Friday, June 18, 2010
I can't believe it's already half way through June! The other CREST volunteers who came in January and only signed up for six months will be heading home soon (tear). The semester is almost over. All of my classes have their final exams next week and then we get a two week vacation. I can't imagine how I would feel if I was leaving so soon…I think it would break my heart! Luckily I am planning to continue with the program, although there have been a few bumps in the road.
I wasn't aware of this until recently, but apparently the ICT (Costa Rican Institute of Tourism) only sponsors the CREST program in each town for one full year. Montezuma and Santa Teresa already had another volunteer for six months last year, so this July will mark one year here. That means the funding will be cut, and the local Camara of Tourism will have to pick up the slack if they want to continue with the program. The money from the ICT was basically paying my housing and food with the family in Cabuya, and the Camara was providing me with a little stipend for gas and class supplies. When I first heard that the funding would be cut I was super sad because I didn't know if the program would continue, but the Camara of Tourism in Santa Teresa assured me that they want me to stay. In Montezuma, the Camara is very disorganized and there isn't much money, so as it turns out I will only be keeping one night of classes there, and I will open a few new classes in Santa Teresa where there is a higher demand for learning English.
The other major change is that I decided it would be best if I moved over to the Santa Teresa side, since three out of my four teaching nights will be there, and then I'll only have to drive to Montezuma once a week. I spent a few days searching in the past week and I think I finally found my spot! It's a super cute little cabina that one of my students rents out, next to her house on her property, which just happens to be about 50 feet from a gorgeous secluded beach. Hello perfection. It's a little more than my job affords me, but I think I can make up the rest doing some extra private lessons, and it will be so worth it. It comes with everything; it even has a blender for fruit drinks and an oven which is a rarity here in Costa Rica! I can make banana bread and bake root vegetables! Cabuya was a great place because the family was so wonderful and the town is super tranquilo, but it is a little bit out of the way to constantly be driving back and forth. Plus the beaches are better in Santa Teresa, and I can finally get out and surf more! I hope this place works out, but either way I'm trusting that things will fall into place perfectly as they always seem to do here in Costa :)
My girlfriend Grace is coming to visit next week so that's super exciting! It's good timing because I will be finishing with classes and have a little break. We are planning to drive to Manuel Antonio for a few days and possibly do a little rafting adventure on the Rio Naranjo. I want to take her to the national park there because it's a beautiful spot to see monkeys and other wildlife. She also wants to do a canopy tour, so I think we'll try the one in Montezuma that goes over the waterfalls. It's close and I think I can swing us a nice discount.
After Grace leaves I'm planning to take the rest of my time off to visit friends in Samara. The first and best friend that I made in Samara is a girl named Krista from Chicago. She was there studying Spanish at the same language school and we instantly hit it off and hung out for the next few months before she went back to the states. She will be back for a weekend and I can't wait to see her! Then my little sister Mareike from Germany will be returning - I call her my sister because we lived together in the same house with our "mamatica" Marisol - so I will stay a few more days to hang out with her. I think my boyfriend Javier is coming with me too, so it will be a lot of fun to introduce him my friends there! Yay vacation!!!
When I get back we will have a graduation ceremony and party for my students in Santa Teresa…I hope they all pass the final exam!!! I think in Montezuma we are all just going to meet at the bar and I will hand out the certificates and make a little speech. I'm so proud of all of their hard work and it's amazing to see the progress they've made in just 5 months! I really am inspired to work harder and get them speaking more English by the end of the year. The main things I'm going to focus on now is more listening and speaking exercises. The grammar and writing are important too, but with each topic we study I want to make sure everyone can express themselves clearly in English. Wish me luck!
Ciao…or as some they say here "cha-ito"