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January 15, 2017

Costa Rican Journals

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On Saturday we planned to visit the big finca, the larger of the two cattle ranches. I confess I was a bit relieved at the rainy weather because Franz said that the only way to see the property was on the back of a horse. Never having been anywhere even near a real live horse, suffice it to say I was just a little bit nervous.


(I started thinking of the time in my younger days, when I was “convinced” to take a kayak down the Chattooga  River. More than once on that trip, I thought I was going to meet my Maker by the end of the day.)


But, by the end of breakfast, the sun started burning through the fog over  Lake Arenal, and my fate was sealed. We were heading to the big finca, and I was just going to have to get on a horse.  On the way there, I prayed to St. Jude (patron of hopeless causes) that I might have a reprieve.


We arrived at the farmhouse on this lush property, and I was warmly welcomed by Rolberth and his beautiful family. Then it started to sprinkle a bit and I thought that St. Jude had come through for me. No such luck. The rain stopped as quickly as it began, and we headed to the barn where they were bringing the horses back from the field.


As Rolberth saddled our transportation, I watched as little 4 year old Mariela, still in her pajamas, climbed the fence and hopped on a waiting horse. That was it, there was no way out. If a 4 year old could do this, I had no choice but to muster as much courage as I could, and try not to look too terrified.


(I just couldn’t believe that a 4 year old could ride a horse, but then I remembered that at 4, I could play the piano. Just a reminder that we are all a product of our diverse cultural environments.)


The moment of truth arrived. I climbed on the back of my horse as little Mariela gave me instructions, in Spanish, on how to steer. Then, Franz translated and we took off. It’s difficult for me to put into words what I felt as we started to ride into the cattle pastures. I was so nervous, my legs were shaking in the stirrups. Soon, however, I knew it was all worth it. The views as we rode up the hills through the cattle fields were magnificent. The wind whipped up, and a bit of rain fell, but we kept going.


There were a few moments I thought I might fall off the horse into the mud, but I never thought I would meet my Maker! When we finally returned to the barn, I felt like an athlete crossing the finish line… I was so proud of myself! Those of you who really know me well, understand what a great personal achievement this was!


Tomorrow we travel to the coast to the beach with friends. I can’t wait to see what’s next on this great adventure!!

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