After a long flight, we’re finally in Costa Rica!!!
We stopped to have lunch at a delicious restaurant. YUMMM!!! I had a veggie plate beautifully served on a banana leaf (I love travelling in veg-friendly countries!). The drink in the background ishorchata, a delicious nutty-milky drink.
Everyone was really hungry from the drive, and excited to get their food! Different foods visible in this picture: fried banana with cheese, fried rice, traditional soups, tortillias, and much more!
We spent the next three days at the Manuel Antonio National Park, which was wonderfully relaxing after a busy winter term.
The bridge from our hotel to the beach.
More beach! Pura vida!!
Beautiful volcanic rocks :) (Beware: if you come to Caltech, you’ll be surrounded by people excited about science, so even on relaxing days on the beach, you get to talk about rocks, erosion, and diffusion!)
Tiny hermit crab!
More yummy food! The fresh pressed juices were delicious, I had blackberry and other people had papaya, pineapple, or strawberry!
Day two at Manuel Antonio! Nine of us went on a horseback riding tour through the jungle. I tried horseback riding a few times when I was young, and didn’t like it that much; I wanted to see more of the jungle, so I decided to give it a try, and it was actually really fun!! Who knows - maybe I’ll try horseback riding another time!
My horse, Morito, was a sweetie! Especially given how uncomfortable it must have been to carry someone as inexperienced as me. He was pretty competitive, so I was at the front of the group most of the time :)
Oh no, the website tilted the picture! Oh well, this was my view during the ride!
Pura vida! I love nature!!!!!
We walked to a waterfall, and spent a good half-hour splashing around - it was lots of fun!
In the evening, we walked around the touristy (and overpriced: if you ever go to Costa Rica, get your souvenirs at the artist’s market in San Jose, not at Manuel Antonio) shop-itos (a popular costaricien suffix that implies something along the lines of “cute little”). So colorful!
A sloth outside our hotel room!
On our third day, I went into the National Park, which meant waking up very early by Caltech standards. Here’s some highlights!
A monkey family playing around on the ground.
Pretty spider webs!
That’s certainly one way to keep monkeys and sloths from climbing on you!!
We also saw iguanas two feet long, tucans, the white headed capuchin monkeys, and spent some time soaking up the sun! I grew up pretty close to the New Hampshire beaches, but the Costa Rican beaches were very different and we all had a great time exploring and getting to know each other!
My favorite part about Caltech is the Houses! The easiest way to describe them is as Hogwarts houses: each has their own personality and group of people and the first thing you do at Caltech is go through a “sorting” process. The people are what makes the Houses at Caltech so great. As a frosh, it’s amazing to be able to come in and immediately have a group of 100+ people to support you. Because the Houses have students from every grade, you make friends with upperclassmen and can ask for help on tons of things like:
It’s crazy to think that it has been four years now since I was applying to college. I remember it vividly. This week we’re spending some time reflecting on our personal admissions processes, and how we ended up at Caltech. There’s one question though that I wanted to spin out into a separate post: “what advice would you give to the admitted class of 2025?” And I think the best way to do this is to tell a more detailed story than I did in my other post.
These past six months have been a whirlwind- from having to move out of Caltech housing in March within a week’s notice due to COVID-19, to starting the first term of my junior year, I’ve definitely experienced a lot of change. When I went home in March, it was to a completely new state-my family moved from Chino, CA to New Jersey in January (great timing, huh?). While I missed seeing my friends from home, it was fun to have the chance to explore a completely new place. The pandemic obviously limited what I could see and do, but I got to experience walks through nature and along rivers normally foreign to a SoCal native and had some time to focus on bioinformatics research for the lab I work with on campus.