The shape of human recreation
Is central to the web of small changes,
of the greatest changes.
information, education
We boom:more water.
We burst: less life.
The shadow of the buzz and bubble,
the rattle and call
are indistinguishable from the fragile flutter,
that dividing difference or
dichromatic desire for
The struggle for symbiosis
forever changes the
pattern of possible.

--Mariana D.
A mi me gusta toda esta tierra,

En mi opinión, Monteverde es más bonito que las montañas en la Sierra.

El ambiente aquí en San Gerardo es lindísimo,

Gracias a Dios que los alrededores protegidos son grandísimos.

Los bichos aquí son un poco extraños,

Ojalá que no me hagan ningún daño.

Algunas veces estoy detrás del palo,

Pero ninguno de mis días aquí han sido malos.

En total tengo dicha de tener esta oportunidad,

No creo que haya más como ésta, de verdad.

--Jennifer W.

Through the dark olive green material of my pants, I can feel the slight roll and tumble of the grass beneath my behind and left thigh, a mild Shiatsu massage of a thousand nubby knuckles caressing my body. The hairy, melon-shaped shadow of my head pops in and out of view with the ebb and flow of the clouds overhead. The grass is green, to be sure, but it is only green in the same way that we would say that a kaleidoscope has one color: rainbow. Spiky shafts of brown, taupe, and almost-purple scatter themselves about, punctuated by bubbles of vibrant yellow petals floating just above the surface. Awkward, lanky favelas of some kind of palm-tree-wannabe grass poke and prod their way out of the slightly rumbly quilt of gass, the field's equivalent of urban sprawl. Trees in the distance seem to squint and brace themselves for a wind that is not currently blowing but clearly occurs regularly, massaging the trees from left to right. The singsong pop and crackle of unseen tropical birds fades in and out, locked in a sonic tango with the sound of axles whirring, gravel crunching, and general clinkity-clank of The Automobile.
--Michael G.

What have I learned about myself in the last 24 hours? Well, that’s a loaded question. I guess it’s…. Word Vomits. Smiles. I have the amazing tendency to talk a lot when I’m uncomfortable. Now imagine this: I’m meeting my homestay family. These people need to think I’m “tuanis” (Costa Rican slang for cool) for the next two weeks. Obviously I’m on edge and therefore I begin my word vomit. Now mix in a lack of coherency into the situation. The result: Operation “Tuanis” was sinking. I might be the world’s only morena gringa incapable of saying more than two words in Spanish, but I did try. Oh I tried so hard. I word vomited everything that sounded the least bit Spanish-ish and then my homestay mama smiled. Then she talked a mile a minute and then I smiled. However, Operation “Tuanis” looked better as I demonstrated what cow-tipping was to mi familia. It consisted of me on my hands and knees mooing then snoring and then somehow laying on my back with my appendages flailing in the air in the middle of the living room. I guess I learned my ridiculousness is a good thing; well, it at least breaks the ice in no time.

We arrived in Monteverde around 11:30 am, and checked in here at the Monteverde Country Lodge, where we are staying just for tonight.   We had lunch, and then walked into town to check out the local shops and visited el supermercado.  Rafa gave us each a pretend life scenario - I was a married woman working 6 hours per day, 5 days a week, and earning the equivalent of about $2.00 per hour.  The currency here is 'colones'.  It was amazing to walk through the store and try to budget myself based on this salary - thinking about what I really needed, and realizing that there wasn't much wiggle room to spend on luxury items.