I have not had a chance to write in a while because this last week was hectic with classes. One of the coolest things that happened was that I experienced my first earthquake!!! It felt like a rumble of thunder was occurring while a group of large trucks drove by, except more intense. It was just 10 seconds of shaking, but it was really cool. You can read more about it here: http://www.ticotimes.net/2014/07/24/lunchtime-magnitude-4-3-earthquake-shakes-costa-rica-epicenter-near-capital?utm_source=BenchmarkEmail&utm_campaign=Daily+RSS+Newsletter&utm_medium=email Last weekend started off by going out with a couple of friends to a club for dancing. The night life here is lame, but I was happy with the music at Bochinche. My friend was leaving Costa Rica the next day, so it was nice to spend time together. Before leaving for the weekend excursion, we had a cultural activity. We took used pop bottles and other used-materials and reused them to make art. I really enjoyed getting to paint. Then, I went to the Pacific coast again (ugh, so hot!!), to a town called Montezuma. It was a 6 hour ride there involving 3 busses and 1 ferry ride. All of my friends who have visited Costa Rica recommended this place so I went. I really do not like the Pacific coast because it is just too hot and humid for me. However, the greenery and biodiversity is rich; the ocean is adjacent to a forest, a river and waterfalls. The first day, I went on a hike up the river (that leads into the ocean) to see the three waterfalls. It was an easy hike to the first one, and it was really beautiful. I met some cool tourists there too. The hike up to the next two was more challenging because the path was all uphill (on the edge of said hill) and pretty untouched. I am grateful that Mariah pushed me to do things that I would not have originally done. I was scared of getting lost, I was scared of the sign that said “during rainy season, there are flash floods,” and I was scared of falling along the untouched path. I learned that I am capable of much more than I thought. I learned to do more and think less. The hike was empowering and totally worth it. The waterfalls were beautiful. On the hike down, we saw a lot of lichens and interesting trees. For example, we saw trees with spikes on the branches. I was really hoping to see a toucan but we did not see any animals. The teal color on this rock was my favorite thing on the hike down. We followed the river out to the ocean. The rocks along the shore looked so cool, almost like there were huge spider webs over them, but really the rock was smooth and just had a texture facade. Amongst billions of shells, I also found sedimentary and red igneous rocks. The waves were really rough and the water was pretty deep. The next day, I went to the farmer’s market. They had a dog adoption station with adorable German Shepard puppies. They had a table for turtle conservation, and I met an American student who was working with them. Ironically enough, two years ago she was in San Jose doing a similar program to mine and even stayed in the same neighborhood as I am. There were a lot of artisans selling really beautiful, colorful jewelry, as well as hemp-wrapped crystals. All of the people selling vegetables and organic chocolate and kombucha (which was a horrible excuse for kombucha, definitely do NOT recommend trying it) were like old hippies, so it was a really cool environment. I got one of the chocolate “cigars,” and the 3 ingredient chocolate was delicious. The kombucha, on the otherhand, was not even kombucha. It was terrible. Outside of that, the majority of us stayed in the hotel room. There was A/C to protect us from the extreme heat, humidity and torrential downpours. For dinner we went to a place called Sano Banano, which was really delicious and had a lot of vegan options. Overall, the town of Montezuma is pretty expensive because it is a tourist town. When we returned to San Jose, a group of us went to a “Soda,” which is a local, family restaurant that often serves typical Costa Rican food. I got this plate, which had lots of yummy platanos. 🙂 Something cultural I learned here was that when someone calls your name to get your attention, you don’t respond with “what?” because that is viewed as rude. Instead, you are to respond with “Si?” This weekend I am staying in San Jose because on Thursday I came down with the stomach flu. Not sure what it was that I ate, since the water in San Jose is safe to drink, but it is nice to have a weekend to rest. I am now just finishing up my final projects and studying for the last quiz we have. It is crazy that I will be home in just a week, but I am ready to be back in America. I never really had pride for my country, but after being away for so long and really living in another country, I have realized how different life is and how blessed I am to have grown up in America.