Vamos a Guatemala! // Part I

Hi friends!

Yes, it has been a while since  I have updated this blog, but I’ve been traveling and doing lots of exicting things that I can now share with you guys. Where do I even begin?

As I have mentioned before, Lina and I were thinking about doing our language course in Nicaragua but due to the current protests and uprising revolution, we decided to head to Guatemala instead. Compared to any language courses in Costa Rica and Panama, the one we found in Antigua, Guatemala was definitely the most affordable one. The flights were pretty cheap as well, and the country itself is also a bargain for any traveler. I headed over to Lina’s house in Heredia on Thursday night with all my belongings for the upcoming trip. On friday morning we decided to visit the Irazú vulcano, which is the biggest vulcano in Costa Rica. All you have to do is take a bus from San Jose at 8am and it will bring you up to the top. It cost us 15$ entry which is kind of a lot, but almost every National Park or Nature attraction here is very expensive so we weren’t suprised. It was very cold, but we had a very nice view over the crater that holds a shimmery, turquois colored lake in its center. We stayed up there for about 2 hours, just looking and walking around. It was the first vulcano I have seen, and I was definitely impressed – Mother Nature never disappoints!  On the way back we got out the bus in Cartago, one of the bigger cities in Costa Rica. We visited the famous church called: Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles  and just strolled around and sat in a Cafe for a while. As curious as we are, we also wanted to try to take the train that has a connection between Cartago and San José, and supposedly Heredia as well. The main transportation here really are the buses, they cost under 1 one way and have many stops and pretty comfortable seats. The train was pretty rusty, we were standing almost the entire time just looking out of the window. It didn’t go really fast and only made about 5 stops, I think 3 of them were stops at Universities which is pretty convenient for the students. We got out in San José and decided to take the bus back to Heredia, because that definitely is the more comfortable and the easier option as the bus stops right in front of Lina’s house. In total we had a great day trip and we were really happy to explore more of Costa Rica. On Saturday we went to Freakz (youth program), where we practiced aerial silks and afterwards we hung out with our friends – it’s always a really good time and we are so happy to have found this place and made so many local friends.

On Sunday we had our flight to Guatemala – we took an uber to the airport and checked in. The flight lasted barely over an hour and once we arrived at the airport in Guatemala City, we got picked up by a driver from our language school that we had booked. We then drove to Antigua, where we would stay for one week to complete our course. We got introduced to our host family which consisted of Eluvia the mother and Gustavo the father and their son and daugther (which we barely saw though). Lina and I were sharing a room, and there were also 5 other students and one family staying with us at the same homestay. It was more of a hotel feeling rather than a close one on one host family atmosphere. For the rest of the day we just got organized at the language school – Maximo Nivel , and we got to know the other people. On Monday we started our course – we both had booked 6 hours a day because our organization Kulturweit requires 30 hours of classes and we just wanted to do it all at once. The day  before we had to do a test so they could estimate our spanish level and for whatever reason Lina and I ended up in the best group that they currently had. The first day we were 4 people in total, our teacher was Antonio and he was super chill. I immediately felt that the level was way too high for me because the problem is that I do not know a lot of grammar. I just started ‘learning by doing’  once I got to Costa Rica. And Lina has been stuying spanish for over 5 years in high school and has traveled to other latinamerican countries where she practiced even more. She ended up switching her 4 hour group class to 2 hours private, so she had 4 hours of private class, beause the level for her was basically too easy. For my private class I had a teacher named Magaly, she was nice but it wasn’t a very personal class atmosphere compared to Antonio’s class. After the second day I decided to switch my group to a lower level and I got into Sandra’s class. The level was still a little too high but it was so much better than before. We learned different types of grammar and practiced pronouncuation and speaking about different topics. Every day for that week we had breakfast at 7:30am, then I had 4 hours of group starting at 9am and Lina had 2 hours of private starting at 11am. Then we had a one hour lunch break where we would usually meet up with the other students from our homestay and eat at a restaurant together. At 2pm we both had another 2 hours of private class. The entire week seriously flew by, and it was very exhausting. I was definitely not used to studying , concentrating and sitting for such a long time everyday. I could definitely feel how my body and mind were melting from the inside. During the week I also took part in a free salsa class, which I really enjoyed and Lina and I also participated in the Photo Walk, which was basically a little tour around Antigua where a photographer showed us the secret spots for the best photos, it was really interesting! Also the city of Antigua is part of the UNESCO world heritage  which I didn’t know! Both activities were free and organized by Maximo Nivel. Another day we also hiked up Cerro de la Cruz –  a little hill with a huge cross on top of it and a stunning view over the city of Antigua. Some other night we drank a few beers in a bar, and another two nights I went to some salsa places to practice my moves. On Friday I had a field trip with my group and we took a Chickenbus  (name of the public buses in Guatemala) to a nearby town called San Juan del Obispo. We visited the local convent, a chocolate production and a wine production site. It was very intresting and felt super good to get out of the classroom for a while. Later that night all the students from our homestay decided to go out, so we went to El Barrio first, which is basically a inner courtyard that has different bars in it and a rooftop. It’s a very cool place because you have many options and there is something for everyone! Afterwards we went to Las Vibras de la Casbah – a popular club in Antigua. We danced our butts off and had a really great last night together, but sadly the party stopped at like 1am! So lame haha but they have some weird laws ya know… Anyways on Saturday we just strolled around, bought some souvenirs and enjoyed our last day in Antigua. We had checked out of our homestay and left our bags at the school, where we told the guy at the reception that our shuttle would pick us up at 6:30pm and we would come back at that time to take our bags. However  the guy either didn’t listen or understand because when we got back around 6:10 ish, the doors of the schools were locked. The guy forgot to tell us that they close at 6pm on saturdays! We tried to call all the emergency numbers that they gave us but no one picked up, we went back to our homestay and talked to the others but we had no idea what to do! Then luckily  the guy showed up, he literally came back because he had forgotten his pizza slices!! He told us that he thought we already left and that he definitely misunderstood. We got our bags and were finally good to go. The shuttle drove us to Guatemala City and from there we took a night bus (not a Chickenbus) towards Flores, Peténour next destination…



