Time has flown! Thanksgiving is coming up which means we’re nearing the end of the program. WHAT. I feel like we had our first hike on NOLS just yesterday, but the more that I think about all that we’ve done, all of the places that we’ve been, what we’ve accomplished together, I realize that so much has happened in the past 3 months. This program is more than unique. It’s been successful in expanding my understanding of the world we live in (with all it’s complexities) and it’s allowed me to further develop my values as a global citizen. If Elon is anything like Gap has been, then I can’t wait to get on campus. Pura Vida!
Today I was lucky enough to attend the wedding of one of the sisters in my host family. The house has been very chaotic the past few weeks with all of the different parts of the wedding coming together. Many relatives have come to Costa Rica for the wedding, including a family from Utah, who stayed in the house with us for a few nights. I tried my hardest to help with as many things as I could for the wedding, and as it came closer things really came together. My host mom made some of her delicious guanabana jam for the wedding favors and constructed flower vase center pieces out of glass jars, beads, and twine. The day of the wedding, I arrived home around 4:30 and rushed to get ready. Sofia, the bride, was very calm and collected but all the other women in the house were panicking about their hair, makeup, and outfits. We were finally ready to leave, about 15 minutes before the ceremony was supposed to start! The wedding was very simple and it was held at an upscale bar. Unlike a traditional wedding in the United States, the person performing the ceremony was a lawyer as opposed to a religious figure. Sofia and her soon to be husband, Diego, sat at a table in the front of the room and the vows were read. After, Diego, who is a very talented musician, performed a song that he had written for Sofia. The wedding was so fitting for the adorable couple. I was honored to be invited and to share that experience with them.
This past weekend from November 16th to the 18th was different than the past few weekends. The group visited EARTH University on Friday where we saw a banana plantation and a medicinal plant garden. I really enjoyed learning about the processes of both these but my favorite part of the weekend was on Saturday when a small group of us went white water rafting on the Reventazón River. Our morning started off very early, 6:15 am, when the rafting company picked us up. After a long drive we were told the bad news, that the Pacuare River was closed due to too much rain and that we are going on the Reventazón. I was really bummed but still really excited to go rafting. After a very traditional and flavorful breakfast at their headquarters we headed back into the bus and drove about 30 minutes to the river. Once we arrived at the river we got all geared up with helmets, PFD’s and paddles. My excitement level increased substantially and couldn’t wait to get started! Finally pushing off with two other people, a total of 7 and a guide in the boat, felt surreal. The cold slap of water in my face after the first rapid called “Banana Peel” brought me back to reality of how awesome the next few hours are going to be. Rapid after rapid I’m surprised no one in our boat fell out the whole time. Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and we arrived at our take out point, which was not as you would expect it to be. The take out point was a large ledge we had to climb over then watch the guides pull the large raft behind us! Once all the gear was loaded back onto the bus we drove back to headquarters where we had a hot and delicious lunch. Before we headed back home a few of us went to their gift shop and picked up a few things to remember the trip. I got a shirt, map of the river and a sticker for my rafting helmet back at home. Looking at the pictures taken by the company made me realize how much fun we had and how badly I want to come back and do the Pacuare River!