Sunday, June 30, 2013

Central American Sunday.....

When sharing about my last year to a lady at dinner last evening she kindly asked......"Why are you going back to the States? Why did you leave?" She asked me. "I can tell in the way you speak that you are so passionate and you are so grateful for your time there."

 I smiled. Took a big deep breath. "Well........"

I explained, came up with a handful of reasons but proudly said I am excited to be back close to family, friends and back in the mountains. (this is the truth).

I am humbled at her kind words and grateful that sharing my story articulates my very feelings. Becuase  my time in Honduras changed me for the best. I have absolutely no regrets about going and or leaving my job to do so. Funny how I thought I would miss out on all of these things while I was in Honduras and now I feel as though had I not gone I would have missed out on that much more.....

Truth is now I am going home..... Less than two weeks now. How far away this time seemed and now it is here. So this morning while every muscle in my body was screaming at me and my body ached, I took mind to Colorado....... Walking at Washington Park, Broncos football season, A margarita at Lolas, a cold summer night at a Rockies baseball game, Sunday church at DCC, watching the sunset over the top of the mountains, seeing friends, celebrating Megs baby, Heading to Kentucky over Labor Day.......... (time sometimes cannot move quick enough).

How lucky I am to have something to look forward too..... and "something that makes saying goodbye so hard."(Dr. Seuss)

I have not spoken much about the women that I am doing my teacher training with here but I really should. First let me say that they are some of the most generous, kind, honest, broken, beautiful women I have ever met.  We range in age from 20 to 62 years of age. Students, parents, step parents, single, married, widowed, divorced, dating, business executives, artists, yogis but mostly just women. There are many times that it can be a bit overwhelming to be with 22 women for so many days straight but at the same time is a tremendous encouragement. We sweat. We cry. We laugh. We share stories. We complain. We work hard. We study all amidst the rain forest of Costa Rica.  They all have incredible stories, many different reasons why they are attending a yoga teacher training but we all share a love of getting sweaty doing yoga......

It is now Sunday. Hope you have a great day. I am feeling a bit fatigued but the show goes on...... my pants fit tighter than ever (muscle I surely hope). My tan is fading (being inside all day doing yoga).  But I am learning about myself and soaking up my last two weeks of Central American sun.... Cheers to you.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Holding Hands

Wednesday evening while in meditation we were asked to look at our hands. To examine the lines along our hands, to ask what story your hand tells? Ponder where it has been? What has it done?

I will admit that I find mediation very difficult to do. I find it hard to keep my thoughts and emotions from being detached from the very things that cross my mind throughout the time ( the idea is to let thoughts pass and keep from having an emotional connection to them).

However, I find that meditation can be a very powerful healthy thing. It is proven that if we slow down our breath we minimize the oxygen to our brain which then causes our brain to slow down. As a result our thoughts slow down. Thus we naturally relax and calm down. Hence why people often say when you are in a stressful situation or anxious you are told to take deep breaths.... Needless to say I am taking a lot of deep breaths these days... (wonderful thing).

Two weeks from today I will land in Denver, Colorado. After almost one year ago this time I quit my job and decided to move to Central America. Now one year later I am flying home..... my home in the Rockies.

My family is in Kentucky. My sister and her husband bought their first house this week. My parents are in the process of building their new house (Wish I could be in two places at once)........ Someday I presume I will call Kentucky home too but for now I cannot wait to see the snow capped mountains, and the sunny blue skies of Colorado.

As I stared at my hands during meditation my immediate thought was of all the places my hand has traveled in the last year. All the places it has touched in the last year. The many hands it has held. The sweet faces of my kids that my hand brushed alongside. The many coffee mugs my hand has held. The cold mug of a beer in Munich last summer with my very best friend traveling in Europe. The glasses of champagne my hand held near to my lips as we sipped on our train ride through Italy. Brushing my hand along the fabrics at the market in Guatemala over Thanksgiving. My hand curled up inside my coat while it snowed in Kentucky over Christmas. Clapping my hands together as I cheered loud while watching my very favorite basketball team beat the basketball team from down in Lexington. Holding on to the railing of the boat while whale watching in Cabo San Lucas with my family. Wrapping my fingers around the small hands of the children in the orphanage. My hand digging in the sand of the Caribbean during Semana Santa and many beach weekends. The countless red pens my hand has held grading the school work of my second graders. And now the many times my hand has held my body up while practicing yoga these past two weeks...... what an incredible and wonderful year I have been given. And how grateful I am that I have hands to touch and feel it all.....

I love this quote below..... The simple act of holding a hand is something not to be taken for granted. For it is with our hands we are able to do and experience so much. Such a wonderfully special thing.

