10.19.2010

Can´t Believe It

Katrina is definitely inspiring me to blog more and I am just so impressed with her. I went to Nicaragua for a visa run because you are only allowed to stay in Costa Rica for 90 days are must leave for more than 3 days before returning to the country. So I went to Nicaragua. It was really hot, pretty dirty, very poor, but some parts were beautiful. Here is what I learned from either my own mistakes or mistakes of others on my trip:

1. I really dislike traveling in large groups (there were 13 of us). I recommend 2, 3 or 4 people who you like or at the very least people you know
2. Hostels are usually pretty dirty so I recommend bringing a little blanket or pillow if you can fit it in your bag
3. A large hiking backpack is a must
4. Rei and ems makes new and improved fanny packs, which I highly recommend
5. Hand sanitizer and moist towlets come in handy, especially after walking the mile across the Costa Rican Nicaraguan boarder in flip flops (oh and bring extra for the 13 people on your trip) or just wear sneakers
6. Motrin Tylenol and Neosporin are a must
7. Um…don’t drink water. Even if you are having cereal with powdered milk in the morning. Use bottled water. Also don’t drink the weird water that comes in a little baggie.
8. Check if restaurants use tap water in smoothies or ice in drinks…or just go with a milk based smoothie if you are not lactose intolerant
9. Be flexible. If you are doing Group Diners just compromise. If you don’t like broccoli just get over it and push it off to the side. If you get stuck in the back of the large transport car every time and want to puke just breathe.
10. If you are in a Group try to find alone time. It is wonderful to explore a new place by yourself (during the day of course)
11. A knife and a jar of peanut butter are a necessary item to pack. Thanks to my mother I bring peanut butter everywhere. And you know what, I ended up eating the entire jar. Such a great snack and energy Booster. Thanks Mom! I know we teased you for being way over prepared and overpacking but you always had the right stuff.
12. Don’t forget your camera charger. When you are leaving at 4am and were charging your camera overnight because u clearly forgot before hand, for god’s sake don’t leave the battery in the charger plugged into the wall in your room (yes I did this)
13. A really good cotton dress is a must. You can dress it up to go out, wear it during the day when you are sweating like a pig, and it can be folded up into nothing
14. If you are lost just ask (well it helps if you speak Spanish) but it really is more efficient to ask for help instead of walking in circles for hours in 100 degree heat
15. Bring two books. Or make sure you aren’t almost done with your book so that when you are lounging at the Laguna you actually have a second book to read.
16. Bring extra plastic bags incase things get wet. If you want to be extra careful put all of your clothes in plastic bags just in case.
17. Remember a towel for the shower or Laguna or pool

Song: Can´t Believe It by T-Pain (there is a pretty awesome Costa Rica shout out in the song...hence the reccomendation)

10.02.2010

Purple Rain

Blog Title: Purple Rain by Prince

Song Recommendations: "La Duena del Swing" by Los Hermanos Rosario
"Colgando En Tus Manos" by Carlos Baute and Marta Sanchez

Katrina: First I just need to say how amazing my sister, Katrina is. She has just started her amazing gap year adventure and I am so proud of her. She is the strongest/ bravest person I know. On top of all of that, the girl and write! I just read her blog and was just in love with her style of writing. She was extremely descriptive yet concise and organized (aka everything I am not).

Birthday: Second of all, I had the second best birthday of my life here in costa rica (my first was my 17th birthday when Carolyn Mulvey, Rachael Sessions threw me a surprise bday party at Laurel Lanes Bowling Alley). But really my 21st could not have been better. My students made me a giant card and spent art class hanging up little papers that said “Happy Birthday Allie” on them all around the room. Then at band practice the entire highschool band sang happy birthday, including drum rolls at each pause in the song…oh and a 30 second drum roll at the end that almost made me deaf. Of course the teenage boys loved embarrassing me the college intern, and only girl in the band…and I’m sure I was red as a tomato.

September 15th: The parade on September 15th went SO well. We got all dressed up at 6 in the morning and headed into town. It was SCORCHING and I was sweating by the end of the hour and a half march/playing around town but it was such an amazing experience. I felt very accomplished by the end of the day.In the evening i made dinner for the entire family which was SO stressful because Gera my host mom is an amazing cook. Allison and Sebas were a big help and i think it was a success. I made pasta with mushroom sauce and chicken, garlic bread, salad, and brownies.

