I have share an insight about an important date, August 15th, 2015. A time where Costa Rica honours all Mamá. There was a significant event that guided me to write this post. Feliz día de la Madre!
On August 15th, 2015, Costa Rica celebrates Mother’s Day. I like to take this time to blog about this important date. To all the Mothers out there, and members of society who had to take on the Mother role for whatever reason they have. Feliz día de la Madre! When I was in Costa Rica just one week from today, the children at the two elementary schools that I worked at made Mother’s Day card. I had the duty of helping the children with the upcoming English Festival and Spelling Bee. For their impromptu speech, the children had to write and talk about their family or favorite things. This also included their own drawings when they described a family member or their favorite thing. What I noticed is each child’s drawing. But one particular one stood out to me. It was one of the young boy’s family. He drew two male holding hands together. I later found out that he had lost his mother and it was only him and his dad. On this week, for most its a great time to share the joy and celebrate our moms together, but for others its sadness and a reminder and longing for Mom that they shared a short time period together. When I said goodbye to the children that I worked with, I made sure that they felt loved and cared for. I hugged each and everyone. With this said, it is important to hug. As a Massage Therapy student, hugging is just as important in healing then any other form of treatment. It is an alternative form of therapeutic touch. If everyone in the world received a hug each day, their health will be up a level. It is very therapeutic and the Science behind it is that we releases hormones, such as Endorphines. Which in turns gives us happiness. During my time in Costa Rica, my host mother role was very important. She made sure each of her son was feed, kissed each one on their forehead before they went out for their soccer game, and made sure everything is in order in the household. Para mamá. Feliz día de la Madre!
By: Sherry Ing, GEO International Internship Costa Rica Summer 2015 participant.
It was my first experience living with a home-stay family. It showed me the lives of others and their everyday routine in a different country. It was the key to life lessons that I will carry onward from this experience throughout my lifetime. I have written significant events that happen to me on my first GEO international internship experience in Costa Rica.
It almost seems like yesterday, when I first received the keys to my room in my Costa Rica family house. The interior was different from my first family. I didn’t think my first time living with families of Costa Rica descendant would be a life lesson in itself. It tested my limits and called for quick decision making at my first family. It ignited my passion for family closeness, appreciation of the different personalities that my Costa Rica siblings possessed, and my mother and father’s role in the household at my second family. As I entered my room, the ceiling was lined with golden colour trimmings. The fabric clothed closet didn’t have any other peoples’ belongings, the nightstand had an Alaskan sunset cloth fabricated over it, and the bed was just right. I felt at peace. Claro! I would lock myself out of my room with the keys inside on my first day with them. The first family had a second set of keys, but my second family, they had a machete. The machete helped unlock the latch of the door after going through a pile of extra keys that didn’t fit the keyhole. My brother and father laughed at this and I did too. My time in Costa Rica with my Costa Rica families allowed me to practice my Spanish, opened the doors to the lives of a different culture, and the charm that the country possessed. Last week was very emotional for me. I had said goodbye to the 20+ children that I had connected and worked within two schools, saw my first and last soccer game of my brothers, and said goodbye to my home-stay families and friends that I made during my time there. Yesterday, I hopped on flight 1807 along with Canadian tourists and others landing in Toronto. Before I left Costa Rica, I had made the red, white, blue colour of Costa Rica, friendship bracelets to people that I connected with and presented them. They are a symbol of global friendship and proudness that the people had of their country. I hope when I complete my studies at Centennial and work that I will return and be reunited with them. As I walked through the house, I slowly un click the two keys I had from my keychain, one to the house and one to my room. I placed them on the dining table that I had most of my meals at. Farewell Costa Rica, hasta luego! This was my global experience, I encourage you to take the keys to another country and open to a new global journey….. what will your global experience be?
By Sherry Ing, GEO International Internship Costa Rica Summer 2015 participant
I have given an insight on my 5 hours walk to the Basilica in Cartago with two Costa Rica friends. At first we were strangers to each other, but as we walked together we were able to motivate and keep each other moving.
On August 2, two Costa Rica friends and I decided to walk 5 hours to the Basilica in Cartago, the old capital of Costa Rica. The previous day, hundreds of Costa Rica people came from all directions, South, West, East and North. It was also a holiday and a time of celebration and many people travel here to do the pilgrimage walk or visit the Basilica on these two dates. The road we took was after San Marcos to Cartago. We did not come across many walkers but a few. On our way we met three young boys in their bright soccer team shirts and shoes. They also had to stop to massage their legs, one boy barely could walk without restriction. During this 17 km walk we saw many abandoned umbrellas and we walked the path that once was called the mountain of death. Its called this because the paved road never existed and people easily slipped and fell to their death. Once we got to the Basilica de Los Angeles, there were many people. On one side there were food stands and the other the line up to the church. You have the option of walking into it or be on your knees. The day was complete with a view of a soccer game in front of a school that once was a government building. The 17 km walk could not have happened if it were not for the two companion I had with me to do it together. We made sure we had something to eat, if anyone needed a break, and taken turns carrying bags. We were behind one another, with one person leading in front to keep our pace going. Would you consider a 17km walk with complete strangers? How would you keep each other motivated?
