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Coach Mo

Things are going smoothly with my internship at CREAR. I’m comfortably set into my weekly schedule and not a whole lot has changed since I last updated you on my daily life. I’ve been working on some marketing projects during my office hours at CREAR, creating pamphlets and flyers to give to our volunteer groups with information regarding how to keep giving to CREAR and helping the Samara community even after they leave.

This last week brought with it a group of twenty-one 8th graders from San Diego. Xinia hosted three of these kids at her house, so Stephanie and I shared breakfast and dinner with Ben, Ranger and Umit. These 13 and 14 year olds were on a trip with their school called International Discovery Week where the entire 8th grade class travels to either Costa Rica, Peru, France, China or New York City. Here they studied at Intercultura Language School and spent their free time doing typical tourist activities like kayak tours, ziplining and surf lessons. Compared to the rest of the travelers in Samara they were a bit on the young side, but I think they learned a lot and had a good international experience in Costa Rica. I even gave Ben information about taking a gap year.

I spent most of last week prepping for a field day and fiesta for the kids of El Torito. Andrea had me take the reigns for field day and I realized, Hey, this is a lot of fun, maybe I’d like to do this full time, and that’s when my intended major/career path changed routes once again. If you’d asked me when I was 6 what I wanted to be when I grew up the answer would have definitively been astronaut, but I’ve matured a bit since then and working with the kids at El Torito has shown me that teaching physical education very well may be in my future. When I was in South America with my Carpe Diem buddies I shaved my beard into a mustache and wore it for weeks at a time with exclusively upper lip hair. My friends noticed that with the mustache I look a lot like a gym teacher or football coach and they gave me the nickname “Coach Mo.” I found it amusing, but didn’t really think too much about that actually happening. However, I’m enjoying this elementary age group right now, and there’s nothing quite like the controlled chaos that is gym class . So, for now, I’m an education major, but that could easily change again in a week.

I’ve been living here with Xinia now for 6 whole weeks, and 6 weeks is about how long it takes her to see if she trusts you in the kitchen or not. It looks like she has given me a passing grade because this past week I have been invited to help in the kitchen on more than one occasion. Most of the time I was called on for something little like “here, come grate this yucca.” or “Chop these peppers real quick.” However, while the boys were still here she put me completely in charge of quesadilla construction. She had prepared the chicken and the beans and all that jazz, but she handed me the tortillas and a spatula and threw me on both ends of the line at your local tex-mex joint. I was throwing black bean paste over tortillas, chicken over beans then a hefty serving of dos pinos mozzarella cheese before folding it all over and stepping into my “grill master shoes” and flipping golden brown quesadillas like I was Armando Montelargo on A&E’s “Flip This House.” The quesadillas received rave reviews and I’m looking for investors to help me start up my franchise.

I’m just over the halfway point with my third Costa Rican adventure which is bringing mixed emotions. I’m certainly excited to see my family once again and enjoy luxuries such as air conditioning and couches. I also look forward to seeing my friends and dining at my favorite Chattanoogan resturants. However, like every other kid who has flown the coop either to college or on a gap year or to move out on their own, visits home are certainly an adjustment. Free time gets traded out for chores, late nights turn back to curfews, pizza and junk food become “eat your vegetables” once again. Although I can’t even make the drive in the direction of the airport without filling with excited anticipation, I will certainly make the best out of the 7 weeks I have left here in Costa Rica.

To read more of Lucas' posts, visit his blog here:

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