Less than 2 months left of language school, the days are slipping away. Although I am nowhere near being fluent in Spanish (FYI, this will take my whole life, I think) I am getting excited to be heading to Venezuela. The wheels are starting to turn for our preparations....preparations for flights and packing, preparations for finding a home in Caracas and what I will need to get set up, preparations for banking (because it will be much different that the convenience we are used to) and preparations for joining a new church family. I should probably be nervous or worked up about everything that needs to be done, but thankfully....I have been tranquila (calm). That is only something that God could provide for me! I hope to stay as tranquila as much as possible over these next few months, because I know that God is in control!
Speaking of tranquila, I just got back from a mini-vacation, we had 5 days off of school so the Hieberts and I took advantage of the extra long weekend and stayed near Playa Manuel Antonio. We all had a great time in the pool, hanging out at the beach, relaxing and going on a "scenic drive". Angela and I often laugh at some of the odd situations we have been in here in Costa Rica, and often remind ourselves "always expect the unexpected". We had booked into a vacation rental and knew that it would be a little more secluded than most other rentals, set back in the tropical forest. Chris was driving and we all had our eyes peeled for our turn-off. We drove by a gravel road and kept driving but Chris quickly realized that was the road we were supposed to turn onto. So he backed up and we began our journey down the road. I need to mention that this was not your ordinary gravel road. In fact, this road drove right through....and I mean right through....a palm tree plantation. This plantation is in use and there is a palm oil processing facility not too far away. It was in a word: beautiful. Oh ya, and bumpy. Ok, two words. We continued on our way, navigating down potholed roads, joking that we were going to drive straight into the jungle. And then we kind of did. We passed a little village. And then an abandoned property development. And then we saw a sign for the development where we were going to stay. There was a picture of a home on that billboard, and we realized it was the house that we were going to stay in! Panic sunk in, as we wondered if the house we were renting was the the only house in the development! When we arrived, we found out that it was not the only house; it was one of 6 or so houses in a development of 200 lots! Because of the economy, many people have had to abandon their plans of building vacation homes in Costa Rica. We followed the property manager up a road, including a few switchbacks and realized that a 4X4 would have been wise....but thanks to Chris's skillful driving of the Corolla, we finally made it up to the home and after deciding it was a good thing the car was a rental....we were able to enjoy a quiet, peaceful holiday in "el bosque" (the forest). Here are some shots of the beautiful palm tree farm (please forgive the quality...they were taken through the window!):