Sunday, November 20, 2011

What a Week (Oct 2)

So this week our third roommate finally arrived.  She is in a wheelchair which is amazing in my opinion because I don't think I would have the courage to do this if I were her.  The arrival on our roommate and all the other students means that it is finally time for classes to start and finally time for our excursions...YAY! This was supposed to mean that my life would be a whole lot busier but as it turned out I was wrong.  This week or spanish classes started which means that we have class everyday from 8-12.  I was supposed to go to the hospital right after class which I did but when I got there the informed me that this placement no longer worked for me because I got there so late. To say that I was angry is an understatement. I called the coordinater and she told me I would be placed somewhere else, where? I have no clue.  Anywho, for the month of Oct I have Advanced Conversation. I was a little nervous about this class because speaking spanish is difficult for me even though I can read it and write it.  Our teacher is really nice and the students in our class were so different that the class turned out to be a lot of fun.  Our teacher made us choose a country and each day we have to report to the class about some sort of news from that country.

This weekend we had our very first excursion to Tamarindo beach. We went on nice luxury private busses :)! When we got there the hotel was amazing.  We had gorgeous rooms with an ocean view.  The town was a lot of fun. A lot of us opted to do a sunset cruise which turned out to be amazing besides the jellyfish. I would definitely like to go there again.

Living like a Tica (Sept 26)

I finally started my placement in the Childrens Hospital. I had to wake up early to catch the bus so that I could be to work by 8am. I have to catch two busses then walk about three blocks to get to the hospital. My first day I was so nervous because it was the first time I was in a situation where noone spoke any english at all.  When I got there I was paired with this girl from Switzerland who showed me around and helped me throughout the day.  Our jobs are to look for children who are alone and keep them company until a family member arrives. My first day I was with the cutest little baby boy.  I'm not sure why he was in the hospital but I had fun playing with him. Hospitals here are so different.  The rooms usually have 5 or 6 children with no curtains or anything to separate the families, there is absolutely no privacy in the hospital rooms.  A lot of the mothers asked my a million questions about my life and my studies and the states but I enjoyed the convo.  My second day I thought I was going to die because I was put in the childrens play room by myself.  It is difficult to handle a room full of children in general but having a language barrier made it even worse.  I really thought about quitting this day lol.  My third day was a whole lot easier because I was paired with the girl from Switzerland again. Her name is Romy btw.  We were in the playroom again but it was a lot easier with her help.  By thursday I was a pro. I had finally figured out the routine and I was a lot more comfortable communicating.  This day I was paired with 6yr old boy who has leukemia.  I was a lot of fun, he even helped me with my spanish.   We read books and played games and had a great time together.  He had been in the hospital for 7 mo. I felt so bad for him but he didnt feel bad for himself, I love that about him. Friday was a pretty slow and boring day at the hospital. Most of the mothers were there so Romy and I helped out in the laundry room.

I finally started my first class this week.  It is my class with ticos.  It is pretty interesting being in a class with native speakers. And it was very intimidating writing papers for a class with people who are way more advanced than you but it is also very exciting.  It is a culture class so I'm interested in what we will learn.

This weekend we planned another trip, this time to Manuel Antonio. My roommate actually has a friend here in Costa Rica and his girlfriend invited us to hang out with her and her best friend.  Manuel Antonio is beautiful. We went to the National Forest and we got to see sloths and monkeys in their natural habitat.  It was pretty amazing. The forest opens up to the most beautiful beaches that you can only get to by walking through the forest. Que Linda! This weekend is the first time I had a discussion about using the term American.  People living in Latin America believe it is disrespectful for people from the U.S. to call themselves Americans because they are American too. I understand their argument but I think we have a valid argument as well especially since our country's name is the United States of America. Besides it would be funny to call ourselves United Statesians? Que malo!

im back finally!

ok so a lot has happened since my last post but I have been keeping a weekly diary so that I wouldnt forget anything so here we go.

So my friends and I went to our first soccer game in Costa was amazing. One of the local teams, Alejuela, played the LA Galaxy. We ofcourse cheered for the Galaxy, it was exciting and a little scary because everyone knew that we were gringos as soon as we entered the stadium.  The energy in the stadium was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. Unfortuneately the Galaxy lost but it is a memory that will last forever.

