Semana Uno

May 11th:

Wonderful day 1 meeting my group, seeing an active volcano, smelling coffee, seeing hummingbirds, and learning the details of my program. After a delicious dinner, Emmanuelle and I explored the mall that is a 5 minute walk from our house. Although we got completely lost on our way out of the mall, we were able to find a delicious gelto shop for a sweet dessert.

Thoughts from the day:

  • My host mom is the sweetest; I just wish I was able to join in on conversations so we could get to know each other better. Hopefully, I will know enough at the end of this first session to carry on a small conversation.
  • The directors are encouraging everyone to use less and less English as the program goes on. Hopefully, my flight or fight chooses to fight and I start to pick up enough to engage in conversations.
  • I must be one with la cucaracha or else it will be a frustrating three months.

May 12:

The first day of classes at Universadad Latin. Overview: a whole lot of Spanish that I didn’t understand – no comprendo any of the introductions. In depth: the University couldn’t offer a beginner I class because there were only 3 kids, so they put us in beginner II (without telling us before). I started crying after the first half because I actually didn’t understand a word and couldn’t fill out any of the test questions. To make matters worse they told me to practice the first half of the book because it’s covering material before learned before this class. Well that was a funny joke because it was all in Spanish. After talking to my director, she set up tutoring on Tuesdays and Thursdays before class – hopefully that is enough.

Today we went to the center of Heredia and took our first bus! We went into a market to practice our Spanish and learn about all the different fruits sold in Costa Rica. Who knew they all existed? To be honest, I don’t think we are missing out on too much in the US, however the iced coffee I had today was incredible.

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Thoughts from the day:

1) Costa Rica doesn’t have street signs. They give directions using landmarks. I am not quite sure how anyone who didn’t grow up here knows how to get around. I am really hoping to grasp a sense of where things are by the time I am through. 2) I am already starting to make great friends! While I may have been hesitant at first, they are so much fun. Although not many people seem to go out Monday, a few of us went to a drink at a local sports bar, Hooligans. I had the best mojito there and can’t wait for more.

May 13:

I learned so much in class today, had my first tutoring session which was mostly review, and went to a cooking class. Although I couldn’t understand a thing at the cooking class, everything was so delicious!  The house that we had it in was so beautiful. I would definitely live there.

Things I learned:

– Literally all I do here is eat.
– It’s tiring to be talked at all day and not understand anything.
– I have reached old person status and am exhausted at 7. If I could go to bed at 9 or 10 every night I would.
– There are so many different ways to prepare rice and beans, so far I am enjoying – but not sure how long do it will be before I get bored?

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May 14:

I was beyond tired today and really hard to focus on Spanish; I must sleep more. We had class early and heard Mark England speak about self assertion and capability to decide future and life. He had good points, but it was nothing new and he rubbed a lot of people in a bad way.  After that some of us went to get a gym membership while others went to get a drink and then we all met up afterwards. It was so fun, there were 13 of us and we explored Heredia for drinks and dinner. So fun to bond; I really love the group.

May 15:

Today was great – tutoring really makes me feel like I know what I am doing but class is always hard because I choke when I speak and do so poorly. I also started at the gym today; it feels incredible to work out again. I have my first test tomorrow, but it doesn’t seem like it. This is the most relaxed I have been before a test my life. I am finally realizing the strangeness of school stress while abroad. The learning (both in and outside of the classroom) is way more important that they actual grade.  I have to constantly remind myself that I am trying to learn a months worth of Spanish in a week.

My progress:

We have learned over 200 words and it is really hard for me to remember them when I try to speak, especially because I have no grammar knowledge. However, I am a lot better at listening and picking out words I know.

May 16:

1) We had our first test today. I think it went pretty well, but know that I screwed up some of the hearning for spelling and the speaking. I have no learned to follow my gut even with Spanish. There were many words I was writing in which the letters I heard, did not spell a word I knew. However, since my vocab is so small I thought it must be words I was unfamiliar with. From talking with my friends, I should have changed my wordsto the logical spelling. Before we left today, I found out that there was another change in my schedule: I (and the other beginner I student) would be going to class from 8-11 . The rest of our class would go from 9-12. That way we had a little overlap but could each put time on other practices. So much for sleeping in for me. I also feel really bad because that also means my roommate will wake up early to walk with me.

2)

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A bunch of us went to the college bars in Heredia and had such an incredible night. It was so nice getting to know these people even more, have them accept all the weird faces I know, and experience my first flaming shot (don’t ever do it!)10385068_10152422411183630_2075017047_n

May 17:

We had a big excursion this weekend in Manuel Antonio. However, I caught some stomach bug that left me incredibly sick and in pain today and couldn’t push through the pain. I slept almost the entire time we were on the bus. When we stopped to see crocodiles (they are really ugly animals), I thought I was going to pass out, fall over and they would eat me (not good!). When we finally reached our  hotel I did not feel up to going to the beach so I slept for the afternoon. When I woke up, I felt so much better so the rest was definitely worth it.

In the evening we went into Campos for dinner. 6 of us went to a delicious Mexican restaurant and had great conversation about north and south and women’s power.

May 18th:

I had a ball white water rafting – wonderful group and guide! It’s also a good assumptions that my facial expressions add a lot of value to this trip. Why can’t I take a pretty picture?

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