Not Always Rainbows and Butterflies: Adjusting to Life in Costa Rica

Hello again,

Before I left for London two years ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long), I published a post about what my life would be like there. If I recall correctly, I  decsribed my class schedule and where I would be living in order to provide a general understanding of what my daily life would like while abroad. I realize I never did that before I left for Costa Rica. So here is an explanation of what my life is like here.

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From now until mid-December I will be attending Universidad Latina in Heredia. I will be taking four classes, three of which are taught entirely in Spanish (the other is an economics class taught in English). Since I arrived late due to a flight cancellation, I had to attend classes on my very first day here. I’m going to be honest, I was very overwhelmed. I was still quite tired from my travels, and listening to a lecture in a foreign language was difficult to adjust to (especially since one of my professors speaks quite quickly). Self-conscious of my Spanish speaking abilities, I only spoke when I was specifically asked to. That first day really stressed me out and I went to bed around 8:30 PM. I knew I just needed to get used to my new environment, but honestly, that night I could only think about how long this semester would feel.

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This view of the mountains is from the outdoor cafeteria on campus!

Good news! After only a couple of days, I began to feel so much better. It turns out that listening to lectures in a foreign language is a lot easier when you’re not exhausted. I’m not saying I woke with the ability to understand every Spanish phrase ever spoken, but generally understand the professors as well as the assigned texts. I am still working on speaking, but each day I am less afraid to do so. Plus, I am working really hard to learn new words each day as well as recall words that I have forgotten.

Anyway, while I am here I am staying with a Tico family. My Tico parents are in their late 60s and are both retired. They are very kind and Mama Tico is so patient and understanding. She also makes incredible Costa Rican food! I am living here with another study abroad student (she is from South Carolina), but I have my own room in the house. The other student is also very nice and is practically fluent in Spanish after studying abroad in two other Spanish-speaking countries (which I find to be helpful).

Overall, now that I am feeling more comfortable in this home, at this university, and in this country, I am super excited for the rest of the semester. I look forward to seeing new places and improving my Spanish skills. And I look forward to rereading this post at the end of the semester and seeing how far I’ve come. I came here to challenge myself and I am determined to work hard until I reach my goals.

Just a quick little note: I’m really enjoying sharing my honest thoughts with all of you. If you have visited this site before (or any of my social media accounts for that matter), I tend to only display the most cheery aspects of my life. But life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies so posts about life don’t always need to be either. However, in true Eden fashion, I can’t leave only negativity and walk away. I find the bright side and share it with the dark.

 

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20 Things I Learned in 20 Years

I have officially survived two decades in this world and in honor of this milestone I wanted to share with you all some things that I have learned:

  1. Waking up in the morning is a lot easier when you’re excited about your breakfast.
  2. No matter how nice you are, not everyone is going to like you and that’s okay.
  3. Being single means you save a lot of money around Christmas and Valentine’s day.
  4. There is no need to be ashamed of or embarrassed by your taste in music.
  5. Spell-check is a wonderful invention.
  6. You can learn how to do anything by watching a Youtube video.
  7. Sometimes you grow apart from people and that’s normal…humans are dynamic.
  8. Never ride a razor scooter while wearing flip flops.
  9. Don’t compare your life to the the lives of others, because everyone has their own path to take.
  10. Watch at least two episodes of a sit-com after watching a horror film.
  11. ALWAYS remove your makeup before going to bed.
  12. You are never too old for chocolate milk or Disney movies.
  13. Procrastination is only good for making your future self hate your past self.
  14. Books are good for the mind and the soul.
  15. Napping is a beautiful thing, but it can also mess up the rest of your day… so nap strategically.
  16. Take advantage of any opportunity to experience a new place (whether it’s a town or country). The world is beautiful place and there is so much to see and learn.
  17. Accept other people for who they are.
  18. There is something really enjoyable and satisfying about piping frosting onto cupcakes.
  19. Mistakes create good learning experiences.
  20. Birthdays are the best, because they are like personal holidays celebrating YOU.

