Thursday, June 29, 2006

First Week of School

El Instituto de Lengua Española

It is difficult to bring lots of people together from various parts of the world, with many varying levels, and varying ways of learning (self-taught vs. high school vs. spending a summer in Peru, etc.). So, the classes are not hitting us directly where we need, and the homework is pretty light. But, both Katherine and I are pretty self-motivated, and for self-motivated, initiative-taking people, this is a great place.

Ages vary from 16 years to 60 and more. Katherine and I are in separate classes, she is one step ahead of me. Our classes have about 5 people each. First class, at 12:30 is grammar, and second one is conversation. Our teachers all are Costa Rican, and have university degrees. All have been teaching for at least 7 years in this school.

I am amazed and surprised at how much Spanish I have learned in the 4 days I´ve been here.

At our school
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Waiting for class to begin, I´m on the right in the white shirt.
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Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Sunday, 6-25-2006

Festival of the Body and Blood of Jesus. We went with our Tico family to church. We did not really know what to expect. The service was held outside in a cul-de-sac near our house. After the service, the whole congregation processed downhill, following the special balloons. The priest had a canopy over him, and an alter boy (part of our family, met us at the airport) swinging the incense in front. At the very front, all the little children wore costumes like angels, and spread colorful flower petals on the street. It was a beautiful and fun parade. We sang hymns, and recited the creeds on the way.

However, I got pretty sunburned on my bald head. Did not expect church to include standing outside for 3 hours. Further, we are very near the equator, and San Josè is very high in the mountains. The sun´s rays are very powerful even though the climate is near perfect all the time.

In the afternoon, it rained for about 30 minutes as hard as I have ever experienced. The rain was amazing. Then it cleared up and was nice.

A view from near our home.
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This is our street, just before the parade. Our house is blue at the bottom of the hill.
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This is Carlos Alberto, our friend, swinging the incense, with the priest behind.
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And Tatiana, also in our Tico family. She is 6 years old. I like to talk with her, it works well.
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Saturday, Flying to Costa Rica

Because we booked so late, Katherine and I were not together in the airplanes. From Miami to Guatemala City, I sat between a father and a son. They talked with each other (over me) quite a bit, and both were extremely fat. I´m not a small guy, but they made me look like a little kid. During the flight, they both fell asleep and started snoring loudly. SNL could not have written a better script.

We landed safely in San Josè late in the evening. Lots of long lines for customs, etc. Our Tico family picked were holding a sign just outside the airport, and we were home soon.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Passport Acquired

After long lines, much waiting, sore feet, I have my USA Passport about 24 hours before leaving.

Next post should be from Costa Rica. I have assurances from our school (link on right) that computer interaction is easy and plentiful.

Monday, June 19, 2006


I spent part of the morning at the Miami Passport office. I was told that there are many people who need passports today because they are traveling out of the country tonight -- there was no time to work on my passport. I should come back on Thursday or Friday. I'm not leaving until Saturday. This really surprised me.

I got a special signature from a supervisor, and I'll attempt the passport again on Thursday morning according to his directions. He said my travel plans are not in jeopardy.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Begin here

We've been generically planning / investigating the possibility of going to a Latin American country for 2-4 weeks to learn Spanish. August is our seventh wedding anniversary, and seemed like a natural time to take a trip.

Long story made short: we recently got a great tip from a very good friend, the Rev. Bill Yarbrough (oversees all MTW missionaries in Latin America) for a great school in San José, Costa Rica.

Today we got unofficial confirmation from the school, the hospital (where I work) and the airport (where Katherine works) that we're good to go.

Classes start on June 26, end on July 22.

We're excited about it.

Of course, more info to follow. Hopefully pictures, too.