Monday, July 30, 2012

Why can't I just stay?

To find something so beautiful that it makes you cry to witness God's creations is an amazing feeling. My trip to Montana on July 20 surpassed all of my expectations. I honestly can't find the words to describe this place. Normal adjectives just won't do. And to sum up the weekend in one paragraph is a travesty as I don't feel I'm doing it justice. However, I could write all night about my trip so...I'm just going to post what my friend Anneke wrote:
"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Rewind. My wonderful friend Ashley Jamison from Arkansas visited us this weekend, and we rode horses into the sunset, got chased by wild stallions, slept in a cosy little cabin, then set up camp in the beautiful Crazy Mountains, fly fished for speckly Rainbow Trout, explored blue lakes and thundering rapids, crossed rivers and streams, and climbed over logs. Jeremiah Johnson would want to take us for a wife if he had seen it. Best weekend ever. We have scratches and mosquito bites and tan to prove it."
Can you believe I did all of that in 48 hours? I know. It's unreal. And I also know that you are going, "Wow! How did that Ashley Jamison girl get up that mountain with all the chocolate sauce she eats?" Yeah. It was quite amazing how I kept up for the most part. The crisp, clean air was so easy to breathe I just glided right up. I also had the pleasure of renting my first car. Although it was a Kia (not to hate on Kia owners but mine was a load of poo) I had a nice 7 hour drive from Montana and Wyoming. I sang at the top of my lungs and even had to stop and pee on the side of the road. Note to Montana: need more rest stops so that I won't have to pee on the side of the road and act like I'm sight seeing when people drive by. Thanks.

I honestly wanted to stay. I created different ploys in my head. I'll put sawdust in the car. I'll slash the tires. I'll just say I'm not going home. I want to move to Montana and just live the simple life. I feel like Little Rock people just get so caught up in "stuff". You have to drive a certain car and dress a certain way and talk a certain way and poof your hair and wear hairspray and lots of jewelry. Whatever happened to simplicity? I drive a Chevy, wear clothes from resale shops (that's not to say I won't splurge every now and then) and eat non-organic food. Why is everything such a big deal? That's why I want to live in Montana. And also for the fact that is just so stinking awesome.
The family vacay was great also! It's been so long since I've been with my parents and siblings and their spouses. Being the middle child and the most neglected, I got to stay in the loft. Yay! Sorry...did I say neglected? Oops I meant strongest. Not all people can climb straight up a ladder ten times a day. Only people that hike up mountains. We did Yellowstone, ate at great restaurants, saw actual Hutterites (an offspring of the Amish) up in the Dairy Queen, and I went up in a ski lift for the first time. Pics and maybe videos to come. Y'all know I'm bad about posting :)

Location:Billings, MT

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Pura Vida Mae

For those who have been to Costa Rica before, you will know what the title means. For those who have not, it means "The Pure Life". Mae means "dude". You will hear that more in the coastal cities. They will answer with "Pura Vida" to just about anything.

"How are you?" "Pura Vida"
"How was your meal?" "Pura Vida"

That's the Tico slogan. I think it's a fabulous way to look at life. Ticos honestly are the most laid-back group of people I've ever been around. It's so refreshing not to have to worry about your busy life all the time.

My stay in Sámara was lovely. My host family was precious. I do hope to visit again one day. I had many adventures as well. I kayaked to Isla Chora (Chora Island) which is on the Pacific. I'll tell you what, kayaking on a river and on the ocean are totally different. And you also need a good partner. Bless her heart, mine had never done it before and at times I wanted to throw her overboard. We got there safely without tipping over like the other crew did. I also tried snorkeling which turned out badly. It was way to rough especially for a person that doesn't swim well. My flipper feet weren't the right size and slipped off. I had to swim back by myself and nearly drowned. Panicking in the ocean is not conducive to good swimming. I finally made it without hyperventilating.

Horseback rising was also a must. Even though I'd done these things four years ago when I was there, I wanted to do them again. I was the most experienced rider which isn't saying much since I've only ever ridden a few times. It was all going well until the end. I wanted to gallop on the beach and feel wild and free. So I did. I just had no idea that the other horses would follow suit if they saw my horse. Uh oh. A sweet girl from Canada didn't know how to control her horse. At this point, we were all going super fast. It was getting so dark. I see Stephanie fly past me on her horse, arms and legs flying (her feet had gotten loose). She was trying to stop the horse, but it kept going faster. The next thing I saw was Stephanie flying off the horse and hitting a tree. Her head hit the tree, and I honestly thought she'd broken her neck because her head snapped back. I quickly stopped and assessed damage. She was sitting up and utter shock and disbelief. We call the doctor. I speak for her since her English is not good and since she was so angry. She hit her chin thank goodness. At least it wasn't the brain area as I was worried she might have a concussion. No teeth missing or blood in the mouth. Just some scrapes on her chin, chest, back and arms. She was one lucky girl. What all of us didn't know was that my roommate Sarah from Minnesota also fell. Her horse bucked her off and she landed on her bottom. She will have some pretty bruises from that. So friends, the moral of the story is: don't gallop on the beach.

Rachelle and I arrived in Tamarindo yesterday. It's so touristy which is totally different from Sámara. Our hotel is fantastic! I highly recommend to anyone traveling here on a budget. For $85/night, we get a king size bed, twin bed, dining area with kitchenette, hot water, air conditioning, wi fi, and HBO. The pool is beautiful with a waterfall thing. Breakfast is the best. A huge plate of fresh fruit (7 different fruits) then your breakfast of choice: traditional with eggs, gallo pinto (rice and black beans mixed together), cheese, bacon and a tortilla OR continental with eggs, toast and bacon. Coffee and fresh juice is also there.

Some other students from the school and I took a weekend trip to the Monteverde cloud forest for zip lining and then to Arenal to visit the Baldí Hot Springs resort and a natural wild life resort. It's so cool up there (low 60s at night) and was a nice break from the heat.

I have met so many people that will be lifelong friends. I have eaten well, gotten mosquito bites, and practiced my Spanish. A Tico actually thought I was Latina because of my accent. He said I sounded like a natural. Of course that thrilled me!

Off to explore Tamarindo. Have a blessed July 4th! Yay for America!

Location:Nature Trail,Tamarindo,Costa Rica