"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' "
Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Only in Costa Rica...

Some of you may remember a blog post last year where I mentioned that I had an iguana in the roof of my classroom.

If not, read that post here  He sort of became a staple to my classroom, an unofficial class pet which my students named "Marty."

Well yesterday, it finally happened... Marty fell through the roof of my classroom!!!  Holy moly, I don't think anyone was expecting that.  Yesterday was the last day of school before break (I'm actually at the airport writing this) so my students and I were watching a movie on my laptop.

We heard this huge commotion, which we hear quite often as Marty runs around on the tin roof.  Then next thing I knew, he was on the tile by my desk.  Stunned.  I'm actually not sure who was more shocked, myself or Marty!

Conveniently I had BOTH fifth and sixth grades in my class at the same time, and everyone was freaking out.  Iguanas are nice to look at, but this one was obviously scared, and I know that they can claw you with their talons and whap you with their tails.  So I evacuated all of my students out of the classroom and ran to get the agriculture teacher... I didn't know what to do with this mother of all iguanas!

I just keep thinking how lucky I am.  If I would have been sitting in my desk, that iguana would have fallen straight on top of me.  That would have made a better story, but I think this story is interesting enough.

The agriculture teacher and I shooed Marty out and pointed him in the direction of the classroom door.  Poor Marty he was obviously frightened!

This ranks upon the most interesting things that have occurred in Costa Rica since I've lived here.  This and the earthquake last year.  Two things that Classroom Management did NOT prepare me for!  But what a story I have to tell!
Right under my desk!

Heading toward the door, but still not sure what to do

just look at the size of this monster!

Have you ever had an iguana under your desk?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A case of the Mondays

Update1:  I have classified one of the unknown birds in my previous post.  The teal and brown fellow with the lovely tail feathers is a form of Mot-mot.  I found him in a book at one of the souvenir shops near the beach yesterday.

Update 2:  In my last post I said that it usually rains at night here.  That statement was premature.  Since I wrote that, I have had my fair share of rainy mornings, trudging through the mud in my paisley boots, laptop wrapped up in grocery bags, and hood of my raincoat over my head waiting for my classy public bus to bump along the road to collect me.

On a certain Monday recently, I decided it was appropriate to wear my one pair of jeans I have here.  Of course I was running late, scrambling out of my casita at about 6:30, the same time the bus arrives.

Not having enough time to unlock, open, and lock the gate behind me, I did what I often do on my rushed morning--duck under the barbed wire at a certain location in the fence.  As I mentioned, it was a Monday, which means I had my backpack overloaded with all my books and supplies I was bringing back to school after a weekend planning session.

Well, my paisley boots failed me.  I tripped over the barbed wire (which I often do), but with the heavy rain, I began to slip.  As I landed on my hands and knees, my backpack upset my balance even further, slid off my back and its weight made me plop on my side.  Being the rainy morning that it was, I didn't just plop onto the dirt path, I hit mud and began to slide down the hill on my side.

There was no time to run back home and change my mud-covered jeans if there was any hope of catching that 6:30 am bus.  I had to pick myself up, red mud on my scraped hands, caked onto my jeans, and smeared onto my backpack and the sleeve of my rain coat.  I had no choice but to run the rest of the way to the bus stop.  To no avail I tried to wash my hands off in a mud puddle on the way.

So much for arriving at school a few minutes early on a Monday morning to get ready for the day... I spent most of the morning cleaning myself up to the best of my ability with my limited resources.

The funny thing about this particular Monday morning is that this day was supposed to be the school-wide fútbol (soccer) game. Classes were to be cancelled beginning at 9:30 and the elementary grades were to play in 30 minute games until the first lunch period.  I was the bearer of bad news having to tell my students that the game was rained out.

After breaking the news, the rain finally decided to let up around 9 am, and the game was back on!  This meant playing in a very muddy field, but my kids didn't care.  It was an awesome thing to watch all the niños running around, completely in their element playing fútbol.  The first game was first grade vs. second.  Even some of the first graders were good enough to be drafted into the professional league.

What I didn't know about the game day was that during the half time of each game, the teachers were to play.  After encouraging some of my girls to play during the fifth grade vs. sixth grade game later on, what kind of teacher would I be if I wimped out and sat on the sidelines during the teacher game?  After all, my jeans were still muddy from the morning's fall.  I mean I did play on the Northland soccer team back in the day.  Green team.  (I won't share our record)  I volunteered to be goalie, since that is what I knew from long ago.

