I know that it appears that we dropped off the face of the earth... Actually, we have been without any "outside communication" for WAY TOO LONG!!! Costa Rica is definitely a manana culture - we called to sign up for our internet service (which also runs our telephone, television, etc.) on the first day we were here. We were told, "Someone will call you back to set an appointment manana". Well, after two or three mananas passed, we began the squeaky wheel tactic and called often. The answer continued to be the same - someone will call you manana. Finally, the internet contract man came and we signed the contract and paid the deposit, etc. Then he says, "Someone will call you manana to set an appointment for installation." Well, you guessed it... he still hasn't called or come by. So we began the squeaky wheel tactic again yesterday. Hopefully, we will have internet soon! Maybe manana - HA!
So now you're asking yourself, "if they don't have internet, how are they posting this?" Simple, we found the one 2 ft. square spot in our house where we can pick up someone's wireless signal from the neighborhood! So we fight each other over who gets to stand in the 2 ft. spot each evening and check their email!!!
So anyway - we are alive and well and beginning to adapt to Costa Rican life. We went through a minor slump of culture shock/transitional chaos at the end of our first week. We were so thankful for the training we have had in that area, as we were able to recognize the symptoms and roll with it... this, too, shall pass. This has been a MUCH better week and we are getting in the groove at the Instituto de Lengua Espanola. And the CONSTANT RAIN is becoming just another part of life - so much so that we hardly notice, really. However, Sarah did tell me today that we should play Noah's Ark with her toys because it is still raining.
The kids are transitioning well.
- Ryan is in classes with 18 kids from Mount Vernon College in Ohio. They are all Spanish majors and this time at the Instituto is a part of their degree plan. He is also meeting with Young Life in San Jose to become a volunteer student leader here, as well as volunteering at an orphanage - helping to care for children and translate their sponsor letters.
- Miles is liking school (amazing!). He has joined the school's indoor soccer team, an international youth group, and a bible study group. He is making many friends, both American and Tico. Miles is in love with Costa Rican food!
- Sarah is in an all-spanish preschool and is picking up spanish way faster than we are! She comes home and holds long conversations with Lizbeth (our tutor/househelper/Tica friend). She enjoys the fact that we don't have a vehicle, as she gets to walk everywhere with us. She especially loves jumping in puddles, which are EVERYWHERE due to the rainy season.
Billy and I are working hard at school. We have class for 4 hours everyday - one hour of phonics/vocabulary, one hour of conversational language, and two hours of grammar. None of our teachers speak/teach in English. Our grammar teacher understands some english, but does not speak any to us. When we come home, we eat lunch and begin our homework. Lizbeth spends time in conversation with us and helps us with our verbal skills. She finds us very entertaining and seems to enjoy her time as "teacher" each day. She keeps telling us that we are muy inteligente, which we know is a flat lie! HA! Yesterday, we worked on homework from 1-4 p.m., then we took a break and walked to the grocery store. After dinner, we did another 2 hours of homework before I literally fell asleep at the table and had to get up and go to bed! Tonight, I have a presentation to memorize (en espanol) and two pages of grammar homework. During our orientation, someone described language school as "trying to get a drink of water from a fire hydrant". NO KIDDING!!! That is a great description! I think I actually sprained something in my brain during the first day of classes!!!
We will begin working with a mission next week. La Carpia is a refugee community of Nicaraguans. We have met some missionaries that work with a children's ministry to this community and we have volunteered to be in ministry with them while we are here. Also, it will be great incentive to work even harder on our spanish - we will have to work with these children and understand their language, as well as speak with them and share the love of Christ with them. We anxiously look forward to beginning this ministry next week.
Okay - sorry to talk your ear off, but I'm communication starved! Speaking in english doesn't require half as much effort as carrying on a conversation in spanish! See above for photos of the school, our house, Sarah's first day of school, and Miles & Sarah overlooking the city (at a park down the street from us). Look for new postings soon... maybe manana! :)