Happy 2015 everyone! In my family, we do not celebrate Christmas. Instead, we celebrate New Year! We put up a New Year tree, watch The Twilight Zone and a Russian movie called the Irony of Fate. Then, at the stroke of midnight, I open my gifts! Are you ready to see what I received this year? Hurrah!
My first gift came wrapped in this little package with a gnome on the front. What could it be? I squeezed it and it was hard, but a little pliable. Hmmm!
A Rhodia notebook! These notebooks are classic and are excellent quality. I wonder how I will use this one. There is something so exciting about all the clean, new pages in a new notebook.
After the Rhodia notebook, I found a package with penguin and owl gift wrap.
Inside this package I found two Smithsonian books about a walrus and a beluga! I love both animals, though walruses are much less cute in person in my experience.
Yay! My next present was two square, blank canvases for me to paint. Just as I love a new notebook, new canvases are also exciting! I wonder what kind of art I will create.
I had two packages left- a small box and a big box. The little box said "Open Me Last," so I reached for the big box excitedly.
Inside the box was the Sylvanian Families Bouquet skunk family! I was thrilled to get this special present from England. When I was in London last year, I could only afford to buy so much at the Sylvanian Families store; I wasn't able to purchase the skunk family. I did, however, buy the skunk baby girl! So now Baby Girl Skunk can be reunited with her family at long last.
Finally I reached for the last package. What could be inside? It was really, really heavy!
Huh? It was a u-lock for bicycles! But... I don't have a bicycle. I thought it was some kind of mean joke gift! "Inky!" said my mom, "turn around!"
Wow!!! I couldn't believe my eyes as my parents wheeled in a brand new bike, just for me! I'm so excited! The bike even had panniers for me to store my things, such as my new u-lock. It was a great New Year. I was so excited I could barely get to sleep. I hope 2015 will be a wonderful year for me- and for you!
Does your family celebrate any winter holidays? Do you receive gifts?
Hello my friends! Sadly, this is the last of my posts about my December trip to Costa Rica. :( Still, this series of photos should be pretty cool! I went hiking with my parents at Parque Nacional Volcán Rincón de la Vieja, or the Old Lady's Corner Volcano National Park. Some people call it the "witch's hideout." It's an amazing park because of all the geothermal features. The hike we went on took about two hours and it was really cool!
These big, beautiful trees were everywhere. The hike was not a simple paved path- it was in the jungle, where hikers have to scramble over the different roots and rocks. The trees were so huge that they dwarfed 11-year-old me!
There were lots of small rivers and streams running through the park. This one is the Rio Colorado, though it is not the same Colorado River that we have in the United States! It was too strong to cross on foot, so we used a (pretty scary) rope bridge!
Here I am, excited to have crossed the river! The park was full of wonderful tropical animals. I saw lizards, butterflies, and even a coatimundi! Do you know what a coatimundi is? It's pretty awesome! Unfortunately I don't have a good photo of the coatimundi because it was so speedy!
The highlight of the hike was this gorgeous waterfall. We stopped and rested there for about 15 minutes. It was pretty embarrassing, but I had a meltdown there. Not a bad one, but still, I was embarrassed! I was getting sick and I didn't think I could keep hiking. I begged my parents to stop and go back to our car, but they said they had confidence that I could finish the hike. After I drank some water and ate a Kind bar, I gathered my strength and moved on in the hike. Go me!
See the waterfall behind me? It was so beautiful. I look happy in the photo, but I was so tired and headachey! Bah!
Much of the rest of the trail was very rocky. It could be hard to find where the trail actually led! There were not many other kids at the park, but I did see some. They had big sticks to help them navigate the rocks. I didn't have one, because I liked to pretend that I was a mountain goat, leaping from rock to rock!
Among the coolest features of the park were the thermal vents. See the steam behind me? The park is a volcano so there are steamy vents all over the place. The steam really, really stunk. It was the sulfurous smell of rotten eggs! Eww! It was pretty stinky, but after a while, I got used to it, The funniest part was that when I got back to NYC a few days later, my red shirt still smelled like rotten eggs!
So that was my hike on my last full day in Costa Rica! I was pretty disappointed that I never saw a wild monkey (though I heard them nearly every morning) or sloth (they are very shy!). The Spanish word for sloth is oso perezoso. I made up a little song in my terrible Spanish about sloths and I still get it in my head a lot!
