Wow! Another month has passed us by and due to a sudden increase in work it has gone quite quickly. With more going on there are more updates to share and so, what used to be quarterly updates are going to become monthly updates (assuming we continue on this trajectory).
March brought us our one year anniversary of service with Peace Corps and living in Costa Rica, it also brought us long awaited projects, grant proposals, recreation and more visits from current trainees. Some selections from our journal may not be as exciting as others, but we're trying to share our experiences in their entirety, the good and the bad, the happy and sad, the challenges and successes.
So, take a breath, here is our version of March Madness...
This time last year we were out eating sushi in DC. This year we just finished a game of Canasta and are hoping the dog won't keep us up all night.
It's been a long year. It's been a hard year. There have been a lot of moments when we wonder why we are here.
We've been overwhelmed and underwhelmed.
Things are starting to look up at our year mark. We've been saying that we want work and it's slowly coming our way.
So, as we dive into year 2 we hope things continue to move in the direction that has been started this week.
We've survived one year in Costa Rica! It's official!
They wrapped up by making mustaches and noses out of silly putty.
I was distracted a couple of times because Puppy got loose and I tried catching him (no luck – or I caught him twice but couldn't control him enough to tie him back up) but other than that, all went well!
Well, we can pause the whole work thing for a day or so. Tomorrow there is a teacher's strike – so no class, no Chicos and Chicas.
This evening Rodolfo checked in with us to see what we can do to move forward with working with Angie. Sounds like her work plan has come together, so Monday we'll pop in and see how we can squeeze in (to her schedule).
When we were walking home Juan's mom stopped us to say that she was surprised that we didn't go to San Jose with the students... [excerpt removed so as not to implicate any counterparts in a negative manner]... if anything we know that parents trust us with their kids. That's nice to know.
Of course, now we're without power so the festival isn't really happening. Shucks – I guess that means we have a quiet evening. Of course, it also means that we have a HOT evening. No fan = dead air = stupidly hot. [*note: the power came back on, so while it wasn't too hot to sleep it was too noisy]
We decided to stay on the bus until Coyol since we had paid for the full trip to Puerto. When we got off the bus in Coyol we started our trek home. Shortly before Orquideas we realized that in our rush to get off of the bus we had left our binoculars on the bus. Then it started raining.
After lunch we watched the cabalgata (horse parade) go through town. There were some incredibly beautiful horses. Some were doing the fancy dancy thing, some people were opening beers or drinking guaro, others were texting and others were trying to catch the eye of some guy or girl. It was all pretty entertaining to watch.
He [Chris] talked with Rodolfo afterward and he loved Chris's ideas of doing a school newspaper or website. He also received permission for us to use an aula (classroom) from 3:15 – 4:30 Monday thru Wednesday, so hopefully all English help will move out of the house (with the possible exception of Alberto and Henry).
A woman came up to the house and asked if we had left anything on the bus. At first I didn't quite get it since we didn't ride the bus today. After her asking a couple of times I figured out that she was talking about Saturday. Someone had pointed out that we left something behind and she had picked it up to keep for us. We have our binoculars again!
We actually had an almost 8 hour work day today! It's amazing how this whole wanting to work thing is turning out. Tomorrow we'll have about a 9 hour day. Utter craziness.
We had six students show up for the help session – pretty good for the first day, I think!
Had a family dinner tonight – crema de ayote or chayote – one of those -ote type squashes. David [our 10 year old neighbor] was over so we all sat down together. It was nice.
This afternoon went by quickly and before we knew it the bell was ringing and kids were running past us to get out of school. These are the kids who clearly are not excited about our after school English sessions.
For us, it was a happy first day of Chicos and Chicas. It finally happened! It may not have gone perfectly, but that's what first days are for, right?
The schedule's filling up!
...before going to see the toros (bulls), which we heard started at 5. So, we got there shortly after 5, walked around a bit and came home since nothing was happening. We went back over at 6:30 when we heard the announcer making his sound check. 2 hours later things started. [silly us, showing up on time for scheduled events]
Hello month 11! Happy to be here. And this time I think we actually mean it!
I checked in with the hogar (home ec) teacher after art class and showed her the fused plastic pouch and the chip bag bag and she was really excited. Then the art teacher wanted to see. Then Rodolfo wanted to see. The all love the idea and the art teacher is talking about using fused plastic as a “canvass” for painting. It seems like it could be a somewhat sustainable project since the teachers want to learn.
Rafa took us out to see some new calves at the neighbors and then we went to AyA [our water office] for a relatively quick Junta (our town council) meeting. Chavez had gotten everyone together for us, we updated everyone on the status of the grant and let them know what we needed from them. They're hoping to have everything together Monday night when we're going to meet again. We joked around for a bit at the end, reminiscing about of first meeting with them.
While chatting [with Stephanie and Chris] we took many breaks to observe the chirripos (geckos) and make commentary. At one point two were moving in on a gigantic moth – one eventually took a bite – or at least tried. It was pure excitement for all of us – is that sad?
Lunch was more or less ready when we got back home. Rafa had killed a chicken for Stephanie and Chris – then Maria came in with a baby chick to show them. What do you say to someone when they show you a live chick when you're eating a dead one? Oh, OK, thanks works pretty well. Awkward!
We've got a very busy week ahead of us. Yay work! (will we think that when Friday rolls around?)
We had another quick Junta meeting tonight. That must be a record; two 45-minute meetings in a row! We got the paperwork that was needed and God willing everything will get to CRUSA before Firday!
In other [sad] news, Guicho and David moved to Puerto today. We're glad they were at least here during the holidays. We'll miss seeing their faces and hanging out with them.
We had a fun, crazy and exhausting day. We led two aerobics classes, played in two soccer games and helped out during relay races. The kids all seemed engaged (or most of the kids) during aerobics, had fun (except for those who skinned their knees) and ate a lot of junk food. That's right – on National Sports Day grade levels were selling ice cream, soda, cake etc. during breaks. I guess it's positive that they at least burned a miniscule portion of those calories by participating in activities.
Tomorrow morning is the recreativa (17Km bike ride). Then Friday is No a la Violencia (No to Violence).
This weekend we may have a meeting with the Asociacion de Mujeres (women's association) from Las Orquideas to learn about their hydroponic garden project. They stopped by this morning and had one of the students come and grad me from the school. They're interested in having us work with them, so I told them that we would love to learn more about what they're doing.
What a turn in events life has presented us.
Today was the recreativa. There were between 70 and 80 students that paid to participate (~75,000 colones more for the cole!) and a few tag-alongs.
On the bad hills past Ademar's the trouble began. It was not a good day for my bike. I punctured the tube in my back tire on one of the climbs and was stuck. Thankfully Willian had a spare tube and he fixed me right up. Then at some point while crossing the bumpy terrain I lost one of my pedals. It had cracked when I crashed some months ago, but was still hanging on there so I just let it be. I guess it's time to go see Javier and get a tune up – things are falling apart left and right!