January 15th is supposed to be the saddest day of the year – according to someone who had the time to figure this out I guess. But pointing it out this year meant I get to say – not for us! We woke up in paradise!
The jungle is far noisier than any city I have ever stayed or lived in. I was wide awake by 5:30am. There were consistent loud noises of what seemed like fruits and leaves and rocks or who knows what landing on the roof. There’s a constant buzz of grasshoppers and flies and….well I am not really sure actually. That said, the hours I did sleep, I slept like a baby. The fresh air causes you to pass right out. The slight breezes are soothing…and you can feel the…yes…for those of you who know the song – Wind of Change.
Full disclosure: I’m bound to get corny once in awhile – after all, writing a blog isn’t easy. It can be a fine line between writing your diary, and writing something for the world to see. So you take a corny risk here and there. I know my sister is laughing right now – and that makes it worth it. Clover is likely shaking his head hoping I haven’t hit Publish.
ANYWAY, I can’t help but want to share these magical experiences with whoever will read!!!
It was surreal waking up to the daylight, and now seeing the place we were. Driving up here in the dark meant we had no clue what any of it looked like. We eventually woke up, brushed our teeth at the outdoor sink, and walked to Casa Grande for the first time. This is the main area of the retreat centre. There’s a beautiful 20-foot (approximately) wood table, a gorgeous fully functioning open-air kitchen, comfy areas to lounge around, and of course, the most stunning view of the Ocean and the whale’s tail – which is what this area is known for and is what Costa Ballena means.
We met a couple team members, enjoyed some coffee, and tried to take it all in. I had a feeling that it would take some time for it to sink in that this beautiful place could be our new home for the foreseeable future.
The volunteers treated us to breakfast which was a beautiful mix of freshly made coconut milk, granola cereal, and fruits!
Clover met with his colleague and began working immediately. It was one of their busiest days and was why we decided to travel straight to Uvita instead of staying in San Jose overnight. I met with Leila, my colleague, and was given a tour of the property.
The photographs and the videos simply don’t do this place justice. It is situated on the mountain in the middle of the jungle. There are plants everywhere you look, and most of them with edible fruits and vegetables. There are two green houses that grow pretty much everything that is needed for salads, soups, natural medicines, and fruit galore! Water is pure and fresh from any tap (although I hear that’s everywhere in Costa Rica).
The rest of the day was slow but sweet. We had a fabulous lunch of soup, rice and salad. All made fresh and with so much love you could taste it. Amongst the many other root vegetables there was yuka – which I believe is the same as cassava or mogo (for my East African friends and family)!
After dinner Leila decided we should start the next day off with a hike to the waterfall.
Porqué no, right?
We gathered around 9 in the parking lot and jumped in to the pick-up truck. It was about a 15 minute drive to the top of another hill that we then set off to descending to get to the waterfall.
It was a good 20 minutes of hiking down and because this season has seen more rain than usual there were damp parts that were difficult to descend. To be honest I was pretty exhausted about 10 minutes in to it.
When we reached the end of the path though, there it was. A stunning waterfall completely secluded with a decently large pool of water in front of it. It wasn’t long before we were all in it.
The water was cold – the kind of cold that takes your breath away, but then after a minute or two it’s the most refreshing feeling in the world. Floating there on my back I could see the blue skies, the sun hitting my face, and trees all around me, with the beautiful sound of the water falling. How is it possible that this is my new life?
One of the people that came with us said we should make an effort to come up here at least twice a week. Don’t think I’ll deny that opportunity!
Everywhere you look here there is something new to discover. The trees, the bugs, the birds, and the many many species of some of the most beautiful creatures you’ll ever see in your life. And some…a bit terrifying? And then there’s those ones that make you laugh…such as the tree that looks like a penis.
Not a bad way to start a Tuesday eh? The hike back up was tough, and I did some of it bare foot, but when we got back we felt refreshed and ready to work.
Today we moved out of the temporary room and in to the one we will now call home. It was such a great feeling to unpack and get settled in. I was so proud that all my clothes fit on one shelf and one 2 foot rack! All that minimizing, and I still think there’ll be a portion of my clothes I won’t wear.