The seasons are different here: we have the dry season and the wet season. Verano (summer) is the dry season, when it gets a tiny bit hotter because there's no rain to cool things off, and invierno (winter) is the wet season, when the massive amount of rainfall brings in clouds and moisture to deflect the sun's piercing heat rays. Right now we are in the dry season (December to April), but we actually got a touch of rain today, and it was sort of magical...everyone stopped what they were doing to listen to the pitter patter of the pelo de gato (a light rainfall or mist, literally "cat's hair"). Apparently this has almost never happened before: rain in the dry season. Everyone is talking about the crazy weather, and the changes that are happening all over the planet. This past wet season wasn't normal either. Sure, it rained a lot, but it started late, and there would be runs of several days without rain here and there. As a newcomer to Costa Rica during the rainy season, it didn't seem so extreme to me, but everyone assured me that this rainy season was a mild one. Well, the times are definitely a-changin'.
Sunset in Santa Teresa
No spring and no fall...it's kinda strange to live with only two seasons, especially since spring and fall were always my favorites. The perfect weather, not too hot and not too cold, the newness and fresh energy that comes with spring, and the crispness and reflective repose that fall inspires: these seasonal changes are embedded in my soul; after 30 years of living with the same cycle, I still instinctually feel the shifting in seasons, even if I'm not immersed in the physicality of them. I realized the other day how things seemed to be starting to bloom around me, internally and externally, and how my spirit seemed excited with the possibilities to come, and I realized...this is spring that I'm feeling! Then I started thinking back to the fall, when it was the rainy season here, and how there were moments that reflected the darkness of fall, especially when it was raining. I am still on a four season cycle. My internal clock just doesn't believe these ticos when they tell me that January is summertime. Sure it might be hot outside and school may be closed for a break, but my summer still starts in June, and that's when I will feel the freedom that summer has always brought to my life. Luckily I have a two week break around then...visa run, perhaps?
My Classroom in Montezuma
I taught a full 18 hours this week, and to top that off I've been planning like a madwoman! I literally spent around 4 hours every morning this week working on lesson plans, worksheets, and tests for my students. But I did it all in the name of freedom - when my fabulous friend Meredith comes to visit next week I want to be free to hang out, explore, and party with her! I'm really stoked that she's coming and looking forward to keeping her wildly entertained with trips to waterfalls and secret beaches, a little surfing, a little snorkeling at Tortuga Island, lots of rides around on the quad, and plenty of sunset cervezas ;)
Classes generally went well this week, although I had some hiccups with my newest group in Montezuma. Let's just say I had my first behavioral issues, but I have a plan to nip it in the bud next week, so hopefully it won't be too much of a struggle. With a location like this, I can't really complain...
View from my "office"
All of my other classes are usually a pleasure to teach; the majority of the students are eager to learn English, and I feel appreciated. As I go over new vocabulary and watch them scribbling down words in English and Spanish in their notebooks and then looking back up for more, I feel a sense of accomplishment. These students want it all, and they remind me of myself when I was first learning Spanish. I wanted to get at it from every angle. Music, movies, poetry, online quizes, googling new words, anything to put a little more español en mi mente. I hope I can inspire them (if they aren't already inspired) to absorb English from everywhere possible. I guess with each group and with each student it takes something different, but hopefully my classes will be dynamic enough to reel them all in. Next up on the agenda (after our pre-Easter test)? Activities with music. Yes please!
Lately I was thinking to myself that my Spanish wasn't really getting any better because I never study it anymore. Julia told me it most likely was improving, I just wasn't noticing it myself, like when you age or grow, it happens slowly so it's not easy to see from day to day. I think she was right. Not only am I constantly picking up new words in conversation (even if they don't sink in the first time it's still helping), but I'm learning things from my students too. They always seem to translate everything out loud, as a sort of mental check, and I love it because it helps me check my Spanish too...how would I say that? Oh, right, of course, that's it. As they get more advanced I will definitely have to limit the amount of Spanish spoken in the room, but with beginners it's literally impossible to put a ban on their native tounge, so I'm enjoying it while it lasts.
Hope everyone has a great weekend and happy spring from the land of eternal summer!
P.S. Don't worry Mom, I'm wearing my helmet ;)