Last Leg in Costa Rica: Mini-Stories {2011}

I wasn’t able to access these pictures for a long time but it’s so nice to go back and remember moments my memory has neglected. Here’s just a sneak peak of my last leg of my hiatus from April-July 2011.

Auntie reading my spread in Bridal Guide magazine.
Auntie reading my spread in Bridal Guide magazine

Sunset on Tamarindo beach.
Sunset on Tamarindo beach.
There's no occasion too small for not wearing heels as a woman in Costa Rica.
There’s no occasion too small for not wearing heels as a woman in Costa Rica.
Meat is cooked on this wood-burning stove.
Meat is cooked on this wood-burning stove.
The little girl I wanted to kidnap.
The little girl I wanted to kidnap.
Ticos in school.
Ticos in school.


What I would eat everyday if I could: patacon con frijoles negros.
What I would eat everyday if I could: patacon con frijoles molidos.
Let’s get lost?



Last Leg in Costa Rica: Mini-Stories {2011}

Happy 190th Birthday, Costa Rica!

What kind of Tica would I be if I didn’t post on Costa Rican’s 190th Day of Independence? WHEW! Where has the time gone? Last year on Tica Embracing the Globe, I talked about how a Tica transplant celebrates Independence Day in NYC (there’s even a clip of me here spitting some poetry!) This year, I’m answering this question:


Yes. I think Costa Rica is probably getting better with age because not only are we growing economically due to steadily rising tourism rates, but we are tackling tourism in a way that is the least detrimental the Rich Coast. Unlike most Latin American countries where you know tourism is heavy but you land in their airports, or look at their cities and scratch your head wondering ‘Where is all the money going?’ It’s obvious that most of the tourism revenue stays national. Costa Rica is known as one of the most comprehensive countries in eco-tourism which basically means, whatever type of  conservation or ecological ‘adventure’ you might be looking for, you will most likely find it here.

There are probably environmentalists who would disagree with me. They probably think all the attention Costa Rica is getting is not so great, since tourist traffic is encouraging business owners/investors to make real estate sky-rocket and build more properties, and the foot traffic is affecting environmental homeostatis. My opinion is that as long as Costa Rica continues to strive to be entirely carbon-neutral (which basically means they want to eliminate carbon dioxide gas emissions that come from burning fuels and gases) by the year 2021, and continue with eco-tourism incentives for new developments and businesses they should be alright.


Send me my sash and one-way ticket!

Today and probably continuing into the weekend, there will be plenty of celebrating to be done not only in Costa Rica, but for neighboring nations like Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico since they all share this very important date.

Although I’ve never spent Independence Day in Costa Rica, I can still pretend like I’m back home. The sun has set over Upstate, New York and it’s about 54 degrees Fahrenheit outside. I am sitting in my school library streaming live music from Costa Rican’s local radio station online, sorting through pictures of my past trips. In my 26 years of life, I’ve only been to Costa Rica in 2008, 2010 and this year twice (two very critical trips). There’s no doubt I feel closer to mi patria (my homeland) now that I’ve got to experience living there for an extended period of time. And although right now it’s 70 degrees Fahrenheit in San Jose, and I’m about miles and miles away from that reality, I can still put a smile on my face when I go back to my apartment downtown and see my flag hanging from the window…remembering that warm feeling I get everytime I’m blessed enough to get on a plane. There really is no place like home.

Here are some of my favorite memories:

Tarmac Walk
A Very Snotty Looking Tica

A very proud Costa Rican,

She Traces

Happy 190th Birthday, Costa Rica!

The American Luxury

I had a treat on my flights back home from Costa Rica. Although I traveled for about 8 hours that day, I really couldn’t complain after I got to cross off the number 2 item on my Bucket List.  TWO FIRST CLASS FLIGHTS! I flew first from SJO to Atlanta’s huge international airport, and then had an hour and a half wait before I went from Atlanta to LaGuardia. On my first flight, I sat next to a skinny tall white man who informed the flight attendant that his children were seated in coach and that one of them might have motion sickness so he should prepare with bags accordingly. I thought to myself, what kind of man leaves his children in coach to come and sit in first class? Especially when he knows his kid gets sick on planes? I decided to spark a conversation, instead of judge him too harshly. He informed me that the children were seated in coach with the babysitter. That’s not too bad… I guess? The man, named Joseph, was retired and owned a farm on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, so he spent his time traveling every 2 weeks back and forth to Atlanta and Costa Rica.  The life, I thought to myself. He then began to tell me about his children’s 4 nationalities; they were born in Costa Rica, American citizens and then apparently were also automatically Danish and West African due to their parents. Apparently, children can hold more than two nationalities until about age 21, when the U.S. forces them to pick and choose only one other ally (if that country allows dual citizenship).

