Rainforests and Dry Forests

So here I am back in Costa Rica. I studied abroad here during the Fall of my junior year of college and it has been a few years since then so I was really excited to come back here. I am working as a program leader with two groups of high school students on three week trips who are studying tropical biodiversity through CIEE. I honestly am learning a lot myself about a ton of different species. Some highlights so far include seeing a tapir super close up, gorgeous macaws, and a whole lot of different monkeys. My students have been really excellent so far on session 1 so I feel pretty lucky with that.

This trip I am spending time in a lot of places where I never visited when I lived here before so that keeps it interesting. We have spent time in Corcovado National Park at an amazing biological station in the middle nowhere called Campanario. It was right on the beach in the rainforest and had no electricity, wifi, or even cellphone connection. We are now staying in Santa Rosa National Park in the north of the country near Nicaragua. This area is a dry forest. One of the most interesting days here was a trip to Junquillal Conservation Area to see a mangrove with local school kids and spend time on a gorgeous beach there.

I will put up a few photos so far but it has only been two weeks and I have four more here. Pure Vida.

IMG_3903Tropical Fruits!IMG_3944CampanarioIMG_3957CampanarioIMG_3966AlmuerzoIMG_4005CampanarioIMG_4043Isla Del CañoIMG_4074Manuel AntonioIMG_4081Manuel AntonioIMG_4089Manuel AntonioIMG_7593Carara National ParkIMG_4131JunquillalIMG_4180Chorrera

Advertisements

ZGZ <3

Leaving Zaragoza was hard! I will really miss my schools, the teachers I worked with, all the amazing students, my private lessons, and even my apartment. I got some really impressive cards from the kids on my last days. One highlight was an awesome Manga style drawing of me that my mom actually framed when I got home haha. Leaving was made slightly easier knowing I will come back to Spain in the fall.

The same day we finished work was the last day of May and in the afternoon Aidan and I left for Barcelona. On my last day in Spain I napped on the Barcelona beach and then stayed out all night dancing. It was a fun day until I arrived at the airport to find out the airline had cancelled my reservation without telling me. I was fortunately able to get the ticket reissued at the same price and still get on my flight. Phew! Getting home to Maine is always really nice. Feels good to be here for a bit! Thanks for everything Zaragoza, a few last pictures, and then Ill write again soon when I go to Costa Rica. Besos.

IMG_3808

With friends in Zaragoza

IMG_3831

Manga Maxine

IMG_3833

Barcelona evening

MMMilano

The last trip of this year was to Milan with Aidan and my sister this past weekend. It was a very short trip but a fun and super delicious one. It was my first time in Italy and I am more than ready to go back. We were able to fly really cheaply right from Zaragoza to Milano. We arrived in the evening, found our airbnb, and then ate our first of several delicious pizzas across the street before bed. I had to get another slice at that restaurant again before we left to eat in the airport at 4am.

On our full day in the city we of course started with the Duomo Cathedral which was lovely but especially the rooftop was really gorgeous. We saw other interesting churches, the galleria shopping mall, and the canal area. Most importantly though was the pasta, pizza, savory pastries, and gelato that I ate, so yummy that I will be thinking about them until I can go back to Italy again.

I have just 10 days left here in Zaragoza which is making me sad. I will miss it a lot here but I am excited to announce that I will be returning in the fall to teach again, this time in Seville! As things wind down here just trying to enjoy the end of the year in Zaragoza. We went to a futbol game yesterday and watched Zaragoza win 4-1 and climb to 4th place which is exciting as the season comes closer to the playoffs.

IMG_1357

IMG_3623

IMG_3667

IMG_3712

IMG_3769

IMG_3780

BudaPest fam

Long time no chat. Time for a little update about a cool trip I took with my family. My sister is studying abroad this semester in the lovely Budapest, Hungary and my whole family was lucky enough to be able to meet up with her there. My parents and brother got there before me but I flew in right after work on Thursday. My family met me off the airport bus and got me some yummy thai food for dinner from one of my sister’s favorite places.

The weekend was short of course but I absolutely loved Budapest and I know I want to go back at some point. My sister lives in a cool apartment building in Pest and we had a nice air bnb right near by. We explored all over but here are some highlights. The Jewish quarter was so pretty and we learned some Hungarian Jewish history and ate at the delicious restaurant Mazel Tov with modern Israeli cuisine. We watched the sun set from one of the bridges over the Danube with a bottle of strawberry wine. We saw the massive Parliament building from fisherman’s bastion. We checked out the ruin pub scene which is super unique and cool. We took a day trip to the cute if very touristy Szantendre. Budapest is full of interesting old buildings, good food, and lots to do. We even tried an escape room, pinball museum, and went to the famous geothermal baths.

