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Cocoa and Cows . . .

Paul was spontaneous this month and planned a “field trip” for us and our friends, Fran and Sarah. We left on a Friday afternoon and stopped half-way in La Fortuna for the night.

We had a yummy dinner, with gelato for dessert, then stayed overnight in one of the many hotels that Paul’s new company offers. It felt more like we were on a mini vacation, with gelato and a nice hotel involved!

The next morning we took a quick dip in the pool and hot tubs, before setting off for the other half of our drive. Of course we had to stop and load up on snacks – a drink, something salty, and something sweet. Lunch for a champion!

Champion sitter, that is.

In Costa Rica, this is considered a “short drive,” but in our minds, it was LONG. The roads are twisty and curvy and if you aren’t careful, you can get carsick very easily. πŸ₯΄πŸ€’

Thankfully our friends made it fun! We had some great laughs, while enjoying the smell of hand sanitizer. During the last 25 minutes of our drive, we had to take a bumpy, dirt road.

On this road we passed acres and acres of pineapple plantations, all owned by Dole. Did you know that Costa Rica supplies 90% of the pineapple to the United States? And they are the largest supplier of pineapple to the European Union. I actually didn’t know this. I always heard that Hawaii was the biggest supplier. I guess not any more. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

When we arrived, we all stretched our legs and were instantly greeted by the kindest couple. They are the parents of one of the Primary Presidents I work with in my Stake. (Love you Melanie!!😘)

The couple welcomed us into their home and even offered to let us stay with them for the night. Now that is hospitality! Sadly we needed to drive back to Santa Barbara that night, but we were so thankful for the offer.

The husband immediately got us going on a tour of the property he manages, while his wife lovingly prepared an early dinner for us to share with them.

We loved learning all about the process of turning a cocoa fruit into cocoa “grains”. We were delighted to also see a beautiful river that runs next to the property.

We had so much fun taking pictures, while catching tiny frogs, we didn’t want to leave. Poor Curly Cook wanted to take a frog home. Sadly, I had to say no. I couldn’t let us kill a tiny frog, just for the sake of hopefully having another pet. 😩 🐸

After a delicious lunch of stewed beef & lima beans, with rice and mashed yucca, we indulged in some chocolate made with the grains from the plantation. Can I say YUMMY πŸ˜‹πŸ« !!!

Then we loaded into the car to drive another 50 minutes to the dairy. While on our way, we drove by Buenos Aires. It made us think of Elder Whitchurch and how this was our first family trip without him. 😒

That’s okay. He has his own chocolate with him in Argentina. A chocolate orange. πŸ˜‰ Silly Elder!

FINALLY we arrived to the dairy and instantly the kids were drawn to 3 newborn calves. Each of them needed a name, so the 3 youngest kids named them: Princess (Curly Cook), Pepper (Joy Boy), Chesca (Fran πŸ˜‰).

After waiting for all the mama cows to be milked, everyone had fun roaming the dairy farm. There was so much to see and smell. πŸ€₯🀭. As well as a new kitten to play with.

Then it was our turn to give milking the cows a try.

It was a fun experience, but it did have some causalities. Several all over our clothes. 🀣🀣🀣 Thankfully it’s just chewed up grass. πŸ˜‰

Then it was time to feed the newborn calves. I think that was the favorite activity of the day!

We are so thankful to Paul for taking advantage of a genuine offer made by two kind and gracious people that we just met.

We had a WONDERFUL weekend together, with our friends, and now we have an even BIGGER appreciation for chocolate and milk. πŸ˜‰ (my favorite ice cream!)

Happy Wednesday,

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