Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Back in the swing of things




So I definitely feel like I'm back in the swing of things.  I just worked three shifts in a row (12 hours each) and, well, that was so pre-guatemalan life that it was like I'd never left...except of course I had five patients that were Spanish-speaking and I could talk directly to them which was SO COOL!  


It wasn't easy!  Two of them were Puerto Ricans and spoke very quickly but then a couple from the Dominican Republic showed up and that was like a different language all together!  I remember one of the doctors from NPH that came to our conference last year from the DR spoke like that...it just sounds very different and I, for one, have trouble understanding!  The family from Mexico was much easier to understand and the mom and kid from Peru were the easiest of all!


I'm headed to Cuba in less than a month.  I've been told their Spanish is SUPER difficult so that will be interesting!  I'm adjusting but I have the travel bug just as much, if not more, than before I left.  I am so grateful to have a family that understands, a job that is flexible, friends who want to go places and a passport!  God is so good!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Savannah, Paula Deane and Flannery O'Conner



I'm so glad I took baby steps returning home.  After Costa Rica I stopped in Florida to visit one of my dearest friends.  She took me up to Georgia for the day and we took in the most haunted city in North America: Savannah.


Savannah definitely has it's own charm.


The streets are lined with cute stores and coffee shops while connecting little parks together.  The parks are built at the site of former militia gathering squares.  Savannah never actually participated in a war...but they were always ready.

tea and spice store

collins quarter

the book lady

We found some amazing places to eat.  Since it's winter and cold, even down south, we used pretty much every excuse we could find to stop and eat or drink something.

zunzi's (free lunch to first customer of the day: us!!)

paris market: my favorite store

one of the small parks

paula dean's store

forsythe park, biggest one in the city

lavender mocha: collins quarter signature drink

one of the graveyards...need lots if you are going to be haunted...like Savannah is

the cathedral!!

and can't forget the spanish moss!

Old-world charming yet with a spirit of youth and enjoyment, I loved our day in Savannah.  Definitely will visit again!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Costa Rica





Costa Rica...or rich coast as it is aptly named...is BEAUTIFUL!  I visited 6 or 7 years ago for a quick trek to Arenal and Monteverde (volcano and lake region inland) but I never actually made it to the COAST...you know...of COSTA RICA!



I met up with two dear friends who are just as travel crazy as I am in San Jose.  We hiked Poas Volcano (on a paved walkway with people in wheelchairs), toured a coffee plantation (did you know dark roast coffee has less caffeine than light roast?  The longer it cooks, the less caffeine there is in the beans!), visited an animal refuge in the rainforest and climbed down a ravine to take in five or six waterfalls.  And that was just the first day!





The next day we headed out to Manuel Antonio, the famous National Park of Costa Rica that conserves the shore line and forests.  In a weird twist to my very low-budget trip so far...we were upgraded to the penthouse suite of the boutique hotel where we had originally booked a small double bed room.  We could see beaches from both sides of our room...and stand outside to see them from two different balconies.  





We also took in another surfing lesson up the beach at Dominical and went parasailing off Manuel.  We trekked three miles to another awesome waterfall and then trekked three miles back.  Worth it but boy was it hot!






We finished with an awesome dinner at a cute little tapas bar overlooking the ocean and shoreline.  Fun?  Yes.  Peaceful?  Yes again.  Blessed?  Yes, yes, yes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

5000 footers in Ometepe, Nicaragua


Early start!


Ometepe is an island in the middle of a huge lake in Nicaragua that is famous because it has not one, but two volcanoes.  The larger one, Concepcion, was my goal for a very quick stopover.  Over 5000 feet, it reportedly has the best view of all of Nicaragua.  You know.  When the clouds blow over.



I was super blessed to meet up with two friendly and enthusiastic hikers from Holland my first evening on the island.  They quickly latched onto my plans to hike the volcano and signed up with the same guide for the following day.


Since I didn't have a backpack, the guide lent me one.  Since I didn't have my hiking boots (already sent home with my friend), I wore sneakers.


Similar to hiking Tajumulco, we were racing a moving cloud but unfortunately unlike Tajumulco...the clouds beat us to the top. It was windy and dark and scary but we did it!  The other side of the crater wasn't visible and that was a bit of a bummer....




But the view on the way down was worth it.  The clouds sat just on the tip of the volcano, so they only obstructed our view of the inside, thankfully!



Looking down at the island and the lake...I was on top of the world.  It's funny no matter how tired you are or how hard the hike...it is always worth it at the top.



There are more volcanoes in the distance...hikeable ones.  I'll have to go back.


Hard to believe a little cloud like this kept us from seeing anything!


It was kinda neat because even though my Spanish isn't that strong, the guide's English was weak enough that he would ask me to translate for the other two girls...it felt pretty cool to understand enough to go back and forth between them.


We saw monkeys on the way up and on the way down.  


Later that night three of my friends from NPH arrived on the island and we celebrated our last night together in Central America before I took off again.  I wanted to stick around but I had a deadline to meet.


I boarded the ferry at 5am the next morning in order to make it to the bus on the mainland.



A taxi driver dropped me off on the side of the road under a bus stop sign where I waited for my ride to Costa Rica.  There are so many other places I'd love to explore on Ometepe!  I definitely plan to revisit Nicaragua!