Costa Rica is a gorgeous country and I can't wait to go back. I can't believe I got to see the nesting sea turtles and the speedy coatimundi! I'm so happy that my aunt and new uncle got married in Costa Rica so that I could visit too! Thanks, Auntie Em!
Have you ever taken an international trip? Where did you go?
While I was in Costa Rica, every day was an adventure. The day that started with the turtles, however, was a particularly spectacular day. When we drove back to our hotel after visiting Playa Ostional, I took a much-needed nap and then had a breakfast of toast and fruit. Then, it was time to go on a hike to a secret waterfall!
To get to the waterfall, we went on a little hike through the forest. It was so beautiful! Did you know the movie Jurassic Park takes place on an island off the coast of Costa Rica? On the hike, I felt like a velociraptor could jump out at me at any minute! Yikes!
The waterfall was so pretty. There were actually two waterfalls that fed into a deep pool where you could swim. I was afraid of snakes, so I didn't swim. Still, it was a really cool hike!
After our hike, my family went to the post office to mail post cards. Then, we went to the beautiful Playa Guiones to watch the sunset. Can you see how magical the light was? It felt like I was in a fairy tale.
Playa Guiones is a gorgeous white sand beach. There are lots of surfers there; in fact, my mom even took a surfing lesson! I was really impressed, but not enough to try it myself!
Looking at these photos from wintry New York City makes me really miss Costa Rica! I'm so glad my parents took me on the trip there. Does your family go on vacation? What was your favorite one?
In this entry I'm wearing: shoes and shorts from American Girl and a plain white tee from American Girl Place with a sloth decal designed by Kuso Design.
Hello! One morning in Costa Rica, I had one of the most awe-inspiring experiences in my whole life; I got to see the mama sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach!
My moms woke me up very early, before the sunrise, to drive to Playa Ostional. Playa Ostional, or Ostional Beach in English, is a volcanic black sand beach on the Pacific Ocean. To get there, we had to drive through two rivers in our SUV in the dark!
We met with the guides before walking to the beach. They are very knowledgeable about the turtles and taught me and my moms so much! The turtles are Olive Ridley sea turtles and they are so beautiful! They come onto the black sand by the hundreds to lay their eggs in the sand. See those birds behind the turtle in this photo? They are vultures! The vultures love to eat sea turtle eggs, so they wait for the mamas to lay the eggs and then they try to snatch them away!
In the background of this picture, you can see a vulture eating a turtle egg. It made me so sad, but that's the way of nature. About a month and a half after the mamas lay the eggs, the baby sea turtles hatch. Then, the babies have to make their way to the sea. The vultures wait for the babies too.
Doesn't the black sand look cool? When I packed my shorts, tees, and Keen sandals back in chilly New York, it didn't seem real that I would actually be somewhere warm. Still, there I was with a sea turtle on the warm black sand of Playa Ostional. Wow! Everywhere I looked, there were mama sea turtles. It was so, so cool.
I was wearing my special Costa Rica tee that my mom bought me. It has a little sloth on it! While we were still in New York, I made a wish that I would see lots of wildlife. I never imagined I would be on a beach with hundreds of nesting sea turtles!
The sea turtles on Playa Ostional were amazing. All too soon, the sun was high in the sky and the sea turtles were heading back to the ocean. I waved goodbye and headed back to Nosara with my parents. I'll always remember that morning.
Have you ever had an outdoor experience you'll never forget?
Today is Christmas Day! My family celebrates New Year instead, so it can be hard to be patient while so many people post pictures of their holiday gifts for Hanukkah and Christmas. However, the trip to Costa Rica was an amazing family present, so when I am feeling impatient, I remembers days like the one in the photo above. Since our little hotel was so close to Playa Pelada, we could walk down to the beach and watch the sunset every night!
It seems so strange that last week, I was in sunny, warm Costa Rica- and now I'm in the chilly north! I'm looking forward to celebrating New Year with my family. Does your family celebrate a winter holiday? Did you you receive gifts? What did you receive?
Hello my friends! Well, after two flights and a long drive, I arrived in Nosara, Costa Rica! I was so tired that I fell right asleep, but when I woke up, I had this sight to greet me. We were in the green, green forest! Costa Rica is only one time zone behind New York City, so I didn't have any jet lag (whoo hoo!). I woke up early because the howler monkeys were making noise in the trees! After a breakfast of fruit, toast, and a smoothie, I was ready to explore. I hiked down this little path to the beach.