"We were walking through Hyde Park going nowhere in particular, holding hands for a bit, then letting go as if holding hands wasn't one of life's big deals."

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

More truth about yoga school

I am almost two weeks into my yoga teacher training. I am getting in the routine more and have given more thought about the fact that I will be moving back to Denver in two and half weeks. (excited!) (As well the Rockies season is in full swing and the Broncos are just behind that).

My thoughts on my time here are a bit mixed. I love it one second, I hate it the next. It is hard...... but overall it has been really fun. I must admit this has taught me more in the last two weeks then I think I learned in many of my months at University....... Below are a few of more truths about yoga school. Enjoy:
  • Your sweaty.... like all the time. I now shower twice a day. (I am going to try to minimize it to just once but it is nearly impossible.) Sweat dripping from your forehead onto your mat, the floor around you, on the person next to you. Its really wonderful experience. (kidding kind of gross).
  • You change clothes all the time... I go from yoga clothes to more yoga clothes to then maybe a sweatshirt over my yoga clothes till I have nothing left to wear.
  • Sleep is incredible.... I can assure you that if you are in class nearly from 6 to 9 every day with breaks for meals.....all while practicing four hours of yoga ..... you sleep like a baby. So might I recommend, that if you have trouble sleeping... give yoga a try, I promise you will sleep real good.
  • It is a bit like summer camp.... Put 22 women at a resort for 28 days straight. We eat, do yoga sleep and study together.  It is every bit of late night sneaking in junk food, to sharing clothes, to sleepovers..... no matter what the age some things will never change.
  • Chocolate is hard to come by........ The only complaint about our resort food.... Where is all the chocolate?????..... It was non-existent until we find out that Milka (German chocolate) is sold just down the street at the local grocery store and we all stocked up. All of us seemed to crave chocolate after doing two hours of yoga. Some of the girls as well bought bags of chips and cookies... to satisfy cravings after eating all natural, fresh food and a practically all vegetarian diet for now almost two weeks straight.
  • I am not flexible.... before I came here I considered myself a flexible person. Someone who was capable of putting my head between my legs easily. I could place my hands around my feet in a forward fold. While those things are still true.... I have learned that I have such a limited range of motion in my hips. I am working on opening up my hips more.... and working every day but there are some ladies (no matter what the age) and my goodness they are bendy. I was asked today if I was a biker, and I said yes. She then explained that because my legs are used to going in the forward motion and not turning out this is why I do not have the fleibility in my hips....So hip openers are on my new agenda.
  • An ego is not welcome here..... getting competitive in this only makes your practice worse. The very best yogis flow in and out of posture and recognize their own limitations and flexibility. The goal is not to compromise the integrity of the pose by folding in on your muscles or dipping in your back. But rather extending long and stretching  So while I would love to do many things... Rome was not built in a day so I have a ways to go. 
  • Anatomy...... anatomy anatomy anatomy.. While I am very much enjoying learning about what all of the funky bones and muscles are in my body and being able to identify exactly what hurts, this stuff is really complex and very difficult. I have a new appreciation for the doctor now. For example when I want then to just tell me what is wrong, I now understand why..... There is a lot going on in there.
  • 6 Pack is far away....... So yes this was news to me. Did you know that your six pack sits under two layers of abdominal muscles...??? Me either. So now I am using that as my excuse for why you cannot see mine and why they are so hard to get to show... They are far under there. I rest my case.
Well I must get going.. my breakfast break is finished. But I had a breakthrough this morning... I can now go from headstand into the half fold. (Victory). More yoga move breakthroughs later... Happy Hump day (Wednesday).

Monday, June 24, 2013

You Are Someone Because You are Simply You

As I have previously written, I am currently in a 28 day intensive yoga teacher training tin Costa Rica. Which leads to a lot of time spent in meditation, reflection, laying hot and sweaty on a mat thinking..... mind wandering (which I seem to be very good at).

I have come to realize over the last year that so much of our identity and value is defined by the titles we have been given in our culture..... for example: I am a daughter, I am mother, I am homeowner, I am parent, I am teacher, I am a business executive, I am a yoga teacher, I am a stay at home parent, I am a professional athlete, I am married, I am single, I am a diabetic, I am divorced, I am sick, I am paraplegic, I am writer, I am a student, I am a teenager, I am a grandparent........ or recently realized how much people proclaim, I am an American, I am a Southerner, I am a Texan, I am a conservative, I am a liberal

What I found most profound is that this identification and unofficial caste system we have applied to one another is something man has done to one another. No place in the bible do we see that the scripture reads that we are worthy of value because of what we do, our marital status or  our job title.......

