Adios Estados Unidos!

My name is Melissa (or “wife” as I’ve been referred in several of Cade’s blog posts).  In the spirit of wandering, your author has invited me to share with you my own wandering adventure: a 2-week short-term study abroad trip to Costa Rica.

I recently had the opportunity to leave my familial responsibilities in the very capable hands of my husband and take part in a 2-week study abroad course in Costa Rica.  Seeking out the best options to fulfill the “science with a lab” credit required by the University of Maine Farmington (where I have returned to continue my education), I found their aptly titled “Costa Rica Travel Course” and knew it would meet my needs.  An ecological study of the diversity of Costa Rica’s ecosystems, the course was also described as “playing with monkeys in the rainforest”.

Sign me up!!

The science credit and the benefit of getting out of Maine’s winter were both excellent reasons to take the course but I was most looking forward to the hands-on experience I would gain hiking and studying in the rain forest.  For years I had planned rain forest units for my preschoolers and while it is certainly possible to plan and execute a great unit through research, photos, books, and videos, the knowledge I hoped to gain through experience would add a level of richness and authenticity to what I share with my students.

So began my preparations! Two vaccinations: Typhoid and Hepatitis A (which cost me $300 because the travel clinic didn’t accept my insurance), Passport (about $150 and the first time I’ve ever had one…so exciting!), a series of textbook and article readings assigned by the two instructors leading the course, and the gathering and packing of my bags!!

Here’s what I brought on the trip:

Small, brown rolling suitcase (sized for carry-on, though I checked it) 6 pairs of shorts/capris, 3 pairs of pants, 1 pair of pajamas, Swimsuit and swim shirt, 14 tee-shirts/tank tops, 1 North Face rain jacket, 1 pair of flip flops, 1 pair of Keens, 1 pair of sneakers (which I wore to the airport), Bandana, Hat, Undergarments, and Socks IMG_8035

I also had a carry-on bag.  In it I had…

Cade’s camera and waterproof bag, My journal (required) and travel information (always prepared with itineraries and copies of my passport), Passport, Wallet, Textbook, Hand wipes (I’m a little crazy about going to bed with dirty feet and I didn’t know if we’d be camping), Hair bands, Sunglasses, Cellphone and charger, Headphones, Water bottle, Bug spray and sunscreen, First aid kit, Electrolyte tablets, One complete change of clothes (foresight which pays off), Water tablets, Lip balm, Pencil Bag, Medications, and a Toiletry bag.


If I were to pack again, I would pack half of what I brought with me.  In fact, I may only pack what I could fit in my backpack.

But that’s a lesson I learn in my next post!

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