things i love about her

i love the natural color of her cheeks
and the way she smiles when she speaks.
the frizzy curl of her ash blonde hair
and how it manages to get everywhere.

her eyes are pits of golden flame
like the branches of the tree from which she’s named.
i love the length of her legs when she points her toes
and how her features are big — from her feet to her nose.

she can be open and honest to all who she meets
and she isn’t afraid to admit defeat.
i love her wild sense of humor that tends to offend
and how if she doesn’t succeed she’ll try, try again.

i love her confident photos when she purses her lips
and the sexy ‘come here boys’ sway of her hips.
how she can be her own person without any help
and doesn’t need hundreds of friends to define herself.

the way her mind wanders as she dreams of success
how she knows what she’s worth and won’t settle for less.
i love her passion for politics, fashion and writing
and how she doesn’t shy away from the demons she’s fighting.

the things i love about her go on and on
because she is my keeper and together we’re strong.

“taking the piss out of” and other british phrasings that confuse me

The past few days have melded into a blur. I got the news that my beautiful grandma had passed away on Monday, and decided to leave the center shortly after. It still hasn’t sunk in that she’s permanently gone; I think due to the fact that I’m not home to feel the emptiness. I will always remember her as being the most selfless woman I’ve ever known, apart from my mom. She never sat at her own dinner parties, because she was busy tending to other peoples needs. I wasn’t as close with her as I would have hoped to be, but love is a strange thing, and though I didn’t know much about her, I love her fiercely all the same.

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I left the center Wednesday afternoon with the infamous Johnny, one of the salaried cab drivers for the center. He’s young, and very friendly. We have inside jokes between us, which makes me feel like a real-life spanish speaker since I understand them! I had plans arranged to meet up Friday with all the ladies I had become close with, since they were leaving the center shortly after me. Johnny drove me the half hour to my hotel, called Hotel Cristina, which is an absolutely beautiful apartment complex, with every anemity I’d ever need or want. I got it for a bargain too. Jaco and I (I renamed my sloth because he deserved a worthy identification) took a shower immediately, and I felt as though I was scrubbing off 2 weeks worth of sweat and dirt, probably because I was. It was so refreshing and HOT. You don’t appreciate the gift of warm water until you don’t have it.

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Let me give a current update before I move on; I’m in an Uber right now, literally racing through the jumbled streets of San Jose, and the burger I just ate is dangerously close to destroying this man’s freshly detailed interior. Driving in this country is fucking insane, sorry for the hard F but seriously, people are selling tortillas in the street, meanwhile 3 or 4 motorcycles that seem to be holding way more people than they should be try to wiggle their way through the crevices of cars. And everyone’s always honking, like constantly.

Okay, so anyway, I brought a few of the leftover groceries I purchased while at the center, but decided I needed to visit a market to get a few more essentials. Normally I’m all about healthy eating habits, but these past two weeks of vacation I’ve consumed more peanut butter and Nutella than I’d care to admit. As my British friends would say, “It’s alright Olivia, you’re on holiday!” I didn’t get a phone plan while here, so I rely solely on WiFi to connect me to data. For that reason, venturing to the grocery store on foot, with no means of communication was a little intimidating. The last thing I needed was to get lost in the city centre of San José. However, I surprised myself and made it there quickly and without issue; thank god I didn’t get my dad’s sense of direction… if I did, I probably would have ended up on a Nicaraguan coffee plantation or something. The markets here are great; big and open and fresh. They even have sample stations like in Sam’s Club! I spent a solid 2 hours in the store, walking around looking at all the different foods that they don’t sell in the states and mysteriously ending up at the same sample station 2 or 3 times. Don’t judge me, it was fried cheese over bruchetta; I’m only human. They have an entire section dedicated to alcohol as well, and I spoiled myself and got a $6 box of wine. So the way to the store had been relatively simple since I was hands-free and fueled by adrenaline to get some food, however the way back to the hotel was not as glamorous. I only bought enough food to fill two plastic bags, but I mistook the size of San Jose’s sidewalks and literally was dodging people’s legs as I tried to walk in a straight line. At one point, a man threw himself off the sidewalk when he saw me coming, and landed in the little divet between gutter and street. It was equally scary for both of us.

