Sitting in the grass with the sun shining, the crew sipped on fresh medium roast coffee brewed from beans grown at the plantation next door. Two small, adorable dogs frolicked joyfully among us. Before them, we swooned over two precious cats who accompanied us during our walk of the plantation, where we pressed and drank our own sugar cane juice. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – is this real life?
It’s important for us to take moments like this to reflect, to be where our feet are, and to remember that among all the intense academic work that’s happening, it’s important to wake up and literally smell the coffee.
Our time in Monteverde was an agriculturist’s dream. We’ve had a variety of tours around the gardens of the Ecolodge with Denver and Molly, our incredibly knowledgeable guides. We learned about the medicinal qualities of various plants and herbs, found a 15 foot tall tree that belongs to the asparagus family, and that if you write on the back of a particular leaf, your words will appear in about 30 minutes, like a polaroid picture!
The coffee plantation walk was even better than we’d hoped. When one hears “plantation” it’s common to think of large fields with plants laid out in rows. This was anything but that. Luis who owns the plantation, has designed a hectare’s worth of land so that coffee plants are interspersed between various palm and lime trees, sugar cane, peppers, and so much more. Luis taught us the basics of how coffee is grown and harvested, from cherry, to the golden bean, to dark roast. He explained his struggles with La Roya, a common plant disease that affects his coffee crops much more than the average farmer as he grows everything organically. We were all very impressed with how well maintained his land was. The secret? Love, and persistence!
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” – Calvin Coolidge
Last night, the crew presented their raps and scenes on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and we had a blast! Encouraging as ever, the crew laughed, applauded, and bobbed their heads to the beat of the music. As we are buckle down and head into ISUs and exams, we are all reminding ourselves to enjoy our time together as much as possible. To have a laugh, or find a quiet space to take in the beauty of our final location – Manuel Antonio! We are at La Mariposa, and absolutely stunning hotel on a cliff overlooking the Pacific. Here, in another part of paradise, we’ll share all that we’ve learned. Deep breaths.
As we are at this stage, we’ll be going on hiatus for the next couple of days! Wish us luck!