Pura vida means the pure life

Recently, 21 Marquette Senior High School students went to Costa Rica for our week-long Spring Break. Mr. Reilly, Mrs. Warchock, and Ms. Jensen were the teachers who took us on the trip. In Costa Rica, we stayed in La Guacima de Alajuela, which is a town near San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. Each person stayed with a Costa Rican family and then, during the day, we spent time with our classmates going to different places in Costa Rica.

We had a “home base” of Rancho de Espanol, which is a language school. They have a pool, a volleyball field and a restaurant. My classmates and I hung out there when we weren’t busy or when we got back from doing something with the whole group.

Costa Rica is an amazing country. I had a lot of good food, met very nice people, and improved my Spanish. I learned a lot of regional phrases (tiquismos) like “Pura Vida,” which in its literal translation means “pure life,” but it means much more than that it is often used to mean “full of life.”

You can use it any time in a conversation. I also learned things about Costa Rica that I had not known before, such as the fact that Costa Rica does not have armed forces. Since I am planning on taking AP Spanish Language and Culture next fall, I am excited because learning about different cultures in Spanish speaking countries will help me do well in that class.

When my classmates and I were in Costa Rica, we went to a lot of different places like the Arenal Volcano Region, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Cafe Britt, Manuel Antonio National Park, San Jose and Marista High School. We had a cooking class, a dancing class, and celebrated one of our classmate’s birthday. During our cooking class, our teacher made him a birthday cake and that was very nice. Also, our dancing class was a lot of fun. We learned different styles of dance, like bachata, salsa, and merengue.

I liked all the places we went, but my favorite was going to Manuel Antonio National Park. We went there on the last day we were in Costa Rica. We spent three hours there. There was a beach, Manuel Antonio, and afterwards we were able to go shopping. A group of girls and I collected seashells there, took pictures, and just relaxed on the beach. It was hard to imagine that we were leaving Costa Rica the next day. None of us wanted to leave the wonderful tropical country to come back to face the snow and ice in Marquette in April.

I loved Costa Rica and every person I met there. I miss it immensely. While I was in Costa Rica, I became close to my host family. Thankfully, I am still in contact with them through Facebook. I am hopeful that I will be able to study abroad there someday and visit my host family again. Pura Vida!

Editor’s note: GlenEllen Lehmberg, 16, is a junior at Marquette Senior High School. She is a long time member of 8-18 Media and is also involved in dance and youth theatre in her spare time. Her parents are Paul and Z.Z. Lehmberg of Marquette.