Tamarindo // Weekend Travel Edition

¡Pura Vida!

Last weekend I decided to make the most out of my free time – the students were having exams so a lot of my classes were canceled. I basically only worked 4 hours in two days which was the least I’ve ever worked since I was here. Well, Lina and I had plans to travel to Tamarindo on the weekend, but as I was free even earlier, I took the bus to Tamarindo on thursday morning. A good 6 hours later I arrived in my hostel, got introduced to a friendly guy from Peru, a girl from Spain and another girl from Atlanta, USA. I tried to take a short nap but I just couldn’t fall asleep as I was too excited to be there. The Peruvian guy then  invited me to go to the beach with them and because he had a rental car we drove out to Playa Negra. I was super thankful for this opportunity because reaching that beach without a car is very difficult. We enjoyed a late afternoon swim at an almost empty beach, and I had enough time to let my mind arrive in this new place. Everything I’ve heard about Tamarindo was that it’s really pretty, full of Gringos (Americans) and that there’s lots of partying. My first impression though, was a calm and welcoming oasis. In the evening I cooked up some leftover potatoes that I had brought from my house and later that night I went out to a few different bars with some other travelers from the hostel – it was an epic night, but I had way too much to drink and I accidently locked myself out of my room at like 4 in the morning. I was passed out on the couch in the living room, and when I woke up I still had the taste of alcohol in my mouth. In times like these I always say to myself that I will never drink again but I can’t even say that with a straight face haha. I actually do want to try to be sober for a year or so one day, just as a personal challenge, and the health benefits it has – I also am a full supporter of “sober fun”  –  which is basically enjoying life without needing many things (like alcohol). The hungover was spent with the same people, we drove out to two different beaches and just spent the day relaxing. Surprisingly both beaches were almost empty as well! Lina had arrived at the hostel while I was gone, so when I got back we decided to go out for dinner at this Falafel place. We enjoyed the rest of the night chilling at the hostel while listening to some live reggae music and we called it a day. On Saturday we had plans to go to Tamarindo beach  but as we left it started raining so we hung out at a coffeeshop until it stopped. We rented 2 surfboards because we wanted to get back at it and practice, but it was a disaster. I was still not feeling 100% energized because of the other night, and man.. the waves were just knocking us over. The beach is apparently a good one for beginners but I don’t know about that. Maybe we were just too weak and tired. Later that night we were cooking some pasta together with Marissa (from Atlanta) and we just played board games and talked for hours. We got to know Joe, an American  who’s currently riding his motorcycle through Latinamerica. He had just gotten to Costa Rica and told us about driving from Guatemala through Nicaragua to get to Costa Rica. He had decided to leave Guatemala earlier so he would be able to get through Nicaragua before the political situation got too intense and dangerous. While showing us his go-pro footage and telling us about his crazy journey, we all listened closley. Lina and I originally wanted to go to Nicaragua for our language course which we have to do during our stay abroad, but we decided not to due to the political situation. Joe contacted a news platform because he felt eager to share his story because sadly the media isn’t covering much of what’s going on there. His article got published just a few days ago and I highly recommend reading it (link down below).

