So last Friday I had my final for Intermediate 2 Spanish, which was rediculously hard, so we'll see how I did. I find out tomorrow, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. In an attempt to forget about that horrible experience I went out with Katalina and Christine, and my friend Melony from ISA with some of Katalina's friend's from school. It was nice to finaly go out with other Ticos so that I could practice some spanish and work on my skills of blending in. We were going to go to Terra U, which is one of the most popular bars here, but seeing as how it was Halloween weekend there was a line out the door, so we went down a couple doors to another place. Spoke lots of Spanglish, discovered the wonderful creation of Olafols Verde (which is lime flavored beer, that due to the translation I have no idea what was in it) and then returned for very few hours of sleep before waking up to leave for Arenal at 6am.
However, everyone here is on "Tico Time" so 6am actually meant around 6:30 or 7. Drove to a park with sculpted bushes, had breakfast at a beutiful cafe, hiked down to a waterfall to go swimming, but couldn't get too close because it was so powerful, and then went to hotsprings, complete with a wet bar surrounded by rocks and tropical gardens with a beautiful view of the volcano, for the remainder of the afternoon. Unfortunately it got cloudy at night so we weren't able to see the lava, but after the mini monsoon at 3am it cleared up a bit so when we set our alarms for 4 we were able to see small sparks of red.
This morning woke up early and went to the national park with a couple other students. Hiked up to the viewpoint, had a good view of some tucans, continued on the trail past signs warning of the volcanic zone we were entering, climbed over lava fields and then returned in the rain to the sound of howler monkeys, getting back to our hotel with 5 minutes to spare before checkout.
All in all a pretty perfect weekend. To say the least. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to adjust going back to a life filled with work, school and studying after this...