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I spent most of Wednesday and Thursday by the pool reading. The weather in San José is much cooler than Alajeula, a brisk 84 degrees on average. There’s free continental breakfast included with my stay, and it’s sooooo yummy. Pancakes, made-to-order omelettes, prosciutto, mango, pineapple, watermelon, donuts with chocolate sauce, homemade marmalade with fresh bread, yogurt and granola, an entire platter of different cheeses, brownies, orange juice and of course, coffee. Needless to say, I need to hit the gym hard upon returning home.

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On Friday I decided I’d take an adventure to the largest mall in Costa Rica: Multiplaza Escazú. I ordered an Uber, and was dropped off in front of a very large, very new mall about 10 minutes later. When I walked in I was shocked by how few people were there. It was a Friday morning and I think there were about 50 people, including myself. It had basically every store I could ever want, but the prices are so ridiculously high here, it’s not even worth it. For example, at the Forever 21 at MOA, I could buy an entire outfit for less than $50. At the Forever 21 in San José, a pair of shoes was close to $45. I ended up finding a cute, relatively inexpensive outfit from a department store that reminded me of Younkers, and I also bought an ice cream cone and spilled half of it down my front because I’m a 12 year old girl. I was ready to leave, but here’s the tricky part, I needed to find WiFi so I could schedule my Uber back, and there is no such thing as free WiFi in the mall. I sniffled a bit to a bike cop and he left his post in front of Chili’s to ask a McDonald’s employee for their WiFi password. The only thing I could think of during this whole thing was, why did they need patrol in front of Chili’s? Who the hell steals from a restaurant… like, is someone going to run out holding handfuls of guacamole or something? I thanked him and got an Uber back.

In times of desperation, one finds a way to get the job done. In my case, this meant finding a pair of tweezers, because my eyebrows had been neglected for so long I was starting to look like that scary Russian woman from Dodgeball. I asked the front desk, (yes I really did this), for a pair of tweezers which they, shockingly, didn’t have. But they did have scissors. Life hack: YOU CAN SUCCESSFULLY PLUCK YOUR EYBROWS WITH CRAFT SCISSORS. I did it, and they look bomb. I met my lovely UK ladies and Jo, my boo from New Mexico at their hotel around 7. It’s a 8 mile drive from my place to theirs, and an hour drive. The traffic here is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Imagine literally inching forward on a highway for an hour; it was painful. The girls were about 4 drinks in when I got there; to be expected considering their hotel has a happy hour from 5-8, and the drinks were crazy cheap. Since I was a late arrival, I ordered a few at a time to play catch up. I had a couple strawberry daiquiris, blue Hawaiians and Bahama mama’s and the sugar rush made me feel like I might go into a diabetic coma. I love those girls to death; they’re so kind and funny, but also really naughty and cunning-like me! 😉

IMG_1549tempImageForSaveAfter we all had enough of the blended booze, we made our way to the Hard Rock Café across the street. Again, it was insanely expensive but the burger, fries and mac and cheese I ordered tasted like heaven on a platter. I’ve never felt so full in my life, including the aftermath of the Minnesota State Fair, so that’s saying something. The girls and I agreed we’d meet up again sometime this year, preferably in London since I’ve never been, and they’d show Jo and I around. Another trip to plan!

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Drinking more Caribbean rum than Captain Jack Sparrow and other birthday happenings

The most tragic thing that could have happened, happened. I had a beautiful, 1200 word blog post written and ready to publish yesterday, and then the jungle WiFi decided to die and I lost it all. And the bad luck didn’t stop there, but I’ll start with the good part of the story first. I’ll try to repeat the original post, but as we all know, nothing compares to a first draft.

So, I celebrated my 24th birthday at the center of course, and it was quite a magical day. I woke up well rested, ate a delicious breakfast, and spent the morning smiling and waving more than Julie Andrews in Princess Diaries, as volunteers wished me happy birthday. God must have been on my side that morning, because everything fell into place perfectly. I found out my morning task was to care for the sloth garden; yes, an actual garden of adorable sloths. I lost my mind of course, cried a bit, and now the volunteers probably think I need a great deal of professional help. Which is a fair assessment. Most of the time, the sloths chill high in the trees until nightfall when they start to come alive, due to their nocturnal nature. But that day, Stevie Wonder was hanging out about 2 feet from me on the sloth jungle gym, licking the air and doing other sloth things. More crying, of course; I mean how lucky am I?! In the hour that I was supposed to be cleaning, feeding and watering the sloths, I spent about 3 minutes raking, and the rest of the time with the live of my life, Stevie. We even shared our very first kiss, which was the wettest kiss I’ve experienced. Stevie must not have been impressed though, because he crawled away quickly afterward. I’ll spare you the extremely detailed description of all my feelings after that whole experience, and just say that it was the best day of my life.

