The first rains of the rainy season are finally here! It has sprinkled a few times, and last night we got our second hard rain. I wouldn't say it was a downpour, but it definitely wet everything pretty well. So refreshing! Everything felt a little bit cooler and cleaner today, and the dust was barely an issue in the roads! Aside from the mosquitos that are already starting to bite (actually I think all the bites on my legs are from zancudos, which are like mini-mosquitos you can barely see), I actually think I'm going to like this season even better. It's cooler, there are less tourists, and it's not like it's raining all the time. The idea that in the rainy season the rain never stops is quite the exageration. In fact on the Nicoya Peninsula, we are almost always blessed with sunshiny mornings, and the rain doesn't come till the late afternoon or evening. Usually it pours for a few hours and then stops, so it may slightly interrupt your day, but it's not the end of the world. I'm excited - things are going to feel more like the Costa Rica I first encountered when I arrived last summer.
One thing that came as a total surprise was how many crabs there are everywhere! With the start of the rains they are really coming out of the woodwork. These are the tajilaran, and they are so pretty with their orange and purple shells! Right now there are a million of them crossing the roads around here. Apparently they come down from higher ground to lay their eggs on the beach. But the horrible thing is a lot of them are getting killed by crossing the road! It is literally impossible not to kill some of them if you're a driver here. I've been driving really carefully and trying to turn and swerve to avoid them, but when there are so many it's quite difficult. I feel so bad...and the streets are starting to be covered with dead crabbies! Plus my friends keep saying that it's going to get a lot worse. What a crazy part of life here...and of course it's totally normal to them. There were even some crabs crawling in our living room tonight, and my family wasn't phased at all.
Surfer in Santa Teresa
Last weekend there was a surf competition in Santa Teresa. It was supposedly a pretty big deal, and apparently people were coming from all over Costa Rica, but it didn't seem quite as big as everyone had built it up to be. Still it was a good crowd and lots of excitement in the air. The surfers were really good and I enjoyed watching them ride the big waves that were rolling in on Saturday. I guess they planned it around a big swell because it looked kinda scary out there! We sat under the Red Bull tent and enjoyed some ice cold Pilsens while counting how many amazingly hot bodies were passing by. It was a dreamy day, followed by a crazy night at D&N's noche de electronica (not my favorite music, but a fun crowd of people in town for the surf competition made for a pretty wild party). My friend Trinity now has an apartment over in Santa Teresa so I've been able to hang out over there a little bit more and spend the night with her which is fabulous. It's been fun spending more time on that side of things. It's a whole different world compared to Montezuma.
Trinity & I @ Surf Competition
Classes have been going well. I finally was able to locate some small speakers for my iPod, so I was able to incorporate some music into my lessons so far this week and the students seemed to really like it! I thought it was a really fun way to do a listening exercise, and I definitely want to keep using music and other listening activities in lessons to come. This week I did the Beatles' "Hello, Goodbye" with the very beginner classes, and Tom Petty's "Free Falling" with the high beginners. I think I am going to do "Norwegian Wood" (also the Beatles) for the intermediate class. I've been compiling playlists of other songs to use, but it's difficult to find stuff that is super clear and uses simple verb tenses. For the beginners it needs to be pretty basic English...no complex tenses or too much slang. But as we advance, things could get pretty fun with music lessons. Suggestions are welcome!
Lastly I'm honored to announce that I've been asked to work on developing an EFL curriculum for the program that I'm working with here in Costa Rica (ALIARSE). The CREST program is fairly new, with only a year and 3 months under its belt, and so far there hasn't been any kind of set curriculum or syllabus for the volunteers to follow. My students really want to know what level they are completing, and they need that in order to feel like they are accomplishing something and moving up to the next level with their English studies. So we are going to create a basic outline of topics and grammar points that need to be covered in each level. I believe this will help both the students and the volunteers - it will give the volunteers something to follow, and it won't be too detailed that it inhibits the creativity of each volunteer. We will still be able to create unique lesson plans in order to teach each of the concepts covered in the curriculum. It will however serve to normalize the teaching that is happening across the country, so that our students in every pueblo will be graduating with specific sets of English language skills. I'm very excited to be a part of developing this curriculum, and I hope it really helps to improve our program.
Hasta lluego, que dios te accompaña!