Today’s post comes to us from UW-LaCrosse student and Spring 2019 student blogger Savannah Stanley! She’s studying abroad with API in San José, Costa Rica. She’s only been there a couple weeks, but she’s already gone on some adventures! Today we’re hearing about her weekend trip to Jacó, Costa Rica.
Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words
Pictures can be deceiving and simultaneously hold an incredible amount of truth.
Before I explain let me give you a little background about who I am, where I live, and what I’m doing with my life. My name is Savannah and I am a Cultural Anthropology student taking on the world, quite literally. I just began studying in the capital city of San Jose in Costa Rica, which has a rate of “99% absolutely nothing like small town Wisconsin”. But with my love for culture and fascination with foreign, faraway places, I truly feel like Costa Rica is my home away from home—even when things don’t go as planned.
So, here’s where the story starts.
Having only been here for a week, my exchange sister, Anjali, and I spontaneously decide to go on a weekend trip to a nearby beach town called Jacó on the Pacific. We book an Airbnb, research how to take the bus, and plan to take surf lessons (something I’ve always dreamed of). On a Friday morning we hopped on a bus after an eventful time trying to book a ticket and an awkward encounter with someone who “complimented” my blonde hair. But wait it gets better.
After a two-and-a-half-hour bus ride to Jacó we set out on a 5 mile trek to find our Airbnb.
One, we were too cheap to take a taxi and two, street signs in Costa Rica are a rarity not to be taken for granted. Therefore, Anjali and I asked someone for directions every 200 meters. Long story short, our Airbnb was nonexistent.
Hot, sweaty, extremely hungry, and seemingly homeless we stopped at the cutest acai café to search for a hostel. Instead of sleeping in a house with a bunch of strangers, we ended up in a tent pitched in a backyard—but at least it was cute, right?
Before we knew it, we were walking to the beach where we meet an awesome group of surf instructors who offered us a deal on surf lessons. There we planned for surf lessons the next day, watched the sunset, and talked about life in Costa Rica. The challenges of the day had nothing on us.
Saturday morning, I lived a dream that always seemed too far out of reach when you come from Wisconsin.
I learned to surf thanks to the friendliest Ticos, the feeling of catching a wave, and the congratulating whistles by my surf instructor Erli—who is one of the most down to earth people, ever. To top that off, we were invited to a surf competition later that day where we met another group of surfers. The rest of the night passed with lots of dancing, singing, and the words ”mae”, ”taunis”, and ”pura vida”. All of which are words specific to Costa Rica, and especially Costa Rican surfers.
While Anjali and I went through some major roadblocks during our first trip out of the city, I also had an incredibly impactful weekend full of growth, laughter, and happiness. We may have been homeless for a hot second, had no option besides an outhouse, and ran out of clothing by the end of the weekend, but you choose what affects your happiness. This is why pictures are deceiving and 100% honest at the same time. In the first picture and the last, nobody knows the obstacles I went through leading up to it BUT my true happiness is crystal clear.