Life

When Rain Gets Loud (the Magic of Silence)

One of the things about tropical weather is rain. 

A loud, wet, all encompassing, end-of-the-world kind of rain. 

With loud thunder and lightning too. 

 
 

Photo credit: Charles Knox Photography
 

 
 

Once this kind of rain starts to hit, you have no choice but to retrieve to your shelter and wait. 

Sure, you can move around, perhaps cook or read a book, but that’s about it. 

The one thing that becomes really difficult is talk. Because you can’t hear a thing. 

So you want to communicate, say: “Oh by the way, today this happened” and then you want to say: “Look, I really think this shampoo works better than my old one” and then you want to exclaim: “I’m so hungry! What are we going to have for dinner?”

But instead you just don’t say anything, because talking under that rain would mean screaming really loud with few chances of getting heard anyways. 

 
 

  

 

But to your surprise, silence is okay. 

 

Even though you’re a chatter box at heart and definitely (always) have things to say, you resign to the fact that talking is just not an option at the moment. 

And you realize that everything somehow proceeds smoothly even without you saying anything at all. 

With you keeping your thoughts a little bit more hidden inside your head.  

Some people talk only when they have something important to say.  

Maybe I’ll become one of them after a few months in the tropical rain ūüėČ
 

Valentina Rose Blog Costa Rica Osa Peninsula Matapalo Life in the Jungle in Rainy Season
Travel

A Day In Matapalo, Costa Rica in the Rainy Season (the Real Deal)

Vacationing on the Osa Peninsula In Costa Rica is a fantastic idea. Staying in a resort such as Blue Osa guarantees idyllic experiences all around. Living in the jungle on your own on the other hand, is a little tougher, although still rewarding.

But let’s face it, when trying to make a living¬†in Matapalo on my own I’m left to deal with certain aspects of life that you don’t concern with at a resort.

Here’s my typical day so far since I’ve gotten here.

 

Valentina Rose Blog Costa Rica Osa Peninsula Matapalo Life in the Jungle in Rainy Season
Photo Credit: Charles Knox Photography

 

Keep in mind October is one of the rainier months here in Costa Rica. Tourism tends to be slower which means less jobs,marvelously empty beaches and roads, lush and green vegetation, and it does rain more often (daily).

 

5am Wake up by howler monkeys from nearby tree and by noise of something being thrown on the roof (metal roof=noise amplified by 80%).

 

5.30am Stumble out of bed, ¬†look outside the bedroom deck (no walls), notice the rain has ended and take a deep, humid breath. Monkey poop. That’s what was being thrown on the roof. And pieces of branches and leaves too.

 

Costa Rica Monkeys Valentina Rose Blog
Can you spot the three monkeys?

 

5:45am Notice some exotic turkey-look alike birds taking over the yard. Find out they are called curaçao.

 

6am Wipe the kitchen counters to clean gekko poops before breakfast. Sweep the floors covered in leaves from previous night’s wind and heavy rain. Prep juicy papaya, plain white yogurt, honey and granola. ¬†Turn on wifi, send emails and read the news from La Stampa ¬†before the rest of Costa Rica tries to do the same.

 

Costa Rica Yogurt and Granola

 

 

7am Loding….loading……connection lost.

 

7:15am Brush my teeth in the kitchen sink because bathroom sink is broken.

 

7.30am Check clothes hanging to dry from the night before. They are still wet. Poufy clouds of mold are starting to grow on the wetter spots. Landry desperately needed.

 

7.45am Trouble shoot one of the following:

 

a) I forgot bananas outside the pantry last night and the fruit bats feasted on them leaving even more poop and scraps all over the kitchen.

b) We ran out of gas for the stove or gas for the fridge (separte units)

c) ¬†Water isn’t running because the big generator (not the small one, which is charged by the big one, but only sometimes, even though the small one can’t run the water) hasn’t been turned on in days.

d) We ran out of gasoline for the small generator so we have to call Jose’s cousin’s brother’s nephew who we heard in 2 days (which will be more like 6 days) is making his way here from Puerto Jimenez and see if he can bring us a tank.

