To my beloved friends @ Tortuguero

2011 Green Turtle Programme, Sea Turtle Conservancy

11 weeks in Tortuguero…I have met people from different countries with diverse backgrounds and personalities. From strangers, we became friends and despite the differences, we only grew closer. I wanted to write a personal note for each of you but did not have the time so I am just going to do it here.

CAROLYN, Canada


Our stories did not start 3 months ago. I knew we would click on really well when I first met and talked to you. Seriously, you are like my buddy and I wouldn’t even want to imagine how life would be without you. Thanks for being there helping and reminding me of many things. I am really glad we both managed to work as RAs at Tortuguero. You have been asking me so many times “Seh Ling, what would I do without you?” Frankly speaking, I do not even want to think about it. I know you will be fine. Besides, Greg is waiting for you! And Cinder!!! Thanks for giving me the best time. I will always remember all the sweet memories we shared in England ~ attending first aid course, stop, check for danger; being blur in R practical classes, cracking our heads to figure out the commands; helping each others during presentations and assignments, having a great time in Kenya; hanging out at your place occasionally; rushing to finish the dissertation in the computer lab…etc AND in Costa Rica ~ white water rafting at Pacuare, walking around downtown San José, going crazy on the way to Tortuguero, patrolling together at night, no mama turtle but many hatchlings, excavating nests with the kids, waking me up for meals, sharing platanitos, coke and ice creams, walking on the beach or hanging out at central park with Duki, dancing and drinking at La Taberna and La Calabra, watching way too many movies…etc! In short, I will miss you so much. Wish you only the best in life. Keep in touch and hopefully see you again soon. Love you always!

ANI, El Salvador


Ani!!!! When I first saw you at Cariari, I thought “que bonita!!!” but of course in English. I gotta say for the last time STOP COPYING ME!! “I can’t…” is my copyright! Hehe! You are one of the nicest person I have met. Thanks for being my translator and helping me with the visa thingy. That trip to San José was awesome! Short but lots of fun. The only thing we missed was el helado! Carolyn and I had one each before we left. I really enjoyed your company, especially the morning surveys with lots of hatchlings! I’m glad we like the same music and we both enjoy dancing. I will practise on my Bachata moves but Samba…maybe next time. It was sad to see you leave but I believe I’ll see you again. Hope everything will go well with your new project! Maybe I’ll see you in Mexico. Take care and stay as you are because you are just amazing! Love you lots!!!

DELFI, Argentina


I already miss your voice. Everytime I think of you, my heart feels warm. I will always remember your kind gesture of putting a blanket over me when it was cold. That was really so so sweet! I like to hear you sing and watch you dance. I did not have many patrols with you but two of the patrols with you and Andy were interesting. I’m going to think of you all whenever I hear the song – Jump Around. Our moves were funny but it was a very important song that woke us up before patrol! I hope you get good news from the job you had applied. Take care and keep in touch. Love you always!!!

CATA, Colombia


You told me that I’m your first friend from Malaysia. I have to say that you are also my first friend from Colombia (and maybe Nestor, haha!!). You did a really good job as our coordinator. I really learned a lot from you. Thanks for being very kind and patient to all my enquiries! You are very lovely and nice. Although you had more work to do, I’m glad we spent some nights off in the small village, having pizzas at Budda Cafe and partying at La Taberna and La Culebra. Keep up your work in Tortuguero and if you are still doing the patrol, hopefully you manage to get our final two new turtles! Take care and stay in touch. I will go to Colombia one day, just wait for me ya! P/S: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO CATA, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!! Have fun ya!!!

GIGI, San Diego


It seems like forever since you left. I really enjoy having you around. When everyone ran out of things to talk, you always managed to say something funny. I miss patrolling with you and Nestor. After you, there was no one to grab my arm when I fell off the mini sandcliffs. We tried to do OUR dance before we left but it wasn’t complete without you. With you, I finally had the chance to try yoga and I love it! You used to say “I wished you could speak Spanish” and I think I can speak and understand more now. Thank you so much for everything! I hope we see each others again. Lots of love!!!