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The rest of the day flew by, until dinnertime when myself and a few friends I’ve made here decided to order from the local pizza joint. BEST DECISION EVER. We ended up with $31 of delicious, cheeeeeesy, crispy pizza that was worth every penny. I also ordered fries and a piece of cheesecake because it was my birthday and I figured that testing my lactose intolerance would be an awesome gift to myself. After dinner, a larger group of volunteers got together to make their way to the local village bar nicknamed, ‘shit bar’. Lovely. Of course, my FOMO kicked in, and I went as well. (Mom, FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out). We all walked there, which is about a 20 minute uphill trek, but got a decent tour of the residential parts of Alajuela along the way. A lot of quaint homes with lovely, tall gates and flower gardens, and a lot of traphouse-esque sheds with barbed wire around the perimeters and 17 dogs outside killing each other; there’s no in-between. The bar itself wasn’t horrible; it resembled your basic dive bar, minus the pool tables and juke box. I got a free tequila shot and a few birthday ‘kiss me please’ requests from the patrons, and then settled down with a Smirnoff Ice to sip on. It then hit me that I’m in frickin Costa Rica and should probably get a real drink! I asked the bartender for a yummy, local liquor and what I got was essentially liquid gold sold as a $5 shot. I forget what it’s called, but it was extremely strong. In fact, after 2 drinks I resembled Jack Sparrow meandering around talking to myself in an English accent, and decided it was time to head to bed. Overall, it was the best birthday I’ve ever had, and I wasn’t even wearing a bra for it. (The significance of the last sentence will only make sense if you know me personally.)

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IMG_0936Now to the explanation of my hellish Tuesday. I was on compost duty, and suffered tragedy when the wheelbarrow of fermented fruits and various samples of animal poop exploded all over me as I tried to deliver it to the compost trench; in my mouth, socks, hair. I experienced a moment of shock, followed by a fit of blind rage, followed by nausea. That’s not all though. After I regained composure and washed off the majority of smeared poop from my body, I returned to the post to finish the task and actually managed to trip over a rock in the process. I’m now sporting a pretty decent sized bruise on my thigh, and a newfound hatred for compost duty. However, the afternoon helped put me in a better mood, as I spent it with my two favorite ladies at the Center; Rosie and Culeta. I hung out with them for the majority of the day, chatting about life and brushing their hair. I will never again eat ham or beef, ever.

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So that brings me to today’s activities. Earlier this week, myself and a group of 5 others planned an excursion to Jaco Beach, a small coastal town in southern Costa Rica. We left right after breakfast, shuttling with one of the very kind and fair-priced cabs that hang around the center. It was close to a 2 hour drive, after we stopped for a bit to see Crocodile River, which had a bagillion crocs hanging out, looking mean and hungry. The town of Jaco is a decent size, and had plenty of shops and restaurants to choose from. I was freaking out, of course, because I’ve never swam in the Pacific, let alone on a beach that looks like a postcard. Jaco Beach has made my list of top 3 most beautiful places, only behind El Catedral in Sevilla, Spain and the port of Victoria, British Columbia. The combination of palm trees lining the coast with mountains in the distance and white sand made it look like a backdrop of a Victoria’s Secret photo shoot. And that’s exactly what we did; super model hour with all the girls. After, we headed to the water where the current and waves were INSANE. I’ve never seen waves so ominous, and to be honest, I think I still have salt water floating around in my brain. Everytime a wave came, I’d try to dive under, and just failed miserably. For lunch we found this place called The Green Room, which offered 27 local craft beers and tons of vegetarian/vegan options. I got a mojito, because I’m basic and proud, and it was refreshing and delicious. A few of us shared a guacamole appetizer, and then I ordered a plate of crab benedict, which tasted as though the fisherman had literally just caught the crab this morning; so damn good. After lunch we wandered around the various shops, and I bought some very necessary things, including a stuffed sloth which I’ve christened Vida. It was about 100 degrees today, and I was so unprepared for the wall of exhaustion that would hit me after being pummeled by waves, doused in sweat and eating a full meal. We wandered back to the sea, where everyone dispersed and had some alone time as we wrapped up the adventure. I collected some shells, which were actually really difficult to find, and admired the magnificent sunburn that was forming on my chest. (Update: my chest and arms are slightly burned, but my face is a leathery tomato.) I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes open to finish this post. More later!