Talk about sliding around in the mud!  Our principal was smart enough to bring a change of clothes; the rest of us, not so much.  Paisley boots are not comparable to tacos (soccer cleats).  Just in case you were wondering...

My students loved seeing me out on the field, and I have to admit it was quite fun!  "Woah Miss Hill, you're awesome!" and  "I didn't know you could play fútbol!" (me either, kids!)  I am glad I took my own advice and got out on the field, but next time I want to be prepared and bring the proper attire!

The fifth and sixth grade game was the last game of the day.  I was actually a little nervous, since I know my boys can be quite aggressive.  The PE coach may have called a yellow card or two...

 I loved seeing both some of my dainty and athletic girls out there with the boys.  What was so great about this sports day was that it was not just a typical pick-up game during recess--today even the kids who didn't normally play were out on the field.  We all cheered when my tiniest female student got the chance to make a penalty kick.  Her male counterparts surrounded her giving her advice before her shot.  and GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!

here she goes!

She made it in, her teammates swept her off the ground and boosted her into the air, running around the field as the school cheered!  Now that's team work.

"good game, good game"
That Monday held quite a turn of events.  I started the day covered in mud, doing everything I could to clean myself up and look semi-decent.  By the end of the day, mud had become a badge of honor, that I wore quite well.

It was one of those truly Costa Rican school days.  Classroom learning was put on hold, and we all got together to enjoy the Costa Rican pastime.  There weren't any rainbows after the rain, but it was quite special to have the entire student body and staff alike cheering and just enjoying being together on that cloudy day.

...and, the next day as I was getting my morning coffee the PE coach (a retired pro Costa Rican soccer player) complimented me on my game!  Not only did he say that I appeared to have the coordination that a good goalie needs to defend the goal, but he was also quite impressed with my ability to kick the ball especially in a pair of boots.  His comment is what I call a WIN FOR THE PAISLEY BOOTS!!!!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Birds and such.

I promise I didn't forget I had a blog...I've just been busy writing other things. Important things. Like lesson plans. And exams.

I've been doing a lot of reading, too.  Mentally translating a 197 page pdf about the science fair into English.

Rainy season is in full swing.  Most days it doesn't rain until the afternoon.  But when it rains, it pours, and it doesn't stop.  I understand the water cycle, don't get me wrong, but it still puzzles me how MUCH, how HARD, and how LONG it will pour.  Sometimes it is 5 hours of non-ceasing rain.  It just amazes me that the clouds don't run out of rain! 

All this rain means that I had to take my hammock down.  I really miss it, but I'm not going to lie in it with the rain.  

What I most love about the rainy season is, well, it's a toss about between waiting for the bus on the mornings when last night's rain hasn't stopped and drying my clothes on the line.  Something that's even cooler is my water. (pun intended)

At least I have my paisley boots to get me through...

Something I do really enjoy about the rainy season is the parrots.  Yes, real, live parrots.  And lots of them!  I already knew I had a great yard in the house that I rent, and have greatly enjoyed my monkey watching.  Within the past week, I traced the new squawking sound down to one specific tree in the yard.  It took me a while to find it, because the bird was lime green and camouflaged itself with the tree, but once I spotted the parrot I was amazed!  I kind of just stood in the yard staring up at the tree for a good 5 minutes, and the harder I concentrated, the more parrots I found!  After a while they started to fly away, and I realized that there were at least a dozen of them hiding in that tree!  Now every day around 5 pm they come back.  And I listen, and stare.  
one of my parrot friends
Also, in the past month or so I found a new favorite bird.  It's just so beautiful, brown and teal- just like my bird tattoo and the birds painted on my wall at home--except this is the real life version.  The tail feathers are very unique.  It took me a while to get a picture of this bird because I first spotted it while relaxing in my hammock and I never had my camera in my hammock.  This bird is super fast, which made it even more challenging to snap a photo.  Finally I got a few though:

love how the tail feathers fluff out at the end

As I appear to be on a role with the bird theme here, I may as well continue.  My friend and I saw this beauty while waiting for the bus on Thursday morning.  Neither one of us had seen this fellow before.  The strange thing about this bird was that he was just hanging out perched on the grass.  He was flitting around the grass like a hummingbird.  

Speaking of hummingbirds, I just have to post this picture I got of one of the hummingbirds I saw at my house.  They are not as much as a rarity, but I like this picture, so I'll share.  Took this right from my porch.

I think I need to get myself a bird book and a pair of binoculars...

In other news, I'll be in the USA in 21 days...three weeks! Yay, it's finally getting close.