Monday, January 30, 2006

I am still taking it all in. I am realizing that Costa Rica is not at all what I expected. It is very beautiful etc., but city life is so normal. Other than walking everywhere, they have what seems the same conveniences that we have. "My brothers" have a play station that they love to play and there is a television in every room. I know that I am here to learn the language and I think I will see different lifestyles when I get to Samara and in San Jose.

The weekend was not what we planned! We traveled to San Jose on a bus to catch another bus to the volcanó. We ran around downtown San Jose searching furiously for the bus stop and it was not in the place we had on the map. Anyway, after walking around in circles for a few blocks, I think the gentlemen selling fruit on the corner recognized us and asked "Volcan Poas?" "Si, si!!" He pointed us in the direction and we were only a block away! So, we sucessfully found the bus and rode comfortably to Alejuela where we then stopped to pick up the rest of the ticos and ticas. Several people stood in the isle for about 1-2 hours. Once we arrived at the top, I was wishing I had packed my raincoat and warmer clothes. It was very cold, rainy, and foggy, Oregon/Washington weather. We walked to the view point and looked out into total white space. It kind of made my stomach drop though because standing on the edge into nothing but white was eerie. Because it was so cold and wet, we decided to head back to Heredia. No sense in staying at the cabin if we are stuck inside.

I really missed being home on Sunday. Church, regular activities, familiar faces, and such, but I also know my time here is short. I ask for continued prayer for learning, safety, and my next host family. I hear conditions in Samara are a bit more rugged (i.e. big spiders etc.!!!!!!!!)

I have to run for "la cena!"

Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday afternoon and I am beat. Everyday is passing so at 8:30 until 12:30, exploring and studying until 5, back to mi casa at 6, la cena at 7, and then off to study and sleep!

Today was our exam. I made it to the next level, which doesn´t seem like much except that I know some verbs and how to say a few things!:) I´m sure it sounds like "I want walk store." Esta bien! (It is good!)

After school, Anita, Eloisa and I walked to the central market for lunch, for "casado" (not to be confused with casado=married man or cansada=tired WHEW!) It is a plate of rice, beans, salad, potatoes, and fish or chicken or beef! The market is full of local fruits and vegetables and lots of raw meat. The smell of raw meat was overwhelming, but the fruit is so beautiful. Every morning Maria (she works for my family and lives in another attached room) has fresh fruit cut for breakfast. It is so sweet!!! Watermelon, melon, papaya.

We walked around the center of Heredia dragging our feet. I think this learning is just a little strenuous so we are looking forward to tomorrow. At 7 we will take a bus to San Jose (south of Heredia) and then head north to Volcan Poas. We have reserved a little cabin for tomorrow night after we tour the volcano. It sounds nice and relaxing, but I hope it isn´t too cold. I didn´t bring a rain jacket because it is summer here. Now I am thinking it would have been a good idea!

Paula, if you are reading this, stop now......(I warned you!). As the weather warms up, the bugs come out! I have only seen two cockroaches and only one in the house! Thanks God. I have determined to look the other way and not let it bother me, but I don´t know what it will be like in Samara!

I never knew making a phone call could be so difficult. Today, I tried to call my poor mother and the phone card she put in my Christmas stocking doesn´t work here. I stood at the phone booth pushing all the different codes and numbers. None of the combinations were working for me. Anita tried. Eloisa tried. Then we realized I must use a calling card from Costa Rica to make international calls. So, I tried to call collect. When the operator informed me that she had an answering machine, I said ok. Expecting to leave a message, I suddenly heard a busy signal on the other end! She hung up on me! I will try again mom!

Thanks for all of your prayers. They are a protective shield around me and I know they are being answered daily. Megan, tell Beth to keep it up! She is my little praying friend in Powers! Tuesday night ladies...I miss seeing you all, but I am going to read Ch. 11 this weekend! Warrior Princess loose in Costa Rica! Happy Birthday Nate and Uncle Rog! Leah, I will see you in only 2 short weeks, you better be on that plane! Bless you all!

Hasta luego!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

hola mi familia y mis amigos!
i only have one minute before internet cafe boy runs me off the computer! he is pulling down the bars to cover the windows as i type! don't worry, it is safe, but everything is under lock and key here. it is just the way they live. gated houses etc. tomorrow is friday and saturday i will travel with anita and eloisa to volcano poas. i must leave now, but will post again soon! much love!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

hello from costa rica!
i am sitting in an internet cafe only two or so blocks from my family's house! in heredia, there are so many similarities to city life. there are lots of people, places to eat, many little botiques, mini markets (sodas), pharmacies, people, taxis, cars, and buses. i am paying special attention when i cross the street...the cars don't stop at the stop signs and pedestrians do not have the right of way! YIKES!!! my first day was a bit overwhelming, tired from the plane, and finding my way in the city alone. my family is great and my "parents" speak english, which has been helpful of course. i have met up with a gal from switzerland (anita) in my class who lives two doors down with my "father's" sister and her family. we have been studying together and plan to travel also. it has been a gift to meet her. i didn't know how difficult it would be to travel one to talk to or explore with.
not to rub it in, but the weather is wonderful. it is like a warm summer day, not really humid, and it cools down in the evening. my "mother" went out this evening with a scarf on! i am in a skirt, flip-flops, and a long sleeve shirt!!:) muy frio y muy caliente (i think) school is good. there are so many words to practice and learn. it is coming though. at the school they only speak spanish. it is good for learning and practicing. i apologize, i feel like my english is so chopping. my brain is fried tonight with mas palabras.
i don't know about posting photos yet...i haven't even pulled my camera out. maybe this weekend.
thanks for following the adventure!
more to come...

Friday, January 20, 2006

Embrace the Detours

Hey everyone,
Well, I haven't yet left the country and I already hit a bump...minor of course.  They're all minor, right?!?  I was having trouble receiving confirmation from the school and it finally arrived today.  Good thing because I would have been sitting at the airport for 12 hours stranded and wondering what went wrong.  I was able to call the school and get it all ironed out.  Last week I was visiting with a very wise woman who reminded me to "embrace the detours!"  How relevant.
My host family consists of mom, dad, 2 young boys, a dog and a bird.  They will be holding a sign for me at the airport when I arrive!  I am glad there are children in the house...they tend to be wonderful teachers.  Also, it sounds like the father is an English professor! 
"If we insist on sticking to the plans we've made, we may miss the detours we were meant to take."
More to follow!

Monday, January 16, 2006

So the journey begins. Actually, it started long ago, but the exciting part is the experience of going after all the planning and dreaming. I will try to use the blog as a way of communicating. If I can't access it in C.R., then I will send email updates. I am hopeful this will be a better way of leaving messages and even adding photos.

I have seen many friends this past week and I have been more than encouraged. Thank you all for sharing in this with me. It means so much to know I have such a great rally of friends and family behind me! I really don't know what to expect, but as you have encouraged me...I am quite expectant of something awesome!

As you think of me, pray my brain would become a sponge for the language. I am told that my host family will only be speaking Spanish and the classes are immersion. (What have I gotten myself into?!?! :) )

The itnerary...Two weeks in Heredia, then to Samara on the Pacific Coast for two weeks, and then back to San Jose for a month with the Sellers.

Until next time...