 

8am Brief cold shower (chilly!), open luggage where clothes are stored to protect from humidity and sacrifice an item of clothing knowing that after the mud, the rain and humidity it will never look the same. Shake it for scorpions, re-close luggage. Empty rain boots, one more scorpion/cockroach check, head out the door.

 

9am Get on bike and head towards Blue Osa. (Soon I will be heading to teach yoga lessons, but for now I still have more free time since It’s low season). Cross the river(s) that have formed overnight and prey I won’t get water in my boots. I get water in my boots. Cows watch unimpressed. Ride on the most beautiful, empty, lush, green dirt road. Smell the fragrant scent of llang llang and forget about all my worries.

 

 

Life in the jungle Valentina Rose Blog Costa Rica Matapalo Osa Peninsula

 

Baby Cow Costa Rica Osa Peninsula
Photo taken by Jonathan Hokklo in Matapalo during previous yoga retreats

 

 

9:45am Arrive at Blue Osa. Enter paradise. Dry rainboots in sun. Greet smiling faces, enjoy the best internet connection in the area, eat healthy food made with care, laugh with staff,  pet puppies and kittens.

 

 

Blue Osa vegetarian Food Costa Rica

 

 

Dogs Of Blue Osa Costa Rica

 

 

12pm Head back to Matapalo. It’s high tide. Make my way to the beach for a paddle boarding session. The water is crystalline clear, I’m swimming like a dolphin,¬†there’s hardly anyone in the water and I see a flock of turtles passing by.

 

Costa Rican Beach Matapalo Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog

 

 

12.30pm Spy a fat coati climb a tree. Notice the dog wants to fight it and remember coatis are vicious even though they look like teddybears. Prey the dog doesn’t die. Find out from locals that grilled coati is delicious.

 

 

Coati Costa Rica Jungle

 

 

12:35pm The dog spots a lora  on a branch (green exotic parrot) and jumps for it. It grabs the squawing parrot in its mouth and walks away with it. Upon intervention the bird is freed and the dog is sent home in punishment. (Okay this happened only once, but the dog tries to do it every day).

 

 

Lora bird Costa Rica

 

Costa Rican Beach Matapalo Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog Dog

 

 

1pm  Snack. Avocado toast. Toast bread in a pan (no toaster), add avocado. Clean up immediately to prevent ant invasion. I hear the generator is on. Rush to charge phone, computer and electric toothbrush (yes, I know, I know)

 

2pm Collect laundry,(washing machine is broken), shove in backpack, get on motorcycle, head to friend’s solar powered house that does not need generator. Wash clothes, lay them on grass to dry and pray for sun. Stop by neighbor and be offered coffee and sweet bread.

 

Costa Rica Motorcycle

 

 

3pm Time for a run or yoga. Either one or the other. No time for both as I have one and a half hour before dark. I opt for a run today. Dog in tow and bug spray abounds. Sweat starts dribbling before I get out the door. Tip toe fearfully by mean cows (bulls?), and wave to the cheerful Costa Rican workers who, piled in a truck heading home from work, are whistling and calling. Hear a toucan and observe several macaw parrots argue on the almendra tree.

Tucan Costa Rica Matapalo
Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo

 

Macaw Parrot Costa Rica Osa Peninsula
Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo

 

Matapalo Osa Peninsula Road Valentina Rose Blog Costa Rica

 

 

3:45pm Come home and find the cat sleeping on the table on my Trader Joe’s San Francisco bag. ¬†He’s looking guilty as charged. Something smells funny in the house and vultures are circling nearby. Se√Īor cat probably left a little gift somewhere,¬†but I’ll worry about that later.

