Friday, July 1, 2011

...and another one bites the dust...

Another month that is!  June started in the midst of a camp, took us on a field trip with the tenth grade class, gave us a temporary home in an outrageous hotel in San Jose for a week and brought us back to our community for some charlas (chats) and the down time that comes with exams.  It has been an interesting month, flying by at times and standing still at others.  Like most months it presented us with ups and downs - and now July is upon us.

Top: Hellen with her paper caterpillar, Cindy the snake model, Chris teaching "upcycling", Stiff (in English - Steve)
2nd Row: Snake in the trail, Rañita Roja (Little Red Frog), Bat, Liseth
3rd Row: Kids playing flutes made out of straws, José Eduardo with his pet octopus, Makeing God's Eye Crafts
Bottom: Giant Beetle, Tarah teaching "upcycling", Domingo the snake model

June 1

They enjoyed making their crafts and left with their hands full; in the case of Carlos, overflowing - he kept dropping stuff and at one point Sheirys' dog got his octopus and took off running.  He got the octopus back, it was just a little slobbery.

Aerobics was great tonight... we kept on dancing, moving and jumping.

June 2

There is no time like the present to make snowflakes.  Chris taught everyone what to do and they were fascinated.

June 3

The field trip experience here did not resemble any other school field trip I have ever been on before.

June 4

Chris got his trek of the La Gata loop in this morning.  A good test to discover everything he does not want to use or wear in Tres Rios.  Which was pretty much everything.  That's what test runs are for, right?

Our taller (workshop) went well.  We had 5 and the first hour was on fusing plastics, the second on making chip bag chains.

June 6

We found our way to Decatlon and had a great conversation with the race director.  His words of advice to both of us were to bring trekking poles.  To Chris he kept on saying "Es duro, es duro" (it's hard, it's hard).  It's also supposed to be beautiful.  And, if needed, there is always the possibility that Chris could be rescued on horseback.

June 7

We got up for early runs in the park and followed up with delicious breakfast foods.

We won site rat awards, getting certificates and cookies. (i.e. awards for rarely leaving our site)

It's been nice to see people and chat, but slightly overstimulating; our schedule is all out of whack and we're ready to go home. [note: this week was spent at MST - Mid Service Training in San Jose in a crazy nice hotel with the ~50 other volunteers that make up our service cohort]

June 8

After sessions I went to what was supposed to be a Tae Bo class with Nisha and Sarah.  It turned out to be more of a polymetrics class, which was fine, it was hard and a great workout, just not quite what I was going for.

We went to dinner with Megon and Kevin tonight... we ate delicious Lebanese food and chatted.

June 9

This evening we had a good time hanging out with everyone at Christine's going away party.

June 11

Joy of joys, I twisted my ankle running in the park today.  It figures that after a year of running on crappy roads I would hurt myself on the one rock that was present when I turned off of the sidewalk.

June 12

I think shopping went pretty well. [note: on June 11 we began preparing our own meals, previously our host family was doing all of the food shopping/cooking]

June 13

So what we thought was going to be a crazy busy week is not.

I learned how to cook beans (in a pressure cooker).  It was a debacle - there was no gas so we had to wait, then Maria was gone.  Eventually, a couple of hours after starting the process, beans were cooked and we have enough broth for sopa colorada (red bean broth soup) tonight.

June 14

5 charlas de la sexualidad (sexuality talks), 178 estudiantes (students) y casi una orientadora (and a guidance counselor, almost).

When I got there Ariela was waiting with Stiff (pronounced Steve) and he yelled my name, running excitedly to meet me at the gate of the school.  Nothing quite like that to put a smile on your face!

June 15

On the personal front we have the itch to be out on our own again, but we're going to try and stick things out. It will hopefully make sense financially and we'll hopefully be busy enough that we aren't at home all of the time; when things slow down (theoretically) our parents will show up and then we can plan some January and February trips.

June 16

After the afternoon session we checked in with Jose Angel and ended up spending 40 minutes chatting with his mom and sister.  We walked away with two malangas and five eggs and ate and drank pipa while we were there.

