A world traveler I am not. I can literally count the states I've visited on one hand. So when the thought of visiting Costa Rica came my way, I doubted the possibility a bit. Affording it was the main factor. I'm a stay at home mother after all. Whisking myself away to some tropical local seemed as far fetched as winning the lottery. I wasn't even in possession of a passport. Not to mention the limited amount of Spanish I absorbed in my adult years came from Dora the Explorer. However, I knew, in the back of my mind, there was a good possibility I might just make it there even if it seemed like things might be stacked up against me.
Long story, short. My mom is a natural horsewoman and a major advocate for barefoot trimming. Her business had taken her to Costa Rica once before just a mere eleven months ago. You can read about her first visit here.To her surprise the opportunity had presented itself again. Amazingly, she was able to take me along for which I am grateful.
What seems like forever ago, I put myself to work obtaining my first passport and working out schedules for my family. A few speed bumps occurred, but as usual, all things that are meant to be, sort themselves out. And, before I knew it, I was boarding a plane to Costa Rica.
We took the red-eye from Denver CO on a Saturday night and landed in San Jose Sunday morning at six o'clock in the morning. Sleeping on a plane in the middle of the night proved to be mostly unattainable, although I managed to squeak in a few winks. I woke up to the sun rising over the wing of the plane and shortly after, we hit the road running in a world where I didn't speak the language.
I felt disoriented, but at the same time, strangely at peace as if I just arrived at home. Oh sure, communication was a barrier but it quickly worked itself out. Every chance I got to speak to a non-English speaker was a welcomed challenge. Conversations became largely animated sign-language affairs with lots of head bobbing and laughing. From a far, we might have looked like we were playing a game of charades.
Because we spent majority of our time as non-tourists, I feel like I was making friends which was pretty terrific. The people of Costa Rica are truly some of the nicest people I've met. They hug and kiss at every greeting. They are genuine, welcoming, and funny. Oh so funny. Their love for one another was truly touching. Even though I was new to their community, I never felt like I was an outcast or lonely. And, all I could think about was one day bringing my family to meet all my new friends.
Although, we did take part in some tourist activities. Ziplining was probably the most fun! I'm totally hooked. We hopped on a pontoon boat for a river tour and was able to witness some of the very cool animal life. And, because we were so close to the Arenal volcano, we enjoyed an evening at the hot springs. We also were lucky enough to take in the landscape of Costa Rica via trail rides. And, let me tell you, when you hop off your horse after a trail ride in Costa Rica, you feel so invigorated. These trails are not like any other. The terrain is rough and amazing all at the same time. At moments you fear you won't come out on other end, but when you do, you feel like you can conquer the world. It is life changing! (If that sounds too corny to you, then I challenge you to take part in just one of those trail rides and not feel the same.)
Of course, it wasn't all play. However, even the work felt like play. We spent a few days helping at a Parelli clinic with David Lichman. And, mom worked with the horses of Leaves and Lizards too. Coupled with meeting and eating majority of our meals family style with the other guests of Leaves and Lizards it made for one awesome time. The time spent in Costa Rica went way too fast and I'm eager to go back. Hopefully, sooner than later.