Random: Since then I have been working, going to yoga at least once a week if not more (which I LOVE), and trying to stay dry which is pretty much impossible. The past two days have been beautiful but before that we had a good week of non-stop rain. Everything is starting to get pretty moldy and my raincoat and backpack smell like wet dog…but it is still wonderful. The temperature is also starting to drop a little bit so I’m trying to stay bundled up. We have three days of school this week and then we will be going to Nicaragua on Saturday. I am very excited for this trip as it will give me an opportunity to really get to know the other interns. I am a little nervous about traveling as the road here are horrible and we will have to cross the boarder but I am looking forward to the adventure. I am going to one of my student’s birthday party this afternoon at the indoor soccer field. I hope I don’t actually have to play! This week I have been planning my parents and ANNA’s visit/ booking hotels. I am excited for them to come see this beautiful place.

Moto Story: I have been learning how to drive a motorcycle with one of my friends here. Yesterday we (well me at this moment in time) were driving to the gas station (aka a family that has converted their house into a gas station in which they carry out jugs of gasoline and pour them directly into your car/ motorcycle illegally because the ONLY gas station in Monteverde was shut down) and we had to stop at the house. Unfortunately my friend didn’t really explain the stopping part to me very well, and when we stopped I put my foot down, but clearly I was not prepared for the weight of the bike and so we both tipped over and the bike fell on me/ I was stuck under the bike for a second. In the midst of all of this my leg fell on the muffler and I have a beautiful 2nd/ 3rd degree burn on my leg now. Once I got out from under the bike I rolled to the floor/ aka a huge muddy puddle and was crying from laughter. After getting up and attempting to brush myself off I told my friend that I would not drive the bike until I had proper attire, aka my rubber rain boots, thick leather pants and a helmet. Of course, I ended up driving home after we got gas and have been practicing since then. But honestly, Capri jeans and flip-flops are not the best to wear when learning how to drive a motorcycle.

Clown: Last week on Tuesday I came to school at the usual 7:45 and was about to enter the room when this woman came walking down the hallway with one of the teachers from highschool. She was introduced to my teacher Erica, as Susan, and Erica quickly gave me a task to do so i had to leave. but when i came back Erica formally introduced me to Susan the peace educator who is also a clown, and was going to be visiting for the day to give clown shows and peace presentations. i walked Susan the clown to the office but noone was there to greet her. she then told me that she would like me to talk to all of the other teachers about her arrival to find out when would be a good time for her to give her presentation, but before this she HAD to have some coffee. so she goes to have coffee and i realize that i have to create a schedule for this woman. but she can't come with me because if the kids see her before she turns into a clown then it will ruin everything (i dont know i was confused) so i go to 6 different teachers to create a clown schedule. now none of the teachers were very excited about the clown, let alone the fact that she wanted to take 10 minutes of their precious schedule to give a little magic show...so they already were kinda annoyed. so i go back to the clown with her schedule and she says, oh it is SO wonderful that i have a clown assistant today. now is there any way that u can rearrange this schedule a little because i need a break to rest my voice every once in a while, so i got back to the teachers and fix the schedule. then she says, oh and here is what you can say when u introduce me to each class..."Hello boys and girls, today is the international day of peace and we have a VERY special visitor for you today, so if you could please give a big round of applause for Peacefull the CLOWN!" ok so then i have to translate this into spanish for the younger grades and practice it!! Then she says, oh and we need a projector for a powerpoint presentation...can you get me one?.." Oh and can you carry my backpack around to each class with my computer and go into each room a few minutes early to set up my computer at the front of the class" "oh and i will need some water for my parched throat" "oh...and i totally forgot to bring lunch, where can i get some? do you have any at school?" "Oh, and please take pictures and videos when we talk about peace in EACH class" "oh and can you get some big paper to put on the white board to write down any cute things people say" So...i realize that this job is super stressful and is going to take up my entire day...but i roll with it. so we do our first presentation and it goes smoothly...and then we are about to start our full rotation of presentations (10 mins in each elementary grade) and i look over and Peacefull is walking away to the highschool with two 11th graders. I call out "Um, where are you going Susan?" and she says, "Oh i dont know to english class, wanna come?" and i look down at my clipboard and i look down at my watch and i look up at her and then back at my clip board, and then the highschoolers say, well we are ALL waiting for her, we are so excited! and i say,,,,"um well we have a schedule that we have to stick to" and she says "oh well can't we just change it" so she says, "oh why dont u just run up and figure out the schedule with the highschool" (you should know that it is pooring and the walk up to the highschool takes about 5 mins and is muddy) so i run up to the highschool and i walk into this room FULL of the ENTIRE highschool (which really isnt that many kids probably less than 40) but still, and they all start BOOING at me. so I talk to the highschool teachers and they say, oh well we already talked to Erica and have the clown scheduled to come now (erica had never told me this) and i say "well if she comes now then you will be taking the opportunity away from the kindergarteners and 1st grade, and i think the clown performance is more suited for the younger grades" and they looked mad, and said that she had to come now or else the kids wouldn’t get to see her, so i run back and get the clown and she goes up and does her presentation. While she is there i run to kindergarten 3rd 1st and 2nd to tell them the bad news, first 3rd grade teacher says, "you are kidding right?" and snaps at me, "this is ridiculous" the kinder teacher says, "well do you know how to tell them that in spanish cuz i sure as hell don't" (with 10 tiny costa rican toddlers looking up at me) and then the other teachers were ticked off too. so i go back to the clown and get her to come down to the little kids. first one kid sees her and starts hyperventilating and trying to climb up the wall, then the clown asks me to take some pictures and video and when i wasn't standing close enough proceeded to tell me to move closer to her" and then i finally went back to 3rd grade to ask them if they wanted to see the clown and the teachers said, "no it is just too late, our chance is up, i know its not your fault but i just hate when things are planned last minute and then the schedule changes and i am just so sick of this and no, no, no, no the clown cannot come!" so im standing there looking at the 3rd graders who are all trying to squeeze out of the door to say hi to the clown, but they couldn’t leave the classroom. so basically at the end of the day i wanted to kill Peacefull, and on international day of peace i felt more stress than i ever had in my life. i came home and took a nap! That’s my story. i hope it was kind of funny. i'm even worse at typing stories because i can then actually read how HORRIBLE my stories sound!

