Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rain, Rain go away!

I have been in San Jose just shy of a month now, and as you may know we are in the middle of the rainy season. If you've never had a "rainy season experience", basically it means that you can expect rain. A lot of rain. Every day. For instance, it has rained every day since I arrived. 25 days of rain. And my Tico family tells me that the worst is yet to come in October! By Christmastime, the rain should be less frequent but for the time being, I shake my fist at the clouds every day around noon. That's right, if the weather is nothing else, it's predictable. The mornings are beautiful and hot, then the clouds roll over around noon and it usually starts raining on me while I walk home from school, or shortly thereafter and lasts most of the afternoon and sometimes into the evening. There are a few things I have learned: Never, ever EVER leave home without your umbrella. Skirts are better in the rain, since they don't suck up all water from the puddles you are sure to step in. If the rain is going sideways, in sheets, with thunder and lightning overhead, wait til the storm is over!

On a more serious note, the rain can cause all sorts of problems in Central and South America. I have already seen a small mudslide while on a bus this past weekend, and rivers can rise up to dangerous levels flowing at a tremendous rate. Yesterday, the house of some new friends flooded when a river close to them overflowed. Barb and Gerry are from Ontario and will be serving in Guatemala with Mano con Mano Health Reach after language school. They managed to get most of their things out of the apartment they were renting, but the Tico family they were renting from (their house is attached to the rental) have lost just about everything. Please pray for Barb and Gerry as they regroup and refocus (they are staying at Chris and Angela's for the moment), and also for their Tico family. I have heard that the Alliance church we have been attending has stepped in to help, but the house is a mess as you can imagine and the rain continues to fall. Thank you all for your prayers!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Jump!




Hooray for small victories! Do you remember those cheezy Toyota commercials where they jump at the end? Today I had one of those kind of days...I could have jumped in the air, with a double fist pump! When I was packing for Costa Rica, I ended up leaving behind a lot of things that I thought I would actually take. One item I ended up leaving behind was my daytimer. It was one of those last minute, split decision things where I looked at it and thought "nahhh, what would I need this for? it's just going to add extra weight to my bags and besides, I'd rather take a pair of shoes". Of course I completely forgot that I was going to SCHOOL, where there would be EXAMS and DEADLINES. So, trying to be all tech savvy, I decided to use my computer for more than Facebook stalking and made a beautiful calendar with Microsoft and filled in all my appointments and dates, and even scheduled in my study time etc. But there is just one problem...I don't bring my laptop to school, therefore I can't see my appointments. This problem became apparent yesterday at noon, when I missed a meeting. So this afternoon was spent trying to figure out a way to make my calendar portable without using my laptop. And then I realized my new ipod nano has a calendar function. Long story short, I figured out how to move my calendar to my ipod (which now functions as my voice recorder for my phonics class, sound system, mini-tv, radio, video camera, and DAYTIMER), go it up and running and will hopefully make it to meetings from now on. (Do I hear a chuckle????) In a new culture where crossing the street takes more mental energy than calculus, and at a language level where I can carry on a delightful conversation with a toddler (...maybe), it's small victories like this that make me feel that I can accomplish something!

FIST PUMP!!!!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Survived My First Week!

I survived my first week of classes! Woohoo! It was a bit of a stressful week, difficult, but still enjoyable as I fall into my new routine of being a student of Spanish. My days begin at 6:00 when I get up, I walk to school at 7:15 and classes begin at 7:30. I do an hour of grammar, have a 5 minute break, and then another hour of grammar. We then have an hour break, which is filled on Tues and Thurs with chapel (in English!). Then an hour of conversation class, and an hour of Phonics. That brings us to noon! I head home for lunch and spend the afternoon studying, or reading....or napping. I have some wonderful teachers which I am so thankful for. I'm starting to get to know some students, and there are a number of single women here as well, so it has been great to begin some friendships with them. Yesterday I joined some friends for a trip downtown by bus, and we visited an artesan market. Lots of stalls set up with all sorts of jewellery, bags, hammocks, wood items, clay etc. One of the girls I went with has been in C.R. for a few months and has been going to the market to practice her Spanish. Already she has made some friends among the people working there. So she introduced us to them and I'm hoping to go back again with her. I am learning about this new culture in small bites (which is the best way for me!). Yesterday after school, there was a "new student fiesta" and we were treated to some traditional Costa Rican dances. Their dances tell stories of their history and culture and are beautiful to watch. I managed to take a video of their dance, and all the dancers in this video are employees of the school, some in administration and I believe some are teachers. Hope you enjoy!



Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Introducing...ILE!

Here is a rather shaky video (360 degree...aren't I talented?) of my school. First is a shot down the long walkway, classrooms on either side, further down the walkway you find Sojourn Academy (elementary, middle school, high school), the Kinder area and the gym. To the left is the chapel, then office building (and John and Bill...who will be famous thanks to this video, I'm sure!), then back around to the classrooms. Not a great picture of the school, but gives you a taste anyway!

video