Friday, December 24, 2010

Wishes of peace, hope, joy and love!

Holy doodle - time is flying!

I wish you so much happiness in this season! It feels, to me, at this time of year (and a few others) that important times and celebrations in the year coincide in many people's faiths. I can hear the pessimist in the back of my head commenting on the fact that conquest often involves co-opting other holidays... However, looking to the future and building new possibility, I am choosing to see it as times in the year where there is collective good will, optimism and possibility. So - blessings to you, in all that you celebrate, dream and hope for.

I cannot believe that the first term is done! I am now on a break (YAY!!) which I think I was beginning to long for. The conclusion of the Formal, non-formal and informal education course was good. My classmates presented some really interesting ideas and activities and I think we had fun doing it. My research proposal is off, awaiting approval by the department head (yikes!) and the rain has finally stopped!

Last week my Dad came to Costa Rica and helped kick start my holiday. We had a blast! It feels like we spent a bunch of time in a car (some of which I am sure is influenced by the roads we were on and some by the fact that I haven't really been in a car since getting here - just the mini-buses on the way to school) but we got to see and do a lot!

Here's my photo sneak peek! We went up to Monte Verde and Arenal. The mountains and all that lives and grows there are so beautiful. We saw birds, critters, flowers, monkeys and so much more. My photos can't come close to doing it justice, but I happily clicked away anyway. We walked through part of the cloud forest - both on land and in the canopy on bridges, we went on a night hike (so very cool!) and on a river 'cruise'.

My Dad has returned to Canada and I have moved onto Christmas putz-ing about. I have some of my classmates coming tomorrow for a feast! I have possibly the smallest oven I have ever seen - and possibly the largest turkey I have ever cooked... so we shall see how that all works out. I made both buns and pie today and they great. My mom refers to this kind of action as cooking therapy (which I think is a mix of the calm that comes with cooking and joy at feeding people!) which I love. I am sure some of it is wanting to just keep busy to not miss home too much too, but I am enjoying it here (and the warmth!) I do hope my friends come hungry, tomorrow. I have a bit of a bad habit of cooking more than is needed. Good thing I love leftovers.

Next week, the wonderful Trish is coming for a visit! I think we too will have a blast! The plan includes pineapple (and mangos -cause they just came back into season!!), a beach, lots of chatting and some geekery in the form of a bird book and binoculars (I have Tia's here and it sounds like Trish is bringing hers and the book). I hope the geekery includes tips from Trish on how to use the binoculars though, (I can't seem to get Tia's to focus) so that the birding part is a wee bit easier. Trish's one of my expert birders, although I distinctly recall her once ranting about never wanting to see another little yellow bird...).

Anyway - the fireworks marking midnight are now fading and my eyes are drooping. Time for sleep.

Blessings and peace to you!

(This is from the "christmas concert" my attempts at being a dianadeer)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Formal, Non-formal, and Informal

I have begun my new class (the last one of the term!!) which, one week in, is fantastic! My class, Formal, non-formal and informal education: Peacebuilding actions, is taught by the incredible Ana Maria Rodino and has brought us back to learning through doing! I love it. Friday we had a guest join us, to talk about the power of filmmaking, we will have visitors who work in theatre, we're doing a field trip to a Costa Rican school - on international human rights day... loads of great things! A great way to finish off the term.

This week I moved into a new house. My first house here was great, but there were things that I was longing for - and how have! Weee. My new house has a garden and a patio!

So, this morning I sit here, looking out over plants, into the sunshine (it's not raining today!!!) preparing for my day and waiting for my Saturday morning treat to come out of the oven (yep - I moved somewhere that has a functioning oven!)

My new house also comes with a new roommate, which I think is going to be great. Helga is from Portugal and super nice. She's also a great cook, which keeps with my roomie tradition (although there are few in the world, who have the roomie touch like Tia - I can't drag her all over the world with me).

The end of term is approaching, which means visitors are coming! I am quite excited. My Dad comes 11 days, and I think we're going to have a great time. Then just before new years - I get a second treat, with the arrival of Trish! One of the advantages for sure of moving somewhere warm and near to beaches is being in a destination that people want to come to. Many of the students have been chatting about whether or not they will go home for the break. Lots of people are just too far away from 'home' to make that possible and so will be staying and some of us are just hiding from the world of snow and cold. Perhaps this makes me a poor Canadian, but I am completely content to have a winter free year every so often. (Although, when I am day after day after day of rain... I start to question that - Alberta does have beautiful sunny skies, even when bloody cold!).

My timer is about to ring, telling me to take out my treat so here's your homework, if you choose to do it... I have been craving cinnamon buns for awhile - and moving somewhere with an oven seemed like the perfect time to make them... but I don't have a recipe here. I know that there are many on the internet - but somehow recipes coming from people you know - are almost always better (plus - if you do a quick google of cinnamon bun recipes the majority of them call for either a breadmaker or frozen dough - both of which seem like cheating). So - do you have a recipe you love? Do you want to share it with me? My 'plan' with this request is to test out a few and figure out which I like best.

Anyway - I should go pull the first attempt out of the oven.
Peace to you!

thanks to Owen for recipe #1 - right now, they smell great.