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jennifershipp

Initial Thoughts on the Costa Rican Orphanage — By Jennifer Shipp
Central AmericaCosta RicaNorth America

Initial Thoughts on the Costa Rican Orphanage — By Jennifer Shipp

I have been putting off writing about the orphanage, but I know I need to do it before my initial impressions wear off from the weekend. It was the first orphanage I’ve ever seen abroad and I'm hesitant to romanticize it. There are some things that we encounter that produce an immediate and striking emotional response. Usually, when I write about these things, my initial impressions are somewhat different ...
The Song, Dance, and Yoga of Language — By Jennifer Shipp
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The Song, Dance, and Yoga of Language — By Jennifer Shipp

Last night we took our very first Latin dance classes ever at Merecumbre in Alajuela. It was a private lesson and we have another one tonight followed by an hour-long group lesson. I was nervous last night, but I expected to be less nervous for our classes tonight having done a class already. But I’m not less nervous. Because tonight, we’ll be dancing with a whole group of other people who understand Salsa ...
Taking Neem for Malaria and Dengue Fever — By Jennifer Shipp
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Taking Neem for Malaria and Dengue Fever — By Jennifer Shipp

About a week ago, I read a news story talking about West Nile virus in the United States. Apparently, the West Nile virus has been particularly virulent this year. I congratulated myself for being here, in Costa Rica while the U.S. is stricken with an awful plague of West Nile (at least this is how new reports made it sound). But then, a few days ago, I read about the outbreak of dengue fever here in Costa ...
Lydian – Day 19 – The Flying Tomato and Other Things…
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Lydian – Day 19 – The Flying Tomato and Other Things…

Day two in La Fortuna began with waking up at about eight o’clock in the morning, like the morning before, and preceding to get ready, without cockroaches, unlike the morning before. “Nathan” was going to take us to see some other rental properties in La Fortuna, along with an orphanage. I didn’t realize that we were going to see rental properties, so I was a little confused, but I was rather glad too… I ...
Grocery Stores and Food in Costa Rica — By Jennifer Shipp
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Grocery Stores and Food in Costa Rica — By Jennifer Shipp

We are not strict vegans. In fact, you couldn’t even say that we’re strict vegetarians. Our diet is based on what works for our health and basically it’s vegan + chicken. For many years, we were vegetarians who snarfed down large portions of cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products at every meal. Then, we learned the truth about milk and dairy products (that they’ll kill you—see the documentary Forks over ...
“It’s My Life” — By Lydian Shipp
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“It’s My Life” — By Lydian Shipp

Let’s start at the beginning. We got to the house. We got unpacked. We had to go get another key made for our rental, so we went with the people renting the apartment to us. The walk was pretty uneventful. We walked, got a key made, and then William (the man renting out the apartment) took us to a restaurant where we got guacamole and chips, along with some seriously heavenly salsa. We stayed there for ...
“It’s My Life” at a Karaoke Bar in Costa Rica — By Jennifer Shipp
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“It’s My Life” at a Karaoke Bar in Costa Rica — By Jennifer Shipp

We rolled into La Fortuna, at the base of Arenal Volcano around 4:00 PM. John and I had both been stressed about the trip from Alajuela to La Fortuna. The map of Costa Rica that we had on our trip was as descript and helpful as the road signs leading from here to there. We were told that there were no road signs indicating which road was which and that there were few signs to tell you which direction to go ...
The Trip to La Fortuna — By Lydian Shipp
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The Trip to La Fortuna — By Lydian Shipp

This last weekend was interesting, though extremely exhausting. The morning of Friday the 24th, I woke up at approximately eight or eight thirty. Five seconds after I woke up, I heard my mom shout, “Lydian, there’s a cockroach in the sink! I need your help!” So, I helped. I washed the dishes. This was my wakeup call.Originally, we were going to work that morning until about ten before leaving to get to ...
Dogs, Birds, Hamsters, and the Flying Tomato — By Jennifer Shipp
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Dogs, Birds, Hamsters, and the Flying Tomato — By Jennifer Shipp

The Flying Tomato was a restaurant that John really wanted to go to in La Fortuna. He was excited about it because it was the first real vegetarian restaurant that we'd found in Costa Rica that we'd be able to go to and that was featured at Happy Cow (an important online resource for vegans and vegetarians). It had excellent reviews and his expectations were very high.We had gone to the orphanage in La ...
La Fortuna, Costa Rica and Arenal Volcano National Park — By Jennifer Shipp
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La Fortuna, Costa Rica and Arenal Volcano National Park — By Jennifer Shipp

When I planned our trip to La Fortuna, I pictured us hiking or boating somewhere around Arenal Volcano National Park. The place is a haven for tourists. It has it all: a volcano, ziplining, hot springs, horseback riding, waterfalls, hiking, and kayaking. We’ve been living in Alajuela now for over two weeks, and during this time I have asked the question ”what is there to do in Costa Rica?” a number of ...
Fortune and Misfortune in La Fortuna — By Jennifer Shipp
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Fortune and Misfortune in La Fortuna — By Jennifer Shipp

