I guess I am overdue for a post huh…been writing lots in my journal (the old fashion kind with paper) and time has gotten away from me. I have gone through a pretty rough month, I can easily say that this month I have changed more than my entire journey here and I am proud of myself, at the same time there have been some things I wish I could have changed.  I want to take a second to recognize what I have learned over my five months living in a different country.


Over this adventure I have learned the importance of relationships with family, the importance of being able to make decisions for yourself and not basing your needs off of someone else, I have learned patience, learned that plans change and you have to go with the flow. I have learned the importance of knowing your priorities, learned to express myself and be blunt when I need to. I have learned to speak my mind and state my needs even if its a little scary, learned not to push people away when there is tension, I have learned how to be alone and to think for myself. I have become more me than I have ever been. I have learned to cry when I need to, but to get over it, pick myself up and keep on hiking, I have learned when I need to take a breathe, slow down and recognize what I have and what I need to be thankful for. I have learned to respect my elders and how important it is to listen and take in what others have to say. I have learned who is real, who is fake and who is just trying to find themselves. I have learned to cook and clean with my actual hands (not the machines…shocking right?) I have learned the importance of listening to my body and what it is telling me, not to push myself when I am already feeling weak. I have learned to smile when I feel unsure because when I do that I usually cheer myself up. I have learned that getting to know someone before throwing yourself into a false relationship is important. I have learned that I am not someone who wants boyfriends all the time or always needs that type of attention. I have learned that I am more feminist than I thought-always being angered when the very old guys whistle, honk or yell crude words at me or my friends. I have learned how important nutrition is to me, learned that nothing matters ore than how you feel and what your instincts are telling you. I have learned how much I love and appreciate my family, how I need to make up for my past few grumpy, moody and sometimes unappreciative teenage years. I have learned how to explain myself thoroughly, 100% and without being flaky with my words or explanations. I have learned how to follow through with what I started, I have learned that it is better to be truthful, even though it may be hard, than to sugar coat a situation or try to soften a reality. I have learned that I love helping friends, but I can not listen to shallow complaints without having some bitter thoughts on the tip of my tongue. I have learned how much I dislike seeing someone give up or quit.


I know I will go through more hard times, I know I will loose myself again, I know that right now I am not the person I will be for the rest of my life-I know I have a lot to learn. In my time here I lost myself completely, I felt totally alone and in the dark but somehow I grew, changed and found myself in a completely new light. I have more to learn and to change but I know I am on the road to becoming who I am supposed to be…and…I can’t wait for my next adventure.

The accuracy of this is incredible

1. Learning to be alone.

Have lunch with yourself. Sit with your thoughts and be okay with them, whatever they are. Love yourself whole-heartedly, especially in times of solitude. And when you think you can’t sit alone any longer, order coffee and a dessert.

2. Relying on the kindness of strangers.

Foreignness does not prevent random acts of kindness. Accept them. Give them. Appreciate them.

3. Learning to live with less.

This does not mean claiming hardship. Let this manifest in small ways. Recognize your fortunes. Be humbled.

4. Learning that plans change and you will have to adapt.

Itineraries are guidelines, not rigid measurements of experience. The best experiences are often not scheduled or anticipated. Expect the unexpected and learn to love it.

5. Enjoying the moment.

Forget the missed bus and enjoy the culture that can be experienced in one hour waiting at a bus stop. Stay in the present.

6. Forces you out of your comfort zone.

Practice speaking that language you learned. Try the cow tongue. Make new friends.

7. Learning to be patient.

Don’t rush through the museum. Don’t rush through your meal. Don’t bounce your leg up and down or roll your eyes. Don’t yell at anyone for reading the map wrong and getting lost. Don’t worry, you’ll get there.

8. Learning you can’t assume. 

Try looking at things a different way. Ask questions. Let this open up a new realm of thought and possibility.

9. Missing home.

Appreciate family, friends, and loved ones. Appreciate the comfort of mundane routines. Find a new found respect for the life you often wish to escape.

