Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Travelogue: get over it.

So. Costa Rica. It's been sort of intensely flying by, sorry, those of you who've been wondering, that I've not been super detailed in my report. But it's only been a week. And I've blogged twice. Whatever. (Long too, sorry.)

Sort of play-by-play:
We got into San Jose at like 6 in the morning and rented a car. I am not driving (thankfully/necessarily/duh). We drove down crazy winding jungly hills and learned how to disregard roadmarking/kph signs entirely and Jennie took to it like a fish to water. "There are fewer rules, so everyone does what needs to be done." I know I couldn't do it (not aggressive enough, obv.) but she's a natural. Renting a car was a genius idea: more on this later.

Tuesday we spent with the Bakers in Quepos (three-four hours SW of San Jose, near the coast). We swam in their complex's private pool in the afternoon and ate and went to the beach in the evening.

I love the beach. LOVE. I know I live in the desert and am not one of those water people who shrivels and dies without a Powell/Cali trip every couple of months, but everytime I get back in the ocean a little part of me feels like home. So we swam and got eaten by mosquitoes alternately while the sun set. I made the resolution to skinny dip my way through the country (like 5 and counting? more?) which has changed my life a little. :)

Wednesday was the sloth day. We hiked through Manuel Antonio, a nature preserve (the sloths!) which was incredible. On a turbulent white sand beach we saw a white-faced monkey steal and then return some guy's sunglasses.

Then dinner and on Thursday we took to the road.

Renting a car was awesome--I feel like we've seen so much of the country and been able to go and go and go. A (small) downside: we only have CDs bummed off of 16-year-old Celie Baker, which while fun is also pretty heavily weighted toward Avril and Brittney and screaming screaming boys. Adds a certain something. :) Our car is little, though, and a manual and has been totally thrashed by bumping through stretches of pot-holed, rocky, and otherwise unpaved roads. I'll post pics when I get 'em.

We headed north, up the Nicoya peninsula (beachtowns). We took a ferry across from the mainland (I also love boats. Incredible again.) then down to the tip of the peninsula: Montezuma. Tiny, cozy beach town. We spent the first day relaxing in hammocks out back and swimming. With and without suits. The courtyard behind the hostel smelled vaguely of lotus: 3-12 people sitting quiet staring at the ocean. All day and into the night. Kevin who owned the hostel was all sorts of helpful and adorable. The food was waaaay expensive (which doesn't matter when you're on the beach all day, right? You have like a yogurt for breakfast and a gatorade for lunch and the rest of the time you're too hot to care) and there were tourists, but it was little and fun.

Day 2 in Montezuma was a highlight: Jennie loves waterfalls, so we went waterfall hunting. An easy hike (up the river) in found us in this crazy jungle waterfall. We swam around and under and followed locals in jumping into deep bits, then followed locals up this crazy jungle trail (we were climbing up roots and stuff) to 2 more waterfalls. One was like 40 feet high. We swam and lounged and eventually I jumped off the sucker. Why I do these things I'm not sure, but it was awesome and there are pictures.

Jungle waterfall: vines, moss, everything is green...the water is this deep tealy blue over the dark volcanic rock. Delicous.

Buzz buzz fastfoward to Tamarindo, another, much more touristy beach town. Really cool people, a hostel with a great patio area and totally awful mattresses. I hardly slept here at all. And crazy mosquitoes. We met some really cool Dutch kids (I have such good luck with Nederlanders always) who told me about the San Blas islands in Panama and Chris the Australian who recommended Nicaragua. More on this later.

Then inland to La Fortuna. I will write something about a town named Fate at the base of a volcano (Arenal) whose main income is obviously tourism. I don't really want to talk about La Fortuna. I saw no lava. We were screwed twice (fool me once...). We just left this morning and I'm still pretty bugged. Grr. (Oh, we found this hot spring--it's a warm river right off a bridge and we swam in the jungle in the dark. It was relaxing and delicous.)

But now we're in Santa Elena. I'm on my way to do a canopy tour--ziplines, a 1 km Superman flight. I'm splurging.


Nicaragua is cheap. And I hear Granada is fantastic. And I'm here anyway, no? Jennie and I will part ways tomorrow and then I'm off--

I'll be careful. I love you. Toodles. :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dear Mom

Do you remember that rrreeealllly bad sunburn I got when I was 15? We went with Scott and jetskis to Utah Lake and wanted a tan so didn't wear any sunblock? And you spent most of the night draping wet towels on me and I didn't go to church because I was shivering uncontrollably? And it blistered and peeled and was a giant gross mess?

