Thursday, October 21, 2010

Weekend wandering

This week - I saw the sun! It was here for a full morning and part of an afternoon! Oh rainy season - I have confidence that you will end! It was SO nice. Some of my classmates are concerned about it getting too warm... but so far - I am not worried about that. :)

Last weekend, I went on an adventure! Many of my classmates have been going on trips at each and every break, but this was my first. Sara (also a peace ed-er) and I headed off north to La Fortuna and Arenal. Arenal is a large and very active volcano. After being dormant for a good chunk of time - she spit off her top in '68, totally changing the region. A few years ago there was another really active phase - which you can see, anytime you look at a postcard or ad from the area. Sara and I had planned to go to the hot springs and do some hiking.

We didn't actually get to see Arenal as the clouds were thick, apart from a glimpse our second day there, but it might just mean I need to go back!

Saturday morning we got on a bus at 6:30 (for those who know my morning skills - be impressed!!) to San Jose, wandered for a bit before we found the terminal for the next bus, waited in line for a ticket, then waited in line to get on the bus - and we were off! We arrived in La Fortuna (a town near to the volcano) around 1 and found a hostel on our way to find lunch!

I am beginning to wonder if my desire for budget is eventually going to get squashed by my desire for comfort. We saw the hostel sign and wandered in. I am not sure, after being welcomed and taught a theology lesson (Did you know that all people around the world are the same, we look different and some "talk funny" but we are all the same and will unite in Israel? If you stay at this hostel - you can get the full how to lesson! Go unity!) - how you can see a room and decide that the musty smell might be more than you can take and go somewhere else. Apparently my assertive tendencies fear seeming rude in a culture that I am still navigating with caution... so we dropped off our bags and went for lunch.

Our first day we decided hots were the entirety of the goal. We went to Baldi Hot Springs on the recommendation of our hostel and some friends from school. This place is huge. There are apparently 25 different pools of different temperatures, a water slide and more. We were on plan lazy and certainly didn't see them all. Some of the pictures look a bit out of focus - but that is from the steam off the water. These springs are HOT. We found one - that I couldn't even stick a toe into. We spent the day moving from pool to pool, reading, chatting and playing banagrams! Near the end of the day - we discovered that 9 of our schoolmates were there too! It was a great day.

While we were waiting for our taxi home, we noticed the sculpture in the front of the hotel ...

We also noticed her back...

The next morning we planned to go on a hike. However, the hiking didn't work out so well. When we got up - the sky had opened up and it was POURING. When it rains - it certainly rains. We had planned to hike to a waterfall. While those tend to be extra spectacular with a lot of rain - getting there seemed beyond daunting. Alas - we must return to the hot water (hee hee). Our second day the hostel recommended a different hot spring.

Baldi is fancy, it's a spa and you could spend a fortune on fancy drinks, beautiful food, and all other spa kinds of treatment. Our second day however, we headed to Termales Los Laureles. Sara and I were certainly the only non-ticos there. Again there are a variety of pools at different temperatures, but this time the pools are all surrounded by picnic tables with little shelters over them. Families were set up! They had rice cookers, coffee pots, little TVs, grills... you name it! Part of the reason we had gone on the trip was it was a long weekend in Costa Rica - and we found out where they all went.

The sun sets early here - and then all sorts of beautiful lights came on and you could hang out listening to bugs, birds and people - still surrounded by great warm water!

So while it rained we sat in lovely pools my highlight however was the sign...

hee hee.

Transitioning from lovely holiday back into school has felt a bit trying. I keep thinking of pools of warm water and fiction. Sigh. I got a treat today though - a package in the mail! I LOVE post. My mother at times teases me about my love of post... anyway - in it was some a "little box of peace word magnets" so I thought I would send you some peace...

Peace to you

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Whew! Class two done! It is amazing how much we smoosh into 3 weeks! I am certainly in the right class for me though - we are having a great time learning. Meet my classmates!

There are 19 of us (20 for the last class as we had someone joining us from another program) representing 12 countries (13 if you count our instructors). Pretty cool.
From the front left we are: - (Me), Celine (Rwanda), Sara (US), Gobina (Cameroon), Rose (US), Destiny (US), Mackenzie (US), Marianne (Costa Rica).
2nd row from left. Rosemary (Zambia), Virginia (Philippines), Mercedes (Argentina), Camila (Colombia), Chisato (Japan), Ignatius (Zambia), Niina (Finland), Jessica (US), Maham (Pakistan/Canada), Carolyn (Costa Rica), Myo (Myanmar), Maricelly (Puerto Rico), Haru (Canada/Japan).

