Well, it’s been a long time and certainly life has been productive and therefore a bit restrictive in the world of my Sustenance blog, but rest assured I am back in business and I promise the be loyal to my desire to produce these monthly blogs on the food and culture I encounter as I journey through life and the opportunities Ger-Nis brings to me.
This month’s blog actually focuses on a recent trip to Nosara, Costa Rica. This was a non working trip. I tend to take one, non work related trip a year just for me. Sometimes work is encountered but it is never the purpose. This trip was planned for a while and had some kinks in the final destination, but in the end, I traveled to Nosara, Costa Rica with 13 members of my family on surf and a nostalgic & powerful trip down memory lane.
My family lived in Central America when we were children – specifically Nicaragua and Costa Rica – and we traveled extensively all throughout the region. I have to admit it is one of my favorite places, the land, the people, the culture and the energy are literally part of my soul. Central America specifically played a major role in my love of food and culture in general. I have an extreme & powerful attraction to the land & the people.
This was a unique trip as I traveled down with my entire family, my 3 brothers and all their family, wives kids etc. In total, there were 13 of us, 6 children and the rest adults. It was a pretty incredible reality for us all to travel back to Costa Rica and specifically the general area in which we lived as children. Despite my travels around the world, I had not been back to Costa Rica since I was 14 years old. None of us had actually, it was a surreal feeling. Driving from the airport in Liberia on the 2 ½ hour trek on roads that had not improved in the slightest since we had been there, was shocking to us. It was as if time stood still and we got to experience what we barely remembered what our life was like there. The trees, flowers and people – even the way the dogs looked – brought back memory after memory. It was a sweet, sweet feeling for all my siblings to be together during this.
The cousins, as we call the group of my nieces and nephews, had the once in a life time opportunity to be with their fathers and experience firsthand the lifestyle we had as children in Central America. For American children, experiencing international culture is rare, let alone 3rd world culture, and we all understood what a profound impact this trip would have on ourselves and our immediate families and especially the children.
We went not only for nostalgic reasons, but to journey south to escape the cold winters of NY, NJ, MI, and MO. Most of all, we journeyed to a special place in Costa Rica because the beaches were secluded, the location not highly touristic and of course for the southern waves of Playa Guionnes in Nosara, Costa Rica. We were the surfers, the sand combers, the jungle adventurers, the sun bathers, and of course the eaters and drinkers. Between the 13 of us, we covered all the options of what to do on our 2 week vacation in this secluded surfers’ paradise!
Our days were simple yet extravagantly rewarding. We woke at dawn each morning to the sound of howler monkeys and birds and frogs. We waxed the boards and headed down the hill to Playa Guionnes. The water was clear and warm, about 84 degrees daily. The sun shone brightly each and every day and the temperature was a steady 90 degrees. The waves were consistent and head high almost daily, with a few days being even higher and mighty powerful. After 2-3 hours of morning surf & socializing on the water, we retreated back to our camp, which was like MTV cribs in the jungle! We gathered up the group and shared in a big daily breakfast of fresh fruits, tortillas and eggs with a variety a freshly made salsas, and fruit juices. Some mornings we ventured out to one of 3 breakfast spots and had banana pancakes, gallo pintos and tamarindo and banana juice; a high calorie replenishment for the after surf crowd! After breakfast time was typically spent at the MTV crib pool. The cousins would frolic with hats and rash guards and loads of sun block. The little Scandinavian goldilocks got quite the burns on the first day! After pool time was typically spent taking siestas, going on little jungle hikes and doing arts and “Costa Rica” crafts with the cousins; body painting and basically a whole lotta nothing too important!! The evenings were spent on the boards surfing, water socializing and watching amazing sunsets dipping into the horizon while feet dangled in the warm waters. The exhaustion from the day, the paddling, the swimming, the jungle hiking, didn’t leave room for much more than amazing homemade dinners of rice and beans, spicy salsas, fresh guacamole, stewed meats, fresh caught grilled fish and my favorite, dorado ceviche.
In between finding grasshoppers the size of grapefruits, frogs the size of salad plates and watching the baby howlers cling on to their mothers as they swung through the jungle in front of our eyes, we reconnected with our youth and were able to share the experience with the cousins and spouses. In the end, when you revisit a childhood place of such significance, you cannot help but come out of the experience closer to yourself, which I think in the end is exactly what happened to me. I went to Nosara for a surf vacation with my family; a vacation I knew would be memorable, and I left with a new understanding of not only myself but my family and the impact that culture makes on children. For me, it was symbolic that we, my four brothers and I, were just now learning how the impact of living in this Central American culture as children affected us, by witnessing it first hand in our own children.
We cannot underestimate the impact experiencing culture as children makes on us. Do your children a favor- TRAVEL WITH THEM INTERNATIONALLY……NO MATTER THE AGE.
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