This is my compiled list of five things to do in Llano Bonito, Costa Rica. As well as, it can be a guide for making the best out of your rural living-condition experience.
On your sole, get set, GO! In Llano Bonito, there are routes and passages that you can discover by foot with a hiking companion of course. I personally wouldn’t go alone, two minds are better than one. I like to hear someone with a different view set as me and can point out things that I might otherwise have not seen with my own eyes. Along the unmarked path, sometimes there are no sidewalks, along the hills, you can get a taste of the edible berries and fruits from trees and bushes. Not sure what they are, but it’s good to have a local person guide you on what fruits that can be eaten. An unfamiliar fruit I had tasted was a “Manzana de agua” (translated as water apple in Spanish) every day the weather is different and you can always guarantee that the same place looks different. Sometimes you can be walking through the mist and fog, or have lightning and thunder in the background.
Goal! There is a solo outdoor fótbol (soccer in Spanish) field in Llano Bonito. It is bigger than the indoor soccer field located within the elementary school of Llano Bonito. Every Friday evening, the female and male soccer players would have a game there. My homestay brothers play a family soccer game every Sunday with their cousins after church in the outdoor field. Sometimes there is a serious soccer game played on a Sunday there. People of all ages would gather to watch it behind the fence or sit on top of their cars.
Play dress up and find the needle in a haystack. There are little shops that you can find and buy used clothing. It is sometimes called “tiende de ropa Americana” ¢200-¢300. You can find interesting patterns and fabrics from the mountain pile of clothing. It really is a workout and like finding a needle in a haystack as I mostly watch the girls pull clothing out of the pile and help with the pulling and stacking as well.
Its good to get out of the district once in a while. Take the bus to the nearest canton, such as San Pablo or San Marcos. The cost of a bus ticket is approximately ¢900 Colonies.
Attention all Coffee Lover out there, visit a coffee plantation and learn how it’s processed and how they do it here in Llano Bonito. It’s a 24-hour non-stop coffee assembly from November to February and sometimes March. Local families and workers that come from the nearest country such as Nicaragua during this time to help out with the coffee picking and production. It is also the summer season and time of harvest for the coffee plants.
By: Sherry Ing, Centennial College Massage Therapy student currently in Costa Rica.
Hello! Pura Vida to everyone. In this post I am going to sum up 6 things I have learned during my stay in Costa Rica so far. Hopefully this will be helpful for whoever plans to come to this beautiful green country after me.
Pura Vida. Pura Vida means literally everything. Whatever happens and whatever you do, you can always say Pura Vida. It translates to “pure life” and you can say it in place of good morning, hello, goodbye and many other things. This phrase represents the simple life we live in Costa Rica. Your bus is an hour off schedule? Pura Vida!
You are going to sweat like you have never sweat before in your entire life. The simple fact that you are alive means that you are going to sweat. It doesn’t matter what you are doing. You are going to sweat.
In Costa Rica you can find the most enormous insects you could ever imagine and the smallest of insects. You can find a moth the size of Michael Jordan’s hand or an ant as small as the tip of a pencil.
Mosquito Nets. Check your bed out before going to sleep. There might be a critter waiting for you to say goodnight- like a tarantula, or snake. This is why we have mosquito nets. Pura Vida!
Speaking of bugs, bug spray will be your best friend.
Rice and Beans. Gallo Pinto is the typical dish in Costa Rica which includes rice and beans. You will see it everywhere and eat it everywhere at any time- breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have eaten more rice and beans in these two months more than I have in my entire life.
To finish, I am going to show you some more pictures!
A GLANCE INTO A DAY AT WORK IN SAN RAFAEL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
I have documented and shown a day into my life as an intern in Llano Bonito at an elementary school called San Rafael and what my Monday looks like last week.
Woken up to the sound of my brothers leaving for work. The Mother Hen is always busy in the kitchen early in the morning to prepare us breakfast. I ate a traditional breakfast called pinto: fried eggs, rice with beans, and sour cream on the side.
Started work at the San Rafael elementary school and ended at 11:30 am. The children just returned from a 2 week vocation. We helped the English teacher with the kids by reviewing potential topics for their upcoming test. We utilized active learning. I had the children play a mini competition between each other when they reviewed their shapes. I drew a robot and a house and gave instructions to the children to construct the same drawings by dictating in English to them a shape to draw.
