"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

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!!!!

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