Hey parents and friends, we’ve made it to our home base in Garza. Today was a long day of travelling and meeting new friends. Claire and I (Emmy) were the first to land here in Costa Rica and enjoyed welcoming all the other students as they arrived. After all of the students from the first group were here, we went to Café Cristina and ate a delicious authentic meal. After that we started on the trek to our home base. We went through mountains and down bumpy roads to make it to our homey pura vida style hotel, only a minutes’ walk from the beach. Can’t wait to see what the next 21 days have in store.
Jen, International Director
We are waiting for 6 more to come in from the airport… But we have their door signs!
When most people woke up at what they thought was about 9, it varied in between 4:30 and 6am. The sun was bright and was ready for us to conquer the day. As everyone slowly started to show up, we all came together and had a nice American breakfast buffet, then we had orientation 1.0 and talked about the program and did some ice breaking games to get to know each other. After that we went swimming for a little just before lunch, then we had lunch and we met with our mentors and headed down to the gorgeous beach. We body surfed the waves, got covered in sand, and had fun together. Then we headed back and had orientation 2.0 in the pool and went into detail about what we were going to do each day. Then we had presentation over the Nosara Animal Care and what they did, and they told us what we will be working with high school students at the NAC house. Then after that we had about two hours to chill and do whatever. We played some card games, talked with each other, and went for a walk to see the pretty sunset. And when I say pretty, I mean it!! Then we came back and had some dinner and we had our last orientation and got to try some new Costa Rican snacks. Now everyone is just relaxing and talking with each other and getting ready for bed. Can’t wait to see what these next 3 weeks bring! Pura Vida!!
1st breakfast with everyone! @ Playa Garza
First day of service, woo! We had an early start at 6:00am and journeyed to our service site at 7:00am. We were placed in the middle of a soon-to-be school, a music school to be exact, and were given the tasks that needed to be done. We were going to be painting a mural on the side of the school along with the logo and creating a beautiful garden to be appreciated by the community. To gain knowledge of what the people of Guanacaste wanted on the building, we turned directly to them. We ventured out into the community and asked for their advice. Upon walking around and soaking in the culture, we were met with smiling faces and accepting families who welcomed us directly into their homes without hesitation. A young boy was incredibly excited to show a group of us around his school where we will be working at during our stay as well. Soon after, we all met back at the school and shared what we had learned. Through teamwork and creative brainstorming, we came up with many ideas for each of our projects and everyone is super excited to start. Tomorrow begins our first labor day of service at the Nosara Animal Clinic and couldn’t be more excited! It’s bedtime here soon and then another early start tomorrow. Pura Vida!!
Another early morning! We left the home base at 7:00am eager to start our service at Nosara Animal Care. Upon arrival we anxiously waited to meet the adorable puppies along with the local Tico high school students. Even though not everything went as planned (Costa Rican style) everyone pushed through and the results were epic! From seeing the dense forest turn to a beautiful dog walking path, and the shabby walls of the NAC “casa” be transformed with a coat of pain was truly amazing! After a hard days work, we had a great lunch at Olga’s Beach Café with our newfound Tico friends. Many of the group bought wonderful souvenirs from a local vendor, and then we went back to work for a couple of hours. All together we immersed ourselves in Costa Rican culture, practiced our Spanish skills with members of the community, and felt accomplished as the hot sun set on Playa Garza. As a group we look forward to another rewarding day in this beautiful country! Pura Vida!!
~Lauren and Maddy – Leaders of the Day
Today was our final day of service at Nosara Animal Care, painting the house walls with beautiful white paint. Also finishing up the path from the drive way all the way back of the house. The trail was completely cleared out from woods, plants, and dirt to nice little white rocks and gravel and a border around it with huge white rocks. Really cool how it came down to the drive way connecting with the trail path and also a very little path to the dog house on the left. Going up the stairs and really looking of how beautiful it turned out to be and comparing it with how it looked before, it’s just mind blowing. Same with the trail just awesome to walk through it and seeing all of the hard work put in it. The most cool thing was that we got to work with some of the local students and being able to talk with them and really getting them to be part of our group. Hard work really pays off at the end. After the service we went to eat lunch at Olga’s Beach Café and had great food that some of us never tried before also having the local students with us , giving them a chance to open up to us and really talk to one another, and for most of us we got a chance to practice our Spanish with them and getting to know them.