I have realized for the very first time that I am loved and admired simply because I am.

You and I are called worthy of respect for simply being.

You and I matter regardless of what we do today or tomorrow.

You and I are valued no matter of the choices we make today and the choices we make tomorrow.

You are worthy because you are a child of the most high King. A God that loves everyone equal.

Nothing you do or nothing you don't do, can change the truth that you have been gifted that.

He is good so therefore we as his children are good and worthy of all the respect and love.

Perhaps this is resonating with me right now because I am learning to love myself right where I am at. In the midst of the transition, the time of being title less ...... you could say I am jobless, I am single,  I am a traveler yet I have to ask myself what does any of that mean?

I want to put those to the side and just say that I am. And That, I am is good. Just where I am.

So on this Monday morning I hope that you know you are worthy of value for being present in the now, not because of something you accomplished yesterday or the plans you hope for in the future.

What a beautifully freeing thing. You are loved simply becuase you are you.

“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.

I have called you by name; you are mine.”

Isaiah 43:1

Friday, June 21, 2013

Feeling Like Myself

Today I woke up while my roommate packed her bags to visit the Parque de Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Today is our day off from Yoga classes. We start again tomorrow morning with our 6 am practice. So it is our one of three days off that we get for the whole month......

I opted out of joining the big group to head to the park for a number of reasons.... for starters I am exhausted, the journey was long and the park is nearly 4 hours away. (they rented a big van). I as well just felt like I wanted to take some time to read my book, relax by the pool and take the bus into town by myself. A different group of ladies hired a taxi to take them into town nearby and offered if I wanted to join. I kindly declined. I wanted to take the bus.

I have a soft spot for public transportation (can I say that... that is weird right?) Something about riding amongst people heading to work or heading to school makes you feel like you are not merely a visitor someplace but apart of the community. I boarded the bus sat down and recognized Bachata music coming from the bus (Prince Royce) and it made me smile really big. This felt so normal to me. The Central America I came to fall in love with.

I rode the bus into the town of Alajuela and had a few shopping items to attend too: coffee (to take home), flash cards (to study yoga words) and nail polish remover. I knew a simple supermarket would take care of most of these things and a small school supply shop would work for the others. So walking I went. Alajuela the second largest city in Costa Rica is nothing special but merely a town filled with lots of people, lots of ropa stores (clothing shops) and a central market that is nothing to rave about. I did find a small coffee shop, had a latte just around 8:00 am and watched as the city woke up. I checked off all of shopping items before finding the bus to take me back up towards our hotel. I had to ask someone which bus would take me towards our hotel so I could make the short walk from the main road to the entrance of our hotel....  The bus by the way was about 60 cents one way. (Victory)

I am sitting by the pool now and will eat lunch in a few moments..... My morning was just what I needed. Desperately needing to step out of our resort, step into the town, speak some Spanish, wander around a bit and get some fresh air...... side note it is strange to not do yoga today.... 

Happy Friday to you.....

By the way last night we took a Yoga Nidra class.... Also know as yoga sleep. I thought this was some sort of joke but it is not. (it is a real thing). We were asked to lay down comfortably and listen to the meditation. We were led through visualizations and completed an entire body scan. I thought I was doing really good, being aware, not moving, but not falling asleep (that is the goal is to remain conscious). But at the end when we were asked to rise up slowly and everyone talked about how it felt etc...... I did not know half of the visualizations people were talking about.... I had no idea and no memory. Which means I must have fallen asleep. I was shocked to learn that we had been lying down for 40 minutes.. I thought it was about 10 minutes... CRAZY. It was a lot of fun, super strange and really relaxing. Apparently there is an app called, Yoga Nidra and you may listen to them. I recommend if you have trouble relaxing sometimes.... it is fantastic. (no moving though).

 Found the wheat tortillas in bulk supply at the grocery store in Alajuela...... This picture is for my roommates in Honduras.

Central Park in Alajuela.

Self bus picture going back to the hotel.

The below pictures are  of yoga nidra class. Complete with lots of blankets, bulks for ankles, feet, knees and our heads. Fantastic.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Truth about Yoga School

Week 1 is complete... well nearly complete. I continue to ride waves of emotions, absence from Honduras, the in-between before what is next... but am taking it in strides. To all of you who wrote me kind messages, I sincerely appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you.....

