Tuesday, 9 December 2014

A Month in Heredia (According to My Phone)

Getting on a horse for about five minutes and being utterly terrified / Doing my Spanish homework in the garden of the school / Going to see The Nutcracker at the National Theatre in San Jose / Eating a ridiculous piece of 'cake' (and by cake I mean many giant biscuits sandwiched together with dulce de leche)

Spotting another of the many, many rainbows here / Walking home from school / Sitting on the beach in Montezuma near dusk / Finally trying out the Olympic sized pool on my last day in Heredia 

Visiting La Paz for the day / The awesome view on the drive back / Tiny bunnies in the window of one of Heredia's numerous pet shops / The church in Parque Central a few moments walk from my house

Monday, 1 December 2014

Costa Rica: Montezuma and Tortuga Island

Wow. I've been REALLY bad at keeping the blog updated while I'm away! Ah well - no importa. ¡Ahí vamos!

A few snaps from a weekend trip to Montezuma and Tortuga Island, one week into my stay in Costa Rica. I attempted (and succeeded in!) my first ever sunrise-viewing. Sunrises are like MEGA EARLY in the morning - who knew? I guess it was kinda worth it for the heart-achingly beautiful landscape though. Also - getting up early to watch the sunrise on a beach seems like an appropriately early-mid-life-crisis sort of thing to do, doesn't it?

I didn't get snaps of most of the animals, unfortunately, but they were ALL OVER the shop. You couldn't walk for tripping over lizards. Coati (that long-faced raccoon-looking guy), capybara, monkeys. At breakfast our second morning, in the open-sided restaurant of our hotel, a monkey ventured down onto one of the empty tables to steal away with a sugar packet which he promptly scoffed down from a safe height. Yeah, a little different to my usual pre-work toast in London!

Friday, 17 October 2014

A Song for The Weekend: Mary Lambert

Have you heard of Mary Lambert? I hadn't until this week. Turns out she's an all kinds of brilliant singer-songwriter, spoken word artist and gay rights activist, with awesome ink to boot. I particularly love this upbeat number: perfect Friday listening. She also does a kind of heartbreaking cover of Jessie's Girl, for any 80s power pop fans. 

Happy Friday y'all! 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

That Time When I Quit My Job and Booked a Flight to Costa Rica

So, yeah. That happened.

Around a month ago, I handed in notice at an organisation I’ve worked at for just-shy of five years. My first non-temp job after moving to London in fact, started just three months after I upped sticks from the city I’d always lived in to one I knew basically nothing about, and only a handful of people in. I handed in my notice without a new job lined up. 

Over the last half-decade (Gah. I shouldn’t have phrased it that way; it freaks me out in all manner of ways) I’ve slowly eked my way up from an Administrative Assistant to an Assistant Registrar (which sounds deceptively similar, but is different I swear!). I took on line managing someone, which I never guessed I would enjoy but actually did. For two of those five years I studied for an MA in the evenings and weekends, and somehow wangled a distinction. I landed some interesting freelance through the contacts I’d made. My stubborn brain begrudgingly took on knowledge, almost without my realising it, and I find that I’ve developed a little bit of that expertise that seemed like a far-off fantasy to my recently-graduated-with-a-humanities-degree, have-no-demonstrable-skills-to-speak-of, now-what-the-hell-do-I-do self. I like the field I work in, the organisation I work for, and the people I work with, and I’ve been lucky to be allowed to learn and grow.

But at the same time: change is good.

Liking change, even perusing change, is not my default setting. I’m that douche who moans about their favourite café changing the chairs (not to the staff, obviously, but still). Or about Facebook changing their look. Or a supermarket changing its layout. Or about anything not remaining the same, forever, basically. What can I say? Consistency is kinda comforting.

But five years is a long time to spend in a small organisation, and even more so when you work in a sector that has a largely foreseeable yearly cycle. Five times through the cycle and you feel like you’ve pretty much got it down, y’know? Which is one reason why I didn’t want to move straight into a new post. I felt like I needed a break in the cycle, a complete shake up, doing something utterly, completely different.

Hence:  Costa Rica.

So in a few weeks’ time I’ll be hopping aboard my first long-haul flight in who knows how many years, and setting down in Central America to study Spanish for 6 weeks. The plan is to spend half my time in Heredia, a city about 10km from the capital, and half my time in Sámara, a small beach town on the Pacific coast. The closer it gets, the more excited but also, er, terrified I get. But I think Emerson probably had it right when he advised “Always do what you are afraid to do [unless that thing is touch a daddy longlegs]”.

For the weeks that I’m away, Knitting on Trains will likely serve as the main vehicle for keeping family and friends in the loop, sharing pictures of my freckles multiplying by the day, etc, etc. Why email when you can blog, right? But I’ll try my best to make sure that it isn’t too boring for anyone that isn’t my grandma. I'll be back in time for Christmas, which will hopefully help with the post-holiday blues + SAD combined, and aiming to start in a new job asap in the New Year. 

If you've ever been to Costa Rica (or ever wildly quit your job without another one lined up), tips/advice/general words of wisdom are very much welcomed!

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