Saturday, January 29, 2011

Curiouser and Curiouser.

Well, I'm actually here now.  For realseis. this time


Or, as my muse Alice would say, "Curiouser and Curiouser."

I've been waiting the past year and half to be here, and now I actually am.  IT'S SO CRAZY. Unreal, even.

Portantorchas is absolutley beautiful.  I'm so excited to share some of the pictures I took of the campus....they're purely to show how frickin' GORGEOUS it is here...not so much to showcase my artsyness. :)  So, take a look at my new home!

 Looking good.

 This is where our classes are held.

 And THAT is the view I get to see everyday.  Everday.

MUSIC TO LISTEN TO: She Got Dressed Up by the Fleet Foxes, a current favorite of mine. It's ever so catchy :) Below is the link. You should click on it.

To my darling friend Jenn Fry, I love you more than I knew!  I'm so sad I'll miss the midnight premire of Harry Potter with you.  :( To my most favorite big sister, thank you so much for coming all the way down to Costa Rica to make sure I made it alive.  Love you all!

Peace and Blessings,


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Through the Loooking Glass (Also known as a camera lens.)

So, here are the pictures I tried and failed to upload last night. Oops. :) Also, they're in the wrong order. But hey, I'm new to this whole blogging thing.  So don't judge. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The End and a New Beginning.

I can't believe I'm actually on my way to Costa Rica.

I”m currently sitting in between a kind woman, who doesn't seem to speak much English, and my darling sister, who's looking out the window at the clouds. They're very different from up here, the clouds, you know. Kind of like looking into water and being able to see the bottom, only much more clear. The clouds look like floating lands, complete with mountain ranges and islands. It's fantastic to see God's creation from this point of view.

This past week has been quite a journey for me, filled with many goodbyes to some of the people dearest to me. Strangely, though, I didn't cry very much...I guess I'm saving that for later. It doesn't seem like I'm actually gone yet.

We should be landing within the next half hour, where our close family friend, Beth Peters, should be waiting for us. My sister, Hillary, and I will be visiting her at the mission's base called PuraVida, where she serves as the Nehemiah Project Coordinator. Which means that it is her responsibility to keep up relations with all the churches and ministries that PuraVida works with, along with partnering those churches and ministries with the short-term teams that come down to Costa Rica. Beth came down in November, and will be staying till next November, so I'm planning on visiting her more while I'm at school.

Getting through the airports and such went fairly smoothly, although I was forced to buy a return ticket (it seems U.S. Citizens can't leave the country without one...keep that in mind if you plan on traveling for more than 90 days, kids. Save yourself some money and buy a return ticket online.).

The pilot just announced that the current weather in Costa Rica is 84 degrees. Sweeeeet. Nice change of pace compared to the Arctic-like weather back in PA.

So, since I've had ridiculous amounts of time to think today, here's a list of 10 things I”ll miss while I'm gone:

  1. Family and friends. Seriously, it's going to be hard.
  2. My mom's food. Nothing compares to homemade mashed potatoes gasping for air in thick gravy. It's mostly rice and beans in good ole' Costa Rica.
  3. Harry Potter. Even though I've read them all at least 3 times, being forced to leave them all behind was almost heart-breaking. AND I'll miss the last movie. Poop.
  4. Snow. As many problems as it causes, I really do like it.
  5. Thrift Shopping. I'm really not sure if they have any Goodwill's here, but honestly, I pretty much only shop at thrift stores. I try not to pay a lot of money for clothes if I don't have to.
  6. Shining Light. That's the Christian Performing Arts Prison Ministry I'm a part of. It's like an extension of my family.
  7. My kids at work. Even though I want to kill them sometimes, I love them more than I knew. I miss them already.
  8. My church. Small as it may be, everyone there has helped me learn to love God the way I do now.
  9. Driving. Seeing as I don't have a Costa Rican driver's license, I won't be doing much of that...legally, anyway.
  10. Being able to flush toilet paper. That's right folks, fun fact about Costa Rica: because the sewage pipes are too small, all toilet paper goes into the trash can, located conveniently beside the toilet.

That being said, I know that the sacrifice of missing all those things will be completely worth what I'll gain through my experiences at school. When else in my life would I have this opportunity? I'm 19, have the time, and God has come through with the finances (more on that later) so why not? Nothing's holding me back, except my fear of the unknown.

….......................................................LATER THAT SAME DAY..............................................................

Well, kiddos, we did it. We're here at the PuraVida mission's base in Heredia, Costa Rica. I've just finished showering (nothing feels better than being clean after being cramped in a plane all day long) and I will be heading to bed shortly after writing this.

What did I do with the rest of my day? Well, dear audience, allow me to fill you in.

