rock mosaic

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The Best hostel in Central America: Rocking J’s

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Nestled in the surf town of Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, Rocking J’s is one of the coolest hostels I’ve ever seen! Guests rock to sleep in hammocks for $7 per night. The walls, floors, tables–everything–is covered in mosaics and visitor-created art. A coconut is cracked open for each guest upon arrival. The hostel sits on beach front property…And so much more!  

My favorite, satirical piece of art said, “Don’t write on the walls; you aren’t in prison anymore.”

The food at Rocking J’s was great, too. They served all the typical Costa Rican dishes: gallo pinto, etc. One night we decided to save some money and cook dinner in the hostel’s kitchen. (Before I continue, I need to set the scene. Happy hour at Rocking J’s included $2 beers and $1 shots. Let’s just say some people took advantage of the 60 minutes of bliss more than others.) SO. When it came time to cook with boiling water, I took the reigns.

If you know me or follow my “Critchy Can’t Cook” segment on my blog, you know that I am culinary impaired. Which would lead to less disaster and injury- letting intoxicated people who don’t know the ground from the ceiling cook? or myself? It’s a close call I’ll admit. But I made the executive decision and chose the latter. Let me tell you, I made a mean Mac N’ Cheese. Snaps for me, please.   

We stayed two nights and three days in this laid-back town basking on its surprisingly vacant beaches  and discovering its quaint shops and restaurants. 

If you’ve ever been to Wisconsin, this is the Wisconsin Dells of Costa Rica (minus the water-parks). 

One day we rented bikes and stopped in a restaurant downtown for lunch. The World Cup was on TV and it was Costa Rica vs. Uruguay- that was an experience. The whole town was shouting and cheering in the streets as Costa Rica made their winning goal. 

After the game ended, we paid for our meals and mounted our bikes to leave. Just as we did so, it started to down pour. You couldn’t see the front wheel of the bike! We rode all the way back to our hostel passing people celebrating in the streets shouting, “Costa Rica! Pura Vida!” We arrived back at the hostel soaked, but feeling liberated. 

Oh, we got hair wraps Yay! Now we are Caribbean. :)

Post it for Strength, Endurance, and Worth.

“You are strong.”

Those are the words my best friend tells me when I feel crushed under the weight of everything, when I’m clinging by my fingernails to whatever will keep me from falling, when I’m breaking from everything life throws at me again.

She reminds me that I am strong, and that there is someone out there who gives a shit.

That voice though, that negative one that never shuts up, tells me though that I’m not strong. That if I were strong I would have done this or I would have done that. It tells me with the words of everyone who has torn me down that I’m not strong enough.

She does something else though. She tells me that I’ve made it through everything in my life so far, even the ones she doesn’t know about, the things I don’t have the strength to tell her.

She reminds me that I’ve endured. 

Despite everything I AM HERE.

And after years of this, I can finally remind myself of this.

That although my strength failed in some ways, it endured in others. At the hands of everything I’ve been through, life sharpened part of me into the end of a busted beer bottle. The rest of me? Again and again it broke me, and I fell into the sea, battered against the salt and sand and the strength in this shattered glass has turned it into treasures children pick up on the beach.

The thing about sea glass. It endures. It’s broken bits of worthless trash that people throw away. It’s scoured away. Then it’s picked up. It gets turned into jewelry and hidden in treasure chests and when held together by a glue that’s hard as rocks, turned into beautiful mosaics that make a whole picture out of the pieces.

If you are still reading this. Know this.

You are Strong. You can Endure. One day you will realize that it will make you dazzling, until then, this is your reminder that you’ve endured, That You Are Strong. That even if at times you feel like your strength has failed you, your endurance has transformed you into something stronger, something worth even more.