I was sad to say bye to my whole family and fly back on Monday. Then we had a short week at work here in Zaragoza. This weekend Aidan and I got away to Barcelona for a bit. As I have probably mentioned more than a few times Barcelona is one of my favorite cities in the world. The weather ended up being great and we basically spent the weekend at the beach and eating. Below I will put a few Budapest pictures and Barcelona too.

Just one more trip to Milan planned this year! This summer I will head back to the US and also….Costa Rica! I have accepted a position leading a high school summer study abroad trip in Costa Rica this summer. So lots to look forward to. Besos.

IMG_3248

IMG_4226

IMG_4433

IMG_3457

IMG_1056

IMG_3388

IMG_3497

IMG_3506

IMG_3524

IMG_3525

IMG_3533

Semana Santa, Moroc

Holy Week here is a very long vacation, really a week and a half. We took full advantage and have done a lot of traveling. Before the vacation even started we met up With Aidan’s family for a weekend in Madrid. We found some new things to check out like the church across from the Palacio Real which had cool views of the city, and the El Rastro flea market. We took them back to Zaragoza with us on the train and they explored here on their own a bit while we worked and met up with them in the evenings. At the start of Semana Santa we headed to Barcelona, a city I can never get tired of. We checked out the nautical museum which was very cool, the Catalan history museum, and a cactus garden. We hung out by the beach and explored a lot. Was sad to tell them goodbye but also my sister arrived for a visit! We also did a lot of exploring, saw the views from the Carmel Bunker, and even went out one night in Barcelona which is always an adventure. The weather was great and we got tacos one day and chilled on the beach.

We all left Barcelona early on Easter Sunday. The cab to the airport was very pricey but Aidan and I were excited to head to Morocco, excited we were able to pull the trip off. We flew into Tangier on a super short flight and got through customs super fast. We took a cab into the city because we literally forgot we booked an airbnb in a town called Asilah first…After a mint tea and realizing our error we caught the next train to Asilah which is just a half hour away. We had three nights in an amazing place, huge, and right in the Medina. Asilah is really artsy and chill. We spent most of the time there wandering, eating, and then also on the beach.

We took a day trip to the city of Tetouan which I really wanted to see because the Medina is a Unesco site and quite beautiful. The day trip was nice and It was cool to be in a non touristy Moroccan city.

Leaving Tanger we tried to take the train again but after waiting about forty minutes we asked for our money back and just hitchhiked which we should have done from the beginning because it took all of thirty seconds for a nice guy to take us right into town. We stayed at a really cool hostel also in the Medina. We checked out the Kasbah museum which is in the old palace and also the American legation which is now a cool museum. We drank mint tea in the Gran Cafe Paris and at the Hafa terrace cafe.

On our last night we went out with some people from the hostel and the hostel owner to a Spanish bar that served beer and tapas for free with each beer which they don’t even do in Spain anymore so that was pretty sweet. Then we stopped into a club where the hostel owner knew everyone. I think the people in the city that go out and drink has to be a pretty small community but they do have a lot of fun.

I am back home in Zaragoza for the weekend before the last trimester of school starts on Monday! I can’t believe it is just two months more of working here but I am excited for it and it even finally officially seems like Spring now. Below are a bunch of pictures from Barcelona and Morocco.