10. Goodbye is not forever, life has endless possibilities. 

Family becomes more than just blood. Never say goodbye to the people you meet and the places you see. Cherish the new families and homes you’ve gained. Keep in touch and look back with fond memories from time to time. TC mark

Hey everyone!
Ok, it has been a while since I have updated this lovely blog, I am going to try to write down everything, while using correct punctuation (a complaint that my mom asked me to fix). First of all, this past week I was in San Carlos, a popular tourist town that holds Costa Rica’s famous Volcano, for national soccer finals. Being in San Carlos was a very tiring experience, we had games everyday at eight in the morning-meaning we had be up and fed at five AM, bu also really amazing and usefull. The group of girls I went with are all Ticos and I learned alot of Spanish, while at the same time building stronger relationships with 22 more “Puriscal girls”. I have to say, I am pretty sure I am done with soccer-I am feeling fed up with my fragile right leg, she always seems to get tired and decide to start hurting, also I just don’t feel the thrill I used to feel while playing. I am not someone who is going to keep doing something just because I am good at it, I am going to push myself only if I love the sport and have inspiration and motivation. I was lucky enough to play every game and for the whole game, while many of my team mates had to be subbed in and out or didn’t get to play at all. We all stayed in rooms with cement floors, no windows and old, wood bunk beds….there were about twelve teams of girls and twelve of boys for the first three days. We all played three games and, depending on the number of wins the team had, by the third day you either got eliminated, or you got to play four more games. My team got to stay four more days, along with three other girls teams and four other boys teams. The final game everyone watched, I was playing left defense and the entire boys team, from Limon province, was shouting “Rous, Rous, Rous” (Rous is how my name is often spelled and pronounced here), because I was the only blond there…this was a very interesting experience for me, as well as very distracting and I have to say I was not a big fan. The soccer was a big part of this trip, but also the bonding time I got to spend with my girls here….Every afternoon we all would walk to the park in San Carlos, every town in Costa Rica has a park in the center-some are prettier than others, San Carlos being one of the prettiest I have seen-and we would sit by the fountian, talk, laugh, make jokes and watch all the gringos pass by with their backpacks, sandals and cameras. One of the nights, we were all sitting in the grass taking pictures, two men pulled up in a tourist bus and came over to us. One of the men spoke english, the other didnt exactly talk, and he asked me to translate everything he said into spanish so the other girls could understand. The man, first of all, ran to the grocery store and bought a huge hunk of raw meat, two beers and a pack of cigarettes. He came back, tossed the hunk of meat to a strey dog, turned to me and said, in a very thick Cuban accent, “happyness is three dollars for three animals, two beers and a piece of meat, for you-happiness is free. In six years happiness for you will cost as much as a joint or pack of cigarettes. Let me tell you something, I am very, very, very smart…but happiness costs me alot of money now. You are a stupid little girl until your thirty seventh birthday, after that you are a woman. Be careful, for you..now…happiness is free.” I found these words very interesting, but very inspiring and entirely strange at the same time.  I continued to talk to the man for a while, he was very intruiging (I know I spelled that wrong-sorry mommy) and hearing about his adventures was a highlight of my week. These two men, along with twenty other people from Cuba, had been on Isla De Coco, the ninth most beautiful place in the world, for “I dont remember how long”-said the strange man-filming underwater for discovery channel. This man gets paid twelve thousand PER DAY to film underwater. The group of divers travels all over the world to film underwater for a movie about the most beautiful places on earth, the movie is for discovery channel and will be released in February. I got to see a clip from the movie and I was absolutly breath taken. The clip was about four minutes and filled with hammerhead sharks, thousands of brightly colored fish, huge chinese crabs, eels and more and more and more sharks. The video was gorgeous and you could see all the divers with their cameras underwater being surrounded by hundreds of huge sharks with gaping mouths and gorgeous, sleek bodies. The man had a story of why he had decided to film in Isla De Coco, first of let me tell you about Isla de Coco; it is about two days in boat from Costa Rica and costs about five thousand dollars a week to visit…There are about seven people that live on the island and nearly no buildings, just a few Pulparias and cabanas. Ok-the history behind why the man was there-he has a friend who works for discovery channel as well, this friend’s father has two tattoos on either hand, one for each of his two sons. One of the tattoos, he got it nearly fourty years ago, is the mouth of a type of shark that lives in Isla De Coco, this shark signifies the future of this man-the father, when he got this tattoo, had a dream that his son would go to Isla De Coco some day because it is the most beautiful place on earth in his mind. When the father died, the son set off to fufill his father’s dream-therefor he asked the man who I was talking with to film in Isla De Coco with him. Ok-one more thing about the trip-One of the days we all went to the natural hot springs of Volcan (the name of the volcano in San Carlos)…There were about eight or nine pools of hot water, not like the natural stone-set, brightenbush hotspring hot springs, but actualy pools like you would find at a hotel, but filled with natural hot water. I don’t know how I felt about them, I miss my natural hot springs, but this was fun with my friends and a good experience, not to mention that it was really great to see more of Costa Rica. I went to my first “party” in Costa Rica, it was a “graduation party for the people in their last year of school, here everyone has graduated and I have about a month, or less, left of school now! Ok the party was very, very strange, I went with three friends, my friend Sana from Denmark and the son of Digna, Carlitos, and his best friend (let me emphasize-it was NOT a date sorta thing…just happened to be two girls and two boys..ok I am glad we are clear.)