I have been meaning to write about the truth about Yoga School. Simple observations and things that are happening here.... Enjoy:

  • It is Exhausting  Our schedule as I already mentioned is intense and for good reason. There is so much to learn. Needless to say we are all very tired all the time.
  • The dress code is awesome: One good thing about this type of school is that it is more than appropriate (encouraged) to wear yoga pants all day every day. I have already taken laundry to be done (after 6 days) because I have exhausted all of my pants. I brought with me about six pairs of yoga pants and seven Lululemon tops. I think I could live in clothes like this always. It is awesome.
  • My body hurts and so does everyone else:  Our morning practice we go through the entire Astanga series which means we do the below picture with all 72 postures. It takes two hours and we are covered in sweat after. We start at 6 am in the morning and finish at 8 in the morning.
  • Chiropractic School meets Psychology meets Philosophy: This is as much a science class as anything. We are constantly talking about the body, human anatomy, the spine and structure of the bones, our ability to move and how to instruct someone with previous injuries to be in correct posture. So much cool, new information that I am learning which I love. But my business brain is finding this very difficult. We spend two hours each day in what we call asana clinic. We get into positions in the middle of the room and walk around each other, comparing positioning, angles and how we place ourselves into positions. What we can correct. What we need to change. Where we are compromising our spine etc....
  • It is like learning Another Language: As many of you probably know Yoga has its origin roots found in India. The language of yoga is written in Sanskrit  We are required to learn the postures in both common English phrase and the Sanskrit names. For example: Virabhadrasana 1 is also known as Warrior 1. Hello long Indian names that are hard to pronounce that I am as well supposed to memorize in a specific order.
  • Teaching is HARD: We have already begun teaching and instructing each other into positions. Although we are all very familiar with the postures, we are told to move into position based on how we are told to do so by our partner. It is so very challenging to guide someone into a posture using completely verbal cues without demonstrating it to them. I am realizing how every little detail, knee placement, hand placement, gaze etc. is mandatory instruction. 
  • I walk only about 100 feet each day: We walk from my tentalow (tent room) to the yoga hall, to the dining hall. That is about it. (But its ok, because we do hours on hours of yoga)
  • We all hurt: There are 22 women here getting certified in yoga and many of them have stories of heart break, loss and pain. I am humbled and grateful I am not the only one... and more reminded how precious this thing called life...

Below are some pictures I have taken of our yoga space and some of our time in our classes 

As well a A dear friend wrote this... and I think it is worth repeating... "It's so confusing when we find ourselves in that juxtaposition- so much loss to mourn and yet so much to celebrate! It seems so cruel to be so happy-sad: it's hard to know how to feel or what's real or If we're being genuine when we talk about how excited we are and how cool it is, but then we cry thinking about "yesterday's". Be gentle with yourself, understanding that there is indeed a time off loss for what was- allow yourself the sadness that comes with that. It is perfectly okay. Being present doesn't always mean being positive- but being present is where we find our truth."

Cheers to you wherever you are....

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Forgive Me

Forgive me if I am not excited. If I don't cry tears of joy upon touching down in the US.  Forgive me while my heart heals, be patient while my heart mends or while my heart figures out where it is supposed to be.

At this moment, I am achy and running a fever. I am not sure if I am genuinely sick or if the hours of heated room yoga, and all natural food is finally sending my body into intensive detox. I have now been getting sick for the last twenty four hours, which only cultivates my heart ache and intensifies the pains that I feel. Although they are emotional it is as though it is a physical heart ache, like someone ripped my heart out of my chest.

I am here in Costa Rica, at a beautiful resort. A place many would dream to come too. To be certified to teach yoga. Many of the women here have waited for this time for years. Many have left their homes and their children for four weeks of bliss. Of living amongst the rain forest, of spa treatments, and yoga teachings. Of living amongst other people who desire to learn about their bodies and the practice of yoga. Of learning how to cleanse the system (it must be working on me) and strengthen their bodies. 

One woman, of sixty three years of age has one of the most beautiful yoga practices I have ever seen. She flows in and out of positions, pulls herself up and demonstrates her balance better than anyone in the room. So incredible.

So please do not be confused that I have not bared witness to all of these things. Or that I have become a recluse in my room not joining in with others. Because I am here. I have not left. But in many ways my heart and mind seize to be here. 

While eating lunch one woman asked if I had been traveling for the last year? Trying to gather my reply, my eyes welled up with tears and I muttered, “I taught second grade for the last year.” And then I began to cry. I apologized and said its OK you can take a moment. I took a moment which only led me to imagine myself in my classroom, standing up front of my kids, begging them to get quiet, but secretly laughing as one of them is dancing in-between the desks. While living in the past, I then only cried harder. I apologized to her again.

Being completely frank with her I said, ”I don't know whats wrong with me? This place is incredible. Its beautiful. The food, the people, the teachings but this is the very last place I want to be. I don't feel like I belong. It feels really selfish to say of me but its the truth.”

