Grass-sledding in Costa Rica

When you say “gracias” to a Tico, they don’t reply with “de nada”, but instead with “con gusto”, with pleasure. That exactly sums up the hospitality of this beautiful country.

It was everywhere I went, from the Monteverde campus of the University of Georgia, to the beautiful beach town of Nosara, where hustling tourists in the scorching heat bound to make someone grumpy and wishing for a nap more than anything else.

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And it was in the phrase: “We invited you here, you ARE one of us.”

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12 Tips on Geocaching

This film has won the following accolades:
– Best Daisy Duke (short shorts – under 3 minutes) at the Traveling Shorts Film Festival 2015, presented at Romantso Cultural Center and Incubator in Athens, Greece.
– Finalist in the Geocaching International Film Festival 2015 in Seattle, WA, USA.

I think I’ve developed a geocaching addiction. I have a constant urge to get out and play (a lot of walking, hiking and scootering involved).

Geocaching is a modern day treasure hunt using coordinates to hide and seek containers called “geocaches”. The hunt is happening everywhere around us, so next time you see a hiker looking around bushes, staring at a handheld device, you know what they are doing.

Footage shot in Hokianga, Northland, NZ (October 2014).

12 Tips on Geocaching from Chau Pham on Vimeo.

We Didn’t Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro

Yes, I went to Moshi, Tanzania for two weeks during our school’s intersession, and I didn’t climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. In my defense, I wasn’t really prepared for such a physically challenging feat.

However, what I did get to do:

– Saw baby zebras at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

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– Got my glasses stolen by a very curious toddler.

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– Dug a foundation for a new school building and carried surprisingly heavy buckets of cement under the intense Tanzanian heat (Important: Keep hydrated, always).

– Hiked the Pare Mountains range (did I mention that I was very out of shape?).

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Departure: Procrastination

I have two more days. Reality still hasn’t hit me yet. It felt like yesterday when I landed in Albuquerque after a grueling six-hour flight from Boston, after a four-day orientation at a boarding school in Connecticut without any air-conditioning, after a whole day of traveling halfway across the world. I am not looking forward to the long trip home. If only Doraemon’s “Anywhere Door” really exists.

I left home on a rainy Tuesday night. I will return on a Saturday night. Hopefully it will be rainy. Living in New Mexico gives one serious appreciation for water and humidity.

My mom is very excited for me to come home. She has been counting down the days ever since I arrived in Albuquerque ten months ago. I’m sorry I’m growing up, mom. Really, I am. Life seems so much easier when you were coloring outside the lines.

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