On sunday Marissa, Lina and I decided to make the most out of my last half day in Tamarindo so we took a shuttle to Playa Conchal  which is supposed to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. And let me tell you it was definitely worth it although it was more crowded than the other beaches I had been at the days before. I really didn’t want to leave, the water was so clear and calm for once, that swimming in it felt heavenly. But I had to keep going and I left Tamarindo with the 2pm bus towards San José, then I accidentally got into the wrong bus at the airport and it took me an hour longer to get home. But oh well, that was definitely not the worst thing that has happened to me. I thouroughly enjoyed my time in Tamarindo, and I think it’s a great place to stay for a couple days or even 1-2 weeks. There is everything one can desire – party, cute cafés, shops, lots of surfing, crowded beaches, empty beaches and international people. It definitely is a mayor plus if you have your own car  because shuttles can be really expensive! Thank you to everyone who made my time there so crazy, fun and special.

Joe’s journey through Nicaragua:

Hasta pronto!


Pura Vida! // Feliz 3 meses

Hola amigos!

I can’t believe that it is halftime already. 3 months ago I arrived in Costa Rica with zero spanish and zero knowledge about this country and its people.. well I can definitely say that I feel so welcomed here, and that I have gotten to know this country better and better everyday. I have experienced A LOT the past 3 months, and I’m feeling the change constantly. I embrace the process that I’m in and can’t wait for what’s yet to come. My current state of mind has one big theme, and that is GRATITUDE. Lately I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed, excited and happy about everything in my life. I am living the best life here, even though nothing is perfect and shitty things happen to me, I am so grateful for all of it. Once again in my life has a bad experience shown me how short life can be, and that focusing on the good things will always take you so much further. All I can say is: Embrace the change, for life is an ongoing process and rollercoaster ride.

If you have time today, write down 3 things you are currently grateful for.


Costa Rica – you beautfiul, evergreen goddess! I can’t believe you sometimes. Actually I can’t even get over the fact that I live here. I am so grateful that I can wake up to the sound of birds chirping and dogs belling in the morning. I personally love the little things most about Costa Rica. Every morning when Charlotte and I walk to the school, we are greeted by every neighbor and shop owner on our way. I love when our students ask us questions about Germany or just general questions, because they are so curious about everything. My favorite thing is the bus ride from Alajuela to Poas or the other way around. The ride goes through the mountains and you pass a waterfall, multiple coffee plantations and soccer fields. At night you can see Alajuela and San Jose from above, with the lights shimmering in the distance. Just the other day I was talking to Lina about how a place really becomes special because of the people you meet. While traveling you will see so many different and beautiful places, but when you encounter the right people at the right time, it will make your time there even better, and it’s guaranteed that you won’t forget about this place. And this is exactly how I feel about Costa Rica. I get along with my students, my co-workers and I have Lina and Charlotte, who are awesome people! We also made some new friends through Freakz, the youth program where we practice aerial silks on saturdays, and I am just so grateful for all of the people that make my time here so special. Living in a little town for a while, is  a nice change as well since I come from a big city. It has its good and bad sides – there’s not too much to do here, I mainly work, cook, read, do yoga or go the gym. Poás basically consist of shops and sodas (costa rican restaurants), a church and a park. I try to take every opportunity to get out of the town, just so I can explore more of the rest of Costa Rica. Last weekend Lina and I explored some of San Jose’s nightlife and we went to a chocolate fair with some friends. I also was able to meet Annika and Theresa for the first time, who are also volunteers through Kulturweit and both live in San Jose. Theresa organizes a german cooking evening every two weeks, where anyone is invited to join. Last wednesday we cooked some “Rouladen”  and “Knödel”  which was really good, and we all had so much fun. This weekend I am headed off to Tamarindo on the pacific coast! Hopefully I can catch some waves! I am super stoked for everything that’s yet to come!