After finishing that good lunch , we headed to a church to watch a documentary about the local turtles and how important it is to the Costa Ricans . Finishing up with a wonderful walk at the beach and trying to see where the turtles lay their eggs . A really great day with awesome team work and everyone putting in their best effort and strength to which ever job they were going. We are all ready for the Adventure Weekend that starts tomorrow, everyone can’t wait! PURA VIDA !!
Fearless mentor Chris drinking a turtle egg.
The House is finished!
The trail is finished!
With the team from Nosara high school and ADI Ostiona
Today was a great day!! For the first time since we landed in Costa Rica we had WiFi (which really contributed to the greatness of the day). Aside from the WiFi though, today was great because we had adventure time. We started the day off by having breakfast at a cafe and then spending almost two hours at Playa Pelada playing in the ocean and tanning. Then, we got lunch at an amazing restaurant named Rancho Tico and we had WiFi there too!!!
After lunch, The group got to participate in various activities such as paddle boarding, surfing and horseback riding. During this time, everyone of us got to experience different parts of Costa Rica while still exploring our passions. Looking back on the day, we all agreed that although we participated in different activities, we all believe that Costa Rica is a plentiful country that has endless opportunities for exploration and learning. ¡Pura Vida!
-Christian and Claire, Leaders of the Day
Internet, coffee and smoothies
So today we got to sleep in… until 6:30… which was amazing! We started the day off with breakfast at the hotel and then headed out to a nature reserve hike and spilt into mentor groups at the Boca. Salchicha Ballers started off with the hike, while the Savage Patch Kids sat at the Boca and told their stories of self to those in their mentor group. After an hour we switched. While hiking the SPK saw monkeys, baby iguanas, and some really creepy scary big spiders. With laughter and tears, the stories of self really brought everyone closer together within their mentor groups. We then proceeded to lunch at Soda Vanessa. After a great lunch we took off for our afternoon adventures. While Charlotte, I, and many others went ziplining, others had private surfing and stand up paddle boarding lessons. While we hung upside down cruising through the trees the guides sure made sure we all had fun, while making us laugh and giving us plant tattoos. We then got to come home to showers and an amazing homemade pasta dish by Guido. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings while we start service once again.
– Leaders of the Day; Charlotte and Nat
Today was day 8 of our Costa Rican Adventure
We started it off with service and then later headed toward cultural activities. Everyone was a bit laggy in the morning but soon we were able to get out the door and head to our service site. We were split off into 3 different groups; mural painters, Spanish-english teachers and playground sanders. Throughout the process flexibility was key, Spanish/English teachers were almost postponed but then did end up teaching. The kids were a handful and there was of course the couple who got into mischief; however over all it was a good experience. Then post teaching the teachers joined the sand crew and which overall went well and got a lot done. Meanwhile the mural painters were also learning that things never go according to plan in Costa Rica, but we also learned to appreciate the Pura Vida spirit. We had originally figured out a design for the mural but when we began the process of translating our design to the wall, the locals in charge of the music school and program had other ideas about what the mural should look like. We ended up having to change our design quite a bit, which was a bit challenging to deal with initially, but the end result was an awesome idea that incorporated parts of our original design and the Chorotega (local culture) elements the community leaders really wanted to display. Then later on through the day we were able to experience and participate in the making of hand-made bread which turned out amazingly delicious if I do say so myself as well as learn or attempt to learn to play the marimba (the instrument of Guanacaste, CR). In the end it was a good day we got a lot done and had a amazing dinner kudos to our totally rad Italian hosts and cannot wait to see what tomorrow will bring with the Costa Rican Pura Vida Spirit.
-Leaders of the Day: Laura and Claudia
Day 9, Lookin Fine!