I’m young and I know that I have A LOT more to learn… but I can’t wait to see what those things are in the next twenty years!

I hope you have an absolutely wonderful day! 🙂

I’m Home!

Hello everyone,

I am sad to say that my semester abroad is officially over… it was such a wonderful experience in which I learned a lot. I have definitely ‘caught the travel bug’ and I look forward to exploring more parts of this amazing world in the future! Although I’m sad that my stay in London is over, I am happy to be spending the holidays at home with my family and friends. I look forward to catching up with everyone over the next few weeks!

Happy holidays everyone!

Enjoy this short video blog of my journey home:

 

A Different Type of Thanksgiving

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with love and great food!

My Thanksgiving this year was a little bit different from any Thanksgiving I have had in the past… Usually the holiday would start with me dragging myself out of bed (later than I had originally planned to) and slowly getting ready for the day. I would then run out the door (later than I had originally planned to), slightly annoyed by the fact that I was interrupted several times with, “Are you almost ready?” while I was trying to apply liquid eyeliner. Seriously though, liquid eyeliner requires extreme concentration. Anyway, my family and I would join my extended family at my grandparent’s house. There, my siblings and I would be forced to take the annual Christmas card picture, those of us in high school and college would try our best to avoid extensive conversations about school, and we would all indulge in an amazing feast that my wonderful grandmother so lovingly prepared (with generous help from the other talented chefs in the family of course). With our stomachs full and our hearts happy, my family and I would then journey to another home to catch up with my mom’s side of the family. As I’ve grown older less of these evening have been spent  playing ‘cops and robbers’ with my cousins, but the one thing that never changes is the amount of delicious dessert I eat. There’s always multiple pie options! Us women of the family would then close out the night by rummaging through newspapers comparing Black Friday deals.

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For Thanksgiving this year everything was a little bit different. I woke up at a fairly reasonable time and spent the day slowly getting ready while watching Youtube videos. I’m used to having a Thanksgiving lunch instead of a Thanksgiving dinner so I had more time than I knew what to do with. At 3:00 I met the rest of the students in my study abroad group for a boat ride down the River Thames. We got off the boat when we reached Greenwich, a sort of sub-town in London. The town is the center of time, as it is the location that all time is measured from. But more importantly is this very location that the climax of the second Thor film takes place! Jonny Depp filmed a scene here as well for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides! We walked around for a little while, admiring the beautiful Royal Naval College, before heading to the restaurant for dinner.

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The whole restaurant was really sweetly decorated, slightly Christmasy because the British don’t celebrate Thanksgiving (obviously). But I really appreciated the British touches, because at every place-setting there was a Christmas cracker! It reminded me of Christmas at home with my cousins! (For those of you who don’t know, a Christmas cracker is a long tube that pops when you pull it. Inside, one would usually find a paper crown, a piece of paper with a joke written on it, and some sort of small toy or gift.) Although, these ones were quite glittery and I’m pretty sure that I still have glitter on my coat even though this happened days ago. Oh well, I like glitter!

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Even though this Thanksgiving was quite different, I was still able to be surrounded by people while eating a delicious turkey dinner. I even topped off the night with a slice of pumpkin pie in true Thanksgiving fashion. I am very appreciative that my program coordinators organized a nice Thanksgiving evening, because otherwise I probably wouldn’t have celebrated (I don’t even think my small oven could cook a turkey).

Ultimately, I am just so grateful for this opportunity to study abroad in this incredible city. I have been giving the chance to see more of the world and I have quickly developed a true love for experiencing new places. Of course I miss my family and friends, all of whom I would have seen if I had gone home for Thanksgiving, but I think missing the holiday will only make Christmas more special. But for now, I will continue to enjoy the rest of my time here in London, because I know I am going to miss this city so much. I just wish I could bring my family and friends here instead… I think that could be a good compromise…

P.S. I’m sorry that this is an INCREDIBLY long-winded blog post…but sometimes I just start writing and I can’t stop… (This, however, is never the case with term papers…the struggle)