An excellent year’s progress

Or maybe two years.. Whatever

So I’ve clearly been severely slacking on my travel journaling (I didn’t even touch this thing for the three weeks I spent in Thailand last summer..) but its time to shape up!!

I just got back from my three weeks in Costa Rica and even tho I didn’t bring my laptop AND forgot my journal, I wrote out my days on little pieces of paper and took more photos than imaginable. So I guess theres no better place to start than day 1.

Monday, June 26th, 2017:

I woke up at 3:00 am to toss my luggage into the back of the trunk for my mom to drive me to the Newark airport. My 6:00 am flight to Fort Lauderdale followed by my connecting flight to the SJO airport in Costa Rica were both spent mainly by me completely passed out on my own shoulder. Thankfully my ability to sleep just about anywhere makes these types of flights feel more like a quick car ride rather than a few hours of miserable travel.

I landed at 11:30 am CR time and was ecstatic to find out there is free wifi throughout the airport (I’m sure my parents were equally as thrilled to hear I was alive). I gathered my bag and went through customs like a breeze and went outside to the crazy pick up area. Countless transporters, family members, and taxi drivers stand with signs and ask if you need a ride or where you’re heading. Thankfully a polite stranger allowed me to call the Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center to see where the driver was to get me. Even tho they told me it would be only another 15 minutes, the drive showed up about an hour later to get me to my home for the coming 2 weeks. I wasn’t too upset or even shocked by this timeline tho. My pre-travel research informed me that being late was normal in Costa Rica and it also isn’t anything I’m not used to living on a Caribbean island most of the year.

When I got to the center, which is only about a 40 minute drive from the airport in Alajuela, I signed a few forms, put my bags in a dorm-styled room filled with 6 bunk beds, and was given a tour with a few other new volunteers. Our tour was lead by Sarita, one of the workers of the center and a full blown animal activist in Costa Rica. She is one of the leaders in political changes that are now being instated against animal cruelty after 8 long years of protests, marches, and petitioning. She is a lovely, happy, charismatic woman and led our tour cage by cage, giving us the information on each animal and their reason for being at the center. Some of the animals weren’t up for release, such as Faluco the Howler Monkey that was electrocuted, and Violeto the two-toed sloth who is missing an arm. Others are getting rehabilitated for release (a few of which I was lucky enough to later witness). Sarita made sure to give us every bit of information that would get us to know more about the center in its new location, which is currently only 10 months old. They had already nearly finished their massive aviary and are in the process of building a new enclosure for the capuchin monkeys they currently house.

After the tour, I went back to my room to nap; somehow the 4 hours of flight-naps wasn’t enough for me and the other girls who had arrived there the same day. One of the center’s rescue dogs, Pablo, snuck into my room for a quick cuddle session, which I later learned isn’t technically allowed (whoops!!). But look how cute this little guy was! I think its better to break a rule than to break the heart of something this adorable.

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My nap was short lived because I had to make my way to the common area for dinner. We had a squash called chayote cooked in a creamy sauce with rice and beans on the side. I have never had anything like it and I can honestly say it wasn’t terrible! It wasn’t the most beautiful dish but it was my first meal since my layover in Ft. Lauderdale so I sure wasn’t complaining.

I got to meet some of the volunteers over dinner and continued to get to know Marianna, a vet student from Mexico who was part of the tour I took earlier that day. We had a lot in common and seeing that we were both going to be volunteering on the medical team, it was nice to have found an early friendship with her. We also ended up being bunk neighbors and ended up knocking out at 9 that night. Traveling clearly kicked our butts but we were also hoping to get a full reboot to start the following day fully charged.

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