Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pura Aventura

Mi Cuadra
It's been a great week here on the Nicoya Peninsula. I taught my 5 classes in Santa Teresa again and learned a lot more about teaching. I finally got organized with the Camara de Turismo in Montezuma and put the word out there that classes will begin on Monday (tomorrow). But the best part of the week was when I found Rubi, my new best friend the CUADRACICLO!!! (ATV/quad)

I got really lucky, or should I say I was blessed with help from my Tico friends...Yerlin, who works with the Camara de Turismo in Mal Pais, and her husband Carlos picked me up on Monday in their car and drove me around to look at various quads for sale. It was so nice of them to help me out, and it was really nice to have someone there who knows more about quads than I do. I really know nothing about cars or motors or engines or anything, plus I'm a gringa (which obviously means I have tons of money), so without my friends I would've been a perfect target for getting ripped off. We looked at several different quads around town and then Carlos called his brother, who happened to have the perfect quad on his farm that he only used when he was in town once or twice a month. It's a 2008 Honda Rancho 420, and he wasn't even planning on selling it, but he decided he could use the money. He offered me a super reasonable price, and after a quick test drive, I was sold. We went to the bank and sealed the deal.

No exaggeration
It's amazing how having a set of wheels can change your life! I am finally free to go and come as I please without waiting for the bus...que bueno! And it's such a great way to get around here because the roads are crazy, but with a quad you can literally go anywhere! I'm embarking on a new journey now...of exploring every vista, waterfall, river, and beach I can get to in the area. Yesterday my tica sister and I went to Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve where her grandpa works as a "guarda parque." We went over some crazy skinny little roads filled with rocks to get was quite the adventure! Carlos (who I now call my abuelotico/tico grandpa) took us on a little hike to a beach inside the Reserve, and then the volunteers who live there offered us a tasty lunch. On the way back we nearly ran out of gas, but I discovered that my quad has a fabulous little reserve gas tank! I love her more everyday ;)

Beach at Cabo Blanco
Teaching went well this week too and I am really looking forward to starting my new groups in Montezuma tomorrow. I'm learning that it's super important to be flexible with lesson plans, because you never know how the students will respond to the material or how fast or slow the class will progress. I try my best to respond to student requests and needs, but it's tough to keep them all on the same page (some finish activities super quickly and others take a lot longer). I have to start bringing extra work for those that finish early, and I also started giving homework this week, which I think will help reinforce the lessons and keep them practicing outside of class. I'm also working at improving my repetoire of quick games and 5 minute filler activities in case I need to energize the class or take a break from structured gramatics.

Overall, things are flowing here...I'm really happy with my family in Cabuya, they are super laid back and I love spending time just hanging out with them. It's fun having 2 little sisters and a little brother too since I never had that at home. For the two nights a week that I'm teaching in Santa Teresa I've been staying at Yerlin's house (the woman from the Camara who actually turns out to be the 3rd cousin of my host mom Yessenia) and it is really nice...I even have air conditioning in my room! She's totally opened her door for me to stay there (for free) and all she asks is that I speak English with her and her kids so they can practice! She's a really cool lady and I enjoy spending time with her family too, so it's a win win situation.

Mi Hermanita y Abuelotico
I think the most overwhelming thing about Costa Rica really is it's people...they are generally super kind and welcoming, they don't stress out, they laugh A LOT, they're close with their families (and they're ALL family around here), and they seem to really enjoy life! I am understanding more and more what it means to truly live the pura vida...and the more I understand, the more I want to stay here forever! My job goes through June but I'm hoping I can extend it for the rest of the year. Time will tell...

Much love to all from my favorite spot on Earth...XOXO

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