Tag Archives: Volunteer Refugio Romelia

My time at Romelia by Ida, 19 years old, Sweden

My time at Romelia

When I first came to Costa Rica, it was January, and about minus five degrees where I came from (Celsius, of course, I am afraid I am not to skilled with the Fahrenheit system). I had been flying for thirty-six hours, and our luggage was two hours late. I was exhausted. But the second I stepped outside of the airport and felt the heat hit me like a tidal wave I felt right at home. After two weeks of Spanish Studies in San José, we went off to Romelia. After the bus- and ferry ride to Montezuma we were met up by Martin who showed us the beautiful way to Romelia, our heavy backpacks carried by the horse in the striking sun and heat, along with the beaches. We arrived at Playa Grande, a several kilometers long strip of sand, on one side surrounded by palm trees and jungle, on the other of the vast Pacific Ocean. I have been here for more than three weeks now, and even though I remember getting here as if it were yesterday, it feels like much more time has passed. The days easily grow into each other and start feeling like one, in a right way, because stress is a non-existent phenomenon here. We get up; we have breakfast, we work, we have lunch, we hang out at the beach or walk the beautiful but sandy path back to Montezuma for some wifi, we work again, hang out in the hammocks, have dinner, we go to bed. I cannot explain how calm I am compared to when I left Sweden six weeks ago. Everyone here is so friendly and helpful, and I don’t know how many times I have laughed until my stomach has ached, making fun about how stressed and annoying people are back home compared to here or to the monkeys (these specifically are called white-faced monkeys, and they are our closest neighbors) constantly waiting in the trees for the moment to strike and search our bags for food. Luckily I haven’t lost anything to the little white-faced thieves spare my granola bars that day I forgot to close my bag.
Today, on the nineteenth of February as I sit writing this at the kitchen table, I never want to go home. The rhythm you fall into here is so calm, and being here, so far away from home, working in nature all day has made me realize so much about myself. Also, I think I’m about to finish my seventh book any time now. Right now, we are six volunteers here. Me, my friend Emma who I went from Sweden with, another Swedish girl, a Spanish couple and a guy from Belize. It is amazing how completely different cultures meet and how we all get along anyway, with some fascinating discussions on the way. It also feels so good to do something different, to not just go on vacation somewhere and be served by people, but to work yourself in a country completely different from your own. This morning we, for example, picked up plastic from the beach and even if it doesn’t make a big difference, it is so much better than not to do anything at all. I also have fallen in love with Montezuma; it is so close to these million beautiful places that we can explore on our days off. I wish I could completely describe what it is like to hear the sound of the ocean every hour of the day, to be woken up by howler monkeys at four thirty in the morning or what it feels like to open coconuts with your hands or walk along the beach into the sunset. If I were to describe this place with one word, it would be genuine. But it cannot be described; it must be experienced.

Ida, 19 years old, Sweden

Thinking about joining the family at Romelia, just do it. You will not regret it.

Originally when asked to write a blog for this week at Romelia, I was going to title it “Work Hard, Play Hard” and it was going to be about all the fun activities that we do when we are not saving sea turtles.  But things around here change so suddenly and some bad news from back home in Australia has forced me to say good-bye to Romelia in a few short weeks.  This has left me to sit here and reflect over my time here at Romelia.  

When I arrive back home, I am sure to have people ask that big question… “How was your trip?” However, I am starting to realize that it is impossible to sum up my experience in a few words.  Although I have only just reached the intended half way point (3 1/2 months) of my Costa Rica experience, I can safely say that I have had some incredible experiences that I am never going to forget.

Like the first time I saw a sea turtle lay a nest, releasing hatchlings into the ocean, the fun times here with friends, having both a beach and a jungle almost all to ourselves, visa runs to Nicaragua, the nicknames, great food, long crazy nights, and sun-filled chilled out days.

It is crazy for me to think that right now I am laying in a hammock in a hatchery that I helped build, watching over sea turtle eggs that we all have worked so hard to protect during countless long nights with intense amounts of coffee, which we then release to the ocean like proud parents.

Of course there are times and things that you miss about home while you are here like family or friends or even more importantly…. A huge barbecue, cold beers, and hot showers.  Coming from an Australian who has an indescribable love for barbecues and spends half his time thinking or talking about how much I want a steak with cheese, it is pretty obvious that Costa Rica and Romelia must be pretty special if I am willing to sacrifice it all to be here.

My time here at Romelia might be ending early but there is not a thing that I would change (apart from waiting until my plane ride to Costa Rica to begin learning Spanish).  As with anything, it’s not so much about what you are doing but who you are doing it with.  The volunteers, field assistants, managers, staff and the various other people that I have met on this trip are responsible for my amazing time here.

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone and I look forward to having you all visit me for a barbecue on my houseboat in Australia.  Also to anyone reading this thinking about joining the family at Romelia, just do it. You will not regret it.

Adios!
Luke (Also known as Kinka or Mowgli)