Place Where You Live:

Monteverde, Costa Rica


I wake up at 5:45, the sun’s been up for 15 minutes and the forest outside is ringing with activity. My small cabin buzzes with the sound of a bird turf war so I walk outside to check it out. A flock of toucans are perched on a barren wind gnarled tree croaking loudly and resolutely. Whatever their reasons for this jarring cacophony, these sounds have morphed into feelings of home

I start my morning with a shower, prudently checking for scorpions on the ceiling. They have a habit of dropping when you least expect. Scorpion precautions have grown into muscle memory. The shower head buzzes from an electric heating element which will shock you if you adjust its position once it is running. It’s known by ex-pats as a suicide shower but the shock isn’t nearly that dramatic.

Breakfast consists of freshly made tortillas, fresh eggs, fruit smoothie, and coffee brewed from a hand carved chorreador. After clean-up in a red concrete sink, my trail to school starts right outside my door and reminds me there was a time when all of the houses of Monteverde were connected by trails through the woods. My trail is particularly beautiful. It runs beside an abandoned pasture. There is a single line of trees facing directly east, so when the sun rises on clear mornings, the trees filter the light like green stained glass and bath my trail in a yellowish-green light. At the end of the trail stands a secret but massive Fig Tree. It rises above the canopy and is mythological in both size and shape. Like a bundle of petrified snakes growing up with a hollow basket-like core.

My walk ends at the school where I teach. It’s tucked in the woods with a large field and garden in the back. I feel happy and fortunate to be a part of this land and community.