So basically that is all for now!

9.04.2010

Sweet Disposition

SUMMARY: start of school, my awesome 4th graders, plans for the weeks to come…just read it!

Song recommendation: Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap. Just overall feel good music. From the movie (500) days of summer which i highly recommend. ironic because summer just ended for everyone back in the states.

Well it will be two months on the 10th. Holy shit! I have been so bad at blogging but I guess that means I am really invested and immersed in this experience. I started school on August 11th and time has FLOWN since then. I have 19 kids in my class, 10 boys and 9 girls. They are in fourth grade, which means they are all about 10 years old. They boys are crazy and the girls are little princesses. They all speak English but some more than others. I spend my days helping out with projects (i.e. decorating the room, grading work, organizing) and the other half walking around helping with math, translating words into English, or scolding the boys! The kids have writing, reading, math and science every day in English and an hour for Spanish or social studies every day (which is taught in Spanish). They have two recesses every day, one for 15 mins and the other for 30 mins. They have snack and lunch before each recess. Every kid brings their own lunch and snack but there are very strict policies about what they can bring (aka no sweets, juices, or chips). The boys live for soccer and even bring a change of clothes for each recess. One boy in my class brings goalie gloves and cleats! The kids have art once a week and P.E. once a week. School starts at 8 and goes until 3. The school is amazing in general but what makes it great is my teacher Erica. She taught for 6 plus years in NYC. She is strict and definitely not the cuddly elementary school teacher you see in the movies but she is brilliant and so passionate about the kids. She thinks about them 24/7 and they are learning so much because of her teaching methods. I already have a few favorite students and can’t imagine leaving. On September 15th we are celebrating the Independence of Costa Rica. There is a giant parade, which the school has been preparing for throughout August and September! I’m in the BAND and will be marching in the parade! I have been renting my host brothers drum because he already graduated! The band consists of tenor and bass drums (watch the movie Drumline if you need a visual) and consists of about 30, 5th through 11th graders. Not only am I am the only teacher/ intern who has every participated, but I am also the only GIRL so I’m pretty nervous for the parade. Next week I need to work on playing and WALKING at the same time because they aren’t going to teach us/ practice this until the day before the parade.
I have been spending my weeks with the family or cousins, watching movies with Allison, walking into town, and going to the bar on the weekends. I went fishing on a tiny little pond this week and also went on a night hike with a tour guide cousin. I’ve been to the local indoor soccer arena twice now to watch the brothers and locals play indoor soccer. A few weekends ago I went to the local high school gym to play BINGO for mothers day. It was SO fun. Overall I am just trying to do what my family or locals do. Today I went on bus duty, which means I had to walk about 5 miles from the end of the bus route back home…oh and it was POURING! But on the way home I stopped at the yoga studio and got the September schedule. I am very excited to start taking classes there. I am turning 21 on Wednesday! WOO HOO. I’m just excited for the awesome cake that my host mom is going to make me. She is practically a professional cook/ baker and is known in monteverde for her amazing food. I have to make sure she teaches me all of her skills so that I can come back and make gallo pinto and all the amazing food I eat here. Here is a list of things I want to learn in the next 3 months: drive a motorcycle, drive the ATV, make gallo pinto, make frijoles, make tortillas, visit Poas volcano and the Caribbean coast.
