tolerence.
My work placement is great, i really love volunteering in the special education class where there is three students. One little girl named Lucy is the most darling creature on earth! She also shares my dislike of therapist, girl after my own heart!
Javier and i have been having some interesting conversations, he wants to make me a brace for my arm and help me stretch everyday. I say perhaps not. I swear it like a compulsion for physical therapist to fix everything they see. That`s okay we get along otherwise, maybe because i don`t understand him but who knows! I love working with the kids with Downs, one girl is just like Sharri Ann and i absolutly love her, she drives the other teachers nuts though.
My friend Kate who just returned home posted some pictures so there are quite a few good ones there.
Go to and when it asks for a friends email type in there are a few files and click on the ones labled Costa Rica.
Love you all and love to hear from you

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Emma i have to say that i am quite amused with your narotic emails, I am so so glad i`m related to you mi chica! I absolutly love everyone elses sane comments, it keeps me from forgetting home!!
I am wearing a Ticas Y Nicas shirt that i bought this weekend, i guess i can`t help myself from getting involved in some kind of politcal movement. From what i have learned the Nicuraguans represent one fourth of the pop, of Costa Rica and there is major descrimination and reminds me much of California and Mexicans, Doing my part to create as much trouble as possible!
Very sad day today, heard Adrians contract is up on Friday and he`s going back to San Jose, But i think i`m spending the weekend i fly to Peru in San Jose so I`ll see him then but yo esta muy triste.
Went offroading today up in Talanapi, a rainforest near Cartago, came back looking like a drowned rat in three feet on mud. Yeah, i looked real hot. But had a great time. Phillip is always so worried i`m going to fly off a cliff so he almost sits in my lap when i drive, a little awkward since he`s 6`5. The rainforest was picturesque and got to see numerous waterfalls, there were liitle trails that took you to the most amazing little canopy beds, Didn`t see much wildlife though.
I think i am definently getting used to Costa Rican life, i seem to be eating to much and losing everything i learned for the past four years. Going to be really well prepared for college!!! Life is really like the saying ^pura Vida^
By the way Mummy i finally figured out what your time schedule is based on, it`s Tico Time, at least an hour late to everything!!! Just kidding, love you lots.
Going to Aurita this weekend with Mark and Jess, my house mates, a very small beach town on the pacific, hopefully it will be quiet and not to many fiestas.
It has been really interesting at my placement the past few days, i`ve had to talk with the parents of the children alone and in spanish, it gets quite amusing! The lack of services and money these parents recieve is astonishing. Most don`t own a wheelchair for their child and are completely unable to get required surgeries. I also realized how socially unaware they are about the abilities of their children, one girl who has mild cerbral palsy and mentally fine, is shut up in a classroom learning to match pictures at the age of 9. I know that i do not know the complete picture but definently hits a hot spot for me. All the mothers that i talk to think that you are insane, mum, kicking me out at 17 with a disability, how could you?!! ; ) Heard your renting out my room too, eh, definently makes me feel like coming home!!

Love to all

Monday, February 20, 2006

hello everyone,
hope everything is going well back home, sounds like my room is going to be quite empty when i return, Emma!! I had to say goodbye to all my lovely friends at the nursing home Friday, i was quite surprised at how attatched i got to them all. It was amazing to me how an elderly home with absolutly no money and basically running on volunteers could be so loving and be such a wonderful environment. I found it quite entertaining how most of the male staff looked like they could ride harleys, yet they were the ones who made the women up and painted their nails. One guy took Hortencia, a elderly woman with downs, onto his lap and read her Winnie the Pooh in Spanish, definently somthing you never see here!!!
Today i went to the Special Education school and found it quite ironic how after all these years of hating physical therepists i am now helping to torture the poor children!! I do believe i am slightly more enlightened to the benifits of PT yet it does not quite take away 13 years of psychotic Physical Therepists`s. I was extremely surprised at the lack of resources these parents have, children can only get physical therapy maybe once a week if their lucky and the parents have to pay extrodinate amounts of money for equipment. They were quite shocked that i was here alone and that i was going to go to college, usually the children are kept at home for the parents lifespan and then institutionalized. Even the physically disabled are seperated from the ^normal^kids. I am going to counseling with the parents tommorrow to just speak about the possibilities of programs that could allow the kids to live independently and also a bit about my life. Sounds really great.
Spent the weekend with Adrian and Phillip, had the greatest time. Adrian took me to San Jose`s museums and art gallerys. The contemporary art was comperable with the one in San Fran but unfortunently they had no pictures of waste managment cans, how disappointing!! We had a really really good time at the Papaya Fest, it was a huge concert in the middle of San Jose. My favorite was Perrozompopo, a nicuraguan band, mostly rock but some reggae. Adrian is the greatest dancer, he supposedly does ballet and modern at the National dance studio. Things you learn about people when your with them long enough!

