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Pura Vida, Pipa Fría and Pearl S. Buck

My first week here in Sámara has been incredible. Sámara is a very small beach town in the rural western peninsula of Costa Rica. The food is delicious, the people are kind, and the beaches are breathtaking. It is currently the rainy season, so about once a day the sky turns a deep grey and rumbles a bit until it starts to pour. I love the rain, so I don't mind at all. I can hear the rain hitting our metal roof quite hard right now in my bedroom. I also have an open window by my bed so sometimes the pounding rain wakes me up at night (I should probably figure out how to close that).

It only takes a quick eight-minute bike ride from my homestay to escape the oppressive heat on the shaded shoreline of the beach, where the ocean breeze is strong and cool. Unfortunately, you can't always tell when the rains will come, so sometimes that eight-minute bike ride home leaves me soaked. This is only an issue when I still have my computer in my backpack from work (lol sorry mom & dad, I'm trying my best). Speaking of work, so far it has been great. The CREAR staff are super supportive and welcoming, which is huge when you're in a new town with a new language and new people. I am really looking forward to the next couple months here; I truly feel like I can accomplish something that benefits both CREAR and the Sámara youth with the work I am doing. Right now, my day looks a little something like this: wake up naturally at 7 a.m. (that sounds very weird to say), sit in my bed and listen to the rain/animals until 8 a.m., eat some awesome breakfast that my dear host-mom Yanina whips up, go into CREAR at 10 a.m. and work on grant research or other administrative tasks, eat lunch at a local restaurant or the bakery next door, return to CREAR, then finish the day off with some reading on the beach and another delicious meal at my homestay. When I don't have work, I have been trying out the beachfront restaurants and trying to get a healthy glow without turning into a tomato. I have also spent a lot of time reading, which is where the Pearl S. Buck comes from. I just finished Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth, which I liked a lot. Next on my list is a Mudbound by Hillary Jordan. Starting this weekend I will begin my journey to become a rad surfer girl, which I am super stoked about. I really am living the good life. The locals here sprinkle the phrase "pura vida", which essentially means "the good life" into conversation like it's candy; it's used as a greeting, to describe their mood, as a goodbye, and for many other things that I have yet to discover. My favorite food so far has been the salad my host-mom makes every night with dinner. It's a mixture of lettuce, corn, sliced almonds, avocado, tomato, lemon juice and salt. Simple and delicious. My favorite drink is a tie between Pipa Fría and the watermelon juice my host-mom makes every once in a while. Pipa Fría is fresh coconut water, straight out of the coconut. To make the watermelon juice, my host-mom blends watermelon until its soupy and then strains out everything but liquid. It's so good. I have also become slightly obsessed with these little coconut butter cookies I bought at the supermarket called Cocanas. Below is me in front of the (very cute) CREAR logo. The second picture is the Summer 2019 CREAR Interns all together. I'm super excited to spend the next 7 weeks with these people and to learn about the Tican way of life!

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