Tuesday and Wednesday!

Tuesday:

Tuesday morning we woke up early to head to a town in the mountains called La Fortuna. We stayed in a hostel frequented by backpackers visiting the famous Arenal Volcano. In our room we had us 6 girls along with 2 random twin girls visiting. They were from the US, but decided they were not going to talk to us and rather just spoke German with each other. It was a little awkward… but an experience nonetheless! That night we walked around the town visiting all the gift shops and spent most of the afternoon in the pool. Then we went to the Baldi Hot Springs resort for an amazing buffet dinner and a night in the springs. This was so fun! It was basically a water park (slides and all) with water naturally heated by the Arenal Volcano. We rode on the slides and hung out with the guys all night! My favorite had to be the biggest waterslide, where we got up to speeds of 45 km/h. Inside the slide was pitch black, which was super scary the first go. And then towards the end there was a very steep dropoff, where my light weight status allowed me to become completely airborne floating in the tube. It was such a rush! A fun night for sure!

Wednesday:

First thing in the morning was zip lining through the rainforest by the Arenal volcano!! I was sooo nervous and scared at first. The little tour was 11 zip lines long. They increased in height and length as we moved along. The farthest we went was just over a kilometer over the most beautiful waterfall! All in all, zip lining through the rainforest was unbelievable!

After zip lining, we ran back to shower and jumped on the bus to head to San Ramon for a game that evening. In the middle of nowhere our bus got a flat tire! Every car that drove buy I swear was laughing, probably thinking “look at the Americans.” At least that’s what it felt like. Anyways, at this point all the guys were ready to show their usefulness (a little bit too much testosterone in one place) so 12 of the 13 were huddled around the tire trying to change it. Us girls laid out a tarp on the side of the road and chilled. However, we didn’t have the right wrench to remove the lugnuts, so we ended up stopping every car to ask. Eventually another tour bus stopped and let us borrow theirs. Meanwhile, a young man had been walking up and down the street trying to sell fresh fruit to the cars passing by. He sold Mamanos, a local fruit that’s red with little spikes and about the size of a golf ball. You split it open and there is a white grape looking thing with pit in the center. You kind of have to suck on the fruit like a sucker until it’s gone. They are soo good! I wish I could bring some home for everyone, but I wouldn’t make it through customs. We also bought fresh coconuts from him that we chopped open for us so we could drink the water. I love coconut water at home from a can, but the fresh stuff was just amazing! I think we made his day because between our whole group we bought him out of fruit. Finally we (and when i say we I mean the guys) got the tire fixed and were on our way. We ended up being an hour late to our game, so we only played 3 quarters of 8 minutes each with a running clock since a soccer team had the gym reserved after us. We won again! The girls were pretty young and inexperienced. After the game we sat down with them and had translator help us communicate. They had questions about how we got so good and asked for advice. It was a cool experience to be able to share with them! After the game, we jumped in the bus again to drive 4 hours to the beach, and arrived there at 2am Thursday morning.

Sorry, I am struggling with this blog thing. I posted a big long thing yesterday, and I don’t think it worked. The past few days have been crazy busy! So I will update on all. 
Pic: This is the gym at the Costa Rican Tennis Club, the hotel we stayed at the first 2 nights and the gym we played against the national team in. 
Sunday: 
After our early morning breakfast and quick team practice, we did a quick orientation over lunch with the program leaders and the guys team that’s here with us. Then we went to rest up before our game at 4. 
We played the National team that evening for our first game. It was such a different type of basketball!! To start, there were several different rules that were hard to pick up. And then it was super physical. By far the most physical, organized game of basketball I have ever played. Usually in the US when a team is that physical you think they are being dirty, but here you could just tell that’s how they play. They were actually super nice! But it was funny, any time you beat them off the dribble, they just kinda bear hugged you and dragged you back. Another adjustment was the pace, they ran the floor quick. And if the ball went out on a dead ball, there wasn’t really a whistle blown, the ref just handed them the ball and they went. So needless to say, with 7 of us I think we Tuckered out pretty fast. We ended up being blown out by 45. But, we get another chance to play them later in the week, so it will be fun to see how our team has grown and developed. 
Monday: 
Today we woke up early again, breakfast at 7. Then after breakfast we had another quick practice and headed to downtown San José to tour the city. It was a humbling experience to see how much of the population lives. Yes they have houses, but they are tiny and run down, and the infrastructure and roads were definitely pretty rugged. The first time being in our little bus was a little scary, with cars beside you in the right lane cutting you off to turn left and motorcyclists squeezing through all the traffic getting so close to each car their jackets were brushing the windows. I thought for sure there would be an accident, but our driver Antonio is a pro. Anyways, it just reminded how blessed we are in the US. Once downtown, we walked through the streets looking at the markets and vendors selling all their local items, and toured a few old churches. They were so so cool!
From there we headed to a local elementary school to hold a clinic for the kids, which was definitely the highlight of my day. They were so excited when we got there! And it was awesome to get a chance to practice my Spanish while I taught the dribbling station. Their favorite dribbling drill was the relay race. They loved the competition! They also loved playing keep away at the end. My teammates and I grabbed balls and dribbled them around while being chased and jumped on by the kids who were trying to take the balls. It was such a blast to spend time with them! 
That night we played a game against a local professional/club team. We won by about 10! Finally we started to click a little as a team. The other team played a zone against us, and just sat in the middle of the key. That made driving pretty impossible! But even to my surprise, I shot (and made) 3 or 4 three pointers and a few other shots. (For any of you who don’t know, me shooting that many 3’s in a game is pretty rare). It was a really fun game, not quite as physical as the night prior, which was probably good because we were pretty tired. 
The guys team that came with us also won their game! So all around, it was a good night on the court for our group!