Love you all!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I just have to say this for Ann and Ana, Costa Rica has just installed a brailled and audio voting machine in every voting poll. I find it quite remarkable that the US still is totally incompetent in that area.
Sorry for the little note, but Costa Rica just held their elections and i beleive they still don`t know who won, but most likely the one with the most money!
We had a Valentines dance at the nursing home today, they were getting pretty frisky i have to say. The women and i made cards for all of their dead husbands and judging from the black hearts and flowers they didn`t like their husbands too much. I also tried to do their make up, it was interesting how it came out a lot different than i imagined... But the danced to old ranchero type music and it was the coolest valentines day.
I had the greatest weekend, a group of us went up to the Arrenal volcano and we took a safari boat ride up through the River frio, it was amazing. we actually saw a albino monkey supposedly this kind of mutation happens only once a few hundred years so we were fortunate , wwe also saw camens which are crocidile type creatures, and sloths which remind me of a few people in my family. :P The guide was so nice and i actually left my wheelchair at the hotel and he carried me everywhere. It was nice for the day but it could definently get old with my independence complex and everything. The town that we stayed in had a huge carnival and the whole town of Fortuna was swimming in beer and people screaming with Costa Rican rock music blaring. Yeah i stayed at the hotel that night, my wheechairs electrics are not fond of beer. The roads and sidewalks are horrible but i can always get across curbs because of the little pathways over the sewers, conveinent but not so lovely. Then we went Canopy touring, it was a blast. I felt horrible for the poor guy who carried me all the way up to the first zip line, i was worried i was going to kill him, but i figured out that somehow men like to show their manliness by almost passing out with exhaustion, but it worked for me and i went on 12 lines through the rainforest. It was so gorgous and i went over this massive waterfall, it`s so much better than in pictures. There were tucans and parrots flying about beneath me. It was incredible. There was this one line that went for half a mile and you got to see straight out to the volcano, with the smoke rising and the rainforest around it. The actual canopy tour is not accessable what so ever but if you don`t mind being carried by some costa rican men you`ll do fine.
I`m still with Adrian the nicest guy ive met, he actually helped put the make up on the women today and is quite good at it so i think he has that duty tomorrow. The people here especially the men are so loving and warm, it is still a partiarcal society but it seems the women are repected more. I know when i go around town alone all these guys are right there to help me and are actually sincere about it. I don`t know Mum, i may not be coming home alone! Tou do still have the bed and breakfast right?
Love everyone and love to hear from you all.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Hola everyone, sorry it took me so long to find an internet cafe. Im just outside cartago, way up in the mountains so we have to walk 4 miles to town to even find a phone. I had a pretty uneventful flight but it was so so long, i think it was about 15 hours. I absolutly love my volunteer placement, i work in an elderly home and i give facials, massages and manicures to the women all day, beleive me they have it made! I also feed the really wweak people. Got punched yesterday because no one told me that the man i was feeding had major issues with women, so that was fun. I just absolutly love the people there, they are teaching me spanish from bingo and animal cards. I actually accidently told them in spanish that i was pregnant instead of embarrassed, so they got very excited and wanted to make me baby clothes, until i figured out a way to get over that no i was not pregnant. They were very dissapointed. I have the most wonderful guy helping me out or just hanging around me for a bit, his name is Adrian, and yes Emma he is muy bonito, He is wonderful and helps me get everywhere during the day. My Spanish is awful and his English is broken so we get very good at signing. Te staff here are absolutly incredible, they make the best food ever, yes uncle Nicky, rice and beans every day. The fruit is the most amazing thing in the world, i swear they go down the street and pick it off the tree.
The house is great i share a room with a couple other girls and i was a bit surprised to see the kind of people that were here. Most of them are heavy partiers, but i made friends with a couple of them who wern`t into that whole scene. Don`t worry Mummy I still have some sense. This weekend we have rented a hotel near the base of the Arenal volcano, there are some gorgous rainforests and we are actually finding a way to go canopy touring. As some may imagine Costa Rica is absolutly gorgous, just outside is the la fortuna volcano, it supposedly is active all year round and at night we see the lava or hot rock.
Accessibilty wise it`s Central America so my wheelchair has been doing very good off roading, in fact i have it tied with a bungie cord to the internet cafe so no one will steal it. Of course 90 % of the time i cant get in places so the group has been helpful and when i go out alone strangers are so friendly. I think i`ve lost about 15 pounds just trying to get in and out of public restrooms and getting around town. Jose and the rest of the staff are absolutly incredible, they rented and accessible cab for the entire 5 weeks so i can even use it on weekend trips.
Everything is so vibrant and colorful, I`m waking up at 6:30 everymorning to a bright orange room so I don`t know what i`m going to do when i get back home.
We went to the Orosi valley today and it was picturesque, we saw the most beautiful birds in the rainforests and went to a 16th century church. It`s amazing how faithful Costa Ricans are to the Catholic Church, we live right near the Bascillica, which is a huge church that people walk for days to come to. It`s quite moving.
>Anyway, it`s about 10:00 so walking back any later might not be to fun. ยด
Love you all, and thank you so much for your messages.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Of course because I am such organized person I have everything packed and set up. Yeah I'm kidding! I'm staring at a half packed bag remembering all the things i have to put into it. I never realized how heavy my battery charger is now that i have to carry it.
I get a minder as my grandmother would say, minder meaning someone to follow you around to make sure your ok for the first few days. His name is Adrian and he's going to make sure I can get everywhere realitivly easily. I heard he can't speak English too well, and my spanish is non-existant so we'll be a good pair! My sign language will come in handy.
Where i will be staying is a renovated old schoolhouse outside of Cartago, I will be sleeping in bunk beds, I was going to be put on top but they took pity on the poor guy that will have to get me up there. I'll have 6 roomates so lots of company!!!
Driving to SF tomorrow morning, and take a 9:50 flight out to New York ( yeah, i know!??) and then down to San Jose, Costa Rica.
You'll probably see me swearing the next time i blog because more likely than not the airlines have broken my wheelchair and have stranded me in the middle of the airport!
Fun times!