Smells of baking bread rolls, buttery turkey, maple pecan pie, cheesey mashed potatoes, homemade pumpkin ravioli, and apple cake wafted across the SFS Center in Costa Rica this week with cooler temperatures and lovely breezes to remind us of home.
Our semester long program here in Costa Rica is wrapping up with only Directed Research (DR) presentations left! This week has been very special, as the second to last week of the program, and because of Thanksgiving.

Students have been working diligently on their Directed Research papers, while balancing all of the Thanksgiving meal preparations. It all started on Monday with a voyage to the supermarket. After three and a half hours we made our way home with three full carts of food. Somehow we found most of the ingredients needed and so the cooking commenced. The kitchen was a mad house with flour-flecked people, music to get us in the zone, a lack of counter-space, spoons stirring, and occupied ovens. On Wednesday, I knew that this would be a unique Thanksgiving when students dug a big pit in the ground to cook one of the turkeys in with a jerk sauce.

Finally Thursday came, the tables were decorated with tropical flowers picked from the Center, the turkeys were paraded into the buffet, and the students carried down a mind-boggling amount of plates, silverware, and cups. We had everything from caprese salad, to tamales, to pineapple cheese casserole, Baileys cake, 7-up salad, latkes, and even a cornucopia made from phylo dough and filled with all sorts of hand-made breads. It was truly a great meal, and wonderful to be able to share it with all of our staff, together as an SFS family.

Its been a week full of hard work on DR papers and presentations, but also a week of appreciating each other and the time we have had here, as we prepare for our journeys home.  While we approach our last week of the program, I am filled with excitement for snow, sadness for leaving, and hope for the future. Its been a long, life-changing, learning-filled year for me here as a Program Intern, and a totally unique experience that I will never forget.