8/4/2011 -- A good friend of mine told me several weeks ago that I should continue blogging my life, not necessarily for any of you that happen to read this, but for me. So my goal with my new start is to reflect on things that have happened, how they've changed me, and how I can apply what I've learned to the future. Feel free to follow along or whatever, I got things under control even if no one ever reads this.
First post is something like half done, expected time of arrival: 1 week.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Costa Rican thoughts.
It's the day after Christmas, and you know what's really weird? This year didn't really feel like Christmas. We had the meals and the family get together here in Costa Rica, but there something about living in hot weather that makes you feel like you're in an eternal summer. Sure it is a bunch cooler here than in Peru, but it's still in the 60s, no where near a good winter temperature.
That made me question, what makes a 'good' Christmas? I'm in Costa Rica for Christmas, and that, for some, makes a perfect Christmas. I'm even down here with family and once again, for some, that makes the perfect Christmas. Then there is the gift part of Christmas, giving and receiving. Does that make a good Christmas? Ha. No idea.
For businesses, Christmas is a time to rack in some profit, for churches, it's a time to wrangle up everyone for a special service, for families, it's a time to spend together, for students, it's a time to recuperate, for kids, it's a time to get presents, for parents, it's a time to live up to your kids Christmas dreams, but for Anthony... Every year it's a little different. This year, Christmas is a time to catch up and reconnect with people I haven't seen in months, a time for starting school applications, and a time to chill and relax in a 'modern' environment.
As much as I enjoy the modern comforts of life, living without them has really shown me the joys of a 'simple' life. We are chasing after technology to make life easier, but ya know what, life is super easy without all of that. It's just a matter of your definition of easy, that's all.
I guess what I'm trying to say with this is much simpler than I'm making it out to be. What if I did mission work with my life? Just a thought, but a possibility indeed. As much as I love technology and computers, it sure is nice living without them sometimes. Yes, I am looking at getting a degree in Software Development, but something my dad told me (paraphrasing) is that God gives you talents for a reason and there is no reason for you to ignore them. If you're good with computers and love programming, then do it.
True stuff. So there you go, that's what I've been thinking about this break. I love working with my hands, and it's tough to do that back in the states. I am coming back, don't worry about that, but I can't make any promises about how long I'll stay. I have a list of things I need to do before I do anything crazy with my life: get a degree and find myself a wife. A wise person tells me that I should have a degree and I do believe that my mom has reason to tell me this. As to the getting a wife part, a companion in life is always appreciated. Someone to share dreams and enjoy life with.
We'll see what happens with life. But ya know, my life is like this blog post, it has a purpose, but is kinda helter skelter. Ha!
Costa Rica is super awesome! My grandparents have been kind enough to put me and Jonathan up and to feed us, so my costs have been pretty low thus far. They are pretty awesome! We've gone for a super scenic drive throw the valley and the next day went driving up Volcan Irazú, which is the only place in the world you can see both the Pacific and the Atlantic. Unfortunately that is only true on clear days.
But the Sunday of traveling to get here was absolutely crazy!! I just remembered that I didn't post that in my last post. It's a story for the ages!
Our day of travel started out about 6:15 am when we walked out the front door of the house we're staying in at Km 38. Jonathan and I walked out to the road and across to buy some coconuts for breakfast and what a great breakfast it was! We waited for a taxi to drive by, which took as long as it takes to eat a coconut. The taxi driver took us into Pucallpa and dropped us off near the airport, so we took a motokar the rest of the way.
When we got to the airport, we were informed that our reservations had been canceled. No idea why, but they had. So we had to purchase another flight on the spot and get that all figured out. In doing this, the lady that was helping us thought that we were making our return flight together, and at the time we weren't. So I had to wait for 20 minutes while she figured out how to change the reservations. But she finally got it figured out and we hopped on the plane at 9.
We landed in Lima on time and collected our bags to head to the counter to check in. The guy guarding the line asked us for our vaccination records, and lucky me, I missed the memo about having to bring it with me. So I told him I had a copy on my computer, but he didn't like that, so he sent me to the little clinic in the airport to get my vaccination "re-certified".
