Celebrating One Year as a PCV

This month, I celebrate the completion of my first year as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica.

It’s true what they say in the Peace Corps, that days pass by slowly but the months fly by.

How is it rainy season again already?

Reaching this point in my service is not only rewarding, but it brings me a sense of stability and comfort.

Before I left for the Peace Corps, 27 months felt like forever. But to really integrate into a new culture and community and work on sustainable long-term projects, all while learning a new language, it’s hardly enough time.

Now, different from a year ago, and even different from six months ago, I finally feel grounded; like I’ve found my place in my community and have a greater understanding for my host country and how things work (ahem, coffee is priority and meetings start at least an hour late).

In the whirlwind of all this, over the past six months I’ve experienced the ups and downs of working at a grass-roots level, transitioned in my role as a PCV, and even had some time to travel around the country (and Nicaragua!). 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

¡Bienvenidos a Mi Casa!

 

Bienvenidos a mi casita!

In Spanish, when something is small an ita or ito is added to the end of it. So casita (from the word casa) means ¨little house.¨

Perrito (perro) = little dog
Abuelita (abuela) = little grandma
Carrito (carro) = little car
Papelito (papel) = little paper
Almuercito (almuerzo) = little lunch…just a lil lunch ya know, a lite meal, some small fare

Anyway, you get it. But it’s cute right? People love to throw the ito/ita on everything here. It’s also kind of like sugar-coating a request or adding affection to a word.

Puedo tener un frescito por favor? Can I get a little juice please?

Gah. I just love it.

Anyway, back to mi casita. Continue reading

#FoodFriday: What’s In a Tamale?

 

What’s in a name? That which we call a Tamale… 

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We’ve all heard of tamales before. And if you haven’t well I guess you haven’t been to the freezer section in Trader Joe’s.

But I’m not here to talk about that frozen, pop in the microwave, dinner-for-one garbage. Today, we’re going to talk about the real deal. Cream of the crop. Pick of the litter. Best of the best.

I’m talkin’

Cooked over a fire in the mountains of Costa Rica…

With cilantro, peppers, and papas from the vivero (greenhouse)…

And free-range chicken from the neighbor…

Wrapped in freshly cut leaves from platano trees…

And maiz from…well, ok it’s from the store. Whatever. It’s the good brand though.

Continue reading

Fiestas Patronales in Fila Naranjo

This past weekend the annual Fiestas patronales (Patronage Festivals) were hosted in Fila Naranjo.

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This was the first big celebration that’s happened in my community since I’ve been here so to say the least, I was pretty excited and intrigued to find out how Big Fila gets they party on.

So what is this fiesta anyway?! I know, you’re just dying to know. Continue reading

Música de Mi Vida: Julio

Music has been a very important part of my life as a Peace Corps Volunteer. It’s what I need when I’m feeling sad, it’s what I want when I’m feeling happy, it gets me through my runs and helps pass the time on any and every lengthy bus ride.

When I lived with my first host family during Pre-Service Training I would clean the house every Sunday with my mom and sisters and jam out to the radio. Since then, Latin music has really grown on me and has become an important part of connecting with the Latin language and culture.

In light of my newfound appreciation, I want to share some of the tunes I’ve been listening to while I’ve been in Costa Rica.

Hondo Agujero – Le Parody

I was half sleeping on the 5am bus listening to my Spotify Discovery Playlist when this song came on. It’s very eclectic and…interesting. But I dig it! I’m just such a sucker for the trumpets!

Continue reading

The Day I Saw a Pig Die

Se dicen que si alguien tiene el miedo cuando se está viendo un cerdo muere, el cerdo no va a morir en paz.  

They say that if someone is afraid when they are watching a pig die, the pig will not die peacefully.

This past Thursday, I watched a pig die. I watched it with fear in my heart and pain in my eyes and sure enough, that pig did not go peacefully. Call me superstitious but I think it was my fault.


I didn’t necessarily want to watch it but I felt like I should. The lifestyle here in the campo of southern Costa Rica is so heavily based on agriculture–coffee, livestock, sugar cane, produce–and killing animals for comida is something that happens every day. Everyone is accustomed to it, and it’s just the way we live here (c
ause I guess I’m part of the group now too). Last week, we had a community raffle and the prize was a live pig.

Continue reading