She kindly replied that she understood. She understood that it was a difficult transition and that it will probably take a while..... I said I know (I do). But that its just......its just.

So yes I am sorry in advance if I am not counting down the days to see you, or to step in line at Starbucks, or at the bank, or to drive my car. Forgive me if I put toilet paper in the trash can and do not flush it down the toilet. Forgive me if I am short with you while you complain about your life. Or if I shed many a tears at random moments of the day. Or if I talk about my class (way too much). Because right now my heart is beating in every bit of Honduras......

And there is still no place I would rather be.....

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hello Quadracepts and Yogic Anatomy

I think I now know what it feels like to be in summer intensive training for fall sports. (like a high school football player). I just took ibuprofen, nearly cried trying to sit down to go to the restroom. Hello quadriceps and butt muscles and everything in between. I have in my life never been this sore before. I ache..... but its good I suppose??? Maybe.

I could barely digest my dinner because my stomach and body muscles are so not used to this. A small recap of my day at yoga school: (you would probably be tired as well). So to bed it is... enjoy :) Ps my head teacher is brilliant, incredible and smart and knows so much about the body and yoga.... awesome to learn from her.

  • Wake up 5:15 am. Eat a banana and have a cup of green tea.
  • 6 am.- 8 am. Two hour Ashtanga Full Primary Series yoga class. It takes two hours to finish this yoga series of poses. Ouch.
  • 8 am. Shower my sweaty self.
  • 830 am. Eat breakfast.... Super yummy all natural, organic, gluten free, dairy free foods. Its awesome.
  • 10 am.- 12:30 pm.: Primary Series workshop: We are still on our mats, practicing positions and breaking down poses by the anatomy and position. Ouch still. Still breaking a sweat and exhausted.
  • 12:30 pm: Lunch.... typically small because we have another two hour yoga class later.
  • 1:00-3:00 pm:  Two hour break, sleep, rest, lay in bed, check emails etc.
  • 3:00 pm- 4:00 pm: Theory/ Yogic Anatomy/ Philosophy/ Learn the mantras (chanting)/ Break down history/ learn Sanskrit names of the poses/ Human anatomy....... the parts of the body that are moving when you do specific postures and positions. Adjustments etc.
  • 4:00 pm- 6:00 pm Two hour Yoga Class...... Either Bikram (super duper hot, hold poses for long periods of time) or Vinyasa flow in a warm room (what I am used to practicing).
  • 6:00 pm - 6:30 pm Meditation. Led through a meditation of things to think about and focus mind on etc. This has often led me to thinking of my kids and crying. (not normal at all).
  • 6:30 pm Shower yet again my sweaty self
  • 7:00 pm Dinner
  • 7:30 pm Two hour movie/ watching a lady do the whole yoga practice

Looking forward to my bed at this very moment.... and when this is all over. Its getting better but still difficult... just missing Honduras a whole bunch.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Yoga Day 1. Heart Strings

I arrived at the yoga retreat center and it is every bit of a five star resort. Tea and coffee always available... green tea, lemon tea,  to cinnamon tea, to black tea,  to citrus tea, to wheat grass tea.... fresh herbs for your dish, soups, breads, a buffet of fruit always available. Alkaline water in jars, and almond milk for your latte. Labeled food with gluten, no dairy, gluten free..... etc. Its a wellness mecca, with rooms for meditation and rooms for practicing yoga. Overlooking the valley of San Jose. It is stunning.

I am staying in a luxury room tent. A tent you properly zip up and inside is two beds, a seating room and a large globe lamp above. It is like one you would envision in the middle of some game park in South Africa where you might stay on a safari. 

It is all a bit strange to be honest, and a bit uncomfortable. Its really nice. I like it, I really do. Its just different. A bit too nice. Almost a bit too much. 

While the nice lady I ate dinner with complained about her room, my heart strings pulled just a bit. What I would have loved to say to her.....would not have been so nice. Instead I sipped my green tea and I retreated to a different place. One that longs for my stinky, dirty old house in Pena Blanca, Honduras with my five roommates while the rain poured above our heads. What I would give to have an eight year old boy whom is covered in sweat from playing futbol pulling on my waste band. Or simply to be home. With my parents. For fathers day. I would really love that too.

So the transition is all a bit extreme for me. 

I am excited for the next 28 days. I am grateful for the month to detox, to practice yoga for four hours every day and to be officially teacher trained to teach classes. To have absolutely no agenda at all other than just be here..... 

But such is life you see.....You just always want to be someplace you aren't, even if what you have in front of you is really good. 

So while sitting in class this morning, and asked why we were here at yoga teacher training, I kindly replied that I was here because in addition to wanting to teach yoga..... if I was honest I am not ready to go home.