Our last two days of class we were presenting the curriculum resources we created for the different themes of creating a culture of peace. It was a blast. Sculpture, drama, paint, markers... Apparently some of the other classes have heard us singing and think we're a bit nuts. I feel similarly to their program - a program broken into 15 minute increments for the 15 days of class sounds like something I would hate.

I had wanted to share some of the photos from the International Day of Peace. We sang, shared silence, stood for our peace actions, and sent our wishes to the future. It was a great event.

The time capsule containing the completed mural was buried in the rain - and will be uncovered in 202o.

At the end of the event students were given paper cranes to write their action items on - what they will do to promote peace through the coming year.

The weather has been keeping us on our toes lately. People from home keep asking me if I am enjoying paradise. While I acknowledge that I don't anticipate snow here... it's not quite bliss yet. Tropical storm Matthew has been bringing a LOT of rain. I have an audio recording of the sheer noise of it that I will post once I figure out how. It's loud. We had about 10 days where it hardly stopped. Then, on Friday in the midsts of writing my final paper we got an earthquake! There have been a few tremors since I have been here - but this is the first time I have experienced something that big. We even made international news measuring at 5.9! It was so loud. Thankfully no one was hurt.

I hope that everyone in Canada had a great Thanksgiving! A group of us celebrated gratitude with Sushi this year. Lots of fun, but not quite the same. :)

This week I started a new class, "Change in Educational Systems". So - back to reading!

Peace to you!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Drip drop - the never ending rain...

It has been a great week in many ways but the non stop cloud cover and rain are starting to get to me... Today was the first day in quite some time where there was ANY sunshine. Buses to and from school have been cancelled as the roads are getting dangerous in the afternoons when the sky really opens up. A mudslide in a town near here has destroyed a highway - and everything is muddy. I am not designed to live somewhere with this much cloud. My solar powered feelings of winter - apparently also apply to clouds and rain. :)

Sitting on the bus - still surrounded by rain - I contemplated the emergency exit. I just don't think it will let me out of the rain.

Our classes this week have been great. We have been creating! We have written songs, poems, created posters, shared stories - each tied to a different theme of peace education. It's been interesting to hear about how Peace Education doesn't always get the same respect as other faculties - I wonder how long until people can learn that education is supposed to be fun! That people get so much more out of the process and retain information so much better when it is engaging and connects with their life.

While we were working through the topic of living in harmony with the earth - we wrote poems. Each of us were assigned an endangered species and were given just under 1/2 an hour to write a poem. The first portion was to address history - what it was like in the past for this animal/plant, how it related to other parts of life. The second session was about the present - changes and causes. The conclusion was the call for a solution. It was so amazing to hear everyone's different style and stories. I was assigned the White Tailed Eagle - here's my poem.

White Tailed Eagle

I stretch my wings

In magical flight I admire creations’

clear blue water

jagged rocky shore

I glide

I swoop

I dive

The crisp sea air rushes over my feathers

My partner and I roll through the sky

Our acrobatics, a dance in flight.

Around us the earth sings

Balanced in wonder

Through timeless flight

Creation changes

The fish are fewer,

the air less clear

My children hunted,

my purpose misunderstood.

My cry echoes against stone walls

no longer my home

Poisons destroy my dance

Steal the future flight

So long misunderstood,

The hunter and the hunted

Hear my cry offered to you.

See the magic in my dance

Timelessly woven connecting past to future.

The trees and cliffs are our home together

I see your beginnings of trust in me.

My return still a question

A hope

A dream

The sky whispers a promise of dance.

Virginia's class has been those things, exciting, engaging, creative, (sometimes frustrating) and SO FULL of information. Today the Peace Ed crew had our first potluck! It was great! I am looking forward to the year. Between the inside and outside of class stuff - it will be busy, but great!

Today I got a new friend! She still needs a name - but she's lovely!

I am not entirely sure what kind of guitar she is - cause she's a bit smaller than most guitars I have played, which is perfect for me! Little hands and a little guitar! My fingers already hurt - it's great! If you have suggestions for her name - let me know!

I am also collecting recipes - things you can make on a stove top - with two pots or less! What's your favourite?

Peace to you!