Sunday, January 26, 2014

Costa Rica is pretty

I find meditation to be almost impossible. I suppose I get a certain version of it through yoga, but when I try to do non-moving meditation... I'm in a hundred places at once in seconds. This makes the "Mind Fitness" course I am doing through my program at Georgetown surprisingly difficult. The next time I am in a yoga retreat style environment, like I was in Costa Rica, I really look forward to being able to fully immerse myself... both because of my wrist surgery, and presumably because I will have achieved a new level of zen.

My cat has mellowed out considerably. This blurb-y section is not about my trip. I suppose I could try. I am glad that she has mellowed out considerably because this means that I can... smuggle her onto flights... and through customs? Because she can come to the beach with me on a leash? Because she can catch us food on the rough streets of Hanoi? No, none of that seems quite right.

I don't know why I like traveling so much. It's expensive, and often lonely, and I usually under-pack so by Day 5 it's game over on any plausible chance of my smelling like a clean and presentable human.

Maybe I'm searching for answers where there are no answers.  e.e. cummings said:

'always the beautiful answer that asks a more beautiful question.'

e.e. cummings is always right, too. I know this because of how large the spaces between meanings are in his writing. You can fit two worlds in there! One for your language, and another for the amorphous and incomprehensible mutterings of everyone else.

[I assume that is where the wisdom is. That is why I am learning all of the languages.]

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Last full day in Costa Rica

This is the view from our cabin. The spiral is for meditation (and sungazing... but I'm not really sold on that practice just yet.) The other day we hiked way down into the valley--far past the last tin roof that is visible in the image. It was to a place called 'Big Rock'... as photos after I get home on Monday night will display, the rock is seriously big. But with fantastically tiny frogs surrounding it! The mind boggles.

It is overcast in Costa Rica for the first time in almost ten days. Tomorrow morning, Julian and I begin the arduous trek back to San Jose from the mountains near the Pacific Coast--a formidable drive of 4-5 hours (but the taxi driver will be doing most of the work.) It is odd to think of leaving here after having adapted so much to a different lifestyle: yoga every morning from 7-9 (with a number of bizarre alterations to the Ashtanga primary series thanks to my similarly weird wrist injury), only raw food, hiking every day, water everywhere, enormous spiders, bed at eight. But... so it goes! Back to 'civilization' tomorrow, and the office on Tuesday morning.

I'm hoping to carry some things back with me. More raw fruits and vegetables in my life (perhaps investing in a Vitamix?), yoga in the morning (though I get my surgery next week, so that might be a bit short-lived in terms of developing a habit right now), and the importance of having puppies wandering around always. Also getting outside more often. Graduating in May might help with that--right now, classes and work get a bit in the way. Practicing speaking Spanish more... I really enjoy Spanish. What beautiful sounds. But finding a balance between activities and places and passions can be a real challenge.

Dominical Beach and the surrounding town were full of air and light and little kids running around. We got the most amazing banana mango smoothies I have ever had. The secret ingredient to everything appears to be A) Cinnamon or B) Garlic (but rarely combined.) (In this case, it was the first one.) (Thank god.) The coast line looks like something out of Jurassic Park... probably because *I think* that it was filmed here. If only DC had a solid beach. Just one!

The people here have such interesting stories... I could talk to them all day (and often do.) I need to do a better job of seeking out people with narratives this diverse at home. Maybe I'll post my new year's resolutions here. Maybe I should be better about having daily resolutions.

Frogs and birds and kittens and wind and toucans. Arlington is going to feel so quiet.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

the generation of disenchantment

In the 1980s, Costa Rica abandoned realism.

This is in the words of Wikipedia; I was not born yet.

The farm in which I am staying is a part of this movement. Abandoning the real. It is at the end of a very long, winding road that requires finesse with four wheel drive and manual transmission that I cannot imagine. Our cabin is on the top of the mountain. Top. There are sloths, toucans (en masse), tiny frogs that fit on your fingernails. There are large fluffy dogs that almost make me wish that there were snow (so that they could pull me along in a sleigh to the beach.)

All of the food is raw vegan... and amazing. You can pick all of your fruit off of the fruit trees, and use holy basil as insect repellant, and if you want to swim in a waterfall--you have at least 5 options (though all of them require some pretty serious hiking. Which is okay by me.) When I want to peel an avocado and eat it whole with sea salt on it, I do it, because there are at least ten other avocados (it's all-inclusive room and board for both of us for $75 a night,) and nothing bad ever happened by eating an avocado. I do yoga at 7 am in a "yoga pagoda," on which thousands of leaf-cutter ants also do yoga, because they are made of steel and their meditation involves lifting foliage six times their size.

Spanish is mostly useless in the hippie mountains. Fortunately, I had a two hour cab drive during which to practice when Julian and I traveled here from Quepos--and the driver told me all kinds of interesting things about the area and palm trees and caracaras. Quepos was neat, mostly because we were able to stand on the roof of the hostel and see fireworks in literally all directions (the closest of which were only 50 yards away... and enormous, and hot.) Manuel Antonio National Park had monkeys and raccoons with nefarious intentions, stunning beaches with the warmest water I have ever felt in not-a-jacuzzi, and an interesting accompanying beach town. Our shuttle from San Jose to Quepos was laden with strange and informative conversation. The Marriott near San Jose was... a Marriott. Really really really pretty (it used to be a coffee plantation) and relaxing, but that's about it. Free chocolate chip cookies! Wishing I had smuggled some here a little bit... but that's the old me. New me is strangely tempted to move to a tropical location and build an orchard/teepee/greenhouse.

For some reason, I can't email myself photos from my phone right now... and I forgot my photo transfer camera stuff. So! Imagine a number of fascinating tropical creatures here!