I wake up to the sounds of roosters and motorcycles curled up with me in my mosquito net. I brush my teeth as quick as possible in the sink, taking a quick look in the mirror which was a bad idea; my hair is as frizzy as it can be. Then, we eat some delicious fruit and cereal for breakfast and head off to the first adventure of the day: painting murals at the local high school, painting walls, and fixing up all the finishing touches to the art. After, we were waiting for our leader when we heard shouting—another of our groups heading to the beach. So we joined them. It was only an eight minute ride to the beach but it felt like a long roller coaster ride. Once we got to the beach we drove into a beautiful, peaceful, serene view of the ocean bay of Costa Rica. We took off our work shoes and ran to the water. We enjoyed the moments at the beach and then left for lunch. Lunch, at our favorite neighborhood house, was excellent.

One of the chicos of Cuajiniquil.

One of the chicos of Cuajiniquil.

Emily with one of her biggest fans.

Emily with one of her biggest fans.

After lunch we headed to the salon—community center—to watch local dancers and singers put on a show. It is always interesting and exciting watching a show in a different language; you mostly try to figure out what the heck they are saying and what the show is about. Thankfully, we debriefed the whole show afterward so we could understand every part of it as we walked back to the house. Once we were back at the house, we all drank plain black coffee to boost our energy levels after a long morning; we got our energy right back and headed over to the elementary school across the street.

I walked through the gate with students running, yelling my name and giving me big hugs. I said “Hola” to every little student I saw and watched them smirk at me and give me mysterious looks or huge smiles. I live for little moments like these; I love seeing how these kids get so happy. We did art and played tag and kicked the ball around until their bell rang for it all to come to a sad ending of the eventful playtime.

Students drawing.

Students drawing.

The day went on and we headed to the biggest soccer game yet. We took off all of our shoes and ran on the field ready to make our teams. We ran around playing soccer, sliding everywhere and running as fast as we could to score! I love these moments as well because these kids are wearing no shoes and playing so well in this same humidity that leaves me struggling. They play so well everyday. We played for hours and then headed to dinner. We ate yummy, delicious fish and bonded as a group, most of us were laughing our heads off. After dinner we headed to the green house— the house where the girls are sleeping—and ended the day with long games.

Art Camp in the afternoons.

Art Camp in the afternoons.

I came into this trip, imagining what this trip was going to be like in my head, expecting to have an experience of a lifetime. As the trip went on I realized how grateful I am for my house, my AC, and everything that these happy people in Costa Rica don’t get to have. Seeing this town through my own eyes has been a very creative process; I would maybe describe it as chaotic, but always fun.