GEINER, Costa Rica


I’m really happy to know you! I had a good time patrolling with you. I hope I didn’t annoy you with all the questions. Thanks for teaching me Spanish and translating for me. Don’t forget our song!!
Seh Ling: Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping?
Geiner: Yes I am. Yes I am!
Seh Ling: You have to wake up. You have to wake up.
Geiner: I don’t want. I don’t want!
Oh ya, I didn’t get the songs from you but never mind because I have all the good memories. I enjoyed patrolling with you! 10 turtles was my personal record for one night! Enjoy yourself at Tortuguero and Mexico. Stay in contact and love you too!!

BJÖRN, Sweden


If Cata is my first friend from Colombia, you are my first friend from Sweden. It is really nice to know you. I enjoyed working with you, especially being your assistant and cooking. I don’t usually go into the kitchen but making chapatti and vegetarian dumplings was real fun! Björn: I still want to fry the soya! Seh Ling: No!!! But in the end, alright, fry it!!! The night patrols were awesome. It is good that you helped me figure out how to use the Google Sky Map app! At least now I know the name of the planets and stars!! Don’t forget our movie on the beach! Besides, really thanks for those beautiful photos! I think I’m good in holding the umbrella and flash now. You will be a great photographer. I wish you all the best. Take more great pictures and I’m really looking forward to seeing your work. Take care. I will visit you and the bears in Sweden. Keep in touch and love you too! I will always remember SehLing Björn and BjörnSeh!!! Woohoo!!!

BORJA, Spain


Borja!!! You are like the funniest person I have ever known!! I never thought we would become so close because I don’t think I even spoke a single word to you for the first two or three weeks! When I had to walk back to the station with you for the first time to get the paper for nest excavation practice, I realised you are pretty talkative and I guess the language barrier was the reason you only spoke to the Spanish-speaking RAs. You know what? Your English is good and you have always helped me with the interpretation. I will always remember the crazy patrol with you. You are right, maybe we should not work together because it is really exhausting with all the laughter and funny incidents! We mistaken the spotter’s bike as a turtle, you were scared by the same spotter, we were busy picking up flying tortuguitas, you practically screamed or shouted at the tourists…thanks for all the interesting experiences! You told me if ever go to Spain, I have a house there! The same goes to you – mi casa es tu casa!!!  Stay as you are because you are a wonderful person. I’m really glad to have known you! I will miss all of your pranks! All the best in your future. Maybe when I next see you, I will have to acknowledge you as Dr. Borja! Stay in touch and love you lots!

ANDY, Wales


Me: Andrew!!!
You: No, it’s Andy!!!
I think you are probably my first Wales friend too. It’s pretty funny to be able to hear British accent even after I left UK! I think during the first two months, I had lots of shifts with you. Everytime I checked the schedule, it’s always with Andy! Haha…I hope you didn’t get bored of me. However, I don’t remember going on any patrols or surveys with you during the last few weeks. As far as I can remember, you definitely passed as the best remover among all of us. Please, if I see you next time, don’t make me walk so fast!! Thanks for all the wonderful time at Tortuguero – cycling on a railway track, partying at La Taberna… Wish you all the best in whatever you do and keep in touch. You are the nearest to me if I go back to UK so hopefully we will have the chance to catch up! Love you too, Luffy!!!

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One thought on “To my beloved friends @ Tortuguero

  1. We ‘re really touched after reading. We are also happy to note that you ‘ve really enjoyed yr short stint at the green turtle santuary in Costa Rica. More importantly are your new found friends who have gone to great lengths to make yr stay a fond and memorable one that you ‘d cherish for a long, long time. Our heartfelt appreciation and thanks to all of them for taking good care of you! Guess by now, you too must be missing them tremendously reminiscing the time you ‘re together like a close-knit family. We ‘re very fortunate to have a brief intro with one of yr friends via skype. We would welcome them with open arms should they come to Malaysia, esp. Kuala Terengganu. Lots of love from Seh Ling’s parents!!!

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