I long for the place near the Lake, in the middle of Honduras, and my classroom of seven or eight year old...... and yes tears fall as I write this..... I miss it more than you know.... And in all honestly am not sure I am all that excited to be back in the States either.

Someone tell me how it is that this whole thing works ???? We are some place and we want to be over there and then we are over there and we want to be back where we were. 

Not so long ago I lived with the words "Wherever you are be all there" above my head so for now I am going to do my best to try in live in this motto..... but not without every half second thinking of this....

Friday, June 14, 2013

Made it to Costa...Travel Tips

Laying in my bed right now... and it feels incredible. Thinking I may do a short yoga session on the floor here and then go drink a giant latte while reading up for school today. I am to be at the airport around 2:00 pm to met my pickup for yoga school. Last night I left my laundry for it to be done, hopefully it will be complete around 1pm and then I am all set.

I am a bit sad my short travel week is over... but very excited to start my yoga school journey. A bit nervous as well. Yesterday while on the bus I started looking at pictures of my kids and yep I still miss them terribly....In a small shop in San Juan Del Sur two kids were playing under the shelves, I handed them small coins and looked at them as though they were my kiddos in my class. What I would give just for one more day with them..... Those big brown eyes. Howdy's long eyelashes, and Aracely who would never get out her books in time......I miss my roommates and our dirty house too. My hearts incredibly heavy.....

But a new adventure awaits I am sure.... While traveling on the bus I got to thinking and learned a few things..... here they are below:
  • Travel with a small bag (not like mine). Border crossings typically require you to take your bag from underneath the bus and carry it across the boarder/ get it searched etc..... So a big hunky bag is not fun. Nor is it transporting it across the city to where you are staying. 
  • Toilet paper is a must...... 9 times out of 10 there is never ever TP in bathrooms. Must carry with. Especially for the bus bathrooms/ boarder crossings.
  • Hand sanitizer... If there is water coming out of the sink you are trying to use your lucky..... and you basically hit the jackpot if the soap dispensary actually gives out soap too. Hand Sanitizer... easy peesy
  • When exchanging money.... Always change on the side of the currency you want.... not the country you are exiting. The rate is always better on side where the currency is from.
  • Get a Window seat..... it is a  must so you are cooler and you get to lean against the wall.... On Chicken buses anything but the kitchen sink is sold on the buses so it avoids a bit of the vendors as well. 
  • Enjoy the entertainment... For example on my way to San Juan Del Sur from Managua. First a clown got on the bus. (did tricks and danced).. he tapped me while sleeping to ask for money for his performance (you must be joking). Next came an evangelist. Well I am assuming he was. His bible and all. (no idea what he was saying). Then came the pharmaceutical rep. A guy selling medicine to cure all your problems. (Nah I think I am good).  You get cell phone covers for sale, chicken with rice in a plastic bag, bread, cheese and bread sandwiches, hot coffee poured for you, fresco's, chips, gum, cigarettes..... oh the options.
  • Plan for extra spending money..... You never know what will happen. Like when you get fined at the border :) A small breakdown of my costs are below.... I splurged a bit for a private room twice but had the option to stay in a dorm with others for around $10.00. Thank you to my roommates who did a bit of this journey before and were a great help.
    • Bus to Tegucigalpa (Honduras) from Pena Blanca (Honduras) (my town).... $7.00
    • Bus to Managua (Nicaragua) from Tegucigalpa (Honduras)... $24.00
    • Hotel in Managua (Nicaragua)... Hotel Los Felipe Private Room around $20.00
    • Bus to San Juan Del Sur (Nicaragua).... Cheap $3.50 (4 hour bus journey)
    • Hotel in San Juan Del Sur (Nicaragua)... $8.50 per night (3 x $25.00)
    • Taxi to bus to San Jose (Costa Rica)..... $15.00 us dollars (it was early so I did not get the bus for 75 cents)
    • Bus to San Jose (Costa Rica).... $10.00
    • Taxi to hostel in San Jose (Costa Rica).... $4.00 (Observation very expensive in Costa Rica.
    • Hotel Aldea in San Jose (Costa Rica).... $30.00 private room 
I may go step out of my room see if this place serves coffee (YAYAY THEY DO)..... I am not sure how much blogging I will be doing during yoga school. I am planning on keeping my blog and keeping up with it for whatever the future holds, so be patient. Promise I am still here.

