I was going through old photos on my computer and realized I started this blog after my adventure in Costa Rica so I thought I would share some of the photos and stories. It will help me get pumped for my Europe trip!!! (as if I actually need help to get pumped to go to Europe hahahaha)
If you have read the about me section you know my dad died when I was 20 and it rocked my world. When I was getting back on track and starting to do well in school again, I was in a class and someone came in and did a quick presentation about a student volunteer organization called ISV, International Student Volunteers. This presentation was enthusiastic and awesome and I said to myself, yep I am so doing that. I was 22. I went to their website and looked around and chose Costa Rica, mostly because their adventure tour sounded the best at the time.
I tend to do things to the extreme, remember when I walked into the wilderness by myself after quitting my job to try and thru-hike the PCT? LOL. In keeping with that I signed up for 1 week of Spanish lessons, 2 weeks of volunteer work, a 2 week adventure tour, and 1 week hiking the Andes to Machu Picchu. Here is what happened:
I had never traveled internationally alone, or even really nationally alone. I had driven from Nevada to California a few times by myself but that was it, so while I was with a group, they were all strangers to me and ISV had made it very clear that we were adults, if we did anything wrong we were on our own.
I got to LAX about 5+ hours before my flight took off, this was before everyone could check in 24 hours ahead on their phones and the internet. Some of the other people who were traveling from other places said they would get to the airport early so I thought I could join them and get to talk to some of them ahead of time. Checking it that early meant I got bumped up to first class!!! To date that is my first and only time in first class hahaha!
When we landed there was no guide to meet us we just headed to the front to look for our host families. I got into a car by myself with a complete stranger in a foreign country…..she knew my name so it had to be her right? Thankfully all turned out well.
I had my own little room and was given a key.
I had no Spanish knowledge so I was in the very basic class……it was so boring hahahahaha! We had Spanish lessons in the morning then were free to do as we pleased in the afternoon and evenings. They had dance classes everyday that I went to and thoroughly enjoyed. I remember that my dance partner was there learning Spanish because he wanted to be a doctor with doctors without boarders.
Here was my beginners class with out teacher
We went on a few outings that were guided by the school. Usually lunch around town or to look at something historical.
One night I also went out with a bunch of people from the school to a local bar/dance club. It was fun but part of picking myself back up after my dad died meant that I had completely stopped drinking until I could get myself under control so going to a bar with people who just wanted to get drunk was not the best idea, I was bored and miserable the whole night. I wasn’t ready to be able to have sober fun in a setting like that.
When we graduated we all got little certificates saying we had learned for a week hahahaha
This week was my first time ever staying with a non-family member or friend by myself, first time using an international phone card, first time using an internet café, first time using my passport to get into a bar, first time navigating a foreign city by myself, first time trying to really communicate with people who spoke a language I didn’t, first great adventure as an adult.
I had had one big international trip before this, I went to South Korea with my family when I was in the 5th grade, it was wonderful but this was 100% different, doing something on your own as an adult is very liberating and you learn so much about yourself. I am so excited for Europe!!!!
I’ll tell you more next month!!