I am home from my trip and I must say that I had a GREAT time! It was such a blessing to be there and was a very good experience!! I want to tell you all about it so this will probably be the longest blog in history.. so are you ready? Ok.
We left Thursday, March 5th, and I was very happy that Josh was able to take me to the airport! I was sad to see him leave because I knew I was going to miss him like crazy, and I did. But I was really glad when I found out that me and my dad was going to be able to fly to Atlanta together! Apparently his flight was canceled because it got struck by lightening... sooo they switched him to my flight. When we got to Atlanta, we had a 2 hour layover. It went by pretty fast though. We left Atlanta for San Jose, Costa Rica around 5:30 or so. Both flights were pretty smooth, which was good because I was very nervous. By the time we arrived in San Jose and went through customs and all that good stuff, it was very late! Alex was there to pick us up along with a few other people. They took us to a bed and breakfast where the rest of the group was already there and sleeping. They got there earlier that day because their flight left early that morning.
The next morning (Friday) I woke up and turned on the shower. I waited and waited and waited and there was NO hot water. It was ice cold!! So I decided I was not getting a shower that morning! I found out later that you have to barely turn the fosset to get the hot water. After we ate breakfast, we went to a bible school called Cincel where my dad did a little service. Then we went to a church where we started to get our things together to leave for Jaco Beach. There was a group of people from that church, about 30-40 people, who were coming with us to Jaco Beach. Okay, before I say anything else...I must say that their culture is VERY different than ours. Here in the US we are always busy busy busy and on the go. In Costa Rica, everyone is very very laid back and time is not an issue at all. It was a little hard to get used to because I am so used to the way it is here! So when I say we went somewhere....we probably stayed there for a Loonng time, if you know what I mean! So later on that day, we headed out for Jaco Beach, which is about 3 hours away. We had to drive all the way up this mountain to get there... now this mountain has no guardrails and it seemed like we were right on the edge!! And it was super curvy... pretty much like turns instead of curves!! OH one thing I forgot to mention is that yes, the people there are very laid back BUT their driving is very scary!!!! If there is any room at all to go in front of you then they will!! They will not slow down for anything or anyone!! So here we are on the side of this super curvy mountain with NO guardrails with cars coming at us full speed. I was a little scared to say the least. But the view was just beautiful!!!! I loved it! When we finally got to our hotel in Jaco Beach, I was so surprised to see that we were staying right on the beach!! It was so beautiful. I got out of the van to take a picture by the water and the first thing I saw was this HUUGGGEEEE iguana. I am talking like 3 or 4 feet huge. Of course, I was freaking out bc I hate any type of snaky lizard things. While we were in Jaco Beach, I saw like 4 or 5 of these things! Anyway, after we checked into the hotel and got all our stuff together we went to a service that night. My dad preached and Alex translated. It was really good! There was maybe 20 something people there. I met a girl named Lua.. I think that is how you spell it. She was so sweet!! Afterwards we went out to eat at this restaurant. It was really good. We ate at this restaurant like 5 or 6 times while we were there! Lets just say I will not be eating rice and beans for a long time!! haha.
The next morning (Saturday) we woke up and ate breakfast at the hotel. I ordered fresh fruit, which was sooo good!! Then we headed over to this field to get things set up for the day. Basically what we did was this... after we got everything set up there was about 3 or 4 vans that went around to the "ghettos" and told people what we were doing and we invited them to come. Then a couple of hours later, they went back and picked everyone up. We had over 200 people come!! It was so awesome! We had puppets.. skits.. games.. dancing.. music.. clowns.. a service for the kids and a service for the adults.. we gave away clothes, toys, food.. It was so awesome!! There was some of the cutest kids ever there. It was so sad though because these people do not have anything. It really makes you thankful for what you have. We stayed there pretty much all day. We left late that afternoon and got some lunch and went back to the hotel to rest for a while. Then we went back to that same field where they were having a service. It was really good! And the funny thing is that I didn't understand ONE word because it was all in Spanish. But I didn't need to understand the words to know that God was there. It was so awesome! There was people there from all over the world and it was so cool to see how we are all so different but we all serve the same great GOD! It was such a blessing to be there. After the service we stayed there for a while getting to know all the people. I met some of the sweetest people ever! There were some really sweet girls there..they were like "ohh we are sisters for life!" It was so great! We also ate some tamales which were really good:) This was a verry long day but it was soooo worth it!! One thing, though, that was really tough was the language barrier. I do not know hardly any Spanish at all but I figured we would have translators and it would be fine. Well, we did have translators but it wasn't the same... For example, the little kids would come up and try to ask me something and I wouldn't know what they were saying! Some of the people there knew a little English but it was still very difficult to talk to some of them without a translator. So next time I go, I want to learn Spanish before I go!