We visited and toured Coope Llano Bonito coffee plantation. This is a fair trade certified coffee plantation in Llano Bonito. Fair trade certification is a set of guidance that the plantation follow so their workers are treated fairly in terms of work payment and working condition along with how the coffee process is done. Our tour guide is an Engineer and showed the group around the plantation. He talked about the grading of coffee and the stock exchange in New York, U.S regarding coffee prices. During their busy season, mid November to February, sometimes into March, the plantation runs 24 hours. They have machines that reduces the number of manual labours in the process. There is a hot and humidity control systems that the coffee go through.
Hiked up the mountains, came across trails of ants carrying miniature leaf cuttings along the way.
Visited a friend and their friendly Iguana. We did some cardio workout as well and lyrical dance with her daughter to her favourite songs by her favourite pop idol.
Returned home for dinner. I had choyote, potatoes, fried plantains, white rice, red beans, and a side of aquacate.
By Sherry Ing, Centennial College Massage Therapy student currently in Costa Rica
What exactly am I doing this summer? Right now, Toronto is filled with crowds of cheers for Athletes competing in the Pan Am Games. I had the personal choice of either staying in Toronto and joining in with fellow aspiring health professionals to support the Athletes or intern at a health based internship in Costa Rica. Both are important to me and relates to health & people, but living cross culturally and developing international friendship was a new personal goal for me. As a Centennial student, I am taking part in a GEO international internship in Llano Bonito, Costa Rica at the moment this summer. Llano Bonito, which is translated into English as flat and beautiful, which is contrary to what the description of the location here actually is. There is a humour to it and if you get it, the hills aren’t exactly flat in Llano Bonito. Be prepare to pack a good pair of hiking shoes because it’s a gastrocnemius (calf) workout here. For the internship, it consist of working with the Proal women in natural health assessment and plant based medicine. While the majority of my work week is spent with children of Llano Bonito at two elementary school with an English teacher. Just recently, me and my fellow health-related program Centennial student revitalized the green house at Proal. We cleaned it up a bit and then planted different vegetables and herbs. We had red and green leaf lettuce, chives, curly and flat leaf parsley, and seeded zucchini and radishes. These are only for the coordinators’ personal use for now. Hopefully it can be turned into an educational green house for school children to visit and to learn about where their food come from. My time here is almost coming to a close chapter, living cross culturally in this brief time period in Llano Bonito is filling me with new stories and experiences to share with my friends and family. I am creating international friendship, and enduring challenges that inspire new ideas and way of thinking about life. What one personal and professional goal would you like to gain from an international internship experience?
My home-stay brother asked me if I wanted to harvest aquacate, while he was happily trimming part of the stem off an aquacate. Aguacate is avocado in English. He just harvested the bins full of avocado at the back of the truck in the morning with the other male family members. His clothing were soiled and his hands muscle were very developed probably from many years of manual labour. While my other brother was taking a rest at an outdoor chair beside us. It was a moment that I will never forget. There were pictures being taken, but I opted not to be in a photo. The would-had-been photo would had consisted of me and my fellow Centennial student at either side of the truck with smiles on our faces between the bins of avocados. The reason I did not model in the photo was because I felt that I did not put in the work and my brothers had laboured in harvesting those avocados. They should had been the models. Many times at my home-stay they would leave the house early and return with similar characteristics in the afternoon. Soiled clothing, sweat pouring from their faces, and catching their breath. They would always be very proud, happy, of their work and shared the joy. These were a certain avocado cultivar made and harvested from Costa Rica. It is a fruit that is pear-shaped and is native to Central America. Every meal I have with my family had a side of avocado. They were nicely green, buttery, and tasted good. Each one that I had was savoured and I was thankful for. I appreciate how much love and care that my brothers takes in harvesting them and how important it is to them and their family. If you love avocado, how much do you buy them for? Where do they come from if they are not grown in your country? What cultivar/variety is it? Usually you will be buying the variety ‘Hass’. What do you make with the avocado?
Just the other day I was in my homestay family kitchen. I was shown and taught how to make a snack that consisted of unripe plantains, salt, and oil. The plantains were freshly picked by my homestay family. As the vegetation here provide many bananas, berries, cherry tomatoes, avocado, lime, lemon, rosemary, mint, chamomile, oranges, mangoes, and other fruits as well. Along with flowering hibiscus, roses, coffee bushes, poinsettias, and amaryllis. The “backyards” of the homes in Llano Bonita is literally a field of banana trees, coffee plants, avocado, mangoes, lime, and lemon trees, etc. Along the road you will find the odd tomato plant and black berries bushes. Sometimes, I would help my host family pick them and bring them home for them to make fresh fruit juices or milkshake out of it. What I notice is that Llano Bonito is a biodiversity within. As mentioned in one of my earlier post, Proal believes that nature and humans are in the same circle of life. Would you like to imagine a world where everyone and animals do not have to go hungry? Imagine having a feast of plentiful fruits and vegetables growing naturally and freely for all to enjoy at a shared “backyard”. Well, I believe Llano Bonito is the living proof of this. And if you plant and take care of one living plant to share your harvest, what would it be?