Sunday, April 28, 2013

Is it spring yet?!

Hi all!

This Missouri weather has been sub-par this year. The weekends have been mostly nice, but then the weekdays are rainy and cold. I even saw that we could get some snow this week! Let's hope not!

This month of April has had a lot of up and downs. It was a particularly difficult month at school, but school is coming to a close. My parents came to visit us for a long weekend towards the beginning of the month. We went on the dinner train and also rode bikes on the Katy trail. It was really great! On Sunday, Matt made us a huge dinner and we watched Life of Pi.

Last weekend, Matt and I went to the St. Louis Zoo! We got there in the morning and it was not too crowded. The giraffes were my favorite, and Matt liked the tiger. For lunch we got to meet up with Glenn and Nancy at the Schlafly brewery. It was delicious, of course, and we enjoyed visiting with them.


My friend, Gigi, is moving back to L.A. this week. She and I met last year around this time and it has been a nice friendship to always rely on. Today I helped her load the truck and then we got ice cream. You will be missed, Gigi!

This weekend was dreary and it was hard for me to get motivated to do anything. I did read a lot of reading in a new book I started called The Pillars of the Earth.  Slow start, but I am getting into it. If you've read it, I'd love to chat after I finish! Next weekend, I am going to visit my Grandparents while Matt studies for finals. I can't believe the year is almost over. I will be back with more updates and adventures. Hope all is well!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Costa Rica: Our Trip to Find Pura Vida, part 2

When we arrived at RIU Guanacaste, we instantly got into our swim suits and headed to the beach. It was so beautiful there! The sand was a very dark brown and there were some big rocks. The view was just incredible, as well. After that, we went to the pool for a bit and tried out the swim-up bar. Later, we ate dinner (a TON of food on the buffet) and relaxed outside. The weather could not have been better. It is in the 90's during the day and the 70's at night, but there was always a breeze.

Thursday was a relax day. Unfortunately, Matt got some sort of stomach bug/food poisoning. This happened right after breakfast and he spent the rest of the day in bed. I spent my day reading at the pool and in the lobby area as well as checking on him. I felt so bad that he couldn't enjoy the day!  But, it was good that we didn't have anything planned.

Friday was one of the best days on our trip. I woke early to see about canceling our jungle tour, but it couldn't be done. We would just have to not show up. Ten minutes before we were supposed to be in the lobby, Matt decided he was going to go on the trip. I was pretty apprehensive about that, but he wanted to give it a try. We rode for about 2 hours away from the coast towards the mountains and jungle. The goal of the trip was to hike to the beautiful Rio Celeste. When we got to the road to go to the waterfall, there was a sign that it was closed! It had rained so much the night before that the trails were too muddy and the water was no longer blue, but brown. We were of course disappointed.

Our tour guide was great. He drove us a little farther to another side of the volcano. We walked through the cloud forest and went on several suspension bridges. Turns out, Matt is scared of them! I thought they were really fun though! We had an authentic lunch afterwards where I ate plantains and their unpasteurized cheese, free-range chicken, and a local vegetable that is somewhat like cucumbers, rice and black beans. It was some of the best food I ate the whole time we were in CR! Matt got some chicken soup and rice that he is still raving about.

That day we also saw a lot of monkeys in trees and some neat poisonous frogs that were only about an inch big! They were red with blue legs.

Saturday I woke early and went to the beach and pool again. We were not getting picked up for the airport until 10:30, so I had a lot of time to relax before we left. We said our goodbyes to the beautiful land. I really enjoyed my time in Costa Rica, and I know that Matt did as well. I can't wait to get traveling again.

Pura Vida means "Pure Life" which is kind of like the slogan or saying in the country. I left Costa Rica feeling refreshed and really wanting to simplify my life. I know that is something most people want. I am having a hard go at it this week, but I have not forgotten my desire and my hope that I will one day be able to have a more pure life, whatever I find that to mean for me.

Costa Rica: Our Trip to Find Pura Vida, part 1

Hi Everyone!

It has been two weeks since Matt and I got home from our trip to Costa Rica. We had such a great time and I am already missing it. I wanted to write about all of the things we did so we could always remember it.

Sunday, Matt and I woke up at 2:45 am to leave. We were off by 3:15 and drove to the Nashville airport. After a flight to Atlanta, we then went to Liberia, Costa Rica. (We watched Hitchcock on the way down, and it was great!) The flight was around 4 hours, only a little long. Once we arrived, we got through customs and had no problem with our bags this time. We took the Tamarindo shuttle to our hotel and I promptly fell asleep. After getting settled in around 3:30 their time (1 hour behind Central time here right now), we headed down to the beach. We were there for about an hour and then cleaned up. The view from our room was amazing! We were up on a hill and had direct access down to the street, which was also great. We walked down to see the sunset and then went to dinner at an Italian restaurant. Everyone was very friendly and relaxed-they were on their own time!

Monday we woke up nice and early and ate some light food at the resort. We then headed off to explore Tamarindo. We went to a small bodega and ate some snacks.  This was the day of the coconut! I drank out of a coconut juice. Then we ate some of the coconut mean. Matt got some iced coffee. We continued to browse through some shops and found lunch. At one, we went with another couple to Playa Conchal, which was about a twenty minute cab ride. It was so pretty there! The water felt amazing but the undercurrents were very strong. When we got home that night, I felt like I had had a workout! We took the snorkeling gear but the water a bit too churned up to make that work. We ate so great pizza and then some wonderful coconut ice cream!

Tuesday, we went to get a big breakfast. I ate some stuffed nutella and strawberry french toast and Matt got a huge burrito. I had a bad sunburn from the day before. We bought some stamps and postcards to send back home. Both of us were still pretty tired from our beach trip the day before, so after we got back, we took a small nap. We changed and got ready for our snorkeling tour. We got a pina colada at a place by the beach and enjoyed the heat. Most days it was in the high 80's or low 90's. We got into a small boat that took us our to the big catamaran boat. We sailed North for around two hours. I sat on the front netting and got completely soaked from the waves! It was fun. We snorkeled for around 45 minutes and then ate a good lunch of fajitas made by the crew on the boat. We arrived back at Tamarindo at sunset. We had plans to go out for dinner. After I showered, I got in bed for a few minutes and I did not wake up for another 12 hours! It was one of the best nights of sleep I've ever had!

It appears I am out of photo room!

Wednesday, we woke and went to get a smoothie. I wrote and sent the postcards and we relaxed. We bought all of our souvenirs, got another smoothie for the road, and waited for our ride to the next resort.