It started off with our tummies full of delicious banana pancakes and our hearts ready to start Day 2 of Service at the local school and music center. Seven of us worked on painting the playground and giving it a fresh look while 8 of us got to run around and play fun games like, “Pato Pato Ganso” with the school children. The rest of us stayed at the music center to paint the mural and logo. At the music center we started the logo and on the large mural we did this super cool transition of colors to represent a sunset (More is to come!) We loved seeing all of the positive energy and it’s nice to know that the community is appreciating our work! After service we headed back to home base to enjoy a delicious meal of shrimp with rice and french fries… mm mm mm My Favorite! After lunch we walked over to the school right next to us. We were really excited because in a previous day they waved and talked to us through the fence. Que Lindo! We played a game of Futbol on the beach. Everyone enjoyed the time of hula-hooping and jump roping as well. Several of the kids came by later to ask us if we would like to hang out tomorrow. After activities we had a mentor group meeting led by us (The LODS). We both enjoy the challenging and heartfelt conversations in mentor groups. Go Salchiacha Ballers and Savage Patch Kids! (director note: parents, the students created these names… haha!) After we had amazing tuna and cooked veggies for dinner. We then talked about our day and are now enjoying fellowship with each other. What a great day of service!
Leaders of the Day: Jordan Yutan & Miranda Santiago J
We started off our day at 6:00 this morning by prepping for our trip to Rio Celeste in the mountains of Costa Rica. After having our usual delicious breakfast of fruit and coffee, we piled all our duffels into the bus and headed out on the 4 hour drive.
After making several pit stops for snacks and bathroom breaks, we arrived at Heliconias Lodge to walk a trail to the beautiful hanging bridges in the middle of the rainforest. We spent 2 hours hiking and then enjoyed coffee and snacks.
After the scenic break, we loaded back up on the bus and finished our drive to our cabanas in the middle of the mountains. All the rooms came in different shapes and sizes, and everyone is excited for the next two nights in their new home.
We then finished off our day with a dinner of rice and fish, and plan on getting lots of sleep for the next couple of busy days in the amazing Rio Celeste 🙂
A wake up call including “Here Comes the Sun”, started off another successful and hot day in Nosara, Costa Rica. We began the day with breakfast at the usual time. Sleepy eyes and bed heads appeared at the breakfast table before we drove off to our service site. Upon arrival, one group continued to paint the mural at La Escuela de Musica. The rest of the group went to the local school to put in some work for the welfare of the kids. A playground was painted while students ran around laughing with children on their backs, playing local games and joining the Fiesta de Salida. The Fiesta de Salida is a fiesta for the kids before they leave for winter vacation (!!), so both the groups at the school were entertained by energetic, Spanish music the whole morning.
At noon, we came back to home base and had lunch. Though weary, everyone was looking forward to taking showers. As shower time came to a close, we prepared for “Cafecito”, with the local families of Nosara. We enjoyed the hospitality of two loving, Costa Rican families who welcomed us in their homes with home made tortillas, cheese and the delightful Costa Rican coffee. In the conversations with the families, moving information was shared, such as growing up with no electricity, giving birth at home, and living a primitive lifestyle.
A perfect day was ended by pizza made by our own handsome chef Guido, just like the Italian ones.
Best wishes to all the Americans ( I miss you mom and dad ) , French and Norwegian (hei mampap <3) families and friends out there following us on this great journey.
-Lexia and Thea
A day late but here it is, yesterday we continued service at the mural and school. We made a lot of progress, and are really proud of the work we got done. After service we got surprise gelato and had lunch! After, we had a well deserved siesta time and then we went to a cooking class where we made arroz con pollo and ate what we made! Later on, we packed for Rio Celeste and watched a movie. The day as a whole was a lot of fun and a great success!
-Eliana and Michelle
Today was day 13, and like every other day, we woke up at 6 am. We had a lovely breakfast at Cabinas Piuri which included eggs, rice and fruits. After a short bus ride, we arrived near a field where we got the chance to milk a cow and then drink the fresh milk with some cocoa. It was really exciting and the milk was surprisingly good ! Then we went to the National Park Tenorio where we hiked for 3hrs under the pouring rain and on very muddy paths. It was worth it when we saw the beautiful blue lagoon and waterfall ! After lunch we headed to a sugar cane field where we were taught the ancient methods of sugar cane making and ate many varieties of sugar cane goods ( sugar cane juice, prestiños , and sweet hot tea…). We headed home, took showers and had siesta time before heading to dinner and eating a delicious beef stew with pineapple and rice. We then finished with the leader of the day feedback and around 8 pm everyone headed to their rooms to get ready for bed. Today was an awesome day filled with new discoveries and fun adventure.
