Presentations and Fun – Costa Rica days 9 and 10
The last two days have been phenomenal. We didn’t really have an opportunity to blog yesterday so here I am now ready to tell you about two amazing days. Yesterday was dominated by Capstone presentations as most of us were working on our Capstone projects all day before 5 P.M. when we had to present. Our group had been working on our project plenty in advance so we had a lot of time to relax by the pool after breakfast and make use of the water slide at the hotel. I do need to add that we went kayaking after breakfast. Kayaking around Lake Arenal was amazing; we were pulling right up to cows and birds out on jutted mini peninsulas and passing floating gardens and tilapia fishing nets. We had our fun then we prepared specifically for the presentation; we practiced our slides and dressed up for a business-proposal-like performance. Every group presented their ideas and the presentations were definitely successful:
1.) Adjustments to Stony Brook University’s stadium lighting and turf
2.) The use of smart traffic systems and piezo electric mater to produce power from cars traveling over roads
3.) The use of new Windshire wind turbines to provide power for typical residential areas
4.) (Our idea) Implementing a living machine system to process waste water in micro-apartment complexes and also implementing new piping to preheat water before it is used to save costs on heating water
The presentations were very professional and the atmosphere provided for them was as well. The room was set up similarly to a board meeting and had a view overlooking Lake Arenal. This presentation offered experience; I’ve spoken in front of huge crowds before for various functions but the atmosphere created here was the kind you’d expect in the working world and felt very different. Anyway, the Capstones went really well and it turned out that the leaders had it planned for us to go out in Tileran that night. The night was really fun and further brought our group together. This trip has brought a group of 15 people with very different backgrounds together for 2 weeks. We’ve been spending so many hours together and we’ve become a tight knit group; it’s been amazing for connections and friendships.
Day 9 clearly went well. Now let me tell you about Day 10 and zip-lining for the very first time. This next sentence is going to sound really fun: We went zip-lining through the jungle, passing from tree-house platform to tree-house platform going backwards and upside down while encountering howler monkeys within feet from us as we made bee-lines through tremendous greenery. Zip-lining made me trust my surroundings more than I’ve ever had to. We were 100 feet up holding on to slim metal poles on very thin looking metal and wooden elevated platforms being geared up by men who I had never met. Many of us were anxious going up the stairs for our first try, but by the end of the session we felt so comfortable with zip-lining that it didn’t seem like a big deal. After going down the zip-line a few times, I started to feel as if the elevated platforms in the trees were just another floor in a building, comparing the ground level to floor 1 and the tree level to floor 2. It became second nature that we were up in the trees with the monkeys and it felt incredible. The men who worked at the zip-lining place were very enthusiastic and liked to have fun; the did some crazy things on the zip-lines and by watching them I realized that I too could zip-line upside, backwards or with no hands. To do this I had to trust my surroundings and I did. After zip-lining we went to hotel to set up our stuff for the beach. The hotel we are currently staying in is really festive and right by the water. As I am typing this blog, there are around 50 people really close by at the pool celebrating someone’s birthday and being very celebratory and loud. So we had time to check out the beach before lunch, and all I can say is that I feel like I’m in a vacation commercial or some type of awesome dream. I have never been anywhere like this. There is clear sky, perfectly warm water, and tons of open beach. It is absolutely beautiful here. It is the perfect place to go on a vacation, but I still miss home and know that the lifestyle here wouldn’t suit me long-term like New England does. Things here are very different and it is very hard to explain; people here are very nice and hospitable but after a while I would definitely miss being home. Being here has made me appreciate the importance of home and where you grow up. The people of Costa Rica have so much pride in their home and I think everyone needs to carry that mentality with their stomping grounds. Where you grow up is a big part of you. It might sound strange but that is something that I’ve thought about a lot while being here. The people here live their lives and love it, they grew up in Costa Rica and they love the life they’ve made for themselves. I don’t think statistics about happiness and location mean anything although it is known that Costa Rica is one of the happiest if not the happiest nation in the world. Happiness is a mentality. I’m here in Costa Rica for study abroad and we have events to do everyday but if I were here all year it wouldn’t be the same. I do love it here though and I will be sad to leave and because I appreciate home (I’ve never been outside of Connecticut for this long), I miss it already. So after we got lunch, a lot of us enjoyed free time on the beach playing soccer and swimming. This place is so relaxing and so fun. Tonight and the last 2 days should be a blast, I cannot wait!
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