My musings…

Archive for October, 2008

Pura Vida

At least that’s what they say in costa rica – pure life.

I’ve been here almost a week and haven’t seen any of it…  I arrived late on Sunday night and boarded a bus.  I slept for the next 2 hours of the bus ride when we arrived in Turrialba.  We’re staying at CATIE the Center for Tropical Agriculture Investigation and Teaching (or something to that effect – http://www.catie.ac.cr).  It’s a very secluded place.  We’re kept inside the walls by a guard who works at the entrance and we’ve only been off campus once since arrival.   The center is used to do research and there are also Masters and PhD programs here…

Since Monday, I’ve basically been staring at a hundred thousand power point presentations about REDD – reducing emissions from deforestation and land degradation.  The idea is that countries that are forested and haven’t cut down their trees should be given an incentive for not cutting them down with the idea that cutting them down would release more greenhouse gases, leading to global warming and our eventual deaths (okay, so I wouldn’t go that far, but it will involve a lot of changes in all of our lives).  I’ve learned a lot about methodology, different projects, etc, and it has been great!  I’ve met  a lot of cool people from all over the globe.  And I’ve also learned that the real purpose of these conferences is not really to learn more information about the subject matter, but to meet people and make connections to improve your work – whether financially or otherwise.  Today was our big show – our project clinic.  We had 12 potential projects present, all of which have questions about methodologies or legality, etc, and we have them sitting down with experts in the themes and they are trying to figure out how to make their projects work.  Pretty cool.  I managed to escape to a little side room which has a good internet connection to be able to do this sort of stuff now, though I’ve mostly been able to check my email all week.

Tomorrow I’m going white water rafting!!!!  Then, hopefully on Sunday I’ll have a little bit of time to explore down town San Jose before I get on the plane to go back home and to real life.  Monday is NOT going to be a fun day.  I have a bunch of work that I need to catch up on.  I think I might stay home on Tuesday to be able to vote, plus I get a comp day for travelling on a weekend, so I might as well use it – I have to do a lot of laundry and Mom is not willing to share her new (front loading!) washer.

For now, though, I better post this before my internet connection disappears.  Peace, love and pura vida to all!

State Session

So last week I made an almost spur-of-the-moment decision to go to PA State Grange Session.  So I left my house super early on Saturday morning and drove to Lancaster.  Instead of showing up and being bored on Saturday morning, I picked up Philip and we went to meet Lauren at the Cherry Crest Farm Corn Maze.  This maze is HUGE.  5 1/2 acres.  It took us an hour and a half to get through, gathering almost all of the puzzle pieces (which help you to build the map and find your way out.  We ate some food and then had to run so that Philip would get back in time for the beginning of session and the youth officers drill.  While they were doing boring resolution work, I decided that I would sign a song in the competition the next day, so I worked on learning my song.  I had already learned how to sign “We Shall Be Free” by Garth Brooks several months ago, so I decided that I would do that at Session, since I hadn’t done it there before.  (I had never seen that video before I linked it in here and I literally got chills watching it!  There’s also a part where a woman signs “The earth doesn’t belong to us, we belong to the earth” which I thought was pretty cool!) 

The youth officers did their marching drill and closing which was pretty cool, then Philip, Mom, Dad and I went out for dinner at some Amish place.  Afterwards we went to the talent competition and saw Zech sing his song – and win!

Then there was the youth “party” and what a party it was.  With a full selection of fruits, vegetables, coffee and tea, the party got started on the right foot.  Soon the older people all went to bed, and a handful of us were left sitting around the hotel lobby talking about the future and reminiscing about Grange memories.  My head finally hit a pillow around 2:30am only to be awakened at 6:30.  I got up and got a shower, then introduced Mom and Dad to Panera before going to church service.

Church was okay.  Nothing Earth shattering.  Then Philip and I made a Staples run (to get my CDs and lyrics that I needed for the sign-a-song competition), went to the Jr. Degree (good job guys!) and to the Youth Luncheon which was NOT worth $15.  Right about 1:30 I decided I would give a prepared speech in the public speaking competition which started at 2.  (Thank goodness for wireless internet!)  So I researched and wrote a speech and outline as well as registered for both competitions in the half hour that followed.  I ended up winning both competitions and now go to the regional competition in New Jersey to compete in April.  These are the same competitions I used to do with some regularity and then I dropped off the face of the earth.  (This became more apparent to me as at least 5 people came up to me and asked if I’m now living state-side again.  It seems as though I haven’t been to a state-wide Grange function since I left to go to Ecuador!)

Got back to College Park around 7:30pm, watched Bailando Por un Sueno and fell asleep on the couch.  This week is full of workshop planning for the workshop in Costa Rica next week.  Trying to finalize the participants list and get people plane tickets.  Basically just going CRAZY! 🙂  

Pictures to come soon!

Here we go again…

So it has been 2 weeks since I’ve updated and I’m sure that a lot of incredibly fun things have happened since then.  And, actually, they have!

I don’t remember what happened the weekend after Mom and Dad came down…and there aren’t pictures, so that doesn’t help.  Must have involved relaxing at the house!  Gasp!  That would be something new and different!  Oh wait!  Now I remember!  Saturday involved taking Elvis’s cousins shopping at the mall and seeing Los Francos play at Cuzco Numero Dos.

The first weekend in October was very exciting!  Friday night we went to Latin Palace and I saw LAUREN for the first time in over a year!  Julia and Jacki came as did a bunch of Elvis’s friends.  It was a lot of fun! There was also a cumbia/reggaeton band that played there that night, so that was cool.  We also played a lot of foosball.  Then Lauren, Jacki and I slept over at Julia’s.  (The biggest success of the night was that I managed to parallel park my car ALL BY MYSELF!!!)  

Saturday morning we didn’t want to get out of bed, but eventually we headed to Mt. Lebanon for the PA Renaissance Faire.  We had a lot of fun seeing the different shows, eating some delicious soup and drinking some hot apple cider (it was really cool out that weekend).  Unfortunately I left my camera in my car, so I don’t have pictures, but Jacki should have some up sometime soon!

Sunday Elvis and I went to hike at Greenbelt State Park.  We did the 5 mile loop and saw a few deer and basically just enjoyed being outside for awhile!

Then there was another week full of work.  That wasn’t as much fun.

This weekend was fun as well.  Saturday we got up and headed to a farm in Germantown.  We walked around for a bit, went through the corn maze (incorrectly, I think).  And then went up to the pumpkin patch where Elvis chose a 40 pound pumpkin to carve.  He liked it because it’s slightly hour glass shaped and it was different from any other pumpkin in the patch.  We went back on the hayride, paid for the pumpkin, and headed to the house.  After a nap, we started to carve the pumpkin.  We had purchased a carving kit (with a mini-saw and everything!) and chose the Yoda design.  The next two or three hours were filled with trying to get the design right!  I attempted to toast the pumpkin seeds, but forgot about them in the carving madness and they ended up being black.  OOPS!  Saturday night we made ceviche and patacones and watched tv with Elvis’s cousin.

Sunday we went to the mall to buy bread…mmm…Then to visit with the boys that Elvis used to live with.  In the afternoon, Meryl and Chicha came over.  We played volleyball (Elvis and I won 16-14 both matches) and basketball (Meryl and I won 21-9).  By the time Elvis won Around the World it was so dark we could barely see, so we went back to the house and had bread with the hot coffee and tea and finished off the weekend by watching Bailando por un sueno.  Good times, good times. 🙂

P.S. You can see pictures from Mom and Dad’s visit and some of the other things mentioned in this post here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2022524&l=461e7&id=75900409.