Family Vacay, COS, and My Parasite

February has been busy busy busy! Which, after spending most of December and January in my site, has been a glorious gift.

I think it’s normal to feel like January is a never-ending month but this year, it felt especially long. I didn’t have much going on in my community and furthermore, didn’t have any trips, trainings, or meetings planned to break up the weeks. I was just counting the days until early February when my entire family was to come visit Costa Rica. I’m serious. I would get out of bed every morning and throw a big ol’ X on the previous day and watch the numbers slowlyyyy count down one by one. And ya know what? Some months are just like that when you’re in the Peace Corps and that’s OK.

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Come early February, this girl was STOKED. I packed my bags and headed to San Jose to await the arrival of my family members, who were flying in from Wisconsin and my brother and his wife, who were flying in all the way from Ukraine. It was to be our first out-of-Wisconsin family vacation EV-ER. Continue reading

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Long Distance Relationships: Insight from 8 PCVs

It’s February and love is in the air! Sadly, for many Peace Corps Volunteers in long distance relationships, that’s exactly where it’s going to stay.

Making the decision to enter a long distance relationship (LDR) while serving abroad is no easy task. Let’s face it, deciding to join the Peace Corps in general isn’t an easy choice — two years living in a foreign country, immersed in a new culture, speaking a new language — it’s all a little overwhelming but hey, why not add more fire to the flame and make things even more complicated?

And that’s just what we did.

With the help of a few fellow PCVs and LDRers here in Costa Rica, today we’re sharing some of our greatest tips, advice, and our own personal experiences on being in love while being abroad. Continue reading

Tropical Storm Depression #16, Nate Hits Costa Rica

Late last week, Tropical Storm Depression #16 Nate passed through Costa Rica.

While the nonstop rain and heavy winds began on Wednesday, October 4, the storm passed through on Thursday, October 5, leaving 22 people dead and thousands without homes, running water, electricity, and cell phone service.

If you remember last year in November, Costa Rica was hit by Hurricane Otto, but damage was mostly seen in northern Costa Rica, where many communities and homes were flooded from rain water.

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This year, damage was much more widespread and in fact worse than when an actual hurricane hit last year. Roads, bridges, and homes throughout the country have been severely damaged, especially in southern Costa Rica.

From San Vito, the nearest city to my site, there are two routes leading out into the open world. This is now one of them.

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My Denver Baecation

My last blog post was only a two weeks ago but I feel like SO MUCH has happened since then.

In a nutshell, July has been a whirlwind of spectacular events with wonderful people.

On July 14, Camp GLOW wrapped up it’s second week of production with our second group of high school girls.

**sniff sniff** I’m so sad it’s over since it was such a fun project to work on and I’m so happy with how it went.

Both camps were unique and special in their own way, thanks to two great groups of girls and the fellow volunteers who came to help out (thank you thank you thank youuuuuu).

During the second camp, Camp GLOW took over Peace Corps Costa Rica’s facebook page for the entire week, giving a day-to-day insight of our camp.

If you missed it, you can check out what we did during Camp GLOW Week Two here.

After the camp ended, I made a vigorous 8-hour dash up to San José to catch a flight to Denver for a much anticipated trip to visit my boyfriend Alex. Continue reading

Semana Santa: Experiencing Holy Week in Costa Rica

Where I come from, I’ve learned to celebrate Easter Sunday by painting eggs and brunching hard.

Champagne mimosas, stacks of pancakes and mounds of crispy hash browns.

The best of the best Sundays with the family. That’s my Easter.

But here in Costa Rica, things are done a little bit differently this time of year. And there’s no hypothetical bunny hopping around leaving chocolate creme-filled eggs and plastic confetti grass everywhere.

On the note of folkloric creatures can I just say that instead of a tooth fairy, here, A RAT comes to leave money underneath children’s pillows after they’ve lost a tooth. How terrifying is that?!

I just had to get that out there. Anyway, back to Easter stuff.

In Costa Rica, we celebrate Semana Santa (semana = week, santa = holy/saint).

Archivo_000 (3)Semana Santa, also known as Holy Week, is a major Catholic holiday celebrated throughout the world that consists of parades, processions, and local community celebrations. The holiday starts on Palm Sunday and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday. Continue reading

What’s It like Living on a Peace Corps Volunteer Budget?

Let’s talk about that chedda.

No, I’m not talking about cheese, even though you know I’d like to be (since I’m from Wisconsin and all), I’m talking about money.

Or as we say here in Costa Rica, la plata. The silver. That cash money monaayyyy.  

You could probably guess with a title like “volunteer” that PCVs (Peace Corps Volunteers) don’t make a ton of money. It’s true. We’re all broke. Continue reading

A Costa Rican Campo Christmas

Over the past few weeks, the thought of being away from home — away from friends, family, snow, cheese, Christmas cookies, wine — all the things that are comforting to me during winter and Christmas, was a difficult truth to swallow.

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But now that Christmas has come and passed, I feel appreciative of the time I spent with new friends and family, under a hot hot Costa Rican sun, with 3 wonderful Peace Corps volunteers, endless Christmas art activities, too much karaoke, ridiculously priced cheddar cheese (I’m from Wisconsin, it was necessary), not-so-delicious red wine, and Christmas cookies (yes, we made it happen). Continue reading

Tropical Storm Otto Hits Costa Rica

This past Thursday, Costa Rica and Nicaragua were hit by Tropical Storm Otto.

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The storm made landfall on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast at 1pm on Thanksgiving Day as a Category 2 hurricane but quickly lost strength and was downgraded to a tropical storm. According to the US National Hurricane Center, at it’s strongest, Otto had winds of up to 110mph.

While the central and southern regions of Costa Rica were not terribly affected by the storm (except for excessive rain and flooding in some areas), the northern region has been severely damaged. Continue reading

Soy La Hija de Mi Abuela

Soy La Hija de Mi Abuela
I am the daughter of my grandmother

Growing up, I was always with my grandma.  I grew up on my grandparents’ farm in the countryside of Wisconsin, riding horses with my grandpa, gardening and cooking with my grandma, and spending time with my family…kickin’ it country bumpkin style. I absolutely loved living on a farm when I was younger, and more than anything, living with my grandparents.

As a little girl, I learned a lot from my grandma.

She taught me how to shoot a gun… Continue reading

My First 42K Marathon + 5-Hour Running Playlist

I just ran my first marathon last weekend! That’s right, the 42k, the 26.2, the whole shabang.


How was it?

Exciting, terrifying, exhausting, rewarding and thrilling.

…kinda like making through the end of a horror film.

Overall, it went better than I expected. My goal was to not walk (start low reach high right?) so I was just happy to finish the race without walking. The first 75% went great. I was cruising up until mile 18 and then things got rough. Real rough. The sun came out, the route turned solo, there was hardly any other spectators or runners around, and my stomach started hurting from all the GU energy packet things that I had consumed over the last few hours..Oooof. I fully regret choosing flavors such as espresso, peanut butter, chocolate and peanut butter (twice, really?), and vanilla.

I puked at the finish line. Not my proudest moment. But c’mon,…props for making it til the end right? Continue reading