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Caution: sloths may move faster than you think

As promised, I’m going to hash out the first meeting I had with a sloth yesterday. It’s the closest I’ve ever physically been to one; about a foot away. There are 26 sloths at the center, all with various handicaps or medical conditions that sadly prohibit them from being released into the wild. Two of the sloths are named Cozi and Marie, and they are the cutest damn creatures I’ve ever seen. So the vet tech brings Cozi out first, and she is clutching her stuffed teddy bear for dear life. She’s not interested in actually climbing any trees, and kind of flails her arms around as she stares at us. She’s about the size of a beanie baby, and it’s quite difficult for me to contain myself as she makes eye contact with me. Because she’s so small and weak, Cozi isn’t allowed to be touched or picked up by anyone but the veterinarians. Then there’s Marie. She’s a little larger than Cozi, and much more active. That’s an understatement actually; she’s a show off.

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Marie
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Cozi

I’ve always thought sloths were unimaginably slow, but when they want to move, they move quickly. And Marie was clearly having a high-energy day because the girl was swinging through the tree branches like a regular Tarzan. I’m not allowed to have contact with any of the animals until Tuesday, because it’s essential that you learn how to feed, clean, and care for them your first few days before you start the hands on stuff. That rule doesn’t apply to Rosie the (extremely fat and adorable) pig or Fran the goat and her two newborns Marshmallow and Carmen; you can give them as much love as you want at any time, and trust me, I do.  So as of now, I’ve yet to actually have my first real one-on-one sloth experience, but come Tuesday, my dreams will have come true.

So a little bit about my first full day here: I slept okay last night; the beds are squeaky but you’re tired enough at the end of the day that it doesn’t matter. I passed out around 9pm and was sound asleep until close to 4am when one of the roosters decided it was time to get up. Breakfast was crêpes and pineapple, and then the entire center gathers for a meeting before we start the day’s duties. Sarita, the center’s most passionate employee, is the sweetest lady I’ve ever met. She’s always decked out in head-to-toe sloth gear, so I obviously admire her. She even had homemade sloth earrings… my type of lady. She gave myself and the two other new volunteers the “grand” tour, although we had been walked through the day prior. Sarita knows EVERYTHING about the animals, and has no problem sharing their history in great detail. It was wonderfully entertaining, especially when she was searching for the right English word to get her point across. After the tour, we ate lunch, which was white rice with a chili based sauce and hot dog-like sausage mixed in; it was strange. Then a few of us decided it was probably necessary to do a market run, considering the meals are a bit iffy sometimes and it’d be best to have a backup, just in case.

We walked the mile to the village market, and got to experience the quaint, residential parts of Alajuela. The homes are very cute and colorful, and all of them have metal gates or barbed wire around their entire perimeter. A safety precaution I’m assuming? At the market, I got some butter cookies, simply because I saw the word ‘mantequilla’ and immediately knew they’d be amazing, and they sure are. I also got some granola bars and a bottled water, which had been refrigerated and was ice-cold, which you take advantage of in the States. They don’t even refrigerate their milk or eggs here, so I felt quite blessed to have cold water. I’ve met quite a few people so far, and they’re all so eclectic and cool in their own ways. There’s a young couple from Toronto who sold their entire lives (cars, clothes, homes) so they could travel the world together for a year, a girl who just got done studying sea turtles in the Caribbean, a mermaid model, and even another Minnesotan! It seems like all of these people live their lives quite freely; not necessarily bounded by the stress of a 9-5 job or a car payment. Many of them do volunteer projects and missions for the majority of the year; and only return home for a few months. It gives me….ideas. This afternoon I finally was able to start the work routine with my team. I watched as my Swedish teammate Rikard cleaned the inside of the peacock enclosure, and then proceeded to watch as the bird tried attacking him as he attempted to rake. Then we fed the goats, and I met Oscar, who is a very misunderstood billy goat with an personal agenda to buck anything that comes near him. Let’s see, what other interesting things happened today. I was stalked by a macaw, literally, the bird would not leave me alone. It kept flying into me and squawking, “HAHA HOLA HAHA”, which was equally creepy as it was cool. I also was greeted by a kinkajou, which is the fluffiest, most adorable little animal. They love belly rubs and smell like waffles. Tomorrow is my 24th birthday, and I’m not lying when I say that I am so elated I’ll be petting pigs and feeding marmosets in dirty socks instead of wearing fake eyelashes and a push-up bra to a bar I’ve been to 100 times. It’s definitely going to be the most physical birthday I’ve ever had; volunteering strength is no joke!