PS one last tip.... Befriend a taxi guy or be really friendly in the car. Ask about his kids (he will show you pictures) and then he may just drive up on the beach of Lake Nicaragua so you can snap a photo of Ompitepe (two volcano Island). It was awesome...... See Below

Costa Rica below.... the Gulf of Nicoya... (My thoughts on Costa Rica so far..... Americanized.... almost a bit much that I think it doesn't feel that different from the States. Unlike the other central American countries the culture and traditions are still richly present. But Costa Rica is now a tourism trap filled with expensive hotels lining the once deserted beaches. It is beautiful yes of course. Just a bit different. (roommates you were right :))

My lunch yesterday

Last night in my room and my visit to the fancy mall in San Jose so I could watch the NBA Finals and drink red wine at Chilis (yes the American chain). Worth every dime.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Good News? Or The Bad News?

I am writing on a bus on my way to Costa Rica..... 

Shall we start with the good news or the bad news??
 Welp the bad news first since we can get that over with. At the border crossing this morning (Exiting Nica entering Costa Rica) there was some confusion.... let me back track to get you an understanding of visas. I was living for the past 10 months in Honduras on a 90 day tourist visa. Every 90 days we would leave Honduras and enter Guatemala (short holiday trip) to then get a new visa stamp upon our return to Honduras.... ( to stay 90 more days). Knowing in advance that my arrival in Costa Rica was scheduled for today June 13, 2013 . I would need an extension. (My stamp was done March 17, 2013, 91 days).

 So flash back two weeks ago. Matt, Faye, Rose and I went to San Pedro Sula, Honduras to vsiti the immigration office of Honduras to request a 30 day extension to our tourist visa. (all of us needed it) But......We got denied...... He even mentioned that he should issue us a fine at the moment because we had been illegally exiting and reentering when we should have had a proper work/ visitors visa to have been there for so long. We quickly left the office (unsure of what to do next). I then decided that I would go for it. That I should be fine. I figured that if I am not it will merely just be by one day so surely they will either give a small fine or let it go. So today....... that small fine I imagined didn't happen. I was fined for 19 days

It was simply that my reentry into Honduras after visiting Mexico in February started my 90 days visa. (Even though i had visited Guatemala March 17). They were not honoring it. (Honduras Nicaragua, El Salvador and Nicargua have an agreement that the 90 days visa is good for all four countries so as long you do not surpass 90 days in either of them.....except for Guatemala) You see Honduras gives you a new fresh 90 days after traveling to Guatemala but now I know Nicaragua does not (sorry if you are confused.... so am I)

So a $56.00 US dollars fine later I am on the bus, properly out of Nicaragua, with my stamps and no more visa hassle. Just a bit more broke. Cheers Nicaragua and Honduras (enjoy the fine money :))

So that was the bad.... here is all the good...

I am so not a surfer, no surfer body and I don't have a long board that I hold over one arm just as I am walking out into the waves..... I tried really hard.... But I ain't no surfer girl..... I got up a handle full of times but I was exhausted. Its much like the ski and snowboard scene of Colorado. Your either in the in or your merely a short term visitor who tries to fit in during your short stay. You buy the gear, or in this case the Billabong suit and tank top because your a "surfer" but truthfully never been so far from it. 

As for my surfing lessons on Tuesday..... I loved it. My lessons were held at Hermosa Beach.... (Pictures in post before) it was just me, one on one with my instructor for two hours (although I was only supposed to be one hour). Found out quickly that the more you ride the better you are.. so my one day of catching the waves was not enough... I need YEARS of practice. That shizz is hard.  So yes, I am guilty of thinking I was going to look like I was in the movie Blue Crush but deep down, I a Kentucky girl with a heart for the mountains of Colorado... not some beach babe sun kissed surfer babe.

After my lessons I laid in the sun, swam in the ocean,  watched others surf and played volleyball. We stayed until the sunset on the water. The sky changed from purple to pink, to blue.... it was stunning. Mel and Ahmed (from Utah) had rented a car so the four of us stayed until dark and cramed in their rental car to head back to our hostel. We were of only 10 people on the whole beach as the sun set. We laughed and drank cold beer and talked about how ridiculous it was that we were here. 

Driving back to the hostel.... along the dirt road, the lights from the car showed tons of big toads all over the road. We quickly then began a game of real life frogger.... Ahmed would floor it, so we would hit the toads. They made a loud pop noise when they got hit by the rie and we erupted in cheers. It was hilarious. 

Late that night (Tuesday) we went to dinner at a street food vendor stand and then sat around as open mic night at the hostel took place. Sang rolling stones and Pink Floyd amongst 60 others or so before crashing in my bunk...... Was a long day. 

Yesterday (Wednesday), I sat at Madera Beach. A beach only accessible by a 4x4 off roader.... It was a little cove, nestled between rocks that in 10 years time will probably be home to a luxury resort. But today it is home to a backpacker hostel. And in backpacker world price it is a bit pricey... ($18.00 dollars for a bed) but let's be honest....... You wake up next to this below...

