Saturday, March 24, 2012

Friends [old and new]

Last weekend we had the enjoyable experience of spending time with friends from our past and from our present (and it is assumed that they will be friends in our future as well!). Just a few days after settling into our new home we hosted our first guest. Our friend Lisa (from the good ol' NCCC days) started her Costa Rican vacation with a taste of the real life in this little country. The day she left we were able to spend the day riding horses through the rolling hills of Sarapiquí with our new (in the grand scheme of things) friends, fellow Peace Corps Volunteers (and a couple of new trainees).

Lisa arrived on Thursday evening, Chris picked her up at the super in town as she got off of the bus and I was excited to come home from my exercise class to have her safe in our home. We had messaged back and forth a couple of times before her departure from the states and I was hoping that my directions would get her here without problems - thankfully they did!

We started Lisa's stay with a filling dinner, some Amish Dice and a lot of good conversation. We hadn't seen one another in roughly five years so it was nice to catch up before a jam packed Friday adventure. That night we tucked Lisa into a tent in our living room (as protection against mosquitoes) and woke her up the following morning with the smells of gallo pinto, the typical breakfast of Costa Rica.

From there we crammed just about every possible experience into the next 24 hours as we could. She accompanied us to story hour with our pre-schoolers. Then to an afternoon of soccer games between the escuela and colegio. Chris and I had been recruited to play with the elementary kids (that is roughly where our skill level is) and Lisa came along for the ride - not playing but enjoying arroz con leche (rice pudding) that the kindergarten class was selling as a fund raiser (OK, I ate some too!). When the games wrapped up we did a quick walking tour and history session on our community and then returned home to clean up and make dinner. After eating dinner we went in search of churros (the town festivals were starting, we had to indulge) and then hung out waiting for the bull riding to start. While it was advertised to start at five, the festivities really didn't begin until roughly 8:30. We watched a couple of riders get tossed from their bulls and a couple of people lasso said bulls, but then called it a night. 

Watching the bulls

A group shot of the horses,
someone else got the picture of the people!
The next morning we said good-bye to Lisa (after she treated us to breakfast at one of the local restaurants) and hopped on a bus to visit our friend Rebecca who lives close by. From Rebecca's we walked to the next community over and met up with five other Peace Corps Volunteers, three adolescent boys and about a dozen horses. The boys, ranging from about 12 - 15 years old would be our tour guides. We spent the next two hours or so gallivanting through the countryside, sometimes at a walk, sometimes at a gallop. We enjoyed walking the horses through the river, riding along the beach and taking a break so that our guides could show off their mad river skills - swinging off of vines into what seemed much too shallow water to the rest of us. When we returned to our starting point us gingos changed into our swimsuits and enjoyed ourselves in the local river, cooling down and washing up.

One of our guides getting ready to leap out of a tree like Tarzan
Riding and swimming was followed by some delicious food and good conversation. The day went by too quickly, but we were ready to crash by the time we got home. It was a fun-filled and incredibly busy weekend. It was wonderful to see so many friends in such a short period of time and to enjoy the culture and customs of this country that we have called home for the last two years.

1 comment:

Giana Forzareli said...

Wow! It looks like you had an excellent time in Costa Rica. The photos that you provided were breath taking. I especially enjoyed viewing the photographs of the beautiful horses. This post has inspired me to start searching for prices of costa rica vacation rentals. Lets hope I have the same great experience.