I showed up in the little clinic and showed the doctor the copy I had on my computer, she didn't care much about that, telling me that I needed to have the original faxed by my doctor. So she gave me the fax number and pointed me up to the phone and internet cafe upstairs. I had a brilliant idea, and decided I was just going to print it out real quick and use that, so I got up the stairs and asked the attractive girl running the counter if she had a printer I could use. Smart me, I guessed the word for printer and got it wrong. She had no idea what I was talking about, but after explaining myself as best as I could using my limited Spanish vocabulary and hand motions, she nodded yes and pointed my towards one of the open computers.
I made the file transfer with my thumb drive and had a copy printed out in just a couple minutes. She charged me 4 soles and I was off with my copy.
The line guard liked it, but when I got to the counter, my copy was shot down. The attendant said that I needed the original copy, but with my copy I could go get mine "re-certified". I still had no idea what that meant, but I went back to the clinic as directed. The doctor questioned my copy, but after I told her that my "doctor" had just emailed it to me, she agreed to give me a Peruvian copy for 35 Soles (about 12 bucks).
So with my Peruvian vaccination copy in hand, I was able to pass through all levels of vaccination screening and get my boarding pass. The lady working the counter didn't even have time to explain the boarding pass like usual, because me and Jonathan had 30 minutes till boarding by that point. So we ran through the terminal to get to the airport tax and security.
We made it through in time and were at the terminal with time to spare. Jonathan grabbed some lunch, and we sat and waited for a few minutes before boarding and take off.
We took off on time, but 35-40 minutes into the flight, some guy had a mild heart attack. So we had to turn around and fly back to Lima, not even kidding.
By the time we got back and sat around for half an hour waiting for who knows what, there was no way we were going to make our connection outta Panama city. We had no idea what was going to happen, but on our descent into Panama City, the captain informed us that the connection to Costa Rica was at gate 19.
As soon as we landed, Jonathan and I booked the half mile to gate 19 only to discover that it was the wrong gate. We asked the gate attendants, and they pointed us to gate 22. We hurried back to that gate and got our boarding passes reprinted and had 10 minutes to relax before we took off.
When we landed in Costa Rica, we discovered that they had lost our bags, so after waiting in line for an hour or so, our suspicions were confirmed and the baggage claim dude gave us a little receipt and told us to call in the morning.
We walked out of the airport just hoping someone was there to pick us up, but since we were two or three hours later than planned, there was no one. What do you do when there's no one to pick you up in a foreign airport and you don't have a number to call?
Well, ha, I eventually remembered that they lived near a school, so I asked one of the taxi drivers if he knew where the school was, he didn't, so he called his Papi and his Papi knew. The thing was, that he wasn't an official airport taxi driver, so we had to walk with him away from the airport and wait for him to bring his taxi around. That was pretty questionable, but he was our only hope.
We got in his taxi, and he took us to where he his Pap told him the school was and it was not the right school. We informed him of such and then he spent a good 20 minutes asking everyone he saw if they knew where the school was. No one had heard of it.
His Papi eventually looked it up on the internet and called our taxi driver back. We were on the wrong end of town. The guy explains that he doesn't have time to take us there, but has a friend that will.
So he drops us off with his friend, who is an official taxi driver and who takes us straight to where we need to go. The thing is that my grandparents house has a nice big metal fence complete with a big wrought iron gate which is set away from the house. We tried shouting a couple times, but we didn't think it looked that good to have two young guys shouting at someone's gate at 1 in the morning.
So I figured that the guard of the school would be able to help us, and we walked up the school to talk to him. We told him who we were and asked if he would call my grandma for us. He was extremely skeptical when he called her, but he told us she'd open the gate, and finally we made our destination.
That was quite the adventure, and the next day the airport dropped our bags off at the house, so it even ended well.
Other than that whole fiasco, Costa Rica has been pretty sweet. We're headed out to MonteVerde today (12/27) and then the beach on Sunday! So we have ourselves a good vacation. Been able to catch up with a buncha people via the internet, so that's been pretty sweet.
And something else that is pretty much awesome, is that my hard drive in my laptop came up with an error a couple weeks ago, and so I talked to Dell over this break. They are gonna replace the hard drive while I'm in Peru! They have an office down there, so it's convenient and won't cost me a dime! That is nice!
Keep me in your prayers, even though I am on vacation, anything could happen and prayers are always appreciated. So keep doing what you're doing, whether it be school, work, or whatever else you might be doing.
Paz a usted,