Monday, November 06, 2006

Paradise Found

I think the Garden of Eden was actually in Costa Rica. It is stunningly beautiful here, and it makes perfect sense why this is a hotbed of ecological tourism. We arrived in San Jose on Saturday evening, welcomed by our lovely friends Brian and Stephanie. It is a wonderful feeling to see familiar faces when arriving in another country. We also felt right at home wearing our Chacos and carrying backpacks- adventure traveling seems to be the thing to do here.
We spent Saturday night at the International Teams compound with Brian and Steph, where flowers of every color of the rainbow grow in abundance. As Steph put it, "if you plant it in the ground, it just comes right up, just like that." (she grows fresh basil to have with their meals, and there is no short supply of fresh orange, lime and grapefruit trees that are providiving ready fruit for any occassion.) We went to church with them, which proved several things. 1) We need to learn more Spanish desperately, as we were mostly lost in the church service (though it was nice to not be pointed at or photographed like in Ghana). 2) It is amazing to attend church in other cultures and get another glimpse of just how Big our God truly is.
Yesterday evening, Brian and Steph dropped us off with our Tico host family. What a thrill it has been thus far. We are staying with Ana and Paola- a mother and daughter. The mother is in her mid 50s and Paola is 32. They own a beauty salon that is attached to their very nice home here in down town San Jose. Ana speaks no English, but instead a lot of rapid Spanish that we take in very little of, which matters little to her. I was just interuppted while typing this blog by Ana who had prepared an afternoon snack for "Juan and Carolina." John had coffee, and I had fresh squeezed lemonade both with crackers that we heard a detailed history of in Spanish which means we don't really know anything about them. These women are both so precious and excited to have us here. They call us their babies, which is really hysterical. When Paola walked us to our first day of language classes, she waved goodbye to her "babies." (She was also wearing a shirt that said "Blonde is my Middle Name- American culture really is global.) Ana cooks our meals for us, and we just figured out that she also does our laundry for us, as she walked in our room with all of our clean clothes that she had done while we were in class today. It is a bit overwhelming, but very kind, and we are looking forward to knowing more Spanish so we can actually converse with Ana instead of smiling and nodding and laughing a lot. Paula speaks a bit of English, which helps to be able to meet in the middle.
We will be spending 3 hours each afternoon in Spanish class, 1 hour in Gramatica and 2 hours in Conversacion. It is the two of us and 1 teacher for each class, which is really nice, because we go at our own pace and are able to practice out loud a lot as well as ask any questions that inevitably arise. We really are excited to be here and start this new adventure. It definately helps to be immersed in a culture and only having Spanish spoken to us. It definately forces learning.
We will have more access to internet here (they got high speed internet so students staying with them could have it, we just pay a nominal extra charge), and we look forward to being in contact!

3 comments:

Carmen said...

Carol - I've been reading your blogs on your adventures and I'm really enjoying it. It's a nice break for me from studying! I'm traveling vicariously with you and John! I would love to do some of the stuff that you guys are doing. Hope you are both well and enjoy Costa Rica. I look forward to more posts and I can't wait to see the rest of your pictures. Love,
Carmen

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you two are off on another grest adventure. I'm sure you both enjoyed your stay in the states. We had bingo today without you or Kathy. It went fine. Karina did the calling for us.Man, your description of Costa Rico makes me want to go there. I'm sure you will be fluent in Spanish. God bless you and yours. Sylvia

Anonymous said...

John & Carol,
We hope your time in Wichita was relaxing and re-charging. It's fun following your travels and experiences. Keep smiling. God will take care of the rest!
We are remembering you in prayer, for safety, good health, and of course, good learning!!
All our Best,
Dave & Rhonda Shank