Thursday, March 18, 2010

Two Weeks, Two Months, Two Years...

Time has become and interesting phenomenon in these past two weeks. It flies by, yet it seems to take forever for a week to come to an end. Our days are full of language classes, technical training sessions, and policy meetings. We meet with officials from counterpart agencies and spend time with our host family. We get up before the sun comes up and go to bed long after the sun goes down. We are stuck in this limbo called Pre Service Training (PST).

It is an interesting experience to live in a new culture and try to absorb everything that is affiliated with that culture. Our biggest learning experience in this culture (at this point at least) is the language component. While we spent many, many hours studying prior to departure from the US, it is a challenge to be immersed in the Spanish language 24 hours a day (OK, not really 24 hours a day for us since we revert to English when our brains are fried and we really need to express what we are feeling.) While it was easy enough to converse with the computer and provide the appropriate, prescribed responses, comprehending random bits of conversation becomes a headache at times (like when we have been speaking Spanish for 6 hours straight and our brains just can't take it any more).

Aside from the basic challenge of learning a new language and the idiosyncrasies of common cultural phrases, life is great. Sure there are daily struggles when Chris's philosopher's mind comes out or when I over-analyze a situation – but the people here are wonderful. We have met some incredible individuals; other trainees, Peace Corps staff members, and through our broken conversations, Ticos. All of these people make each passing day more interesting, sometimes more challenging, and generally cause us to laugh at least once a day. It's pretty good stuff.

With all of the craziness that is going on, it is hard to imagine all of the other things that our trainers are able to throw into the mix. One notable event coming up is a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) Visit. This coming weekend (3/20 – 3/23) we will be visiting a volunteer in the Province of Guanacaste. We have six hours of riding a bus to look forward to – and of course a weekend of fun before we get to work on Monday. We will hang out in town Saturday and go to the beach on Sunday – then we will check out some of her projects on Monday and visit a counterpart agency on Tuesday before heading back to our town in the outskirts of San Jose.

Other milestones that we will encounter during this new adventure called Peace Corps include: Two Months – the reveal of our real site assignments and Two Years – the time we will spend in those communities. Two seems to be pretty important here, especially since there are two of us!

The two of us outside of Tres Rios, where we stayed for the first week.

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