Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hola Costa Rica

And for the next installment..... COSTA RICA!

After a few months in the UK which gave me a chance to put on some weight, spend time with family and friends and catch up on what has been happening in the world I have relocated out to Costa Rica for the next year. This time I will be studying (rather than working like in Kazakhstan) which somehow makes things feel a little less daunting. Perhaps it is knowing there is the university to back me up and that I have a flight home for Christmas or maybe it is that I have done leaving the UK before but whatever the reason the feeling before I left was different. I feel a lot calmer. James said that I didn´t seem too excited when we met just before I flew out and I think that was a mixture of not wanting to leave again but also that I have been leading up to UPEACE now for almost two years so I have got over that initial excitement a while ago. I have however taken the bold step of leaving the London network and joining the Costa Rica network on facebook!

Anyway I am now out here in San Jose, the capital. I´m based here for two weeks to study Spanish at the British Institute (which also run a very well respected language course with the focus on professional teaching rather than learning Spanish through salsa). I have one-2-one classes for 4 hours each day which are hard going because there is no time to switch off but now, the end of my first week I am able to introduce myself and say a few insightful things about me and my like as well as understand quite a lot of what is going on around me - I just can´t reply yet. Spanish speaker speak VERY fast which is a definite impediment to practicing in shop and cafes! Still I am sure it will come. Lessons are fun and I have made a few gaffs - wishing my teacher ´my sincerest apologies´when she sneezed and when tyring to make a list of good and bad emotions I listed ´marriage´ as a bad thing which, as my teacher is a divorcee, got a laugh (I had been meaning to say casado which is tired rather than cansado which is married).

I´m staying with a very welcoming family - a mother, a daughter (22), a son (20) and a Nicaraguan maid who I find very difficult to understand so I think her name is something beginning with L but that may be wrong. The house is spacious and I have my own room and share the bathroom. Costa Rica is more Americanised than I was expecting with lots of TV channels having signed rather than dubbed programming which means that there is no end of choice on TV when it is raining outside... but i will make sure that watching TV is a luxury rather than part of everyday life when I move to UPEACE. If for any other reason so I pick up more Spanish. Luckily I didn´t pack the DVD boxset of Cold Feet because it is being shown on TV here was well as Ali G and his Borat sketches!

Last night I was invited to my teachers house for a party to celebrate the birthday of one of her other students, a Japanese guy working out here genetically modifying the plants for export (there must be a whole thesis in the ethics of altering the genetics of plants in one of the most biodiverse countries globally). She lives outside San Jose and she was cooking food typical from the East coast where she was born which is a lot more Caribbean than the food we get in San Jose. Each meal though is complete with rice and beans which make the local staple food. I have tried various combinations so far and up to now have no complaints but I guess the novelty will wear off soon enough. For the party we all sung karaoke! Expect the one English disk was just a copy of music videos from MTV with no words. I had a good crack at the Bangles ´Eternal Flame´and was asked for an encore later in the evening just before the salsa started! My teachers son, 26, was amazing at salsa and with his sister preformed routine after routine in this very basis front room which, unlike my attempts, were a pleasure to watch.

Been out walking around the area near my house today - not much here and San Jose doesn´t seem to have too much to offer but then I am here to study rather than be a tourist at the moment... that can wait for the weekends during term time! Here until the 18th and the moving to the town nearest to UPEACE. Can´t wait.... then things will really begin.


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