…The party was way out in a farm, we walked like an hour and then hitchhiked in the back of a truck for the rest of the ten minutes, when we got there everyone was dancing, even the male teachers were dancing with the girl students (CREEPY)…Sana and I immediatly had six or seven guys trying to sanwich us and dance all gross, it took about fifteen seconds and a shared glance between us and the two of us, Sana and I, were running off to the hill that overlooked Costa Rica and we sat there for about four hours just watching the twinkling lights and the distant lighting that lit up the clouds with a purplish hue. That night, isntead of partying all night, Sana and I walked to Sana’s house and ate baby oatmeal with honey, watched movies, listened to Costa Rican music and talked. Moments like that make me realize how much I appreciate the little times here. Similarly, today I talked with my mom and dad about school, government, world corruption and life decisions for almost two hours while we were out at the farm. My family here is different, they are more conservative, my sisters and I aren’t allowed to have boyfriends (my sisters can’t date until they are out of college), we don’t generally leave the house after 7 (although if I ask to go to the beach for a weekend, they trust me to be safe) and they are just generally more closed minded and conservative than the people I grew up with, but they have similaritires as well. My mom really doesn’t approve of video games or junk food, we spend a lot of time as a family and, when my sisters want to go to the mall or something, my mom often suggests a small party at the farm instead of spending the buying clothing. I have to say, I appreciate family so much more now and I realize how corrupted the US is, how little time I spent with my family in Corvallis and how much time, when I return, I will spend with Sylas and Hazel or mom and dad, just sitting in the living room and talking. I also have realized that I don’t want to raise my child in the US, I want them to see how important family, acceptance and love is-thus saying, I believe I will need to work a lot before I have kids so I have the money to travel with them. Oh-an interesting thing happened…My parents here are awsome, I love them very much, but right now I really appreciate the open-mindedness of my mom and dad that live on Crystal Lake. One night, ok afternoon, I wanted to walk with my friend, and neighbor, this boy is my age and just one of my good friends here-I have never thought twice about trusting him or had a reason to doubt his state of mind, I usually only see him in school, along with the rest of my Tico friends. When I asked my mom if I could go she said she thought it was okay, but I needed to ask my dad. I asked my dad here and he got pretty serious and said that I shouldnt be friends with this boy because he, my dad, heard that Marko (the boy) smoked marijuana a few times….I was so surprised by this, I have never once been told not to be friends with someone-I have always been able to use my own judgement and right mind to decide, and feel out, a friendship….If I feel insecure I don’t continue talking to that person, but I guess growing up in a hippy community, which I love, Marijuana has never been a red light telling me to turn around or not talk to someone…if anything it has been a “oh that person is chill”-ok no…but it hasnt ever been a bad thing. That experience just shows how different people are different and how I really need to respect my parents here, charish my lovely community in Corvallis and accept the differences here. Another lucky thing, my family is not crazy religious-that being said, I have NOTHING against relion, I believe it can be beautiful in it’s own way, but I, personally, will not prey before every meal or cherish one god. While I was in San Carlos I realized how religious many people are, one of my friends, every night, asked me to prey with her ( I hope a spelled prey right…pray?)…I felt so uncomfortable!! I just was not raised that way!!! She, and the rest of my team, blessed God for EVERYTHING…like, AHHHHHHHHHHH I felt so wierd and sick to my stomach!!! I just…I don’t know, I never thought that someone could think so many things came from one God-a male god “Senior Dios”…I am just thankful to be open-minded and be able to accept other people’s ways. Remember Julia? The girl who used to live with my family? Well she had a third family for about two months, a little less, and then they didn’t wan’t her anymore. Julia seems to be very strong in her ways, she wasn’t able to change the way she thought, she basically was living in Costa Rica with a mind set of Russia. That being said, the third family didn’t want her anymore and she was more than likely going to go back to Russia. Julia’s family in Russia talked to AFS and said that Julia was kind of a looser because no family wanted her, they were very unsupportive….AFS decided to give Julia one more chance and found a fourth family for her, she still lives in Puriscal. Julia, about two weeks ago, went to the doctor for severe head pain, the docter diagnosed her depressed and gave her pills…she is 8 killos, 16 pounds, lighter than she was when she came here (remember how I said she doesn’t eat?) and the pills made her act a little wierd. One day, last week, Julia went to Digna’s store (our AFS contact person, now the mom of Alina-who needed to change families because her siblings were crazy and her brother fell in love with her) and just stood there, playin with her hands, shaking and talking to herself in a really wierd voice. Julia had taken too many depression pills and literally went crazy. Now she is a little better, but I am pretty sure she feels completly alone. Alina and I have a plan…it’s kind of like from a movie, we are going to help her gain wieght, get a new hair cut, hang out with more Ticos, talk more spanish, be more confident and change her Russian mindset….I know that sounds really hard, but I hate thinking of how she feels, literally completly alone. So, that was a sad note….I will end on a happier one-I have a new nickname!! Sunny 🙂 I am named that because Rose is hard to pronounce and because Sol, sun, is my middle name-but might as well be my last name because everyone here as two or more last names, so I am constantly questioned for my second last name. I have less than three months left-how crazy is that? I need to get on my school work, already freaking out about that. Also, I don’t know what crazy bug bit me, but I talked to Laura Braibish, the director of theater for CV and CHS, and she is letting me “audition” for Fiddler on the Roof-meaning my friend Brenna is going to fill out an application for me and I will be a dancer….I am crazy, I don’t know why I asked but when I come home more than likely I will have a crazy schedule…that’s life 😉 Ok-love to all, I am sending hugs and kisses and more love…give hugs to everyone from me 🙂
Love you all, Rosie (Sunny)