Honestly, I’m so happy to be here and to do all these amazing things. I am beyond grateful for this experience and for the process of being and becoming. Thank you for reading my blog and sharing this special time with me.


Kulturweit Seminar en Las Manzanas // Part IV

Hi friends,

in this blogpost I will tell you about what we did during the 5 day seminar in Mexico…

First of all, the seminar is mandatory and the travel expenses were covered by our organization Kulturweit. Each “region” had their own little seminar with about 20-30 people. Most of our people were volunteers located in Mexico, so that’s why the seminar happened there. Other volunteers were coming from Ecuador, Jamaica, Costa Rica  (us) and Columbia. I think in total we were about 20 people. We all met up with each other and our coaches for the week (Maria and Jero), at the Goethe Institute in Mexico City. I also met Nici again, who is my coordinator, as she works at the GI. She visited me and Charlotte a while back at our school, and just checked out the german classes and how everything was going. If we have any problems or questions we can always write her an email. And she’s a super sweet person as well!

Anyways, a bus then took us to a tiny village named “Las Manzanas” which literally translates to “The apples”  , and we settled in at this beautiful space –  wooden cottages, a nearby stream and all surrounded by the green mountains;  we found ourselves in the perfect environment for the upcoming seminar. A place where we would have time to reflect, think, maybe confront ourselves with problems and struggles that we have undermined, or to simply relax and get a quiet time-out. We spent the days talking about each others experiences, good and bad, our problems and challenges, our co-workers.. the things we miss the most about home, our future plans during our time abroad and also what we wanted to do when we got back to Germany. We had some really good exercises and talks with each other, and we just had created a “safe space”  where we could talk without being judged, compared – and where people would listen, help and support you. On my birthday, May 24th, we had a field trip to Mexico City, where we visited the Frida Kahlo Museum and the Diego Rivera Anahuacalli Museum. We had a little tour in each one of them, and a lunch break in between. Both were very very interesting museums that I can highly recommend. In the evening we had an appointment for a Temazcal ceremony , which is a type of sweat lodge that was used by indigenious people throughout Mesoamerica to purify the body after battle, to heal the sick or for women to give birth. Today it is described as a detox or cleansing for the mind, body and spirit. There were 4 rounds during the ceremony, in each more and more heated volcanic stones were brought in and thrown into the pit in the center, then a scented water was poured over them. Each round lasted about 20-30 mins, and we had breaks between them that lasted up to 20 mins as well. As most of us had never done anything like that before we had a moderate maximum temperature, but I don’t remember exactly how hot it got, but definitely hotter than in a regular sauna. The hut in which everything took place was round and made out of adobes. Everyone sat down on the floor with their backs against the wall. And just like in a sauna, we wore bathing suits. The hut was very small, so you couldn’t stand up straight in there (not even me). There was also a shaman, a woman (I don’t know if she was a shaman too) and a helper, who always brought the hot stones in through the little door. Before we started the ceremony we all got blessed by the woman. For every round they closed the door and it was completely dark in the hut –  we all closed our eyes and listened to the voice of the shaman. In the first round the scent of the water was rosmary, then lemon, then eucalyptus and in the final round we had menthol. They poured the water over the hot stones and the hut started to get  hotter and hotter, and the scent was just so strong that you could feel it going through your entire body. The woman and the shaman started singing and playing drums, they sang in spanish and in their own indigenious language – first we listened, then we sang along. We continously said “Ometeo”, which I don’t really now what it means to be honest, but I think it is their indigenous God. During the ceremony we also had to give thanks to whatever or whomever we were grateful for. We started the ceremony around 6pm and we got out around 10pm. At the end of the ceremony we all got an ice bucket dumped over us and finally we hugged each other when the Temazcal was over.