The next day (Sunday) was more of a relaxing day. We got up and ate breakfast and then had the choice either go play soccer or hang out at the hotel for a couple of hours. I chose to hang out at the hotel that way I could go to the beach and lay out!! It was great! The beach there is so beautiful. You have the ocean and the mountains right there!! I got soo burnt this day... I wish I would have worn more sunscreen because it was NOT fun. After that we left the hotel and headed for the rain forest! It was so beautiful!! We went to this huge waterfall and got to go swimming. Then we left to eat lunch. After we ate lunch, we started to head back to San Jose. On our way to San Jose, we came to a river where we parked on the side of the road. Then we walked across this bridge on a tiny sidewalk with cars flying by without slowing down at all!! It was kinda scary. When we got on top of this bridge and looked down we saw these HUMONGOUS crocodiles!!!!! Probably 20 or 30 of them! They were huge, probably at least 12 feel long! I felt like I was watching the Discovery Channel but it was real life! It was really cool. When we got back to the van, we found out that this lady had hit our van...it wasn't a big dent but we still had to call the police because it was a rental. Well, the way they do it over there is the insurance company has to be there also....well, the insurance company was like 2 1/2 hours away in San Jose....Yea, we were there waiting for like 3hours. It was not fun. at all. By the time we finally left and finally got back to the bed and breakfast in San Jose, we were just exhausted and went straight to bed.
The next morning (Monday) we woke up and ate breakfast. We had planned on going to an active volcano that was 3 hours away and we were going to swim in these hot springs. But after the night before..we decided we didn't want to drive 3 hours so we decided to go to a volcano called Irazu that was only an hour away. This volcano has one of the biggest craters ever. It is dormant or "asleep" whatever you want to call it. The last time it erupted was in the 60's and it destroyed a whole city. When we were almost to the top of the volcano, this man told us that it was so foggy and we probably wouldn't be able to see anything. We almost didn't go because you had to pay $10 each but decided to go anyway since we had drove all this way. Well, when we finally got up to the top it was pretty cold and kinda rainy... But after being there for a few minutes the fog and everything went away and I saw one of the most amazing things I have ever seen!! This volcano was just beautiful!!! There was water in the bottom that was the prettiest blueish, greenish color ever!! We stayed there forever just admiring it and taking a billion pictures. It was great. After we left we went to this cute little gift shop then headed out for lunch. We ate at a really good restaurant!!! Then we were told that we were going to a market to do some shopping, which made me very excited because we all know how I love to shop. Well, when we got to this "market" place it was nothing how I expected it to be. It was pretty scary, actually. There were a few little stores with clothes or shoes or whatever, nothing that I liked...the rest was like people selling fruit and meat hanging from the ceiling!! And there was these people selling chicken FEET, it was so gross and definitely not sanitary if you ask me. Afterwards, we did end up going to this really nice mall and I bought a few things. This was a very long day also and I was soo ready to go to bed when we got back to the bed and breakfast, especially since I had to get up at 4:45 am the next morning to leave for the airport!!
The next day (Tuesday) was a little bitter sweet, I guess you could say. I loved being there in Costa Rica but at the same time I was soooo ready to be home with Josh and Kobe!! I missed them like crazy!! I did get to talk to Josh while I was gone because I bought a calling card but it wasn't much and it just wasn't the same!! After getting stuck in a lot of traffic we finally made it to the airport. Our flight left at 8am and got back to Atlanta around 12 or so. The flight was a little bumpy coming into Atlanta and was scary at times but we made it!! From there, my dad went on to Florida because he had a conference he had to go to. And I flew back to Nashville by myself! This was my 1st time flying by myself and I must say I did pretty good! It felt soo good when I saw that batman building from my airplane and I knew I was home:) My mom picked me up at the airport and I was sooo happy to see her!! She drove me back to Pulaski because Josh had a game that day. I was so glad when I finally got to be home with Josh and Kobe:)
So overall my trip was just AWESOME!! Yea, it is very different over there and there were a few mishaps here and there but it was still great. I would love to go back one day! I met some really really awesome people and God really blessed me while I was there. I thank Him for allowing me to go and I thank everyone for keeping us in your prayers while we were gone:) It really makes a difference!
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