Our apologies for the technical issues on this page, in regards to the improperly displayed photos. They should be aligned in the right direction now. Enjoy!
Our last morning at Rio Celeste was bittersweet. Leaving this beautiful place that we had just begun to explore was countered by the excitement of returning to our Costa Rican home, Playa Garza. The morning consisted of an hour-long scenic bus ride to the river Tenorio, that we then whitewater rafted. This was an exciting and challenging adventure. The name of the rapid, “Everybody swims,” was explained when several rafts flipped. This thrilling ride was the talk of the lunch tables as we then ate at the Rafting Company’s restaurant. After a satisfying lunch we made our way to our next adventure.
After lunch, a bus of exhausted GLA students headed to a puma rescue center. We were delighted to see all of the adorable rescued birds and animals. A few of us got to witness a curious cow escape its pin. After forty-five minutes we left the rescue center and proceeded on our three-and-a-half hour long journey home. After a super fun and exciting day in Rio Celeste we were all ready to be “home” and everyone immediately ran to their rooms with huge smiles.
Besides the few raft-flipping incidents today was a grand success, full of experiences we will remember forever.
~ Lauren & Madison J
P.S. Hi Momma and Daddy Musshorn and hi Mommy and Daddy (from Madison)
Artisan jewelry workshop
Costa Rican adventure!
We began our day with a little sleeping in as we woke up at 7:00 am WOOHOO!
From there we had a breakfast of champions- thanks Nat- (made by the one and only GUIDO!) that consisted of rice, beans and eggs the typical Gallo pinto commonly found in Costa Rica. From there we began our 3 and ½ hours of service where we split up into groups of 3, 1 group for the mural of la escuela de musica- directed by Sara- the next group worked on painting Serapio Lopez’ Cafeteria and- directed by Nat and finally my group was working on painting the playground of Serapio Lopez.
From there we came home for a lunch of shrimp salad and mashed potatoes with amazing bread – shout out to Guido and Juri and Michela- and then we spent a half hour at the beach and lastly we ended our day with making jewelry with Susan and a few of her friends. Nat and I had an epic leader of the day battle and I won- Nat just thinks I won by a cheap shot ok- and I knocked her in the pool then I got knocked in by Eliana – also cheapshot. After that we had dinner consisting of another typical Costa Rican dish of fish, rice, beans and salad.
To end off our night we have an hour of Pura Vida time and that is all. Time for shout outs: s/o to college board for not correcting their mistakes with getting me my AP scores on time I’m also looking at you act.org. hey mom hey dad its marwa can you check if my scores are out yet sos I’m dying also I have like 5 bucks left send a PayPal ASAP!!!
~ Marwa, Sara, and Nat
7/9/2015 (Day 16)
Painting w Rustin at the mural today. He’s was one of the kids we interviewed to see what HE wanted on the mural. Check out the progress of the mural!
Local Coordinator, Susan with her son Saul, future music school attendee and GLA employee
Dance class with Willy
Burgers for dinner–they were happy!
“1738 I’m like hey whats up hello” is what everyone woke up to as we blasted it through the speakers.
Per usual Miranda hogged all the pineapple at breakfast, while the rest of us had our typical Costa Rican breakfast. Then we headed to service and split into our 3 groups. Maddy took on the mural despite her rafting soreness, Miranda was in the cafeteria painting tables and benches, while I (Charlotte) was on the playground making a lot of progress. We worked for 3 hours and then headed to the “world renowned” SUPER NOSARA!! It’s so “world renowned” that Christian even made up a song about it.
After getting all our food and drink necessities, we came back home and ate penne pasta with red sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan for lunch. Next we headed to much needed beach time. Vamos a la playa!!!!! After the relaxing vibes and big waves we had some chill time to shower and hang at the pool. Our leadership talk started afterward. Expect some big things Estados Unidos and Norway! We are coming for ya! Next we started an intense dance class. I may be Puerto Rican but I have learned that I cannot dance (Miranda). After having an amazing time with our dance instructor, Willy, and learning sweet new moves, IT WAS DINNER TIME. The long requested Cheeseburgers finally arrived, WE GOT THEM.