Sorry, I am struggling with this blog thing. I posted a big long thing yesterday, and I don’t think it worked. The past few days have been crazy busy! So I will update on all.

Pic: This is the gym at the Costa Rican Tennis Club, the hotel we stayed at the first 2 nights and the gym we played against the national team in.

Sunday:

After our early morning breakfast and quick team practice, we did a quick orientation over lunch with the program leaders and the guys team that’s here with us. Then we went to rest up before our game at 4.

We played the National team that evening for our first game. It was such a different type of basketball!! To start, there were several different rules that were hard to pick up. And then it was super physical. By far the most physical, organized game of basketball I have ever played. Usually in the US when a team is that physical you think they are being dirty, but here you could just tell that’s how they play. They were actually super nice! But it was funny, any time you beat them off the dribble, they just kinda bear hugged you and dragged you back. Another adjustment was the pace, they ran the floor quick. And if the ball went out on a dead ball, there wasn’t really a whistle blown, the ref just handed them the ball and they went. So needless to say, with 7 of us I think we Tuckered out pretty fast. We ended up being blown out by 45. But, we get another chance to play them later in the week, so it will be fun to see how our team has grown and developed.

Monday:

Today we woke up early again, breakfast at 7. Then after breakfast we had another quick practice and headed to downtown San José to tour the city. It was a humbling experience to see how much of the population lives. Yes they have houses, but they are tiny and run down, and the infrastructure and roads were definitely pretty rugged. The first time being in our little bus was a little scary, with cars beside you in the right lane cutting you off to turn left and motorcyclists squeezing through all the traffic getting so close to each car their jackets were brushing the windows. I thought for sure there would be an accident, but our driver Antonio is a pro. Anyways, it just reminded how blessed we are in the US. Once downtown, we walked through the streets looking at the markets and vendors selling all their local items, and toured a few old churches. They were so so cool!

From there we headed to a local elementary school to hold a clinic for the kids, which was definitely the highlight of my day. They were so excited when we got there! And it was awesome to get a chance to practice my Spanish while I taught the dribbling station. Their favorite dribbling drill was the relay race. They loved the competition! They also loved playing keep away at the end. My teammates and I grabbed balls and dribbled them around while being chased and jumped on by the kids who were trying to take the balls. It was such a blast to spend time with them!

That night we played a game against a local professional/club team. We won by about 10! Finally we started to click a little as a team. The other team played a zone against us, and just sat in the middle of the key. That made driving pretty impossible! But even to my surprise, I shot (and made) 3 or 4 three pointers and a few other shots. (For any of you who don’t know, me shooting that many 3’s in a game is pretty rare). It was a really fun game, not quite as physical as the night prior, which was probably good because we were pretty tired.

The guys team that came with us also won their game! So all around, it was a good night on the court for our group!

And the adventure begins!

Finally got here last night about 10:30pm Costa Rican time (9:30 @ home) after a loong day of 15 hours spent in the airports and on planes. Of course arriving at night it was dark… so Costa Rica just looked like any other place with streetlights all over.

Had to wake up bright and early for breakfast this morning. Still can’t see much from our hotel window, but its off and on sprinkling rain and a tad windy, but still about 70 degrees. Soon we are headed to a gym to practice, and then we will come back and rest up for our game today at 4. We are playing the Costa Rican National team!!! I’m excited to see how play differs over here. Also, there were a few last minute injuries that caused people to cancel, so now there’s only 7 girls on my team. Which means lots of playing time (yay!) But also means we are going to die of exhaustion.