As much as I like Summer, Fall, and Winter in Michigan, Spring is worthless, at least before mid-May. ALL RIGHT - enough about depressing weather. Blog topics have been starting to pile up, so I might as well write about the crazy end events of Costa Rica before I forget it all.So, on the last night in Costa Rica, my group of guys (me and two others) had one girl left to drop off at her house. The neighborhood we were staying in was a little sketchy, which was why we always walked in groups wherever we went. As we neared her house, five loud gunshots sounded from the house across the street - POP POP POP POP POP! It sounded like a smaller, semiautomatic handgun. We all froze, staring at the house, then quickly hurried the last ten meters to her front gate, which she frantically unlocked before darting inside. As she worked, I looked across the street.The door to the house across the street stood ajar, which was definitely NOT normal. Everyone locks their doors, especially at night. Our house had (literally) three doors and five locks on it. After my classmate got into her gate and locked it, we continued on at a faster pace. I kept throwing furtive glances behind me toward the door of the house across the street, only to see a shadowy figure emerge from the house. He looked both ways as he stepped out into the street and noticed us, stopping to peer after us down the street as we reached the corner. We were probably 40 meters down the street or so, and I remember having the odd thought of, I wonder if my laptop would stop a bullet at this distance? before we rounded the corner onto our street. It was not without a little tremors in my hands that I unlocked the front gate to our house.Once inside, I found several worried texts from the first group of girls we had dropped off. Apparently, they had heard the shots from their house and were (understandably) worried about us. So worried, in fact, that one of them almost left their house to charge down the street and see if we were okay! Luckily her housemate (who grew up in Columbia) had the additional wherewithal and street smarts to stop her, opting to text us instead.I immediately called the program director to notify him of what happened, and he informed me that, though these things are not common, it was likely one of two things. Either an intruder had entered the house and had either fired the gun or been fired upon, or the owner of the house had gotten spooked and fired shots into the air. Regardless, he said, make sure no one leaves the house for the remainder of the evening. That was fine with me!My group only had about three hours until we needed to leave for the airport anyway (it was about 11:30pm, and we were scheduled to be picked up at our houses by 2:30am). However, one of the guys in my group had realized on our walk home that he had lost his wallet somewhere between paying for dinner at 11:15pm and reaching home. We immediately set about making the international calls to cancel his credit cards, and by the time that was done only had a little time left before the bus was scheduled to arrive. By this point, we were so exhausted that we both drifted off to sleep with the lights on.I woke up to him charging into the room, sleepily worried, saying, "Hey Justin, we've gotta go. I think we overslept - it's 3:00am!" Adrenaline surged, and I grabbed my cell phone. Which said 2:00am. Apparently his phone was still set to obey the Daylight Savings Time change from back in the US, which neither of us had remembered would be occurring that night. We got our stuff together, chuckling about the ridiculousness of the night, and went to wait in the living room for the transport bus.And we waited. And waited. 2:30am came and went. I tried calling the program director, but could only seem to get, "El celular que Ud. ha marcado no está en un área de servicio. Favor de esperar y luego marcar de nuevo." "The number that you have dialed is outside an area of service. Please wait and dial again later." AWESOME. I dialed every number I could possibly find, but no response. After nearly an hour of waiting for our ride and communicating with the other program members in other houses who were also waiting for a ride, we decided to call a cab.And guess what happened. The cab and the shuttle ride pulled up at EXACTLY the same time! I felt bad for the cab driver when we told him we no longer needed the ride, but that was all we could really do. The shuttle driver had apparently thought the program director would meet him to take us to the airport, and had been waiting for him at a predetermined location. When the program director never arrived, he waited for a while and then came to pick us up.We made it to the airport in plenty of time, even making it to our gate about a half-hour early - more than enough time for some napping:
From there, it was smooth sailing home. I have now been on 44 plane rides. Yes, I've counted, ever since I won the paper airplane competition in elementary school and was given a ride on a small, single-propeller plane at the local airfield. That was a crowning moment for the young Jintus, and when I first yearned to become a pilot or astronaut. Those dreams faded with time, but I've never lost my love of flight. I don't think I'll ever get tired of views like this:
I should mention that the trip was smooth-sailing for us. It probably wasn't the best day for whoever ended up having to catch this vagrant pigeon who had decided to infiltrated the airport in Newark, New Jersey:
Wish me luck on Monday's exam - the last exam of the year for Physiology! Speaking of which, while I've done a considerable amount of studying today, a lot more remains to be done. Happy St. Patrick's Day!