The Road to Nowhere
So I spent my first few nights in a hotel in Mal Pais waiting to be placed in a homestay (meanwhile enjoying the beautiful wide beaches and hanging out with some uber chill surfer dudes who live there part of the year). Then I came to Montezuma and stayed a few nights with the local partner William who runs the waterfall canopy tour here. Unfortunately my homestay options were not totally worked out yet and as it is here in Costa Rica, things were moving kinda slow (Side note: I think this was a rare case as most of the other volunteers were placed immediately and really happy with their homestays). I had been in contact with the family that I stayed with back in November when I was here and finally decided to go and live with them again in Cabuya, which is a little tranquilo town sort of in between Montezuma and Mal Pais. I can't tell you how good it feels now to finally be all set up in my own space with a sweet family who has been very welcoming...mi casa es su casa kind of vibe.
My room is a private cabina just in front of the family's house surrounded by gardens. It's really comfy and has tons of space, a set of bunk beds for visitors (hint hint), and a clean private bano. They've even made some improvements on the place since I was last here like lining the ceiling with wood to keep it cooler during the day and adding a bigger bed. Last night I did some decorating with the few things that I had to make it feel more like home. I'm eating all my meals with the family, which means rice and beans with every meal, but the company is great and there's always Salsa Lizano! My new family is: mom Yessenia who works part time in a hotel in Montezuma, dad Lukas who works at the local super (grocery store), brother Jaudi (16) and sister Kataryn (14) who both seem really mature for their age, and little sister Tiffany (5) who is the cutest and most friendly of all.
Tiffany (right) with friend Sofia & the neighbor's dog Lula
It's really different here in these small towns because it's basically just a few big families who have been here forever, own the land, and live and work in the community. Quite a change from city life. Next door lives Lukas's mom and brother with his family, and Yessenia's sister lives down the street. The local partner in Mal Pais is a primo (cousin) and so was my taxi driver the other night! Everybody knows everybody and there's a strong sense of community here. I'm stoked to call this place home for a while.
I ordered my new moto the other day and it should be arriving at the dealership in Cobano by Monday or Tuesday! It's a brand new silver-grey (I hope) Honda Wave 100cc!!! It's semi-automatico which means there are gears to change but there's no clutch. Just need to practice driving it around the hood until I get good...I'm trusting that it will come quite naturally and I'll be riding like a pro in no time;)
Last night I had a meeting with the Camara de Turismo in Mal Pais to determine my class schedule over there. We will be doing placement tests this week to group the students and classes will begin the following week. I'm still working on getting things organized for my classes here in Montezuma, but like I said before, everything moves a little slower here so I'm not surprised. The kids schools are closed right now (this is like their summer break) so trying to find the right person to coordinate with has been tough, but I'm sure we'll get it figured out soon. And at least this way I have a little more time to plan my classes!
Sign in Cabuya
Although Mal Pais is only 7 km from Cabuya, the road between the two is so unbelievably bad that it's almost unpassable. I'm planning to take the longer way around when I go during the day, but there's no way I can come back at night. So it turns out I'll be spending two nights a week in the Mal Pais-Santa Teresa area when I have my classes over there (Wednesdays and Thursdays) . At first I was a little bummed when I realized I'd be away from "home" so much, but now I'm excited because I'll have the chance to get to know that area a little better now (and have some beers with my students after class). The Camara offered me a place to stay there (with a local family) on the nights that I teach and they are even going to give me a little gas money, so it should be an easy once a week trip.
Other than that everything is good, I've been making friends and running into people that I met here before, spending time on the beach and at the fabulous Montezuma waterfalls, and gathering materials for my classes. Soon everything will be set in motion!
I'll end with a little bit of Tico slang I just learned:
1,000 colones = un rojo (because the bill is red)
2,000 colones = un delphin (because there's a dolphin on the bill)
5,000 colones = un toucan
10,000 colones = una puma
There's a joke too...do you know about the ecological tour of San Jose? A guy at a bar with pumas and toucans in the pockets and a fox on each knee. Jajaja.