Week two—complete. I have come to expect the unexpected. Today I was told by one of the important people who interviewed me that I’ve seemed to “adapt a good attitude quite quickly about how things work in this country” and that I “roll with the punches quite well.” I would not define myself as an instinctively ‘go whichever way the wind blows me’ type of person, but I’m adapting day-by-day.
So far I have learned that… 90% of Costa Rican women are named María. It is never too late in the day to drink coffee. The sun wakes up well before I want to. The bugs are much larger here. Rules mean very little. Stop signs mean keep going and honk your horn so you don’t get hit. The phrase “to be early is to be on time, and to be on time is to be late” definitely does not apply here. Schedules are flexible and markers are expensive. Peanut butter is impossible to find.
And one would think that after breaking the strap of one pair of sandals on the not-so-smooth roads here, I would not wear the remaining pair of sandals when traveling by foot. Maybe the nickel-sized blister on my foot will change my mind for the next time! (My paisley boots are in Costa Rica after all!)
School typically ends at 1:30 on Fridays instead of 3 but today classes ended at 11:30. The staff had a meeting with the ministerio de educación today starting at 11:30. I thought “oh that’s nice, we are starting early so we won’t have to stay past 1:30!” Then I heard that the meeting was scheduled until 3. Yes, that’s a 3 ½ hour meeting. In Spanish.
Well, I now know why meetings such as this last so long. First of all the lady who was to be presenting did not show up until a little after 12. Then we were served a nice lunch consisting of ensalada, arroz con pollo, y guacamole. Portions are huge here and seconds are encouraged, so lunch lasted quite some time. We finally proceeded to start the meeting about quarter ‘til one.
The woman talked sooooooo fast that she sounded like she was being fast-forwarded. Surprisingly I understood the majority of what she said. Long story short, this year our school is going to participate in the Festival de Arte. She explained this in great detail, and just when I thought she was done, the cook brought in a huge tray of coffee mugs and crackers. I was just thinking how much I wanted coffee, and then it showed up!
So we had a nice little coffee break in the middle of the meeting. Haha. I definitely appreciate the importance of coffee in this culture. So yes, after our coffee break we did continue until 3 pm.
Next week the students have their first trimester exams. We have been reviewing topic after topic all week. I am tired of it, so I know the kids are too. Instead of more practice during my second math class with 5th grade today, I decided we should play a game. I was introduced to what they called “math ball.” You make two teams. One at a time a player from each team goes up to the board to solve a problem. Get it correct, earn a point and shoot the ball into the hoop for another point. (shoot the crumpled up paper into the garbage can).
So we’re playing “math ball” and little Jorge yells “teacher, look!” and he starts jumping like a frog. This is not out of character for Jorge to perform in front of the class. I thought he was just being his normal silly self, but low and behold, in the corner of the room under a chair was the mother of all frogs. It was huge! I said “rana” but the kids said it was a “sapa.” The girls in my class ran out the door and the boys all gathered around. There went the end of our game of “math ball!”
|These photos simply do not do justice to the size of the sapa!|
In other news, I encountered a school supply store on my walk home today. I found paperclips, post-it notes, and even a dry-erase board eraser! Now I don’t have to erase the board with my hand anymore; although, I think the kids enjoyed when I would erase it with my hand, later touch my face and end up with blue marks on my cheeks or forehead! J