June 17

Nothing major today except that Chris FINALLY got the last piece of the CRUSA puzzle!  Now we can take a deep breath and wait. [note: Chris started working with our community's governing body in March to put this grant together]

June 18

When Chris got back we had a big old breakfast with pinto, huevos and tortillas. Yum! [note: our tortillas were made from scratch, go us]

June 19

This afternoon we filled our imaginations with outdoor goodies by watching The Season.  Makes us want to be outside again - in the mountains, in the woods, on rocks, in the water - we want it all.

June 21

English classes, studying charlas, FEA (student arts festival) practice, English club and aerobics - oh my!  We had a pretty full day today, starting with work outs around 5:30 or so and not ending until 6ish after more exercises.

When I was getting rice out of the fridge a whole lot of beef blood juice splattered the floor and my feet.  Apparently there had been a leak in yesterdays beef delivery and it landed on the lid of our rice container.  What fun.

June 22

Winner!  Chris' crew is moving on to the next level of FEA.  They were by far the best escuela group in drama - the only group the projected at all.  Those that were paying attention seemed to love it, laughter was abundant.

Thank goodness for a week that feels "normal."  Last week was a hard adjustment back to our reality so we're glad to be back in the swing of things.

June 23

Studying charla, chic@s, lunch, studying charla, chic@s, dinner.  A pretty patterned day.

At lunch I started preparing malanga while Chris prepared our meal.  As a hypoallergenic food it sure caused my hands to feel like they were on fire.  Benadryl and Hydrocortisone later I finished cutting it under water and that seemed to work well.

Had a delicious dinner - salad, mashed malanga and sloppy soy/pepper/carrot joes on bollo (pretty much a baguette).  It may require some work on our part, but we've had some pretty delicious foods these last two weeks.

June 24

This morning we prepped happy teeth and sad teeth and the foods that make them happy or sad for charlas with materno (pre-k).

We got hit with quite the storm this afternoon - Chris went for a run in it but cut it short since there was a fair amount of lightning.  He continued to tempt fate by trying some uncooked malanga during dinner prep.  Turns out you can't eat uncooked malanga.  He downed some allergy meds though and thankfully nothing major happened.  We did end up with a delicious dinner though - steamed tilapia and veggies and malanga fries.

June 25

We did long runs this morning.  It was a mostly overcast morning and slightly cooler than usual - about as perfect as it can get when it comes to running here without a light drizzle.

June 26

FNL marathon with food breaks.  Had a delicious pancake breakfast, leftovers for lunch and sopa colorada with cheese and eggs for dinner.

June 28

STRIKE!  No work for us.  Just kidding.  We strained our eyes coloring our world map printouts so that we're ready and raring to go [next week we'll be painting a map of the world with Aaron and crew].

...due to rent being raised to 100 mil (100,000 colones, roughly $200) a month.  Now they're looking at buying a house and need to be around next week in case an assessor is available to check it out... If they get it will there still be space for us?  How quickly might this move take place?  What will our future living situation look like?

Oh life, you're funny sometimes.

June 29

I used power from Nelly's classroom and thanked her after class (aerobics).  In true Tico fashion the thank you turned into a 30 minute conversation, which was great - except I knew Chris would be worrying.  Just as I was saying my good-byes he showed up and walked me home.

Aaron and crew get here Saturday!

June 30

We ran this morning and that's about as exciting as things got until around 4... Then we decided to go for a walk.

Elvin was there with a group of women.  Then the women started running laps.  Elvin's youth have arrived!  He says he has about 60 boys who are playing and they've been practicing for about two months.  The female group is smaller and roughly in their late teens - they've been practicing for about three weeks.  He wants help!

So there you have it - June in a nut shell.  We've surpassed the mid-point in our service and things are hopefully going to continue to come together.  We anticipate an exciting July, starting with two weeks of vacation (the first of which will bring seven wonderful individuals from the University of Nebraska to help with our camp - Go 'Skers!)  Stay tuned for exciting updates, and in case you were wondering, we have a little under 11 months to go.  ¡Pura Vida!

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