This weekend seemed to last as long as by itself as the preceding two weeks. We were going to Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. I thought that I had read that the volcano was no longer erupting, but I was hoping that perhaps the information was old or incorrect. Either way, I was excited to see a volcano. I figured we’d come up with things to do once we got there. There was hiking and boating and ...
Alajuelan Monkeys — By Jennifer Shipp
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Alajuelan Monkeys — By Jennifer Shipp

The distinction between traveling and tourism is an important one and it’s easy when you’re one or the other to get caught up in what’s happening on the other side. No matter what, when I travel, my experiences become the fabric of my daily life, but traveling or touring is meant to elevate me somewhat out of the patterns that are familiar to me. The fact that my experiences traveling become woven into what ...
Living in Costa Rica — By Jennifer Shipp
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Living in Costa Rica — By Jennifer Shipp

On our second big overseas trip to China, on a trip from the airport to our hotel, John and the driver of our car named “Renny” had a conversation about the purpose of our trip. Renny spoke excellent English, but there were certain things he clearly didn’t understand and John was trying to simplify things down for Renny so that he could understand. On that trip, we were still clarifying our travel goals. ...
Look at that Guy Carrying All Those Yoga Mats — By Jennifer Shipp
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Look at that Guy Carrying All Those Yoga Mats — By Jennifer Shipp

In Costa Rica, information about safety is rather scanty and seems to consist primarily of lighthearted warnings in travel guidebooks. It would be impossible to write a guidebook for a location like Costa Rica that consisted entirely of warnings because no one would buy it or be interested in going to the place unless they were a humanitarian worker or a journalist. So the warnings are lighthearted and ...
Walking the Streets in Alajuela, Costa Rica — By Jennifer Shipp
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Walking the Streets in Alajuela, Costa Rica — By Jennifer Shipp

I missed a few days of writing because we’ve been either busy or really exhausted from being busy. Finding our way in and out of Alajuela for our classes takes quite a bit of energy right now. We’re still working with how to make our way home from the classes safely. If we take the bus from downtown Alajuela (which cost the three of us about $1.60 USD), we have to walk about 30 minutes up the street with ...
What Happens at the 2 Week Mark of a Long Trip… — By Lydian Shipp
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What Happens at the 2 Week Mark of a Long Trip… — By Lydian Shipp

So today at lunch, something rather strange struck me. I was homesick. Here I am in Costa Rica, taking classes I’ve never taken before in my life, learning Spanish through my mistakes, and enjoying the beautiful plants, and I’m homesick. Before we came here, right after we booked the tickets, we were given an offer online of travel insurance. This travel insurance is where if you decide to leave later, come ...
The Dalai Lama and Vlad the Impaler Inform Our Approach to Dealing with Alajuelan Ants — By Jennifer Shipp
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The Dalai Lama and Vlad the Impaler Inform Our Approach to Dealing with Alajuelan Ants — By Jennifer Shipp

So I was curious about our Costa Rican ants and I decided to do some research. Talk of them occupies a fairly significant portion of our day because these little creatures are constantly forging new paths into our home. They are very dedicated to their cause (to gain access to our food) and there are many different kinds of them. After John killed several trails of them making their way across our floors, ...
Yoga, Alajuela-Style — By Jennifer Shipp
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Yoga, Alajuela-Style — By Jennifer Shipp

In Costa Rica, yoga is a big deal. Apparently, because Costa Rica is a mecca for surfing, yoga has taken hold. The connection between these two sports only makes sense after seeing a few photos of people doing yoga on surf boards on the sand. Apparently, surfers do yoga to get better at surfing, which is what has brought the practice to Costa Rica, even in the Central Valley, which is where we’ll be ...
Finding the Alajuela Yoga Studio — By Jennifer Shipp
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Finding the Alajuela Yoga Studio — By Jennifer Shipp

Seven days after we arrived here in Alajuela, Costa Rica, I finally tracked down a place to take classes. Taking classes in a new place is one of the very best ways to get to know people and feel like we’re actually a part of something, and, in this case really living in Costa Rica. Whenever we would move in the states, I would always enroll Lydian in new dance and gymnastics classes, which seemed to ...
First Yoga Class for All — By Lydian Shipp
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First Yoga Class for All — By Lydian Shipp

Today we decided to pursue calling the Mind Body Zone again. We called two times, and left messages both times. Finally, close to the end of the day, the place called us back. They were going to be open tonight and nine o’clock Saturday morning, when their next class was going to be. When we decided that if Francisco (Our driver person that picked us up from the airport when we first got here) could drive ...
Bruised Banana