It has been a little over one week since I arrived here at La Selva (a biological research station located 2 hours outside of San Jose) and the reality of me actually living in such a beautiful tropical environment has not quite set in. Any day now it feels like I’ll be plucked right out of the rainforest and sent back to snowy, frigid Worcester–but for now, I’m here and I am on top of the world. Yes, literally on top of the world. This week, I climbed a 40 m tower to view the rainforest canopy from above. Instead of sitting in a classroom at 8am, I was chillin’ with the monkeys in the trees. And the view I got at the top was 100% worth the chance of me slipping and falling to the forest floor week 1 of the semester. Promise.
Days here at La Selva are jam packed. From 630AM to 11PM I’m either learning, eating, running, playing soccer, or studying…the remaining time, of course, is reserved for sleep and desperately searching for wifi.
Here’s what a normal schedule looks like:
While these days may be long and tiresome, I am studying what I love and am constantly being exposed to new opportunities. I get to visit rural communities and participate in campaigns to prevent tropical disease. I casually spot exotic animals on the way to class (pictured below are a blue jean frog, capuchin monkey, & a peccary). I even get to dodge venomous snakes while running through the forest (I wish I could say this didn’t happen).
How do you like them pineapples?
So, you could say the ~pura vida~ life is treating me well. The people here are wonderful and the food is amazing…especially the fruit. Pineapple, papaya, mango, banana, watermelon, you name it! I shamelessly consume at least two servings of fruit with every meal. And this week was especially cool because we got to visit a small pineapple farm and take a tour of the Dole banana plantation.
Also (you may want to quote me on this), I will never get tired of rice & beans. We can check in at the end of the semester after I’ve consumed R&B for literally EVERY meal, but right now I am very content. The kitchen here at La Selva does a great job pairing them with different sides and things always get super interesting at breakfast when the R&B are mixed!! Pictured below is a typical breakfast featuring gallo pinto (mixed rice & beans) and of course some delicious fruit.
Well that’s all for now! Time to study for my first tropical disease exam (also the first real biology exam I’ve taken since May of last year)…Yikes. Wish me luck!
This week I learned…
Haylie Butler '17