Wednesday, September 7, 2011

August [yup, another month's gone by]

September is here.  How crazy is that?  We've jumped in feet first to the time of semana civica here in Costa Rica as the country prepares to celebrate 190 years of independence.  The days are passing quickly and thus our remaining time in country is getting shorter.  With the passing of each month we are a little surprised at how quickly it has gone by (regardless of how many times the Peace Corps staff tells us that once you enter your second year time flies).

During the month of August we celebrated four years of marriage, started some new projects and reached the point in our service countdown that put us in single digits (month-wise).  As usual, there were highs and lows and as usual we enjoyed the highs and worked through the lows.

Grab a snack and hold on tight, here's the whirlwind tour of our 18th month in Costa Rica.

August 1

Another month has arrived.  It's funny how that happens.  Even when there are times when it feels like we are standing still the days do pass by.  Poco por poco se come un coco (Little by little, one eats a coconut).  

August 2

I made a small tote bag using only six plastic bags and an iron.  No sewing on this bad boy.

August 3

Chris managed to screw up his rear derailleur.  It was pretty impressive.  I mean, even I could tell that it was messed up! [Costa Rican roads: 1 Chris's bike: 0]

August 4

We worked out together this evening.  There is just enough space for the mats to lay side by side.  We worked up a good sweat thanks to some sweet iPod apps!

August 6

Chris became a playground toy for about an hour in uno.  He also showed off on the monkey bars, swinging to pick up speed and then "jumping" to the next bar - a feat that shattered his wedding band on impact.

August 7

A gecko fell on my head while I was drying the dishes.

August 8

We got it!  After a relatively short - yet annoyingly long - time we were able to tell the junta and Maria that funds exist to build the comedor (and aula).

August 9

2012 is going to be a big year - returning to the states, Sarah's wedding; [hopefully] starting grad school and teaching; Megan's wedding.

August 10

We checked mail, paid for Chirripó, then celebrated with milkshakes.  It was 9:30[a.m.].

It was great to hear his (Orlando - our local counterpart) perspective on our being here and also to hear him recount what we have been doing.  It made us feel like we have been doing a lot more than we have been thinking (if that makes any sense).

We followed that up with a trip to the colegio where we had a great conversation (with Natalia, our Peace Corps project training specialist).  It was nice to feel able to express what we've been feeling and to feel like we were actually listened to (and maybe a little perspective was gained as well).

August 11

Happy anniversary to us!  Four years of adventure, four hundred to go.  OK, so maybe we don't want to live that long, but we're still looking forward to all of the adventures that will come our way for the rest of our lives.

Today we celebrated by judging the school science fair.  We're so sentimental.

August 13

Fifteen hours after leaving we're home sweet home.  It's been a long day, but also productive - even if we did spend a lot of money.

August 15

The house is quiet again which is nice.  I was a little overwhelmed and frustrated this morning with so many people in the kitchen/house.  If it were like that all the time I couldn't handle it.  I can see why most volunteers live on their own.  Space is good - even if it is a little space - thank goodness for our bedroom!

August 16

The money should be in the bank on Friday! [CRUSA grant funds for the comedor and aula]

August 17

All in all a good Wednesday.  Way to be middle of the week!

Repitentes (an academic assistance group for students who have been held back a year in school) went well.  The kids seem to want to be there.

Orlando would like to initiate a recycling program for next year.  Hopefully we can figure out more of the groundwork for that by the end of the year so that we could prep recycling centers over the winter break and figure out talleres for the student body.  We'll see what comes of it.

August 18

Chris is in the process of trying to become a push-up hero - other than that it's a pretty quiet evening.

August 20

We have officially applied to the graduate studies program at Western New Mexico University.  There are just a few hundred other things left on the checklist (to apply to the specific Peace Corps Fellows program that we are interested in).

Burritos for dinner and a movie - Greenberg - for dessert.  Good Saturday.

August 21

I was pretty productive until about 9am.  I got a nice long run in and then made pancakes for breakfast.  After that I can't say as that I did much of anything.

We've now hit single digits in the month countdown to COS.  A big ol' 9 remains.

August 22

We brainstormed some educational resources that we could provide to students and then started making puzzles - one for each letter of the alphabet; each consisting of three pieces: the capital letter, the lower case letter and a drawing of a word that starts with that letter.

We have a schedule for the rest of the school year [for the academic help program] - excellent!

August 23

I talked to Nelly (one of our first grade teachers) after class about small group work with more focused attention on the lower performing students from the class.  She loved the idea (I think partly because this is the group that acts out in class) and I love the idea of being able to promote academic achievement.

August 25

The money has arrived!!! [The CRUSA funds have finally been deposited after two weeks of difficulties.]

August 26

We got together with Rebecca for lunch.  Great food, great conversation.  We say it every time - we need to hang out with her more often.

August 28

We started pulling gear together for this week's adventure.  Yay!  We're going to play outside!

Today's crazy story:
"No chickens, no!" I could hear Chris calling from the kitchen.  I poked my head into the living room and Chris yelled, "close the door!"  I did this as chickens came running toward me.  We ganged up on them and two turned around and ran back outside.  The third persisted, however.  We had a quick round of tag where it would run under the table and we'd go after it.  It would then run to the other side.  It finally got the point and ran outside where about half of the chickens were hanging out (outside of the coop).  Who knows how they got out, but it was raining cats and dogs and chickens were everywhere.

August 29

Bags are loaded and pretty much ready to go.  Such a nice feeling, though it's sad to think about how long it has been.  We used to be able to throw packs together without much thought - this took a little thought.  Someday we'll be in that flow again and have our sport specific gear bins at our fingertips.

This afternoons grupo de apoyo (academic support group) was interesting.  They have a hard time focusing their attention.  They want to talk.  Our activities were too "out of the box."  They didn't speak loud enough for others to hear them.  They hear but they don't listen.  I imagine this is how a lot of teachers feel about [at least a portion of] their students.

Going to the mountains!  How exciting is that!

August 30

Long day.  We got on our first bus at 4:30 a.m. and off of our last bus around 3:45 p.m.  All legs of the journey went well, it's just a lot of bus time.

We lucked out and were able to get together [with Kari] at a great little Peruvian restaurant.

After lunch we got on our final bus to San Gerardo where we heard awful Spanish from a smelly ex-pat.

[read more of the days adventures HERE]

August 31

What a beautiful day!  It was surprisingly clear all day long, something we hadn't expected with coming to the mountains during rainy season.

[read more of the days adventures HERE]

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