After sitting uncomfortably on the plan for about an hour more, we finally arrived in the Costa Rica airport, where my sister and myself ventured through immigrations, baggage claim (all of ours was there! Seriously, praise God. The last time I went to Costa Rica, they LITERALLY drove over my luggage on the way home. It sucked.), and last but not least, customs. After that, we made our way to the exit where we found the lovely Beth Peters waiting for us!

After shoving my huge freaking luggage bags into Beth's borrowed car, she announced that we would be going to ________, a slum in the area, to help with Kid's Club, a local church outreach to the kids living there. So, straight from the plane and into the slums we went. Talk about immersion in a culture.

The slums were quite literally slums. Houses made of tin pieces haphazardly thrown together. But the people and the kids all seemed genuinely happy. Strange, sometimes, how not having much makes you more fulfilled.

The Kid's Club pretty much consisted of fun Christian Spanish kids songs, with some dancing, a bible story, and games. At the end, all the kids and moms there were handed a drink and a bowl full of rice and beans. The kids were so openly loving. The instant we walked in children who've never met me were holding my hand and sitting on my lap. It really made me miss my kids from work. P.S. Jenn, if you're reading this, tell them I love them! (And you, too!)

From there, we visited many of Beth's local friends, including the host mom she stayed with while in language school. All the people here are very hospitable.

I was fed at least 3 times today. I LOVE THIS PLACE.

After many extended visits with new friends, we finally head back to the mission's base for supper, to meet the rest of the staff at PuraVida and to kind of get settled in. I can't really, seeing as I'll be leaving here on Saturday when I'll be heading to school!

So kids, that's what's happening with me so far. And it's only been a day. This is going to be a truly life changing year, and all I have to say is bring it on.

To everyone back home, I love you all! Keep it real while I'm gone. Emma, don't get stressed with wedding plans. Wait till I come back so I can help! Mom, be strong. I'll be home before you know it. Becca, you will do and AMAZING job as a small group leader all by yourself. More shout-outs next time. Stay fresh, everyone. And as three of my bestesteset friends like to say,

Peace and blessings,


P.S. If you have any free time, you should totally check out the band, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, especially the song, "Home" which is without a doubt, the best song ever. EVER. So stop what you're doing and listen to it...seriously.

P.P.S.  Here are a few pictures from my trip so far...sorry there's not too many. I was too absorbed in the expierence. :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Down the Rabbit Hole.

8 days.

8 days untill I leave home.

8 days untill I walk away from all my best friends, family, and all comfort and routine that I know.

How do I feel, you ask? Well, it's a tad complicated...

Here's the thing.  On the 25th of January, I, Kelsey, will be leaving the tiny town of Manheim, Pennslyvania and journeying to the magical and beatiful land of Costa Rica.  I will be attending a one year school called Portantorchas, which is primarily a Bible program, where all my classes will be taught in Spanish. Yikes! Here's a link if you want to check it out:

So, I feel excited. Overwhelmed.  Estatic.  Sad.  Exhausted.  Nervous. Thrilled.

Basically, I'm just a conflict of emotions.

Obviously, I'm sad that me going means leaving behind all the people I love.  But currently, I'm mostly excited! (Right now anyway...check back in about 10 minutes.  I may be weeping.)  As a 19 year old who hasn't really left home, save for a few mission's trips, this definatly qualifies as an adventure as well as a challenge.

Up untill last Friday, the 14th of January, I had been working at Morningstar Childcare and Litiz Christian School.  Essentially, I kept children from killing eachother and colored alot.  And at LCS (Litiz Christian School) I was a lunch lady (every high school graduate's dream!), which meant I was responsible for money..and got hit on by middle school boys. 

In all seriousness, though my jobs may not have been glamorous, I truly and deeply loved the kids and people I worked with. I will miss them all.   

And believe it or not, in the midst of all that, I did find time for other activities, and had a social life!  Accomplished, am I not? :)

I also belive deeply in and was a part of a ministry called Shining Light, which is a Christina Performing Arts Prison Ministry.  Pretty much, we sing, dance and do dramas proclaiming God's love in some of the darkest places to some of the most broken people.  I love it.  Sometimes, God shows up in the most unexpected prisons. More on that some other time.  You should totally check out our website, though.  I have every intention of rejoining the group upon my return.

In case you haven't caught on, Jesus is a big part of my life, and I hope in more than just the organizations and ministries I'm a part of.  I strive to fall more in love with Him everday, and although I fail sometimes, I hope this year ahead of me will humble me enough to accept His love. I don't want to just talk about His love, I want to live it.

I'm just not really sure how to yet.

And hopefully that's just a part of what I learn soon enough. Well, I'm off to pack and watch Lord of the Rings with my sister. Check back here often, as I plan to keep this blog updated on what's happening with me Costa Rica!

Peace and blessings, kids. Watch out for Rabbit Holes.