 

 

Costa Rican Jugle Cat Valentina Rose Blog

 

 

4pm Notice a spider monkey with its baby right in front of me on the deck. The mom is picking fleas off the baby and then patting the baby on its head and belly. They see me stare and reply back with mocking faces before they leave swingingly on branches.

 

Baby Money Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog
Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo

 

4.30pm Almost sunset. Head to the beach for a quick surf-watch session. ¬†Read a story from my current book,¬† Mujeres de Ojos Grandes by Angeles Mastretta. Admire sunset, if I’m lucky get handed a coconut to sip by my jungle boyfriend.

 

Sunset Watch Matapalo Costa Rica
Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo

 

5pm Head back, jump in the pool. Do crunches off the side of the pool, (50 straight, 50 sideways) relax. It’s starting to dribble.

 

5.15pm Collect shower items and head to the warm shower on nearby property. Gloriously shower outdoors under the rain.

 

5.30pm Rush back (watch for snakes) before it’s pitch dark and organize all my clothes. Protect everything from the rain. Postpone turning on the lights to avoid¬†potential bug attack.

 

5:45pm Feed the dog and elevate the bowl so the giant toads who roam the night don’t go sitting in his food.

 

6pm Dinner prep. Wipe the kitchen counters again. Sweep the floor again. Cook rice, lentils and patacones. Drink juice or water. Live in fear of cicada, grasshopper, or cockroaches invading my personal space or even worse my plate. (no walls in the house means endless attack possibilities). Watch a gekko devour a dragonfly on the ceiling.

 

7pm Unsuccessfully try to connect to wifi and text my friends who I miss like crazy and wish I could just call.

 

7:15pm Sending, sending…unable to send.

 

7.30pm Get ready for bed by use of flashlight only (the more lights, the more bugs). Apply lavender lotion for better sleep and thyme for good dreams. Shake sheets and blankets for scorpion check.

 

8pm Rain has gotten loud; it’s impossible to hear. It’s chilly outside (which also means inside) and perfect to get wrapped in a cozy blanket. Time for bed, good night!

 

Costa Rican Sunset Osa Peninsula

 

 

Zucchini Flan Blue Osa Costa Rica Yoga
Travel, Yoga Retreats

For Foodies Only: Blue Osa’s Seven Best

One of the aspects that makes your Blue Osa experience divine is the gourmet food made with love.

 

Blue Osa 6 foods that will have you rave Costa Rica Yoga

 

Here are the six best Blue Osa foods that will have you rave for days.  Ranging from savory to tangy, exotic and subtly sweet, these flavors are bound to blow your mind.

 

1. Zucchini Flan

 

Zucchini Flan Blue Osa Costa Rica Yoga

 

This is one of my personal favorites. Often served for lunch alongside a refreshing salad and some other veggie dishes, this fluffy flan is always perfectly executed and emanates pure summertime sweetness.

 

2+3. Coconut-Encrusted Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa

 

Mahi Mahi Coconut Encrusted With Mango Salsa Blue Osa Yoga Costa Rica

 

Mango Salsa Blue Osa Costa Rica Yoga

 

If you are a lover of coconut and a lover of fish you will adore this entree. The finely chopped mango salsa freshens the crisp Mahi Mahi texture for a combo made in heaven.

 

4. Fresh Guacamole With Patacones

 

Guacamole with Patacones Blue Osa Yoga Costa Rica

 

Guacamole Extra Blue Osa Costa Rica Yoga

 

This is a Costa Rican classic. Smooth and velvety¬†avocado served with the crunchy, salty plantains and a dash of lime. It’s a party in your mouth!

 

5. Blue Osa’s Star Fruit Crumble with Fresh Vanilla Whip Cream

Star-Fruit-Crisp-Costa-Rica-Blue-Osa-Dinner-Valentina Rose Blog

 

Healthy and decadent, this dessert is a Blue Osa original. The warm, slow cooked star fruit is topped by a sweet crumble with a dash of soft whip cream on top to finish it off.