P.s. The mama hen and her 5 chicks went missing around nightfall and have yet to be found. I’ll give an update on their whereabouts as soon as I can!

I found El Dorado

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I found my way to Costa Rica. It was actually quite simple once I boarded a functioning plane, go figure. Before I talk about the actual trip here, let me explain my current surroundings. At this very moment, I am cradled inside a hammock on top of a jungle mezzanine. It’s very breezy, and actually a little “cold” (so about 60 degrees). There are animal sounds echoing in the dark, but they’re not threatening at all, and it smells like summer. I have never been so at peace in my life.

Okay, so to begin my day I shuttled from my cozy first floor hotel room to the nightmare known as DFW. Boarded the plane, and to my delight there was no delay at all. To my surprise, I was actually really calm during this flight for some reason. Even the little Latin boy kicking the back of seat every 30 seconds couldn’t break my positivity. The flight lasted about 3 hours 45 minutes, and though I was very eager to eat the in-flight meals at the time they were served, the last 30 minutes of that flight made me regret all of the meals I’ve eaten my entire life. Let me explain. I’ve flown a fair amount of times, and I’m not afraid of a little turbulence, but what I experienced before landing in Costa Rica was similar to a small earthquake in the air. All of the blood rushed to my face and my turkey sandwich was dangerously close to making a reappearance in my lap.

Finally, we pulled up to the gate and I was able to breathe again. As I was leaving the plane I remember thinking, “That was just too easy!”, and sure enough, just as I rounded the corner, there was a line of about 500 people waiting to get through customs. And that is NOT an exaggeration. But SJO Airport has free WiFi, so I had entertainment for the hour and a half of waiting. I made it through customs successfully, and they didn’t even take away my Clif bars! For some reason I was sure they would. So here I am exiting the airport, and let me tell you, leaving the doors you feel like a damn celebrity. There were about 100 people holding signs, waving, frickin cheering? I don’t even know, it was so bizarre. At least two men asked which resort I was going to, to which I smiled and awkwardly said “thank you”, because I’m a social reject. That’s when I saw him. There was Carlos, the man, the myth, the legend, standing toward the end of the line holding a sign that read ‘Costa Rica Animal Rescue’. That’s my spot! Boy oh boy was I happy to see him. I ran up and hugged him; he was pretty thrown off by that I think, but he greeted me with the double cheek kiss, so classy Carlos. We made our way through the crowds, and I was shocked that there was another volunteer! And she was American! So the three amigos skipped through the streets of Costa Rica, just kidding, but I did almost get hit by a bus.

The drive to the center was wonderful. Everything is so green and fresh here. I was experiencing major culture shock when we started going through the various villages though. So many people waiting for buses, and driving those old-school 70s style vans with the round headlights ya know? It’s exactly what I pictured it to look like, but everyone seems much more friendly than I imagined. The center is fabulous. We arrived at around 3pm, and got a full tour right away. Of course there are sloths and monkeys, but we also have hedgehogs, pigs, goats, porcupines, chickens, toucans, peacocks, turtles, dogs, squirrels, and a parrot. It’s a very summer-camp style layout. There’s a large community room, outdoors of course, with a bunch of tables and chairs, and that’s attached to the kitchen. Then next to the human kitchen is the animal kitchen, where the animals food is prepared and dished up. There’s a spiral staircase in the center of the whole place, which leads to the mezzanine I’m currently relaxing in. This is a popular place because there are hammocks and outlets, plus the WiFi has the strongest signal up here. The actual bunks are basically replicas of those seen in a little film called, The Parent Trap. I’ve actually been scoping out all the volunteers here to see if I find my long lost English twin. I got my bed, and started meeting everyone immediately. There’s about 35 volunteers staying here right now; a lot of German’s, a few American’s, and a handful of English people. Very few Latin people…

This just in, literally just witnessed a rogue cat capture a rat larger than Mr. Rathburn. Blood and all, that was horrifying. Okay, back on topic, everyone is very nice so far. Tomorrow I’m being put on a “team” and starting my actual duties. I’m so tired, I’m going to cut this a lot shorter than I wanted to. Let me end by explaining the shower situation. So I obviously wasn’t expecting anything glamorous, but I feel like I’m on an episode of Survivor! Like, spiders crawling up the walls, unheated, and no roof! I secretly kind of dig it…

Okay, I must sleep now. But tomorrow, I will hash out my experience being 3 inches from a sloth, with painful detail.

