Sunday, April 25, 2010

Un Sueño

In English, sueño means dream. Towards the end of my week in Costa Rica, while stopping for a cafecita (small cup of coffee) on our way back from Limon, our bus driver Randall (pronounced ren-DAHL) asked me how I enjoying Costa Rica thus far, to which I replied, "Es como un sueño."

Its like a dream. And my week in Costa Rica, in Santa Ana was dreamlike. There may be more buildings in Santa Ana now, more Ticos riding motocicletas, but the mountains have not changed, the amazing vistas are the same, the air still smells like summer.

The people also seem the same, especially my amazing old professor and his wife, Don Jorge and Doña Ana. Jorge is a reknowned opera singer, sociologist, author, carpenter, and environmentalist. He is, quite simply, the most interesting man alive.

Anyway, as I mentioned in my previous entry, my sister Nora has been studying there these past several months on the same program I did six years ago. My friend Matt and I decided to take a week's vacation and visit her group. I thought it would be a great chance to relive some of my "glory" days in Costa Rica, as well as catch up with some of my favorite professors. Also, Anna Eggleston, a dear friend of mine and fellow Costa Rica alum from my group was living in Santa Ana, which was an added bonus. (Anna and I were each other's partners in Salsa class--we were awesome)

I had a great time. Pura vida is how they say it in Costa Rica, and it was a week's worth of pura vida for me. We hiked through the mountains, planted trees for reforestation, did pottery, danced salsa, went snorkeling, ate delicious food, saw ancient ruins.

One of the best aspects of the trip were the people I was with. Nora is, of course, always fun to hang out with (hey, she's a Hurley!) as is Matt, and it was awesome to see Anna. But the rest of Nora's group were strangers to me, besides a little conversations I'd had with Nora about them on the phone. They are an amazing bunch of students, funny, kind, and always up for an adventure. I'm lucky to have met them.

Some of my favorite memories from the week were hiking up the mountains, then hiking back down in the dark, stopping at a bar called Buena Vista halfway down for the best beer, 80's music, and french fries ever, seeing a giant school of silver fish snorkeling, relaxing on a motor boat to an awesome view, relaxing at Jorge and Ana's awesome house, drinking games in the hotel, conversations with Gabriel, another awesome professor, in his class, the farewell party at the bar, and simply playing cards on the beach or chatting in a coffee shop. It may sound corny, but I felt truly blessed to have had this experience, to "relive" for one week one of my favorite semesters in college.

My week back in Costa Rica was una semana perfecta, a perfect week, almost too good to be true. And, like all the best dreams, it ended too quickly.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Links and things

I've been abominably lazy in keeping up with this blog. Without regular entries, I imagine its hard to keep regular readers. Therefore, I'm making a spring resolution to try and update the blog once a week.

We'll see how that goes.

In the meantime, things have happened in my life. St. Patrick's Day was fun, if rather inebriated. I had a lovely visit with my mother, father, and brother Sean over Easter. And I'm going to Costa Rica in less then a week, to visit my sister Nora, who is participating in the same study abroad program I did several years ago. I love reading her blog. She writes wonderfully and it gives me a marvelous sensation of deja vu.

Anyhow, the reason I've been remiss in my own blogging is that I've been working on my book, still tentatively titled The Constable of Bridge and is also going, more or less, well. I hope to finish the first draft (finally) by the end of this year.

I'm also doing the 2010 Chicago marathon. Which should be both fun and extremely stressful.

But enough about me, here are some links to images and videos I've come across the past few weeks that I thought would be fun to share:

This first image could be retitled "How Pat Operates in his Cubicle":

I love it! This second image I found on and really needs no explanation. (and only a leetle spelling correction) Its awesomeness explains itself:

Then there are two videos I found both educational and compelling. The first is an update on Epic 2014 (shown to me originally by my friend Andy Wilkerson), and is called Epic 2015. A few years old, but still terribly relevant I find:

The second is more about the movement of social media, a phenomena of which this blog is just a small droplet in a digital tsunami:

(the embedded video doesn't quite fit within my posting margins, so a better view of the video can be found here)

Here's a link to the great author Margaret Atwood's thoughts on Twitter.

Finally, for something beautiful and fun, a link to the animated advertisement for Neil Gaiman's lovely poem "Instructions," which is about what to do if you're caught in a fairy tale and is soon to be published in book form, illustrated by the amazing Charles Vess.

[ETA] Crap! I almost forgot about Neil Cameron's A TO Z OF AWESOMENESS, both educational and a fuckton of coolness.