 

6. Pi√Īa Colada

 

Pina Colada Blue Osa Costa Rica Yoga

 

When in the tropics, a Pi√Īa Colada¬†is a must! You just can’t go wrong with this tropical and luxurious cocktail involving fresh pineapple and coconut milk. Sweet and inviting from start to finish, with a tad of rum that will pleasantly relax your night away.

 

7. Passion Fruit Cocktail

 

Passion Fruit Cocktail Blue Osa Costa Rica Yoga

 

With tangy notes and a kick this elegant passion fruit¬†cocktail will surprise your taste buds. Enjoy the passion fruit’s crunchy bits a the bottom!

 

10 Places to See Before Your Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog
Travel, Yoga Retreats

10 Places To See Before Your New Year’s Eve Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica

Here’ s a list of places you might like to consider before or after our Happy New You! yoga retreat in Costa Rica.

The one thing we are not going in depth about in this post is that San Jose, the capital, has great museums, restaurants and sightseeing to offer.

But, if you were to wander outside of the city, this list is for you. Note that we are mentioning places that are conveniently located on the way or near Blue Osa, where the retreat will take place. The list goes from North to South. Enjoy!

10 Places to See Before Your Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog

1.Volcan Arenal

Volcan Arenal Costa Rica Valentina Rose Travel Blog

About three hours North of  San Jose.  Positioned within Costa Rica’s fertile northern lowlands, the Arenal Volcano is tall, imposing and has a reputation that precedes itself. Arenal’s perfectly symmetrical shape and abundance of outdoor activities make it a sightseer’s dream.

Thanks to geothermal activity beneath Arenal, the area surrounding the volcano is home to a number of hot springs. There are springs for every budget and style, and many serve up unobstructed views of the volcano.

2. Volcan Poas, La Fortuna Hot Springs, Rio Celeste

Volcan Poas Costa Rica Valentina Rose Travel Blog

Located about 1¬Ĺ hours from San Jose, Volcan Poas is a very popular day trip.¬†Po√°s Volcano is one of the major attractions in the Central Valley region and one of the most visited national parks in all of Costa Rica.¬†Considered by most to be one of the most breathtaking sites in the entire country, the Poas Volcano sits high above 14,000 acres (5,666 ha) of various habitats and life zones.

Hot spring like the ones at La Fortuna are popular locales offering a relaxing spa-like experience among rainforest-inspired settings.

The R√≠o Celeste is one of Costa Rica‚Äôs most spectacular rivers. ¬†This river‚Äôs light blue color ‚Äď the result of sulphur and¬†calcium carbonate mixing ‚Äď has earned it a unique place in Costa Rica.

3. Playa Hermosa-Jaco

Playa Hermosa Jaco Costa Rica ValentinA Rose Blog

An easy hour and a half drive from San Jose, on your way South is Playa Hermosa ( a few Km down the road from¬†Jaco) offers an excellent¬†vibe with chilled out surfers and pretty beach sunsets. Be aware that while Jaco offers great beginner waves,¬†Playa Hermosa can pump¬†monster swells. Still, even if you’re not a pro, you can sit back and watch!

4. Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio National Park Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog Travel
Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo

Manuel Antonio National Park, on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, encompasses rugged rainforest, white-sand beaches and coral reefs. Manuel Antonio is one of only two locations in Costa Rica where you can see all four types of monkey; spider, howler, white faced and the endangered squirrel monkey, many of which can be visible from your hotel window. The area is also a prime destination for spotting sloths, both in and outside of the national park.

Between the main town and the national park there are several world-class beaches in the area. Here, you can swim, hike the park, or simply relax. Plus, available are all the amenities you would come to expect as well as a jumping nightlife.

5. Catarata Nahuyaca

Catarata Nahuyaca Valentina Rose Blog Costa Rica Travel

The Nauyaca Waterfalls are one of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica’s South Pacific.

One of the falls is forty-five meters high and the other twenty meters high. There are also other smaller natural pools where tourists can walk, swim, climb, jump, take photographs and spend a marvelous day in the warm waters of Rio Barucito, enjoying one of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica’s South Pacific.

