A group of friends and I went to Teatro Nacional (the National Theater) last week to see a piano performance by a world renown piano player. He played a seven movement piece that was absolutely beautiful and had me mesmerized! Just after he started the third movement of the piece he stopped playing, stood up, and started ranting to a group of people in Spanish. As I pieced together what he said, I understood that he was griping out a group of his students sitting in the front of the theater. He was so bothered by their disruptive noise and lack of respect that he stopped and reprimanded them in front of the entire audience. That is when I realized the most important lesson I will take away from my time in Costa Rica is to let things roll of my back and not take everything in life so tremendously serious. It was time to sit back and enjoy the music no matter what distractions came along.
Teatro Nacional after the Piano concert
Let’s go back to my third weekend here in Costa Rica. A group of girls and I were headed out to La Fortuna on our very first self-planned excursion and man were we excited! The Friday we left could not have started off any worse though… To begin the day, my sandals broke as I was running an errand that morning (third pair in the last 2 weeks to bite the dust). Then I had my first, and only, money mishap that caused me to practically drain my bank account. I called my mom and got everything worked out after a few tears were shed and she told me not to worry because this kind of thing happens to everyone at some point. Next, our bus broke down in some random town that none of us had any idea where we were and caused us to wait an hour and a half for a new one. Once we arrived in La Fortuna we discovered that the hotel had no idea who we were (even though we had a confirmation e-mail and had spoken on the phone with them) and had no vacancy. At this point I couldn’t see a good outcome happening anywhere in this entire trip! After all the craziness of that day and everything that could go wrong actually going wrong it only got better from there. We had some laughs at dinner and made some amazing memories. Our trip ended with a relaxing morning at the Baldi Hot Springs and an afternoon canyoning down waterfalls where I met a woman who offered me an internship for the next summer doing research with her. This was all followed by some great quality time on the four hour bus ride home. The weekend came to a beautiful end!
Baldi Hot Springs, Volcan Arenal, and Pure Trek Canyoning
Then comes my fourth weekend in Costa Rica where the Friday seemed to shadow the previous doomful Friday. My friends Jillian, Sarah, and I were headed out to go horseback riding. We had looked forward to since before we had even arrived in Costa Rica! It was 6:30 in the morning and we were meeting to head to the bus station. We got to the bus station and took off for Ciudad Colon and we were more than ready…or so we thought. Before we were even out of San José, our bus hit a car and took the entire back bumper off. That caused us to have to stop, get off, and wait for a new bus. This delay only cost us about 20 minutes which worked because we had built in a 30 minute buffer window. Then we got confused along the way which caused us to miss our stop by about 10 kilometers. Once we realized it, we quickly jumped off the bus and got a taxi so we could start backtracking. Next, the taxi driver got lost and we went in more than a few circles. Once we got back on track we hit a construction zone where they weren’t allowing cars through because they were in the process of repairing an area that had suffered damage from a land slide. Being told that it was only a 3 kilometer walk, we took our chances and got out of the taxi. Five and a half miles and an hour and a half later, we finally make it to our destination. By this time we are only two hours late, afraid that we won’t get a chance to ride at all, and we all have to pee! The owners welcomed us with open arms, told us to relax, and gave us fresh squeezed lemonade (which we had been talking about craving during our walk). The three of us then proceeded to have the coolest horseback ride through part of the Biological Corridor, a short lesson on how to trot, and some great laughs along the trails. This was all followed by a breathtaking view as we had a homemade brunch of egg casserole, mini pancakes, and freshly cut fruit. Again, after everything that went wrong, we could not have had a better end to our experience!
Me, Jillian, and Sarah (left to right)
It seems like if something could go wrong it would go wrong! From broken buses and lost taxi drivers to hour and a half walks back to our hostel from Puerto Viejo because our bus driver left without us (that’s a long story for another time), my time in Costa Rica has never seemed to be a dull moment. The memories made along the way are undeniably unique and most certainly unforgettable! All of my experiences have taught me to take everything that happens with a grain of salt and remember that the grass is always greener on the other side. Don’t be like the musician who let a little bit of noise bother him but be more like the listener who enjoyed the emotion and warmth of his music regardless of what seemed to be wrong in the background. There’s always a happy ending if you chose to have one!
Written By: Emily Gulick, Social Media Journalist