Skipping Out on Catholic Mass

Tonight, there is misa at 6pm and I will not be attending.

La Misa (Mass) is held every Sunday morning and the first Wednesday night of every month in the community Catholic church.

…and tonight for some reason.

Well really whenever someone’s feeling like they want go to church, they’ll gather the troops and make it happen.

When I first got to Fila Naranjo, I was going to church every Sunday morning for an hour and a half. Since my community is 99.99% Catholic, I thought that it would be a good way to integrate, meet people, and develop connections for future projects in my site.

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Well, that didn’t really happen. Sure I saw people that I would usually never see during the week, but after church was let out not one sad soul was interested in talking to this gringa about anything.

Not one! Continue reading

#FoodFriday: Not Your Grandma’s Pancakes

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I’m sure we can all think back to a time when our granny whipped us up a nice pile of fluffy Bisquik pancakes on a warm easy like Sunday morning.

Or, if you had a baller grandma like mine, she made them from scratch.

That’s right. Baking soda, flour (sifted, obvi), eggs…you know the drill.

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Back when I baked, cut my own bangs, and had a black eye.

Those were the best days, am I right? Waking up to all the smells of all the foods and sleepily making your way down to the kitchen only to find the dining table completely set. Everything’s warming in the oven and the only thing that’s missing is you. Continue reading

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

Camp GLOW: Week Two

During Week Two of Camp GLOW, we took over the Peace Corps Costa Rica Facebook page and posted daily updates about the camp. Below, I am sharing the posts that we did just to give some insight of our daily sessions during the camp.


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We’re Princess and Tily, Community Economic Development volunteers serving in southern Costa Rica. This week, we’re takin’ over the Peace Corps Costa Rica Facebook page to bring you daily deets of our week-long girls empowerment and leadership camp, Camp GLOW, which starts tomorrow!


Day 1

Day 1 of Camp GLOW was a success! It was a jam-packed day full of tons of great activities.

In the morning, the group spent time making their bolsas de cumplidos (compliment bags), an activity that we’ll do throughout the week to create a positive environment and encourage our group to give and receive complements to each other.

Then, we spent almost an entire hour trying to untangle ourselves from our human knot! Afterwards, the girls were relieved to do some Zumba, led by PCV (and future Zumba instructor) Jasmine.

We finished the day with a session on Gender Equality & Empowerment led by PCV Princess that encouraged the girls to think about gender as relates to their community in Costa Rica.

Tomorrow, we’ll be focusing on relationships, reproductive health and health & wellness!

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Camp GLOW: Week One

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10 months ago, I sat on a bus with my friend and Tico 31 comrade Princess as we made our way to our San Jose for our first IST (in-service training) just three months after arriving in our sites.

Princess and I are site neighbors, and I use the word “neighbors” loosely because we live almost two hours away from each other.

Princess lives in Sabalito, a city of about 1,000 people while I live higher up in the mountains in a rural community of 150 people.

Sitting on the bus, Princess told me about the challenges her community was facing, especially the young girls in the local high school where she worked. She told me the dropout rate for girls was 4.85% due to risk factors such as prostitution and teen pregnancy, and because she lives so close to the Panamanian border, drugs and poverty also play a big role in the high dropout rate.

We both eagerly made hypothetical plans together to do a girls empowerment camp at the high school sometime during our service. I mean, 10 months ago, we had plenty of time to make some magic happen.

Fast forward 10 months later to today and here we are, executing two 6-day GLOW camps after having successfully secured a $2,500 Let Girls Learn grant. Continue reading

Teaching in a Rural Escuela

When Peace Corps Volunteers arrive at site, the first thing they do is panic.

After that step is complete, many of us find ourselves working in local escuelas y colegios (elementary schools and high schools) as a way to integrate into our communities and do something besides taking long walks, eating, emotional eating, reading, and misinterpreting everything our host families say.

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As a Community Economic Development (CED) Volunteer, those first few months can be especially tough because we’re constantly battling the assumption that we are here to teach English.

I repeat, we are not here to teach English. Unless it’s to, for example, adults, and seen as an employability and community development building skill.

Even that’s a stretch for me… (psssst I don’t like teaching English). Continue reading

When I Dip You Dip We Dip: The Mid-Service Crisis

Sorry to burst your bubble so early on but this post doesn’t have anything to do with Freak Nasty.

There will be absolutely no discussion of twerking, bouncing, bumping, jigglin’, or getting low on the ground. This post is solely about the emotional struggles journey of a Peace Corps Volunteer.

That volunteer being me.

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This last week our Tico #31 volunteer group completed a much anticipated Mid-Service Training (MST); a Peace Corps milestone that marks the halfway completion of the 2-year service.

Watch us here as we awkwardly, yet so symbolically jump from our first to second year of service. Continue reading

#Food Friday: Chorreadas (Costa Rican Corn Pancakes)

I don’t want to fill all of your typical Wisconsinite stereotypes but it’s true.

I love beer.
I love cheese.
and I love corn.

They’re just all so delicious.

I’m sure that when you think of Wisconsin, things like craft beer, (crappy beer), cows, football, premium cheeses, and political inconsistency come to mind.

But what you might not know is Wisconsin is one of the top corn producing states in the nation.

Yup, I’m just a corn-fed girl in a corn-fed world. Continue reading

7 Spanish Songs to Kick Off Your Summer

With the abrupt end of my Costa Rican summer (rainy afternoons are in full swing now) and the blossoming warm weather in the places that I love like Colorado and Wisconsin, I feel like I should share a few songs that brought me happiness during the long, sunny, hot summer days here down here in my tropical paradise.

So here they are, the top 7 canciones en español from my summer 2017.

My #1 right now…

Continue reading

Hiking Cerro Chirripó

Last week I stood on the top of Cerro Chirripó, the highest point in Costa Rica.

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It. was. incredible.

At 12,530 feet, Chirripó is the highest mountain in Costa Rica, the 5th highest peak in Central America, and the 37th most prominent peak in the world.

Just a few behind Mount Everest…

Well more than a few but they’re on the same list which, yeah…I know.

Cerro Chirripó is located in Chirripó National Park in the southern region of Costa Rica. The main trailhead to the park is located in a small town called San Geraldo de Rivas, just 1.5 hours from the city of San Isidro and about 7-8 hours from my site.

I swear everything is 7-8 hours from my site.

For the past six months, I, along with a group of seven other volunteers, have been planning, anticipating, and training vigorously (ha just kiddin’) in preparation for our hike up Chirripó.

Between reserving park permits for eight people, overnight lodging at the bottom and top of the mountain, and pulling together the few pieces of cold-weather clothing I brought to this country, this three-day overnight trip took a bit of planning.

But that didn’t stop us, even though the days leading up to our departure were wet, rainy, and cold.

Our basic itinerary went something like this:
Day 1: Stay at the bottom of the mountain near the park entrance at Casa Mariposa
Day 2: Begin hike at 5:00am and arrive at Crestones Base Camp (11,155ft), 3.4 miles from the summit of mountain, at 12:30pm.
Day 3: Begin hike at 3:00am to arrive at the summit for sunrise at 5:00am. Leave Crestones Base Camp at 8:30am and arrive back at Casa Mariposa at 1pm. Continue reading