Sunday, June 6, 2010

Living in the shadow of a volcano

             The last couple of weeks or so here in Z-13 have been interesting because Volcano Arenal has been more active. The volcano is not doing much more than sending some more smoke up than usual and making some more noise, but it still adds a new dynamic to living here.
             A few nights ago was especially surreal. I fell asleep early just before 10:00. All of a sudden I woke up to a large booming noise.  As I lay in bed, I was discombobulated and unsure of whether I had imagined the volcano making noise or not. It sounded almost like thunder but without the rumbling and it was not raining, so I figured it had to be the volcano.
            The next day, I asked my host family and they confirmed that I had in fact been woken up by the volcano the night before. They asked me if I had told my parents about the volcano. I think they wondered whether I would tell my family for fear of worrying them. I did debate whether or not to write of the volcano, but it is too much a part of my experience here for me to leave it out. 
              Not to mention the fact that the top of my blog is a picture of lava flowing out of the volcano, so its not exactly a secret.  The entire city is built around tourists who want to see the volcano.  There's some other stuff to do, zip lining and canyoning, but for the most part this town is built around the volcano, jobs-wise if not literally.
             My other experience with the volcano came two days ago at about 5:45. I heard what I thought was thunder and then heard my host brother yelling for me to come look at the volcano. A good sized cloud of smoke was billowing out of the top of the volcano. The smoke was a light gray and was mushrooming out of the top of the volcano.
            When the volcano starts acting up I am particularly grateful to have a host family. There are times when I would prefer to be living alone, but the fact that my host family is taking the volcano's actions for granted is comforting. They have lived in its shadow for years, so they obviously have a better sense of whats normal for the volcano to be doing. I would be way more worried if I had no one to ask whether this is normal.
             I wanted new experiences when I came to Costa Rica and being woken up by a volcano is definitely one of them.

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