6. Dominical, Uvita, Parque Marino Ballena

Dominical Uvita Parque Marino Ballena Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog

Dominical remains the sort of place where it’s best to just slow down, unwind and take things as they come.

Dominical offers sweet barrels, motley crew of surfers, backpackers and affable do-nothings alike. Dominical has no significant cultural sights, no paved roads and no chain restaurants, and if you’re not here to learn to surf or swing in a hammock it might not be the place for you. Pacific Edge is highly recommended as a hotel for a more pampered stay.

Uvita is a tiny town further South that is best known for its National Park, Parque Marino Ballena. At low tide, you will be able to see the mystical wale tail shape where the two beaches connect. It’s worth it!

7. Drake Bay

Drake Bay Cano Island Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog Travel

Resting on the northern side of the Osa Peninsula, Drake Bay (Bahía Drake) is an adventure-seekers paradise. It is named after Sir Francis Drake who is believed to have ventured here in the late 16 century. With scattered hotels and lodges, Drake Bay is the ideal vacation spot for those wishing to relax and escape from it all. While Drake is best known for scuba diving and snorkeling on Cano Island, other activities include  swimming, kayaking, horseback riding, hiking (Corcovado National Park), sport fishing, bird-watching or exploring the miles of deserted picturesque coastline.

8. Playa Zancudo

Playa Zancudo Zancudo Lodge Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog

A long stretch of black sand backed by coconut palms and almond trees forms the idyllic setting for Playa Zancudo. Located along the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica in the Golfo Dulce, Playa Zancudo is a beautiful and untouched area that sees significantly fewer tourists than other parts of the country. The atmosphere here is laid-back, and if you are into fishing, this is the place to be. 

9. Pavones

Pavones Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog

Pavones  is a small town located in the southern Pacific Zone about 1 1/2 hour drive from Golfito. The little pueblo exists almost entirely for surf tourists who make the journey for the left point break that runs the entire length of the village of Pavones.  Pavones is definitely at the end of the road and a little out of the way. However for the opportunity to catch rides that will make your legs ache it is well worth the journey. There you can also find the Yoga Farm Pavones at Punta Banco, a rustic yoga center and sustainable living project centre.

10. Finca Bella Vista, Piedras Blancas

Finca Bella Vista Costa Rica Golfito Valentina Rose Travel Blog

Finca Bellavista is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. ¬†Finca Bellavista is a residential treehouse community located¬†in the south Pacific coastal region of Costa Rica. They are a rustic, yet comfortable, private retreat off the beaten path where owners and limited numbers of guests can explore the natural wonders of the rainforest canopy.

They are located in a relatively untouched portion of Costa Rica that is removed from many of the influences of the outside world. Their neighbors and friends are indigenous families and hard-working farmers. No souvenir shops, no mini-malls, and no rowdy bars.

Near Finca Bellavista is Piedras Blancas National Park. ¬†The Piedras Blancas National Park, located along Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast just outside the town of Golfito, protects over 34,595 acres (14,000 hectares) of evergreen primary forest and a great number of indigenous plants and wildlife. ¬†Today, the park offers visitors the chance to explore its thriving rainforests and immaculate beaches, winding rivers and powerful waterfalls

For the Adventurous at Heart

Cerro Chiripo’

Cerro Chiripo' Costa Rica Travel Valentina Rose Blog

Mt. Chirripó, the highest mountain in Costa Rica (and second highest in Central America) stands tall at 3,820 m (12,532 ft.). Climbing 19 km up Chirripó is one of the best ways to experience the beauty of Costa Rica. Monkeys roam the forests; the terrain continues to change every hour; the flowers come in every color. But the most motivating reason hikers put themselves through this rigorous trek is its collection of amazing views, one of which includes a view of both the Pacific and Caribbean Oceans from the summit.