I finally got to see my placement for my volunteering assignment.  I will be working at the only childrens hospital in all of Costa Rica.  I'm excited that I will get to be in a hospital and working with children since that is my life goal. My placement is kinda far from my house which means that I will have to catch the bus, something that I havnt done in years. We also planned and went on our first trip this weekend. We went to Puerto Viejo which is a province in Limon, Costa Rica. This is where most of the black people in Costa Rica live.  Black people weren't allowed within the city limits of San Jose until the 1950's so there aren't very many mixed or black people in the city.  Costa Ricans pride themselves on this. Puerto Viejo is amazing and a Lot of fun. I stayed in a hostel for the first time in my life. It is called Rocking J's. It was a very interesting experience to say the least, but let's just say the freezing cold showers and shared bathrooms aren't really my thing so I will not be staying there again. It was fun to explore on our own but I can not wait for our school excursions because Costa Rica so far has been pretty expensive.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Good and the Bad

I just completed my first week in San Jose and although im having a good time there have been quite a few problems.  First, I almost didnt make it into the country because of their visa laws.  I almost had a heart attack but I kept it together long enough for them to give me my 90 day stamp. It was a close call though.  The students I have met are really cool so it helps to all of us to feel a little more at home.  My tico mom and dad are wonderful...they treat me and my roommate as if we are their children.  On the other hand, the ISA staff here in San Jose arent very good. I havent had a class and I will not have a class until the 22 of September so to say that I am bored is an understatement.  My classmates and I went to the beach this weekend which was beautiful BUT we spent had to use our own money for this trip because all of the excursions with our new school do not start until Oct.  So to sum it up.....I have no class and nothing at all to do.

Life in another country is so never really know how good you have it until you experience the world.  I never expected that we could not flush toilet paper down the toilet.......I thought that's what everybody does, but that is not the case. I also didnt expect that lunch isnt a big deal here. Although there are many differences there also are a lot of similarities.  The people are just like us outside of the fact that they speak a different language.  They dress like us, party like us and socialize the same way we do. However their food is WAY better than anything we can find in the states.  I have never tasted fruit or vegetables so fresh.....their food is better than anything that Whole foods or even Trader Joes could ever sell you. 

I feel like I have been here forever and I'm not sure if that is a good  or bad thing. I have had dancing lessons, I have gone to parties, caught cabs, and busses, gone to the beach, stayed in a hostel, taken many cold showers, and the list goes on. But I have also spent way more money than I would have ever thought I would.  I have 15 weeks left so I can only imagine whats to come in the future.

If I would have known that my classes would not start for 3 wks I probably would have stayed home with my family a little longer.  But since I am here I am going to make the best of it.  Next week I start my volunteering program at the Childrens Hospital....I am overjoyed with excitement by the wonderful things that I will gain from this.  Also this week is Costa Rica's Independence Day so I can't wait to enjoy the festivities.  I am so happy that the axiety is over and that I can enjoy my time here....everyday is a learning experience and I am open to learn.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I don't know where to start

First of all let me say that I have never written a blog before, I never even kept a diary so I have no idea what I should say or how I should say it, so lets start here.........
Tomorrow is the big day, the day that I will be arriving in Costa Rica and beginning this life changing experience.  I have so many thoughts running through my head.  I'm so nervous about making my flight lol because I only have a 51 min layover.  I'm also worried about fitting in and how people will look at me as an American.  My biggest worry is the language barrier.  I'm so nervous about speaking to people for fear of sounding stupid and I worry that I may not understand what they are saying to me. 

Packing and getting myself ready was an experience in itself.  Trying to pack smart and light is pretty difficult. I would have never thought that I could pack for three months and only use one bag especially when the bag has to be less than 50llbs.  One thing for sure that I wish I would have looked up or considered before I decided on Costa Rica for my studies is their visa laws.  Since they are going through a transition with their laws it has made the process somewhat difficult and cost me a lot more money.  I'm pretty sure others have experienced what I am feeling at this moment so that definitely eases my mind a little.  Even though I am super nervous I also can't wait to get there and to meet my new family and roommates, and to experience everything that I can. I have waited so long for this day and it has finally arrived!!!!!