After only a few minutes, I was on Playa Pelada! (Pelada Beach) Isn't it gorgeous? I hadn't worn my swimsuit, but I wished I had! I was ready to explore. Lately I've been really into the show Octonauts- so I was ready to take their motto to heart. Explore! Rescue! Protect!
Playa Pelada has a lot of rocks in the water, so you need to be careful while swimming or exploring. I'm glad I brought my Keens so that I could get a good grip as I climbed around!
It was so cool to explore on the rocks! It was fun to jump from rock to rock, trying not to fall in the water.
Look at all these barnacles on the rocks! Awesome, right? I love the ocean and I don't have the opportunity to visit the Pacific very often. The water was so warm!
I am home from vacation! Here I am not too long ago, posing for a photo by my New Year tree before we took a cab to the airport. My family has a tradition, from our time in Slavic countries, of sitting on our suitcases before we take a trip. It brings us good luck for our travels.
Do you and your family have any traditions for traveling? What are they?
I will update soon with more pictures of my vacation! Happy Holidays!
Hello my friends! I'm so sorry I haven't written on my blog in a long time. My life has been pretty busy and there are exciting adventures ahead! However, I wanted to share my birthday party photos with you. I turned 11 on November 23rd and celebrated with a fox-themed party! It felt like I had waited forever and ever for my birthday this year. I was so excited when party day finally arrived! As you can see in the picture above, I had an assortment of treats for my guests to try out.
I was really lucky to have lots of delicious treats straight from Pippaloo! Here you can see rock candy and lollis in my party colors. Yum! Doesn't rock candy look like it would hurt to eat? It is so delicious though!
I also had these tasty popsicles, which were also in my party colors. They were very tasty. I requested these because I have had Pippaloo's watermelon pops (which are the same shape) before and loved them! The folks at Pippaloo were so sweet to make these delicious popsicles just for me and my friends. Thank you!
My final special treat from Pippaloo was this mug full of fox cookies on sticks! They were so cute and so tasty too! My guests and I really loved them.
I had three guests come to my party. I like to have smaller parties. I just think they're more fun. Sinéad, on the left in the dress and vest, came all the way from another borough! Coral, who is my best friend in NYC, also came. And last but not least, my new friend Tenzin, who moved into my apartment building a few months ago, also came to my party. We started things off with the cake! I made a wish and blew out my candles. I'll tell you my wish! I had decided to do a No Presents Party, since I already have so many toys. Instead, I vowed to donate all my birthday money to the Red Panda Network! I wished that they would raise a lot of money on Giving Tuesday to help save red pandas! Don't you think it was a little silly to raise money for red pandas at a fox party? It probably was, but since I had a red panda party a few years ago, I didn't want to repeat the theme.
Here's my cake before my mama put the candles on it. Isn't it cute? It was chocolate with yummy fox decorations! It was specially ordered from Faux Real Food just for me.
Here's Coral enjoying some of the yummy chocolate cake! Looks like she got an ear!
And here I am with Tenzin! The cake was really delicious.
What would birthday cake be without ice cream? My mom came out with the ice cream pops so my guests and I could enjoy them right away. Yum!
Here are Coral and Sinéad enjoying their popsicles!
Next it was time for a game of Pin the Tail on the Fox! Tenzin went first. We tied one of my hiking bandanas around her eyes.
Then Sinéad spun her around and around!
And off Tenzin went to stick her tail on the wall, hopefully near the fox!
Close! Tenzin put the tail by the fox's ear!
Tenzin was pretty surprised that she got the tail as close as she did!
After Tenzin went, I spun Sinéad around! Can you see that she peeked? That was sneaky, Sinéad!
Of course Sinéad got the tail right on the spot! The rest of us didn't know she had peeked though, so we cheered and cheered.
I went next and last! Coral doesn't like to be blindfolded, so she didn't take a turn. Coral and Tenzin spun me around!
I stuck the tail pretty close to the right spot! Yay! That's when Sinéad admitted that she had cheated. I was upset at first, but then Sinéad said she did it because she didn't know Coral and Tenzin before today and didn't want them to think she was bad at games! The rest of us forgave her after that.
Normally, I would open presents next, but instead my friends put cards on table for me to open later.
I had a great party this year! The cake and treats were delicious and my friends and I had fun playing together, even if Sinéad peeked. I'm so happy to be 11!
Do you celebrate your birthday with a party? Have you ever done a party with a theme? What was it?
I'm sorry I didn't write for so long! I'll be starting my series on my friends soon, so please look out for that! Happy December!