Time for an update from Costa Rica. This is Cori, by the way. Logan and I arrived here on Monday, Nov 4th, starting a six-month adventure of life in Palmichal and Tabarcia. We left our jobs in the states, and are renting a small house here while we 'do life' alongside Cornelio and Cailene. While we don't have a particular agenda of things to accomplish, we trust God to use us to bless others here, as well as to stretch and grow our relationship with each other. Additionally, I'm hoping to blog here fairly frequently in order to share our experience and grow a greater circle of prayer and support for Cailene and Cornelio.
Logan and I only brought 3 bags with us...our life for 6 months. Needless to say, there was a lot of setup to be done, and several purchases to be made. There isn't exactly a surplus of gently used furniture in Costa Rica, so buying a refrigerator, a bed, and a small gas stove/oven put a decent dent in our budget right off the bat. Fortunately, Cailene procured a table and 4 chairs for us, as well as a set of bunk beds for our extra room (something to look forward to if you're coming to visit us!). Also, Bonnie had several dishes and kitchen utensils in storage here, so we are putting those to good use. Since our house had literally NOTHING in it when moved in, we purchased some wood and Logan built a perfect set of shelves for our kitchen, which has made things much more organized. Of course, wood, which we take for granted in the states, is much more expensive and hard to come by here as the trees, which are plentiful, grow really tall really quickly, but never develop much width.
We've jumped right into life here, attending church, sitting in on some of Cailene's classes, and joining the local volleyball games on Thursday evenings (and sometimes Mondays). There are two locations where Cornelio and Cailene teach: one in Tabarcia, with two classrooms, and a second location with a single classroom in Palmichal. Lessons are taught either as private/individual sessions or group sessions, depending on the student's/family's preference. Students range from 5 years old to adult, and cover the entire gamut of proficiency in English. The curriculum taught uses lots of games rather than rote memorization, which allows students to engage and play as they learn. While a little shy to see new faces, the kids we've met use their English to introduce themselves and 'meet us' properly. :-)
There are a few projects underway (or soon to be underway) for the school. Logan is building a set, or maybe two, of bookshelves for the school. Cailene has several books and games that she currently keeps in a corner or totes back and forth, so it will be nice to have storage space on site for those resources. Also, we are trying to think of ways to 'dress up' what are currently 'unexciting' white walls. All ideas welcome...we'd like to add color/educational visual materials to make the rooms more fun and inviting. Lastly, Cailene and I are hoping to organize all the different printed worksheets and games in binders based on age and proficiency level. It's a lot easier to simply grab the 'Age 5-8 English Introduction' notebook for a class than to sift through a huge notebook for the few sheets that you need. When we're finished, hopefully they'll be able to spend significantly less time making copies and sorting papers!
Other activities we're enjoying: Cailene, Bonnie, and I are swimming at a pool in San Bosco, which is about 25 minutes away, three days a week. It's been AMAZING to get back in the pool, and is so much more fun to go with friends. Thanks to the intense sun, I'm developing a pretty nice tan (yay!), complete with swimsuit lines (not yay...). Bonnie leads a women's group that meets on Tuesday afternoons, which is a fun opportunity to get to know some great local ladies, as well as practice our Spanish. Cornelio is running a lot, and he and I are hoping to enter a 10K race in Puriscal in December. He's likely to be fairly competitive...I'll finish...let's leave it at that. :-)
Logan isn't hugely impressed with rice and beans, papaya, or plantains (all staples here...and all DELICIOUS!), and unflushable toilet paper reminds us how much we take for granted in the USA, but minor discomforts as such aside, we are having a great time. The area is beautiful, the weather is fabulous, and though it rained daily the first week or so we were here, the closer we get to December, the less it rains. Christmas decorations are everywhere: lights, trees (fake, of course), wreaths on doors, etc, but we are making preparations for Thanksgiving next week, which we will celebrate in traditional American style, along with Lydia (who lived in the states for 11 years) and her family. And pumpkin pie is on the menu. :-)
Did I mention the bugs? They're everywhere. The giant cockroaches and spiders disgust me, and the giant scorpion cruising across my floor was seriously not ok on any level. VERY glad Logan was there to kill it. Ick. Anyway, hoping to post some pictures before too long either here or on facebook, but in the meantime share ideas for school decorations and please be praying that Logan and I will serve the purpose God has for us here, as well as for the continued health and safety of all of us living here. Adios!