Today will be better, for sure

So I found out the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport is 72 square miles and actually has its own zipcode. And it sucks a little bit too. Yesterday was the longest day of my life, I think. We attempted to board the plane to San Jose yesterday, made it on, and then proceeded to wait an hour while the mechanics tried to fix a suspicious light in the captain’s cabin. Well, that failed and we ended up having to deboard and wait for another plane. An hour later, (that’s two hours after scheduled departure), they still were unable to find a working plane and a pilot to fly the thing. Don’t pilots have on calls? Like pilot-to-pilot, “hey buddy my plane decided the shit the bed today, think you could you slide in and take these very tired, hungry people to their destination?” But I guess not. So after I contemplated different ways to end my misery, I ended up listening to much-appreciated family advice and asked the nearest travel agent if there was a flight I could catch in the morning instead. He was in the middle of break; it was pretty obvious because of the granola bar hanging out of his mouth as I approached him. But I must have looked relatively destitute because he stopped chewing and immediately helped me. Not only did he get me a flight for the morning, he also gave me a voucher for a free night at the always-classy Comfort Inn, and a free dinner and breakfast coupon. I felt like the waterworks were going to start then, because I hadn’t slept in 30 hours and he abandoned his 15 minutes of freedom and delicious apple nut bar to help me.

The hotel shuttle came right away, and I was whisked away to my 3 star palace. I’m exaggerating; it wasn’t bad at all. Especially for a free room with a king sized bed, which is really the only thing in life that matters. At first, I was concerned that Texans don’t believe in hot showers, as it took a solid 10 minutes for the water to turn from freezing to luke warm. But after a while, it turned hot and I was able to wash off the frustration of the day. I then ordered a large pizza, compliments of American Airlines, ate it in its entirety and passed out.

So here we are, day two of DFW. I used my breakfast coupon and got the largest coffee I could find, and now I’m patiently waiting to board. Pray to God that this plane works! Next stop: San Jose ✈️ 🗺

 

Plot twist: Paul Revere rides through the streets yelling “The sloths are coming! The sloths are coming!”

The adventure started off a little shaky; I woke up dazed and confused to my phone vibrating around 3:05am. After breaking out into a cold sweat, realizing I had missed the shuttle, I called and scheduled another to come pick me up an hour later. So far, so good. I’m refusing to drink coffee at this point because I’m petrified to go number two on an airplane, and I’m only human so obviously espresso does these things to me. My flight to Dallas is FULL; like, so full the travel agents are requesting people volunteer to be strapped to the side of the aircraft to save room. Just kidding. I’m hungry, so maybe I’ll convince my stingy self to buy a $5 package of oatmeal at DFW. Stay tuned.

So it ended up being a Tex-Mex inspired chicken sandwich, and it was $20; when in Texas right? The flight was relatively painless. I had a window seat, because I’m not a peasant, and my seatmates were a teacher and a very talkative high-school senior. He talked my ear clean off. But he was funny, and was fascinated to learn the ways of large schools, considering he’s from a tiny town in Iowa that I haven’t heard of…which isn’t that shocking I guess. He asked what our lunch choices were during my high school days, and when I told him there were normally 4-5 different things on the menu, no joke I thought the kid might tear up. He used the word ‘tritator’ to describe a triangle shaped hashbrown that’s normally offered at their lunches everyday, and I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a while. I contemplated getting a drink on the plane, but decided against it after both the guys got ginger ales and waters; I didn’t want to look scandalously like an alcoholic–or have to pee every 5 minutes. Okay, so the Texas cowboy stigma is no joke. I had barely made it off the plane before I started seeing leathery Toby Keith’s in every direction. And their accents! It’s so difficult to keep a straight face.

I am so damn tired. My plane to Costa Rica doesn’t leave for a couple hours, and I plan on closing my eyes for a minute, even though sleeping in an airport is equivalent to trying to sleep with clothespins holding your eyelids open during a Nickelback concert–impossible and utterly horrifying. I’m equally as excited and nervous to land in San Jose… mostly because I’m not 100% sure that there will be someone there to get me at the gate. Apparently I should be expecting a guy, waiting next to the payphones at baggage claim with a sign for me, but honestly, with my luck I’ll be walking to the sanctuary. Fingers crossed I have good luck this trip, and if not, I guess it’s all a part of the grand adventure. Okay, time to rest.