You blog readers should have seen everyone’s excited expressions. Man, Guido can cook anything! To wrap up the day we are having some nice and relaxing chill time. See ya in 5 days amigos and padres!
Hey fam, Maddy here. Note to Daddy: don’t feel like you need to hop on a plane to “save me” I’m loving it here. I’m in paradise working hard! Keep painting mamma, say love ya to Liz for me!
Hey mummy, daddy, and the twinnos, I miss you guys a lot and am so ready to see you, but I know for sure it won’t be easy leaving here. We’ve done amazing things and I can’t wait to tell you guys all about it. See you in 5 days, love ya! –Charlie
Mom, Dad, and my twin I miss you but it may be hard for me to leave. I think you’re gonna have to come get me 😉 – Miranda
-Charlotte, Miranda, and Maddy
Painting with Maya
Saul distracting us
Stopped by the pipa stand for some refreshing coconut water
A visit to the Nosara recycling center to here about the progress, the challenges and the goals… Then off to gelato and beach time!
As usual, we started our day with a 6am wake-up and ate a great breakfast of pancakes, bacon, Gallo pinto, and an array of fruit. While we finished breakfast we began to prep for our usual bus ride to the four hours of service split among us. Half of us a Serapio Lopez and the other half at Escuela de Musica Sinem-Nosara. After our service today we completed the playground painting and the cafeteria with just the mural left to finish. From there we went shopping for souvenirs and other things to spend the last of our money on.
I (Marwa) bought a hammock and a purse, and before this I had already bought multiple gifts for friends! I’m homesick but I will truly miss it here.
I (Laura) worked at the playground and enjoyed getting to see the project almost done and did also spend my share of money on souvenirs.
I (Nat) have been working on the comedor, since that particular project began and today I was able to see it completed. Yay! I also bought a hammock which matches Marwa’s. We are looking forward to tomorrow and completing our service projects.
-Marwa, Laura, and Nat
Today we started off another early morning basking in the Costa Rican warmth. The warmth carried over into service hours which made the work harder, but more rewarding. We accomplished a lot at the school and mural despite the overwhelming warmth. After service, we beat the warmth with cool AGUA DE PIPA. Afterwards we had a great lunch that inspired warmth in our hearts.
We received a welcome that left us with a feeling of warmth when we visited Nosara’s recycling center. Even in the warmth of the nearby dump, it was very rewarding and inspiring to hear and see all the good things the workers are doing to change the ecological footprint of Nosara and make it better.
When we left the wonderful recycling center that smelled of the finest biodegradable materials, we again encountered the warmth of the day with delicious GELATO. Then we attempted to feel the warmth of a sunset, but we were sadly surprised when rain started to pour.
The warmth of our sunset was never felt, and when we returned to Playa Garza we were met with PIZZA. Now we sit here in the warmth of the Costa Rican nights and we reminisce on the awesomeness of the day. We will always remember our trip here and the warmth of the Costa Rican sun.
( JK it’s actually Lauren Jordan and Michelle 😀 )
Our final day is coming upon us and although we’re all a bit worn out, we managed to wake up and do some great work today. The morning started off with Here Comes the Sun playing through Chris’s speakers, and some more delicious banana pancakes. After we munched, Eliana and her new group embarked on a new adventure: service at Garza! They made a lot of progress, successfully painting tires, goalposts, and raking leaves. With her caring, iron fist Thea and her group stormed the mural site and got a ton of work done (she’s pretty sick of detailed paint work now…). Claudia accidentally drenched herself and her team in a bucket of blue tinted paint thinner, in the process of finishing up the playground, caterpillar, and cleaning the cafeteria. But on the bright side, we’re all finished with the playground and it looks awesome!! After lunch and being knocked out in the sun for an hour we went to Neno and Carrie’s house to learn about river fishing. We met some pretty cool goats and dogs and a giant pig named Sancho, and many of us got to try our hand at fishing. Then we went home and ate some burritos for dinner, and are super ready for our bonfire (with s’mores!!) tonight. Overall it was a productive day and though we look forward to finishing up our projects tomorrow, there’s a bittersweet feeling among our group regarding the end of the program.
With love, Thea, Eliana, and Claudia (LODs)
Goodbye group at Garza beach
All student have checked through security and are on their way home!