Happy Valentines day everyone! Being in an elementary school environment really brings out the holiday spirit. Currently, Ross is attempting to make me an origami Rose out of construction paper. Nothing says love like a homemade paper rose, right? And I am working on a Valentine myself and have already constructed a very beautiful bookmark with cut-out hearts. Needless to say, it’s been a productive morning.
It’s kind of nice to be away from the super commercialized and materialistic themed holiday in the states (though, don’t get me wrong I love presents, flowers and candy as much as anyone). You just don’t have all the pressure from the advertisements in the stores on on TV here. Paper flowers and hearts are just fine with me this year. To celebrate we will also being going out for a glass of wine in Fortuna after school today; It will be our first date here!
Participating in a program like this as a couple certainly comes with many unique advantages and disadvantages. It’s really nice to have someone there to speak English with and share experiences with. It also helps a ton with the homesickness or with any problems at school that might arise, and you get to be together all day, every day. Yes, 24/7 is A LOT of time to spend with another person. We currently live AND work AND spend all of our free time together. Although there are other people around at home and at school, my Spanish is not yet at the point where I can hold a real, meaningful conversation yet.
There is also not a lot of females my age out and about, due to the fact that in Costa Rica, by 27 (probably more like by 18) , women “should” be married and home taking care of the kids and keeping house. There are plenty of boys around for Ross to play with, our school facutly even has a futbol team that plays afterschool, all men of course. This will be fun for Ross, and good for our relationship as we’ll get a little space. I am terrible at futbol anyway 🙂 I attempted to play a game with a group of muchachos in Orosi and they were NOT impressed, I got yelled at by 8 year olds and they made me play goalkeeper the whole time! I think I’ll stick to the running and yoga and other non-contact sports, thank you.
Although I would NEVER recommend being together this much in any other circumstance, volunteering, teaching and living abroad is something we both really wanted to do together and we knew going into it that it wouldn’t be easy. It is important to keep in mind that this is temporary, that this whole experience is going to fly by so fast and that we will probably never have the opportunity to be together this much again when we return to the “real world” of working 8-10 hours a day with other obligations. To ensure that we keep our sanity over the next year, I do suggest that YOU, our friends and family, come visit us at some point and save us from eachother. Thanks!
On the school front: The whole Costa Rican English Department is off Monday-Wednesday this week at an English pronunciation seminar in San Carlos. Ross and I were invited, but the last thing we need right now is anything to do with the English language at all. We opted to spend the next couple days at school prepping for our classes. I’m not sure if I’ve already gotten into this in the blog, but we were surprised last week to find out that the majority of our classes are Science classes. We do have a few conversational English classes a day, but for the most part it’s science, science, science. Our orientation had prepped us to teach English classes, and while that preperation is still valid since we are teaching Science in English, there is a whole lot more we have to do. I am currently in the English department surrounded by Science text books trying to decide what I need to do for the whole first Unit, and then breaking it down into individual classes from there.
For my cycle I sciences (1st and 3rd grade) I will be working with the Spanish science teachers and basically teaching the same material in English, but I’ll definitely have to come up with some fun activities to keep the students interested so they don’t get too bored with the material, which will be mostly vocabulary for them. For my cycle II Science (5th grade) I will be their only science teacher, and they will not receive any Science in Spanish. It will be fun to have my own class, but it’s going to be a big challenge! My very first official class will be my 5th grade science class this Thursday. So, now I am prepping for that by googling online (I am happy to report that there are many great songs about the digestive tract and other systems available) going through text books trying to find out what I need copies of and what 5th grade science terms I have to review myself- am I smarter than a 5th grader? Probably not.