Michelle Manner visited us last month, redeeming the surf and yoga vacation that she won during last year’s Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of San Diego Golf Tournament. Michelle worked very hard, raising an impressive $9830 for this cause — all with her eye on the prize of the Costa Rican vacation package that Bodhi Surf had donated for the second year in a row. Michelle is an active Big Sister and fund-raiser, stating that “if you have a passion for something, it isn’t hard to ask for support for it, especially if you know who to ask!” She has had the same Little for the past three years, Esme, with whom she has a lot in common — both the eldest of five siblings, both carrying the responsibility of babysitting. Their relationship grows stronger as the years pass, and she believes it is one that will last forever.
We had a wonderful time getting to know Michelle and her daughter Jessica — it was the first time visiting Costa Rica for both ladies. Michelle is one of the most positive people we’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to know, expressing her excitement and awe about many things that we who live here sometimes take for granted! Her enthusiasm was infectious, and we made many wonderful memories during their stay. While in Bahia Ballena her and Jessica took part in several yoga classes, surf sessions, went zip-lining, visited a local waterfall, and did some other sightseeing around the Costa Ballena area!
We interviewed Michelle about her experience in Costa Rica, and here’s what she had to say…
What were your highlights of the trip to Bodhi Surf School?
I learned the culture difference and actually really dug that. It is so different from the luxury and the hustle and the bustle that we are used to. It fascinated me to get to know the trees, what kind they were and what fruits or nuts they produced. I even got to see a Jesus Christ lizard run before me across the water up to a Mango tree that flourished in the water.
I learned how to surf, I have more balance than I thought. I am still more of a kid than I thought I could be. I had a great teacher, Gibran. I miss him. I miss you all.
The waterfall was enchanting to me ~ I’ve never been in such beauty personally, swimming in such refreshing water that is all natural, surrounded in nothing but lush green and tall rocks, listening to different birds and those silly howler monkeys. And watching the brave souls either jump or slide down the waterfall of course was entertaining as well.
Then came the zip-line ~ my new found high! I have been saving up zip-lining for Costa Rica and am glad I did. Osa Canopy was the bomb. I highly recommend that for anyone who wants to be around fun people and get jolts of adrenaline rushes to make you shout for joy! Beautiful up there. I even rappelled upside down!
The thunder and lightning was magnificent, if only we could get a little of that, and the rain, over here. We so enjoyed that!
The food, the TLC in each meal, brilliant. It was so nice to spend time with all of you around the tables while we talked about plans for the day or what we did that day, and enjoyed your home cooking. Delicious and off the charts. Keep it up!
Cristal Ballena was just beautiful, as were all of the different beaches we stopped at while we had the car, even driving up to Dominical – oh and the walking tour, I’m glad we didn’t miss that!
Did Costa Rica live up to your expectations?
Based on what I wrote, I’d say it lived up to my expectations. We didn’t know what we were coming to because we didn’t do our homework (as it turned out), we were remote and on rocky dirt roads far away from everything, even the beach. We should have known that before we came I think, that was probably my fault for not asking more questions about Bodhi Surf and what to expect, what are our surroundings? That is the only thing I would have changed about this trip, knowing that beforehand. We would have been prepared for just that and packed exactly right. Nonetheless, it was brilliant!
Did your time in Bahia Ballena leave any lasting impacts on you that you will take home with you?
I was reconnected with myself through yoga and am on day nine of no pain medicine since 2001. I am still going strong, and plan to continue that long road of living pain free without the aid of the band-aid I’ve been finding in medication all these years, clouding my mind. I’ve been weaning myself off for two months now. On day five I gave it a try to go completely without, and to this date, I am still doing magnificent!
Way to go, Michelle! This Friday, June 19th is the BBBS annual golf tournament and Michelle is raising money again. We invite you to help her raise funds, and donate to this wonderful cause. Check out the link, here.