When I was young, my father lived in the Caribbean of Costa Rica and I used to go there all the time. We lived in front of the sea. The rusty things in the house, the smell of humidity and sitting for hours in the balcony watching the changes of the tide are the things I remember the most clearly. Oh, and the heavy rains of course. When we got to go to a beach where there was nobody, and park the car under an exuberant tree, get into the ocean, then, the Caribbean became something utterly magical.
When I arrived in Bocas, my eyes grew wide open. I was getting to know another facet of the Caribbean, the same one I loved in my childhood. I could not believe there was an even more beautiful version of this coast! Here in Bocas, the sky is blue, the sea transparent, and the white sanded island dot the landscape, surrounded by some of the most beautiful coral reefs I ever snorkeled. The best of it all: I get to work here. In the morning I am woken up by howler monkeys, I ride a bike to work and teach in an open-air classroom in the middle of the ocean. What more could I ask for?
Having a Ph.D. focused on animal behavior, and more specifically on paternal care and sexual selection in a Neotropical species of daddy long legs, makes it very interesting to be teaching a class in Principles of Resource Management this semester. I get to spend long hours in the rainforest again, and teach the students about my passion. I hope this place will have as much long-lasting impact on them, as it is having on me.