5041c1e7-b25c-44bd-a6b6-97fb1e743566

256ef8e9-ef86-4b9b-9c12-e98e94d4e96f

6ceefc87-4b78-408f-a7ab-808a7e551c2f

47b8c6d4-df63-4aeb-98e3-88f017841aef

992543fc-02ad-4d75-a8a9-dfe2e1080aa7

a314ea5d-137f-404a-a626-06022f311b45

fd912cbb-bff8-469c-bcb0-ce3d8261a725

8b454e0e-dfa0-4121-8fe1-222728e75143

5135b7e0-324b-42c9-8dae-c0362b351cb2

9b3ad809-6f5f-4e84-b2db-66a6d3382ab3

03f865b7-3dac-4b99-af3c-b701e05d8f57

0941f56c-5e55-45c3-a376-afd6ed870325

e624df09-fec2-414b-8240-5766e7f87973

aa1735c6-b995-4842-aa76-baf63f9802eb

b5381459-7c06-4d8e-a363-8d64d43e4771

24203d70-9515-4cbb-b825-c2e2cd19e618

1f3288e0-f29d-423e-b015-f82b497ae4f2

d0a36963-eba4-4fb5-90cd-0c0427f717c8

f7dca641-6321-492d-8328-52ea68152183

d69ede98-9639-47ec-8731-217fa9d9931a

d403c070-7aee-4852-9a86-c611e8152afb

81196128-a96e-4da4-b29b-9f34681c94e4

6ff6eefa-0cf8-4239-99e7-b9bed4731d75.jpg

Varsovia

Last weekend I was able to meet up with my sister in Warsaw, Poland. Neither of us had ever been there before and this was a important trip for us because our mom’s side of the family is actually mostly Polish Jews. We are the third generation to be born in the US so this was a while back but it still feels cool to be able to go there and has inspired me to look up more family history about where in Poland we are from, etc.

We both flew in on Friday morning and met up at the airport before a weekend jammed packed with exploring and eating. Warsaw is totally grey on the outside but with a lot of cool art and color tucked in everywhere. We stayed in a really cheap, cute, and comfortable hostel near the center which was great. In fact everything was really affordable. I ate a bagel which was heavenly, I have really missed them. We tried pierogis and even found really good thai food! Some highlights of the city: A place called fotoplastika where you basically look at 3D photos through view finders for just 50 cents! The exhibit was photos in Cambodia currently and really nice. The neon museum is incredibly cool and we got to take a tram across a bunch of the city to get there. We checked out a park with an old bunker full of graffiti and wandered in the old town. Saturday night we went to a beer and pinball machine place which was neat. Lastly the Jewish History museum which was very beautiful and full of information. Next time I want to check out the Warsaw Rising museum which has more about the Holocaust in it. I was sad to leave on Sunday.

Two weeks ago we had a long weekend so I took advantage of the extra day by checking out a town called Jaca in the mountains a few hours away that I had been wanting to see. I only was there a few hours but I got something to eat and wandered around. It was a beautiful little mountain town and a nice train ride to get there as well. I ran in a 4k race that weekend in a park not too far away from where we live and even though I hadn’t been training I was the second female finisher which felt great! I won some pretty flowers which I planted on my terrace. I have got to run more. Next weekend Aidan’s family arrives and we head to meet them in Madrid! I can’t believe it but after that is already Easter Break so stay with me 🙂

Pictures Below are: Jaca, My 4k race, the bagel in Poland (with thyme cream cheese!), My sister and I in the neon museum, The bunker with graffiti, The pinball place, and the old Jewish cemetery of Warsaw.

IMG_2350IMG_1153IMG_2415IMG_2589IMG_2524IMG_2615IMG_2650IMG_2675

 

Medieval Teruel and Basque Country

Hey there! The past few weeks Aidan and I haven’t travelled too far. It has been nice spending some quality time here in Zaragoza. I just paid March rent and can’t believe how fast this school year is flying by.

Two weeks ago we did take a day trip to Teruel for a Medieval festival happening there around Valentine’s Day that celebrates the story of the lovers of Teruel (similar to Romeo and Juliet). A teacher Aidan works with brought us there and even loaned us cloaks to wear which was so nice. The whole town was transformed, full of food, vendors, costumed processions, and animals. We had such a fun time there. A lot of our friends went and we drank spiced hot wine out of clay horns.

Last weekend we did go on a small trip to a city called Donostia or San Sebastian in Basque Country. Aragon, the region we live in, is mostly desert and when we crossed into Pais Vasco everything turned mountainous and green. It was a pretty two and a half hour drive. The city was absolutely adorable and had delicious tapas (more seafood and less meat so was good for me). We climbed up a hill with a city lookout and took a funicular up another. There is a lovely beach but it was still a bit cold to enjoy that. We met some nice guys in our hostel and went out with them two nights in a row. I will attach a few pictures of the city because It is gorgeous!

It snowed here in Zaragoza this past week which hasn’t happened in many years! People here were pretty excited, especially my young students. Can’t believe it, but it is almost Easter Break and I have some more trips on the horizon so stay posted ❤

IMG_2209IMG_2259IMG_2268IMG_2295IMG_2301