I may or may not have that one beat. (We're still in the red-getting-redder phase, I haven't yet been able to assess damages.)

The ocean here (Playa Tamarindo) is beautiful. Entirely touristy, but beatiful.

Loves, ke.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Costa Rica: I'm for it

(So you know that Office when Michael comes back from Sandals Jamaica all converted by the culture? At this point I still feel a little like that. I'll write more after i get some rice and beans in me.)

a) Miniature things so far: mini tortillas! mini (baby) lizard! in the Bakers' condo!

b) beaches so far: awesome. Salt and sand and sun and I always feel like I'm going home even though I live in the desert. More on this later? We swam in a cove where the water waved up right to the jungle's edge. Mountainy jungle. Fantastic.

c) Sloths! We saw 2 today and they were adorable. We're trying to maybe decide if a trip over to the Caribbean side is worth it--the sloth treatment center that you can see if you YouTube "costa rica baby sloth" is over there. Probably worth it right?

Tomorrow we take up wandering in our rental car. Maybe back here next week for the Surfing World Championship. Awesome. :) ke

Monday, July 20, 2009


So I'm addicted to crisis. This is nothing new to any of you who know me. But this last couple of days I've been in a wild mad dash (I decided to extend my Central American adventure 3 weeks) to get everything done and I've LOVED it. LOVE. Short nights, leaving meetings early, drinking lots of diet coke, making big decisions in intense bouts of critical thinking, packing, moving, shopping, planning. I feel so alive.

I know I know, this is pretty unhealthy behavior and isn't sustainable and isn't even really possible (thanks to: Dennis, Connie and Dave, Anne, Liann, Amanda, Heather, Mary and like a thousand others who have helped by lending or lifting or letting me flake), but after a year of trying really hard to be smart and thorough and stolid, it has felt soo good to let loose and rush.

I'll post maybe. Or see you at the end of August.

Loves, ke.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Yes Please

(4 days and counting. Getting a little nutty.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dear Patrick

I would like to have your babies.

Annie: I will name them after you.

Much love, ke.

This is me with girl hair. GIRL HAIR! I'm so adorable I might be accidentally seducing you as we speak. Patrick at Shep Salon in Provo. (My roommate Tabitha uses him too.)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

sounds so good tonight

(Bad audio, sorry.)

Sunday, July 5, 2009


So I feel like I'm a pretty good communicator. Not, like, in the healthy relationship sense necessarily, where I'm able to be open about my emotions with another person, but I feel really comfortable expressing myself verbally. I've always kind of taken this for granted, maybe. The more I read, though, and meet different people the more I realize that being able to say what I mean is really valuable and not universal. And I remembered the other night what it's like to want to express something and not to be able to.
I was walking up Center St late. It was like 11 on the 4th and cars were still lined up trying to get home from the Stadium of Fire. Someone was playing something hiphop-y and beat-driven really loud and I wanted to bust a move. Real bad. I wanted to dance at them that I felt young and alive and beautiful and I was so glad we all got to share that gorgeous evening. But I couldn't. I felt inarticulate and clumsy and kind of repressed.
Or sometimes the only thing my soul wants is to scream its way through a wild 10 mile run. Run until I'm squeezed dry, until it stops aching or trembling or whatever. And though I'm a pretty good runner, I can't always run until it's time to stop. I half-deal with the problem, then my body gives out and I'm left unresolved.

The running I'm working on.

I took a modern dance class once trying to teach my body the vocabulary of grace. It was mostly mortifying. Our final was a solo that we choreographed: I tried to express the liberation of expansive skies and the open road. I got an A- which seemed pretty generous to me.

This blows my mind.

And not just because it's in Spanish. Crazy hot and dusty and their flinging bodies. AMAZING. When I do approach this kind of ecstasy? And release? So gorgeous and perfect.

I'm a writer not a dancer?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day


I worked today. In order to make this seem like it was less of a bad idea I ate lots of crap. Except for the pink lemonade snow cone this backfired completely (in that it made me feel much worse and not better at all). I think there's a lesson here about freedom from addiction? Like wouldn't it be great if I stopped eating salt and vinegar Lays (we need to discuss vinegar because I love it) before I wanted to hurl? Or could just have a little coke. If it's there I'll eat it. If I'm feeling down I'll go and get it. Diet Coke is alternately the best thing ever invented and kind of disgusting.