For me personally the whole ceremony really was like a cleansing, mostly for my body I would say, but the physical sweating kind of helped me to let go of draining thoughts and problems that I had cluttered up in my mind. Of course they weren’t gone after it, but I think I lessened the pressure and maybe even the importance of them. It was also more special for me, because it was my birthday and thus it felt like a “tiny rebirth.”  I had experienced something a week prior that had made my heart very heavy, and the ceremony  inititated a new beginning for me. Not  a big one, but a little one atleast. At the end of the day I hit my head on a window frame and I was bleeding a little, but mostly I was so in shock that I crawled up into an embryo position and I cried for a while. I cried because it hurt, but it also turned into a little burn-out. I cried lots, because I haven’t let out the tears that needed to get out a week ago, and I cried because at that moment everything was just too much for me. I had a mental breakdown and it was though, but I believe that these need to happen sometimes, to make you realize that you’re actually not okay and that being emotional is normal and necessary. I’m a person that tries to avoid conflict and problems. I like to ignore them or down play my emotions – like “oh I’m fine, I’m not upset or angry”  – when I really am though. My birthday was great, in terms of that I had a very emotional day, with lots of different energies and experiences, but in the end it was a good day, because I confronted myself with myself, and that just needed to happen. The seminar in total was amazing. It was so much fun getting to know the other volunteers better and to share our different experiences. It was the laying back, and looking at everything as a bigger picture that I so desperately needed at that time. It provided the time-out and emotional processing that my mental being had craved, and it reinforced my motivation for my upcoming time abroad, and gave me a new and better perspective on my current time in life.

What is really  important to you? …


Back in  Mexico City on saturday, Lina and I explored the area called “Roma”, which is a very hip, trendy and european inspired area with lots of little cafes, shops and different restaurants. We bought some souvenirs, ate amazing sushi that I had craved for a while, and simply enjoyed the countrys vibe one last time. I can’t explain how much I already love Mexico and everything it has to offer, but now after so much has happened I also feel a emotional connection with this country. I have a very strong feeling that tells me that I will come back to Mexico, and spend a lot of time there. We shall see…

Gracias Mexico – por todo. Nunca olvidaré las aventuras contigo.


Aventuras con Erick – Puebla & Cholula // Part III

Buenos días!

After a chill day in Mexico City, we packed our things together and took the metro towards the local bus terminal. We asked for 2 tickets for the next bus to Puebla, and as we were both so tired and exhausted we misunderstood the lady at the counter. We thought she said the next bus is at 2:40pm but it really was at 12:40 so we had like 10 mins before depature! But we didn’t realize it, and we sat down and complained about how we have to wait for 2 hours now and that we should’ve left earlier etc. … Then Lina looks at the ticket again and realized that the bus leaves in 5 mins and we rushed to the gate. Embarassed about our carelessness and stupidity we also almost got in the wrong bus. But hey, we made it to Puebla in the end!  For some reason, these things happen to Lina and me all the time – it must be our travel chemistry or something. At least it never gets boring with us! As we arrived in Puebla, Lina’s friend Erick picked us up at the terminal. We were planning on staying with him for 2 days and we were super grateful that he and his family were kind enough to host us. It was late afternoon already so we just walked around Cholula, a suburban town 20 mins outside of Puebla (where Erick’s family lives). We hiked up a huge hill that had this beautiful yellow colored church named  “Nuestra Señora de los Remedios”  in the center, and we enjoyed a stunning view over the whole city of Puebla and its suburbs. This is also the place where 20€ slipped out of my pocket as I got my phone out to take some photos. Oh well.  Later on we enjoyed some torillas with cheese, mushrooms and some sort of edible flower – and it was super delicious! We also tried a beverage which was just simply cacao and water and sugar of course, but it was really fluffy and yummy. We ended up watching the german movie called “Er ist wieder da” (“Look who’s back”)  with Erick and his parents. The next two days we adventured around Puebla and Cholula with Erick as our local tour guide. We visited the “Great pyramid of Cholula” , which is the largest pyramid in the world. We walked around its underground tunnels and explored the history of the site. The pyramid actually just looks like a hill because most of it is overgrown by plants. We also walked around the historic part of Puebla, which we immediately fell in love with. The buldings were all in colonial style and reminded me much of some places in Italy and France, nevertheless you still had that hearty and welcoming vibe from the mexican people with their tiny little souvenir shops and restaurants, with street vendors selling handmade goods and entertainers hosting shows in the local parks. We also had lots of good food, like ice cream made out of blue corn (I think it’s my new favorite flavor now)  and some good italian pizza, which we haven’t had in a long time! After a long day of exploring with Erick, we went back to his house in Cholula. Thank you Erick for showing us around your beautfiul home! The next day we already had to leave again, so we took the bus back to Mexico City. We arrived in the late afternoon and went back to eat the best vegan tacos  – yes, again! (because they were that  good) and just chilled out for the rest of the night. The next morning we had to meet up with all the other volunteers that were also going to our seminar, which was organized by our organization Kulturweit.

Next up: 5 day seminar in the mountains of Mexcio + more

Thank you for catching up with me!