Sunday, May 20, 2007

feria and fiesta time

Today was full of first time experiences. It started early this morning when I accompanied my tico mom and her youngest son to the local feria. The feria is a huge trade-day-like-event. The atmosphere is filled with a large number of people busily picking over fruits and vegetables as the vendors yell out prices. I got to see, experience, and learn the names of tropical fruits I've never heard of before. I also got to drink coconut juice out of a fresh coconut! The man actually cut it open, stuck a straw in and handed it to me. I thought it was pretty cool.
Later this afternoon, I got to attend a fiesta de cumpleano, which I was really excited about. You must know this is my first real fiesta. It was the birthday of the younest son's best friend. So...we arrived at the party around 2:30 and we didn't get back home until close to 7! When we got there a clown was leading games and tricks with the kids. Then he moved to painting faces. About this time it's 4ish and the guest are served the traditional arroz con pollo, chicken and rice. Next, we bring out the pinata. After scrambling around on the floor for candy it's time for ice cream. We all enjoy the ice cream. Then the birthday boy opens presents. It was a big party so there are a lot of gifts...finally we cut the cake. After enjoying the cake and saying goodbye to everyone in the room we leave. I really did have a good time even though I had no idea what the topic of conversation was at my time the entire evening. Despite my confussed state of mind, I am thankful to have had some quality time enjoying life with my Tico family. When all's said and done the Costa Rican people know how to shop cheap and party hard! Well, at least the Costa Rican's I know.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

learning moments

Today was the second day of language school and I can't help but feel there is so much to learn. A language is such a vast goal to attain! Taking a deep breath, stepping back, and looking at the big picture, I realize it is only one star in the grand nightsky view of this journey I'm on. There are many things to learn and conquer, there always will be. I think one of the ironies of life is that the more you learn, the more you realize how much there is to know, and that you will never be able to learn it all. I'm learning to glean what I can and not worry about the rest. The teachers at the Institute are gracious and truly desire their students to understand and speak the language. I am grateful for their kindness and patience.
Having the opportunity to live with a Tico family is helping me immensely to learn more about the latino culture, language, and amazing food! Whoever said you lose weight overseas did not know my Tico mom! The youngest son in the family, Jean Pierro, is 8 years old, and is loads of fun. So far we have played cards, Gran Banco(Costa Rican form of Monopoly), and with pistolas de agua. Ocassionally his 8 and 6 year old nieces and 2 year old nephew (this is not a type-o) come over and we all play together. It's amazing how much fun you can have with people and have no clue what one another is saying! Diago, the uncle, is so cute running from room to room declaring "Hola!" to everyone in sight. My bond with him might be strongest since we share the same vocab range. Truly, there is much to be learned from children, their sincerity, and love.