Dear John*,

Please stop telling me how to do my job.

Love, ke.

*John is my boss. So basically he's paid to tell me how to do my job. In moments of clarity I realize this briefly. Yesterday we were shovelling dirt in the blazing afternoon sun (I learned at Fort Laramie that a military punishment for public drunkenness was digging holes just to fill them in again. Granted, they had to do it wearing a barrel and a sign that said DRUNK, but this has been our project this week) while John sat in the shade or in his truck. He corrected my rock-moving method. I snapped something probably unnecessary. He's nice.
Also, those of you who knew this but knew better than to say anything (because when's the last time I took advice?): I am too old for this job. It has its lovely bits, certainly, but what am I doing taking orders from 19 year olds?

I am too old to be cynical about the 4th of July. I say take the day to celebrate. Enjoy the screaming and the too much meat and the traffic and the fireworks. Fireworks are beautiful and everyone looks up in unison and awe and they're loud and bright and I love them. These 19 year old boys I work with are soo over the 4th and I want to shake them and order them not to waste this beautiful night. That there are only so many holidays like this. That the summer is almost over and we need to make something of it before it fades and dies. (The Armenian word for celebrate or commemorate is the same as mark, like to mark on a calendar. Mark this day, friends.) (Also, coming to terms with my own disappearing life. My nephew, who was born when I was in high school--I remember getting out of class to go and see him, I remember like it happened last week--is starting 6th grade this year. Which I also remember like it happened a minute ago. I went into the MTC 5 years ago last week. WTF. This may have something to do with my impatience with these kids--turns out they're not lying when they say it's going to fly.)

Boston, July 4, 2000 (ish). I was there for FCCLA Nationals. We were sitting on a long curb, the 30 or so of us from Provo High. We couldn't see the stage, but there were huge monitors everywhere blasting the Boston Pops. We wandered under the trees and bought frozen lemonades and flirted and played and ran amok. When the sun set we watched fireworks to music. The last number was Imagine which is weird I think but the song is so evocative and there were thousands and thousands of people and their faces were lit up and they were all looking the same way and I was overwhelmed with awe and connection. My favorite 4th of July.

In an interview with David McCullough on RadioWest he was talking about how hard times build patriotism, and not in a "chest-thumping" kind of way, but real patriotism: love of country. I love this country. I love the people and kinds of people the US produces--the cynical ones and the smart ones and the sweet ones and the rash ones. I love the land, the open skies, the mountains and forests and the wild open stretches of nothing at all. I love the art we make--clean lines and bright colors; gruff, broken protagonists, all of it still wide-eyed with possiblity and overwhelmed with beauty.
We're weird and arrogant and pushy and rude and all of that. We make decisions that confuse and frustrate me. We say things I wish we didn't.

I love it.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

So. Life plans.

I don't know how much I wrote about praying and fasting and agonizing over what to do. And how I found some peace with my decision to teach and go to school both. Life was going to be hectic, but also happy. Well. Scheduling got in the way and I had to choose. So I'm dedicating my next couple of years to studying only. Weird because I thought I was decided and thought I was right. Cool because the life of a student sounds soooo appealing right now. I will have to ween myself off of Banana Republic (Gerard knows me by sight. I think he'd remember my name if I went in this weekend. He's fantastic), but I think that not waking up at 6 every morning sounds delicious. And I might have time to run? Yummy.

There's is something to be said about learning how to make good decisions. Bad decision: living in a house with a newlywed couple and no living room because a garden party would be beautiful and I like having a contract signed. (I need to get out of this still, but can and will.) I know this is a bad decision. I'm going to make it right. Bad decision: trying to split myself 17 ways with school and teaching and teaching. I know that I want to teach, but I can wait for a minute, get a little experience, and go back to it. Dedicate myself completely (and most of my sanity) to the project. Bad decision: cinnamon bears+fudge+pretzels+diet coke+meat loaf "sandwich"+13 hours in the car. This is not easy stuff. But. I can choose well and choose happiness.

Also: when I'm making bad decisions, or am undecided, I find myself unable to write. Weird? There's this silent panic in me. Like my soul is constipated maybe. So here I am again. Getting my life in order. Feels great.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

America's Best Idea

Final count: 3 days, 6 states, 1850 miles. :)