Saturday, July 28, 2012

Adiós UCR

Today I said goodbye to my housemates, Elaine and Abby.  I got to see my excellent teachers, Olma and Rosario one more time.  And said "hasta luego" to my new mae, Ann!  It has been an awesome experience to be here and I am so thankful for the opportunity that NSE entrusted to me.  My husband arrives tomorrow and we are going to spend 5 days enjoying Costa Rica together! :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Una clase en UCR

My Conversation 2 class with the best teacher ever, Rosario! I have learned so many interesting communicative activities in this class and a ton of Tican vocabulary and customs! For example,
1.  If someone compliments you on your shirt, you respond with "Aquí la tiene". Of course, you don't really give it to them...
2.  Al chile means "really, seriously?"
3.  Tuanis is cool... it comes from the English expression "Too nice." Ticans are tuanis!
4.  La hora tica is an interesting concept of time that tends to put people first and watches second.
5.  If you are wearing a new piece of clothing you can say "Estoy estrenando (este vestido)".
6.  Es una torta means what a shame! (Unusual use of torta which to me is something good! )
7.  A la puña is a nicer way of saying "oh shoot!"
8.  Ticos use alambre de navaja to protect their houses.
9.  Zepol (Vick's) is used to cure a lot of health problems!
10.  And good teaching is good teaching no matter what country you are in! And Rosario is a great teacher!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


This post is not going to contain any pictures. None were allowed. But in my mind I will never forget the experience of seeing a Giant Green Sea Turtle laying her eggs during the nesting season at Tortuguero.
Last weekend, Ann and I had the privilege of traveling to Tortuguero island.  The journey started with a  2 1/2 hour bus ride and then a 45 minute boat ride to our destination of Pachira Lodge on Tortuguero Island.  We signed up for the tour to the turtle's nesting grounds right away since that was our main purpose for the visit.
At 7:45pm, we boarded a boat for the short ride to the beach.  In complete darkness, we walked as a group to a meeting spot in the forest and sat on a bench under a shelter for an orientation of the experience from our guide.  Our guide's name was Walter and he was very knowledgeable.
The Costa Rican people now have a genuine appreciation for their natural resources and have a marvelous system in place so that tourists can observe the nesting turtles and yet not disturb the natural setting.
Our guide told us that we would wait for one of the "turtle spotters" to radio in and let us know that a female turtle had been spotted and was digging her nest.  Then we would go (in our group of 10) to the beach to see if we were going to be able to watch her deposit her eggs.  There are no guarantees in nature so it is very much a "wait and see" process.
After what felt like an eternity but was really only about 20 minutes, we finally got the call.  We walked swiftly through the dark to the beach following our guide.  Ann motioned for me to look up at the sky when I could and I was rewarded with a beautiful star filled sight!
As we huddled together in silence on the beach, our guide checked out the turtle's progress.  It seemed that she had chosen a spot with a lot of roots and was having some trouble digging her nest.  We had to wait to see if she was going to persevere with the spot or perhaps return to the sea.
After another 30 minute wait, we finally got the word that we could approach.  She had begun laying her eggs.  The guide must wait until the turtle has laid at least 2 eggs before we begin to watch so that she is not frightened away.
We were able to approach with only a distance of less than 2 feet separating us with the turtles.  It was a truly miraculous sight! She was intent in her mission and focused on her natural instincts.  We got several turns to watch as she filled the nest with at least 100 eggs.  Then we were able to see her cover the nest with her flippers working like skillful hands.  It was a sacred and awesome event to behold.
When it was time to return, I marveled at the miracle we had been able to witness! No pictures of this memory, but an unforgettable experience all the same! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mi Casita

I live in the neighborhood of Cedros with a wonderful Señora whose family all live close by. She has many grandchildren who visit in and out throughout the day and evening. She is a wonderful cook who loves to serve us delicious meals and always tries to vary them a little.  She is very active and keeps a wonderfully warm home.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

La Primera Semana

I've now been in Costa Rica for 10 days. Already I have learned so much and seen so much!
There are so many palabras ticas to pick up! :)

This week, we visited the treasure of Costa Rica... El Teatro Nacional.  Of course it was first quality as are all things tica!

We visited Cartago and saw the ruins and La Basilica.  I learned the story of the patron saint of Costa Rica, Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles.  The national day of honor for her is August 2nd and since I'll still be in Costa Rica that day, I'm hoping to see some of the pilgrimage.

On Saturday, we took an excursion to Tortuga Island! What a great day for lying on the beach and getting wet in the warm Pacific ocean!

Then today, we topped off the week with a cafecito at Café Britt, a distributor for fine quality Costa Rican coffee (and chocolate)!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Las Clases en UCR

Classes began today at 8am. My first class is La Cultura de Latina America.  I loved it! The 2nd class is Advanced Conversation and I think it is also going to be great! :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Un día de aventura

Today was our first excursion outside of San José. We left at 6:30am for a trip to El Volcán Poas y Las Cataratas de La Paz.  The scenery was breathtaking! The air was so clean and pure.  I stopped several times to take in the moment and the awesome blessing of being in Costa Rica! 
I'm posting a few of the pictures from today's adventure. 
Also, it's been so fun to get to know Ann, the other NSE scholarship recipient.  We are both absorbing so much of the cultura tica!

Classes begin tomorrow! Looking forward to learning and improving! Hasta luego!