Post by Kelsey…
I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit the Konesco crew for a second time this summer. I had such a blast with them in the Bahamas and I did not want to miss out on the chance to go to Costa Rica!
When I first arrived I was stunned by the lush green scenery and the beauty of the family’s new home. The first night we had a lovely dinner of rice, chicken and black beans out on the front porch.
The next morning, we all piled into the good old Subaru and headed to Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, where we were going to spend the next few nights.
We were so happy upon our arrival, because the three-hour ride was quite stifling with no air conditioner. To cool off, we went to a nearby waterfall then brushed ourselves with volcanic mud. After rinsing off, we relaxed in the hot springs. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it except Maria who did not like the idea of getting all dirty with mud.
The unwinding activities of the evening were much appreciated after our big day of travel, but little did we know that such relaxation was beneficial in preparing us for the big adventure day to come.
The next morning the kids were ecstatic to finally have the chance to horseback ride. Maria was bubbling with the fact that she could finally sit atop a ‘hee-haw’ and Joellen was overwhelmed with joy. It was neat that we got to do this together since I am an avid horseback rider and love sharing the experience with others.
We rode the horses to a small waterfall then Jen, Joellen, Cam and myself boarded a schoolbus that went off-roading through the woods to our next activity: tubing down rapids. Marc and Maria rode back with the cowboys and waited for our return.
Once we were all back at the hotel we geared up to go zip lining.
Jen had been looking forward to this part of the trip. To our amazement, they let Maria go as well, but as the course went on and became more hard core, Jen and Marc questioned whether it was such a good idea to tote a three-year old along. To our surprise, all the kids said they enjoyed the crazy swinging and zooming through the trees. It was most definitely a highlight for me, although I admit it most definitely got rather extreme towards the end and made me think of military boot camp.
Once we all survived the ziplining Jen and Maria went back to the room to unwind and recover from the craziness. Marc, Joellen, Cam and myself went with a tour guide to explore the little animal preserve on the grounds. The guide did not speak much English, but Marc and I quickly picked up on the brief statements he made about poisonous snakes… “if these bite you, you only have 10-15 minutes to get to a hospital and if you lose an arm or a leg, you’re lucky.” Yikes! It was rather unnerving when he opened the cages of some of these vicious suckers. Marc was rather rattled at one point when one of these deadly guys struck out after the camera flashed. The only snake with a locked cage on the premise was LuLu the pet boa constrictor. Marc, Cam and I all braved up to hold her, but I think we were all a little nervous when we felt her muscles moving on our necks!
I preferred the cute little frogs over the snakes in the preserve and Joellen enjoyed the butterflies. The guide pointed out how some butterflies have a snake head on their wings for camouflage and gave the kids some wings from a dead butterfly to keep. After meeting all the animals, the guide too us to this neat lookout point where we saw the ocean and the nearby volcano at the same time.
After our day of horseback riding, tubing, zip lining and animal exploring we all slept really well that night!
The next day Marc and Cam went tubing down the rapids and the girls had a spa day back at the hot springs with the mud.
We then embarked on the long, hot journey back to the house where we all crashed after our action-packed adventure.
The following day was rather low key. I went with Marc to the nearby market to pick up food for dinner then went with him to meet the foster kids they are working with. They were excited to see Marc because they wanted to finish their science experiment involving ballooned eggs that had been soaking in vinegar. After all the eggs had spattered we played Sorry. I was most sorry about the fact that I do not speak Spanish so I could not participate in the girls’ enthusiastic remarks about the game as we played.
On Sunday I was sad I had to leave already. The time flew by and I was not ready to go back to the States and face reality. I have been delayed in writing this post because as soon as I got back I started working and attending grad school classes.
As I begin to get wrapped up in the havoc of day-to-day life I reflect back on my time with my amazing relatives. While my visit may have been short, I experienced how they savored and fully lived in every moment, something I think we too often forget to do. In conjunction with this seize the day approach to living, they have renewed my sense of adventure. I am reminded of the benefits of grabbing hold of an idea and zipping into the unknown, taking on the thrill of the rush as it hits me. Like my cousins who do not know exactly what is yet to come, I am not certain of what is next for me, but I am excited for the future and the potential that lies ahead.