This is nearby where survivor Nicaragua was filmed... My personal version of survivor yesterday was drinking two for one mojitos beach side for less than $5.00.....

After my day at Maderas Beach I caught sunset in town San Juan Del Sur for the last time.... by the far the best one yet. Pictures to below. I went to dinner with two English (Blokes) as they would call themselves. They were officers in the British Military (sounded incredibly posh and properly English). I splurged on Filet Mignon with mashed potatoes..... it Melted in my mouth and paired with red wine. Simply the way to my heart.....

We went out for drinks with others last night (Wednesday) from our hostel and played a game of pool (I am not a pool player either). I crashed in my bed a bit late and may be due for a nap soon. 

Tonight I am going to rest up, I should arrive in San Jose late afternoon. And tomorrow I meet everyone from yoga school......... so excited.

***** I wrote on the bus Thursday... now I am safely in my own room in downtown San Jose, Costa Rica. After many a few taxis and bus trips I am off to sleep. But lots more to come tomorrow.....

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

San Juan del Surf....

Monday around lunch time I checked in to my hostel Pacha Mama, just one block west of the ocean front. Judging by the record book of passports I am the only American staying and have been the only one that has checked in for the past few weeks. I think we can thank the US. Government and narrow minded news coverage for that. The horrid stories and overly advertised warnings about this part of the world has led many to visit other places.

With that being said, I could  not be more happy with my decision to visit San Juan. My expectations were moderate but this place has far exceeded all of my expectations. Perhaps it is the diverse hostel community, the stunning remote beaches, the Pacific sunset, late night live music or my $30.00 two hour surf lesson and all day board rental I am not sure...... or perhaps it is simply that I am yet again reminded how incredibly beautiful the world is and how small my world was before moving here.

I am sitting drinking a coke out of a bottle beach side at the shore of San Juan Del Sur... In an hour I am heading to beach Maderas. It is my last day in San Juan del Sur and I have been meaning to write everything down before I forget... So forgive me if it is a bit choppy/confusing and long :)

Live shot right now....

The below picture is of me on the bus studying up for yoga school. I as well read from my bus mates Lonely planet about places to see in San Juan. I took a few pictures of pages to use as reference. It has become quite handy to have. (My book... A rough guide, is not as helpful).

My breakfast pre bus ride (all of this for four dollars) Mango, Watermelon, Banana, Papaya and toast. Yum. Coffee takes the cake here...

Below Me crammed on a chicken bus (As you can tell by how crowded it was) I hold my backpack despite the efforts of many to assist me in placing it above my head. (No thanks) This has my laptop and valuables so I choose to keep it on my lap. I listen to music but keep my phone in my bag. As you can tell the skyline from Managua to San Juan Del Sur passes along Lago de Nicaragua. The two volcanoes that you see as we drove make up the Island De Omitepete. It is also a popular place to visit. (Wish I had more time). I arrived and checked into my dorm room bed ($8.50 per night, clean sheets each night), sleeping amongst 12 others and to be honest on certain nights I think much more. I am glad in this circumstance that I am a heavy sleeper (I don't hear anything) even if two people are in the bunk just next to me. Or last night during open mic night hosted by our hostel and 60 people are listening to live music, singing and dancing late into the night. 

 I quite enjoy the community of it all. My bunk mate (sleeps on top bunk) is a guy from England, to my right Mike from Australia, and to my Left Kari from Canada. Across the way are two girls from Israel (guitar and music playing). We all share two bathrooms and two showers. Yesterday I had a full five minute conversation with another Aussie guy while we both were in our showers. (funny). It is amazing how normal it seems, brush your teeth, get ready with everyone else. This is as well the best way to meet people (Especially traveling alone). The first night I found myself in a pub crawl ( we visited five bars before I crashed asleep). All with my bunk mates. I knew then that night that my time in San Juan would be great......

Our dorm
Sunset Monday night in San Juan.
Tuesday morning I got my tennis shoes on and decided to climb to Jesus. The second largest statue of him in the world. From the top I could see both the pacific coastline of Costa Rica and the Northern beaches. Pictures speak for themselves....

Returning back from my hike, I had coffee, a muffin and yogurt from a fantastic coffee shop in town with another dorm mate from the Dominican and a girl from Canada. It was then decided I would take surf lessons.... :) and head to Hermosa beach.

Below are pictures..... I just realized it is nearly 11:26 and I need to get changed for the beach. More update on my sweet wave catching, sunset, frog killing and my plan for tomorrow.