yay for choosing to leave the country for Junior year…I feel the books starting to pile up. I am going to enjoy having a light backpack while I can.

I am drop dead in the middle of this whole experience and I feel like I am at the toughest part. I want to just push through and distract myself until I am happier but I know that if I do that I am going to miss a whole lot of my time here. 103 days left baby…Imma live it up and listen to the wise, calming words of my mother. “this too will pass”…I love that quote because the whole “everything will be alright” saying drives me up the wall….everything IS NOT always alright and that is ok and normal…yes, positive thinking is awesome and I support that 100% but I also support sadness and tears and everything will pass, but to hell with the everything is gonna be perfect stuff…I am sorry but our wounds do leave scars, the rawness of a tragedy or difficult time DOES pass, but we do remain baring scars and that is ok and we have to realize that it is just a sign of strength. I am now working twice a week in the mornings when I don’t have school. Both my parents now have jobs in San Jose and they get up at 4:30 or 5 everyday and somehow have the energy to come home and talk and laugh and hug and smile. On Mondays I volunteer at the local Pharmacy-in this place I can literally do everything…I talk to people and ask what they need or what their symptoms are and then I can get them what they need or suggest medicine. I get to organize all the stocks of medicines and by doing this I A. learn what all the products do and B. Learn medical terms in Spanish. On Fridays I volunteer with Alina at the old peoples home here in Puriscal….they are all so sweet and lovely and have awesome stories and histories. I love it all.