Carara National Park

carara National Park Costa Rica Travel Valentina Rose Blog

Carara National Park is located just 9.3 miles (15 km) north of Jaco and about an hour from San Jose. Several miles of hiking trails are open for visitors. Early morning, or around sunset is often the best time to see the wealth of birds living in the park, especially scarlet macaws. due to its close proximity to the capital city, however, if you can beat the crowds, the experience and wildlife which runs rampant throughout the park will impress any nature enthusiast.

The Tarcoles River, which borders the park and flows into the Pacific Ocean, is an amazing place to witness the American crocodile close up. Boat tours are available to see them, as they can be up to several meters in length!

This is just a little glimpse of all that the beautiful and diverse country of Costa Rica can offer.¬†Make the most of Costa Rica¬†while you’re at it! ūüôā

Valentina Rose- why people's judgment doesn't matter
Life

About Everyone Else’ s Opinions..And Why They Don’t Matter

The older I get the less I care about other people’s opinions.

I suppose that might be why my grandma calls everyone an asshole.

But jokes aside,¬†this blog post is about both¬†opinions the concrete ones, and the¬†perceived ones too. Both the ones that make us cringe when they come across our face, and the ones ¬†the majority I’d say) that we think are there, but maybe aren’t. The untold ones.¬†

IMG_2599

I often find myself asking:

Is this where I should be in my life according to everyone else, given my age?

Is my career choice respectable enough in the eye of others?

Am I making enough money for everyone to see/judge?

Does everyone else see me as a loony because of my lifestyle choices?

The list goes on.

So why are we so worried about what other people MIGHT think? Sure, a certain level of comparison among others is normal. A good dose of self-reflection is¬†healthy too. But it’s when we let outside voices take over that we find¬†ourselves in a¬†down spiral of endless doubt.

I always remember this great childhood metaphor which represents this situation:

A man, his son and their donkey loaded with supplies were walking on the way home.

People saw them and said :”That’s so stupid, why wouldn’t they use the donkey to carry themselves as well. That’s what donkeys are for.”

So the father put the son on top of the donkey and kept walking.

People said” Why would this man only put his son up on the donkey and walk himself? The kid is young and has more energy, so the old man should be the one being carried.”

So the father took the son off the donkey and got on the donkey himself.

People said” Can you believe how selfish this man is? Taking the easy ride and making his poor son walk”

So the father sat himself AND his son on the donkey with all the supplies.

People said :” Have you seen that cruel man? He’s overloading the poor animal!’

So the father got himself and his son off the donkey, took the supplies off the animal and carried them on his own back.

People laughed and said” Look at him! He has a donkey but instead he’s doing all the work!”

Moral of the story: no matter what you do, people will always judge. We judge ourselves very harshly too, when others aren’t even thinking of it.

Gina the Donkey from the donkey metaphor about why people's judgments don't matter because people will always judge
The best donkey of all, Gina. She is not worried about your opinion.

The solution is to turn inwards. Like yoga teaches us in many ways, we need to develop a certain understanding of ourselves, our own needs, wants, reactions and priorities that will allow us to, simply put, be more focused on ourselves rather than others. It’s a simple concept yet a very powerful one. Ounce we can do that, we are able to take judgments (whether they are internal or external) lightly, AKA not personally.

Often times I see students in a public yoga class making the class all about other people around them.¬†They are looking around doubt fully because they are lost, they are shy, they are unsure if they understood well and they don’t want to make a “mistake”.

The truth is, life is like a public yoga class. You’re in it with a lot of people around you but at the end of the day you’re in it with yourself, and only you can figure yourself out. It’s a gift and a privilege to be in this deep long lasting relationship with ourselves.

So no matter how hard we look at our neighbors, or wonder what they really think of us, we will eventually have to turn the gaze inwards to really see what’s up.

And once we start the process of going deep within ourselves, (read: not everyone else)¬†¬†we will be so occupied that we won’t even notice the voices coming from outside.