A View Ahead: 2012

Happiness is a choice. Anyone can become, among a circle of friends, the “joy lightbulb,” as my friend calls people who seem to emote positivity. You may shine brighter than your peers, your boss, even your parents. I somehow resisted writing a 2011 wrap-up, but I have been thinking a lot about what’s going to unfold in my life in 2012.

No resolutions here, predictions about how many times I will use my passport, pounds I’m going to lose. I’m not vowing to stay dedicated to my job, or to leave it, or act a certain way or to stop a bad habit.

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What a difference a year makes

My former hometown of Coco had the nerve to grow while I was gone! I lived in the small town in Costa Rica for a year, and then it took me 15 long months to find my way back. In my mind, Coco will always be a quaint little fishing village with a rough little beach and a barrio outside of town where chickens and roosters roam free.  (Ok, the barrio‘s still there, but none of my friends still live near the chickens.)

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Colors of Costa Rica

Lest you think my entire recent trip to Costa was all rained out, I wanted to add a post on the colors of Costa Rica. I hope that shots of flowers like these are a reminder of why the tropics needs so much rain! I’ve seen these same areas after months and months without rain — I promise you that I will never again take the lush green plants and colorful flowers for granted!  The first time I visited Costa Rica, a trip that lasted one year almost to the day, it was bone dry. While I saw spots of green, for the most part, the trees and dirt roads were brown and dry. I didn’t complain — dry weather meant more days in the sun, cleaner roads while walking home, and much easier driving (not that I had a car myself.)

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Rain, rain, go away?

I love the rain. Maybe it’s the nine years I spent living in Florida, but to me, nothing beats a hot shower in the tropics. So when my insane work schedule made it so that my last Costa Rica adventure landed during the tail end of rainy season, I didn’t bat an eye. Obviously, it was sort of a buzzkill when it rained during my one boat day, but we didn’t let it stop us. And the beach here in Guiones proved that stormy weather can be absolutely beautiful. I’ve collected some of my favorite photos that show off the wet weather. This first one here is the Club at Coco Bay, a beautiful beach club that just recently opened to the public. One minute we were sunning ourselves in the searing hot sun, the next we were grabbing our towels and running for cover, as the sky tore open. I thought it was beautiful, all part of the Costa Rica adventure. I love how the rain makes everything so green — none of that lushness exists long after the rains have stopped for the year, usually in November. Instead of “summer” and “winter,” Ticos enjoy “wet season,” “windy season,” (which affects all sports and tourism at the beginning of each year) and then dry season again until about September.

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Costa Rica coffee yum

Costa Rica coffee is some of the most renowned in the world. I have never returned from a trip there without 1820 and Cafe Britt in my suitcase for somebody — I’ve even twice mailed it to strangers (aka online travel friends) who had a craving for it! Me? I don’t drink coffee. I have enough problems turning off my brain to sleep at night without adding caffeine to the mix. While I was living in Spain during college, I was in a (ten-year) “no red meat” phase, and during my year in Costa Rica, I didn’t drink coffee. Sigh. Well, during my recent trip, my friends (locals) drank enough coffee for me.

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My Mini Sea Turtle Rescue in Costa Rica

sea turtle rescue playa guiones costa Rica turtlesDuring a routine early-morning walk on Playa Guiones during my recent trip to Costa Rica, my friend and I came upon a scene that was way more than we had bargained for. We had brought my friend’s dogs (two huge boxers) down from Coco, so we were on a section of the beach that was pretty much empty except for us. It had been a cloudy morning after some storms, so the air already had a moody feel, the still-ferocious waves lapping at the shore. The dogs started running after something, so we knew something was up. Then we saw the vultures — lots of them. And then… we came upon the first skeleton.

We had stumbled upon a turtle graveyard.

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