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stories of a cursed (but happy) world traveler

January 21st, 2016 hmbutl17

Sorry, everyone, for the late arrival post…turns out there isn’t much wifi in the rainforest!! You’ll be happy to hear that I have made it safely to my first biological station, La Selva, and have settled into my humble home at Cabina Tortuga (Turtle Cabin). For the next three weeks, my 11 classmates and I will be exploring the rainforest, studying tropical disease, staying up to the wee hours of the morning reading scientific articles, and attempting to stay cool despite the unbearable humidity (supposedly not too bad yet).

image   image


Welcome to Costa Rica!

But let’s back up a bit…let’s address the title of this post and talk about why I am indeed cursed when it comes to any kind of traveling. While my arrival in Costa Rica cannot compare to the nightmare that was my transition from the U.S. to Argentina back in June (missing my flight and losing my luggage), it is quite a story. Let’s start at the beginning:

I boarded my direct flight (yay) from L.A. to Costa Rica at 1 am on Mondayimage
morning, fell asleep immediately, and landed promptly in San Jose at 845 am. I got off the plane half expecting to be hit by some sort of issue–bag lost, problem with customs, passport stolen–but was only met with smooth sailing. Within minutes, I was out the door with bag in hand…looking for the driver who was to be holding a sign that read “OTS Semester Abroad.”

Unable to find him after 30 minutes, I thought nothing of it. I just sat down on the curb, ignored the commotion around me, and listened to music. After 1 hour, I became suspicious. After 2, I realized I was in a foreign country with no cell service. And after 3, I finally asked a taxi driver to borrow his phone so I could call the program. Turns out that some random girl claimed MY identity and took MY ride to the hotel (I think it’s hilarious now…but honestly who does that?!).

End of story, I was able to use some good old Argentine Spanish, take a taxi, and make it to the hotel. Of course, my travel day wouldn’t have been complete without an ice cold shower and a mysterious allergic reaction that left me covered in hives. But no worries…by the time everyone else arrived that evening, I was ready to start a great semester!


In other news, enjoy this time-lapse video of my landing in San Jose 🙂


Welcome to the rainforest!

One might think that after an unorthodox arrival in San Jose, I might have made it through day 1 in the rainforest unscathed. They would be wrong.

After driving the two hours from San Jose to La Selva Biological Station on Wednesday morning, we were immediately debriefed on all the kinds of snakes, mosquitoes, and pests that could bite you and 1) cause serious pain, 2) transmit a disease, or 3) lay eggs to hatch inside your skin. I recall them saying that obtaining any of these more serious bites during the course of the semester would be highly unlikely and at most happen to 1 of us.

Yea, you guessed it. Night 1, I was stung by a “bullet ant” outside my room–an ant that delivers such a painful bite that it feels like you’ve been shot. Luckily, there’s no crazy side effects or diseases included…only a week or two of joint pain in my upper arm and shoulder. Glad I could take one for the team!


Can’t bring me down.

Let’s just say this. I remember vividly the struggles I endured when I first got to Buenos Aires and it turned out to be an unforgettable five months. If this is any indication, I’m about to experience some pretty cool and memorable times here in Costa Rica!

Thanks for reading and sorry for the rant today! Next time, I promise to talk about life in the rainforest, Costa Rican culture, and most importantly, food. I’ll give you a clue till then: RICE AND BEANS!



Pura vida,



This week I learned…

1) that Costa Ricans love to be referred to as Ticos & Ticas.

2) that the term ~pura vida~ can pretty much be used for anything here: hello, goodbye, have a good day…you name it!



4 Responses to “stories of a cursed (but happy) world traveler”

  1. Congratulations, you are on a new chapter in your life! Have a great time and let us know how things are going! Love you !!

  2. Bonnie Neumeier says:

    HI Haylie
    I hope the bullet ants keep their distance from you. Sorry you had to endure some pain close to arrival. I hope you enjoy the experience and learn much. Be safe. Have some fun, too.
    Love Aunt Bonnie

  3. Tonys says:

    Enjoy! Love reading your posts!!! Hope it’s smooth sailing from here on out!

  4. Tonya says:

    Haha! Not Tony’s….Tonya!

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Haylie Butler '17

  • Studies: Biology and Spanish double major with a premedical concentration
  • Hometown: Rossmorr, Calif.
  • Read more about Haylie »
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