After our small talk, I picked up a flight magazine. You know, the one that tries to sell you things to make your arduous American life a little bit easier to handle. I picked the best 3 to share with you, my fellow readers:

Descriptions and Items courtesy of Sky Mall, Summer 2011

The Pillow Tie ($19.95, Available in Navy/Black/Silver or Red)

Boring meetings, hour-long conference calls– might as well make yourself comfy. Looks and ties like traditional neckwear but inflates with a few puffs.

How to use a pillow tie- Step 1. Access the inconspicuous valve. Step 2. Inflate in less than a breath. Step 3. Zzz..Zzzz..Zzz

(The man who invented this, must have definitely been puffing something)

Remote-Control Beverage Coller ($69.95)

Get up and walk all the way to the cooler for a cold one? Not necessary. Just point your remote and get your drink delivered, no cabana boy required.

The Peaceful Progression Wake Up Clock ($69.95)

This clock gradually increases ambient light stimulating aromas and peaceful sounds to awaken sleepers. Thirty minutes before wake-up time, the light glows softly, brightening over the next half-hour while faint aromatherapy scents release into the air.

I solved all your Christmas shopping dilemmas in one post.

Thank me later,

She Traces

The American Luxury

On to the Next One

I’m done with the Chepe life and the Schools for Fools campaign. I’m glad to have gotten some independence in San Jose, some privacy in renting a room, and a form of income for a little while. It’s good to know I can get a decent paying job in Costa Rica and speaking English puts me at a great advantage than most ticos who are unfortunately not as qualified. It was a great ego-booster to have gotten hired here, after fighting for some kind of employment in New York City for 2 months. After a while, I did begin to feel overqualified for a call center, but I also understand one must possess a certain don (skill) for those kind of sales position. I don’t know if it’s the tone of your voice, the gift of gab, or the tactful persuasiveness that some people naturally possess, but I definitely know that I wouldn’t last happily at that job for too long.

In honor of the campaign, here are a list of the top 8 most unique names I came across:

8. Vernelious (too close to venerial)

7. Chequlia

6. Gualberto

5. Vannara

4. Bienvenido (This name means welcome in Spanish, but thank God at least it was a man)

3. Latofia (Girl, get that laffy taffy)

2.  Langitoto

1. Idionna (this name sounds too close to ‘Idiot’)

Counting down my last month in Costa Rica, I am now moving on to the next part of my adventures here. Come Monday, I’ll be volunteering with a Learning Center in a rural part of Costa Rica. Volunteering is what I wanted to do from jump, so I’m glad to have found an organization who’s focus is conservation, educating tourists, and most importantly giving back to the community. When I tell people I’m going to volunteer, the conversations usually go like this:

Random Person: That’s cool, how much are they paying?

GT: Nothing, I’m going to be giving back for free.

RP: Are they offering room and board?

GT: No, some programs don’t have enough funding to house and feed their volunteers.

RP: So, you’re paying to work for free?

GT: Yup.

RP: Why?

GT: (Cheesy Answer) Because what I’m getting in return is priceless.

(Real Answer) Because that’s how I want to give back.

I believe that volunteering is such a meaningful experience, that I’m willing to pay to use my gifts. Now I know that there are some exorbitant fees tied with some programs, but it’s all about doing your research and making sure that there’s no 3rd-party intercepting most of that money because the cost of living in some developing countries is really cheap. I found that trying to find a good program that was the best fit for me took me coming to Costa Rica and searching while here. Ideally, I would have liked to have everything set up before I left but it didn’t happen that way. Bottom line is I’m doing what I came here for before I bounce!

I’m excited about ‘unplugging’ from all the luxuries that city life brings like traffic jams, malls, high-speed internet and noise! Over the next 3 weeks I hoped to do more of the things I always get distracted from doing more of; things like reading, writing, thinking, and praying. The regularly scheduled program will be on pause for a minute, but I will be back in August with some new episodes!

Wish me the best as I try to make a difference in the world!


She Traces

On to the Next One