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  • Adventures in Costa Rica: Election Day

    Posted on by Heather

    My apologies for the lack of post last week—most of the excitement resulted from a bacterial stomach infection Claire and I were suffering through. Likely originating in something we ate (still not sure), we spent the entire week lying in bed eating small pieces of toast and drinkable yogurt. Thankfully we received fantastic medical care at one of the local private hospitals. Initially unable keep anything down, I was taken straight to the emergency room, where they immediately administered blood tests, intravenous doses of Gravol and pain relievers, as well as rehydration fluids. While I was lying in the hospital bed getting all the fancy treatments, Claire was suddenly hit by the same symptoms. So she was simply diagnosed with all the same goodies. Thanks in large part to the immediate and efficient care we both received, the entire ordeal was oddly amusing. The rest of the week revolved around taking our bundle of medical treats and submitting to the torture of the food network.

    On a very different note, yesterday (Sunday February 9) was the Costa Rican Federal Election. I have never witnessed a more vibrant election process. Literally the entire country is interested and involved in the presidential race. On Election Day everyone is out on the streets decked out in the colors of their favourite party, waving flags, honking their car horns CONSTANTLY—celebrating the entire process. The ruling National Liberation Party elected Laura Chinchilla as their presidential candidate. She held a significant lead in the Opinion Polls since October 2009, and last night just after 9:00, she was elected as the first female President of Costa Rica with 46% of the electorate. She is young, but stunningly articulate (even when you understand only a small percentage of what she says) and gracefully strong and it will be incredibly interesting to experience first-hand the effect she has on the country.

    Coming to the end of our first month here, we have a mix of feelings. We’ve scratched the surface of the country, have found the work with the children interesting and increasingly satisfying, have appreciated the opportunities we’ve had to see some of the sights, are feeling the heat is a little more bearable, and sensing that we are slowly carving out a reasonable working and living routine for ourselves. But occasionally there is a creeping sense of displacement, not exactly homesickness, but both Claire and I find ourselves thinking more deeply about what we’ve taken on and making comparisons with our lives at home. This is no doubt natural.  For myself, I recognize that to make the experience work effectively I need to devote more time and energy on my language skills; without a functional measure of fluency I am limited in my versatility.

    We hope that all is well at home in the lead-up to the Olympics; we will be watching all Olympic coverage that NBC has to offer!

    -Sarah Kingstone

    In the 2nd semester of her 3rd year at UBC, Sarah Kingstone is traveling to Costa Rica in honour of her humanitarian heart. She has given me permission to post her blog entries as she embarks on what will undoubtedly a life changing experience. Come along for the ride!

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