Friday, December 27, 2013

Cori's Update: No More Teachers, No More Books...

It's summer vacation!!! Cailene and Cornelio wrapped up their school year on December 21st by hosting an end of the year party/presentation for the school. Of the 70 students who attend the school, approximately 25 came and participated. We baked yummy cinnamon rolls, cheese bread, and sugar cookies (very colorfully decorated by Meredith and Jesus, a niece and nephew) and had a great time. The kids had learned a couple Christmas songs in English, and sang them for their parents at the presentation, and got certificates for course completions as well. We weren't bummed by the low attendance...public schools finished up in early December, and lots of families have already started their vacation plans. Additionally, it is hard to get commitment from people for such events, and they almost never come on time. Example: one student arrived just as the entire program was finishing. She was very disappointed to not get to perform her song for her mother, since she had been practicing hard at home, so we set her up for a lil' mini performance on her own, which filled that gap at least a little bit. But all was well, and vacation is now in full swing.
Students receiving their course completion certificates.
Cailene, Bonnie, and I took a day and went to San Jose to go shopping with one of Cailene's classmates from the university, Amelia. We took the bus to avoid the cost of gas and parking issues, which should have taken about an hour or a lil' more than. Well, for those who don't know me, I get carsick. And here in Costa Rica, I'm getting more carsick than I pretty much ever have before. The roads are really twisty, it's usually hot, and drivers aren't exactly slow and steady. By the time we got halfway, I was like, "Um, I need to get off this bus..." So we took a break...for about 40 minutes. We watched 2 buses go by before I finally felt solid enough to get back on. The rest of the trip is luckily the straighter half, and I made a stronger point of being FRONT and CENTER where I can see the road and the airflow is good. Once we made it to San Jose, we had a great time shopping at a huge second-hand store and enjoyed lunch at Mercado Central, which is a big market with food and gifts and restaurants and basically everything you could imagine. It was a good day and I'm feeling better and better about getting around places on my own.

View down and into the property from the back door.

Construction got underway at Cailene and Cornelio's house shortly after my last update. In the last 2 weeks, the porch was taken apart and stacked beside the house, a backhoe came and dug out somewhere around 30 cubic meters of dirt, and some supplies have been delivered to start construction on the 2 walls that we are going to build. The original plan was to put a garage and an apartment for Bonnie in that space, but, in typical Costa Rican fashion, it's taking longer than expected, and plans for the apartment aren't set in stone. Space at the house here feels much smaller and more limited, especially with the dining table in the garage, right beside the weight set and the disassembled porch, but we're surviving. The dogs aren't thrilled with it either, since their space was cut in half, but Eros had no problem dashing THROUGH the house (they're not allowed inside) and LEAPING right out the back door into oblivion in pursuit of a dog they particularly hate. It's probably a 12-foot drop from the door down to the newly excavated dirt, but he hit the ground running without so much as a stumble or a yip and off he went. Much to our surprise, he didn't attack the hated dog, just sniffed it and then came running when Cailene called. What a good boy!
View from the bottom corner of the driveway to the back door.
Christmas was a fabulous day for us. We drove to Rio Laguna (the river), which is about an hour from here, and spent most of the day there. It is a beautiful spot, and the water runs nice and clear. There is a good sized (50x50ft) swimming hole that's probably 12-14ft deep, and it's clear and cool and has a lil' waterfall flowing into it, as well as a couple lil' hot-tub sized pools and small falls above it. We brought a big inner tube, and spent the day getting tan and playing in the water. Logan and Cornelio went on an iguana hunt, but their pursuit was futile and they came back empty-handed. Luckily, us girls packed a lunch as a backup plan. :-)

Cailene and Cornelio
managed to both stand up on the tube for a few precious seconds.

There were valiant
attempts made by others (my head, the
feet belong to Cailene and Bonnie).
This was Cornelio standing on the tube and diving/jumping off of it.
Bonnie is currently on a 3-day tour to Panama with her friend, Lidiette. American 'tourists' in Costa Rica don't need a visa, but you can only stay in the country for 90 days at a time, then you have to leave the country for 72 hours before you get another 90 days. Her time was about up, so she and Lidiette found a bus tour to a beach area in Panama just across the border. There's snorkeling and a nice hotel and other tourist activities, so I'm sure they're having a great time. Logan and I will be out of the country February 1st-6th, but we are going to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. More on that in Feb, of course. :-)

Things we're thankful for: Cailene finished her classes at the university, and is all set to graduate in February. It's been a long road for her, and she's pretty excited to not have to drive the 30 min to Puriscal two or three times a week anymore. The construction here has gone smoothly thus far, with all the resources needed being accessible and provided. The weather has also been great for the project. We are loving our lap swims at the pool in San Bosco. Great exercise and great fun. Colter (Logan's brother) arrives for a 2-week visit on January 1st, and then my parents arrive for their week in Costa Rica on January 25th.

We live way down in the valley behind us that's all misty.
Can't believe we've been here for just a few days shy of 2 months already! Only 4 months left! While I can easily communicate with people and get around on my own, the reality of only 4 more months makes me want to STUDY Spanish a little more so I can be more fluent before we leave. Logan's Spanish is, well, there...he's mastered the use of 'Que Mob!', which is the equivalent of "Hey dude!!!" :-) And lastly, we took a lil' jaunty ride to the wind turbines that we can see from our house. It's a nice drive up a very smooth, well-maintained (do you hear the sarcasm here???) dirt road, and there are fabulous views of both our side of the mountain, as well as the entire San Jose valley. Of course, as soon as we got there, the clouds rolled in and blocked the view, but it was still a fun, refreshing ride. The car only over-heated once, and we only got sprinkled on for a few minutes. And yes, it was chilly (hence, the blanket)!!!!

<----Aren't they so cute???


<----The 'Trusty Tracker' cooling down at the top of the mountains. We took the top off cuz' it was SUPER hot when we were getting ready to go. Then it got cloudy and chilly, but at least Cailene and I didn't hit our heads in the back going over bumps! Plus the extra airflow really helps the carsick issue!!!

That's about it. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers. Hope everyone had a very merry Christmas, and has a fabulous New Year's!!!

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