Things to come…today I am going horseback riding!, next weekend I hope to go to San Jose to buy some new teacher clothes. However I might not need to do this because I found a few adorable shops in Monteverde that I might have to check out. The weekend after that will be my first long weekend so I am going to Playa Hermosa, on the Pacific Coast. I am super excited although it will probably rain the entire time. The rain is getting pretty bad. Everyday by 3 is starts raining and usually continues until 7 pm if not through the night. I’m used to it by now and bought another raincoat because my other one was shitty! However, when the sun comes out it is GLORIOUS and I appreciate it that much more. I’m super exciting for my mom, dad, and sister, Anna, to visit for Thanksgiving break! I think I am going to take the week off so that we can travel around Costa Rica. Some key places we are going to visit is Arenal, Poas (maybe), Monteverde (obviously) and the Pacific Coast for some beach/ R&R. I’m also super excited for KATRINA to officially start her GAP YEAR is Central America! I hope to see her when she passes through San Jose in November! WOO HOO! Well thats all for nowwww

Favorite Words: tuanis= cool, Linda=cute, salchichon= sausage (which I have eaten and really like!!!) confites = candies, chunches =thingamajig (direct translation from wordreference.com)

7.26.2010

meet me by the water

Although I haven’t written much I have at least been very consistent with a weekly response! My Musical recommendation for the day is Meet Me by the Water by Rachael Yamagata. (I would also like to give credit to Lizbie Harbison for the idea to use song titles for my blog titles...THANKS BIE!)

Well, I finally received my package and I realized why it was sent through UPS! I could barely carry the package although I did make it the 10 minute walk from school to home on Friday! Although the package was in Costa Rica on Monday I did not physically receive it until Friday! Luckily by Friday I had some clothes that my mom sent me and an awesome Frisbee that lights up! A bunch of friends from the CPI met up around 9:30 on Friday night to go to the bar. A group of 9 of us ended up meeting at the bar. With the entrance fee we received tickets for a free shot of tequila, vodka, or rum, which was pretty awesome! After a shot and a drink the dance floor began to get a bit more crowded. Luckily this bar played Costa Rican music (lots of salsa and samba). The live band started around 10:30 and I danced with friends from my program. I ran into my Tico uncle (I think that’s how he is related to my family) and he asked me to save him a dance. It was really fun but I was very upset that we didn’t dance with the locals. I woke up early Saturday morning to head to Arenal! After a very bumpy 4 hour ride we got to Arenal and were able to see the volcano right away. Sometimes people go all the way to Arenal and never even see the volcano because of the cloud cover but we really lucked out. We took a walk in the reserve around the volcano for about 2 hours before heading to Baldi, one of the hot springs in Arenal! I loved the water but the area with the hot springs was a bit touristy. I felt like I was in a water/theme park with different pools, a million tourists, wet bars, lots of restaurants, and even some water slides. The water slide was very fun but Baldi was not what I expected when I read “hot spring” on our itinerary. I had hoped for a more natural environment to swim in but luckily I got my “natural” fix on Sunday when we walked down 500 steps to see the giant waterfall in Arenal. The waterfall was magnificent and although the water was pretty cold you could practically swim next to it. The area to swim was an oasis surrounded by a thick jungle and I loveeeed it! We ended up taking a bus, boat, and another bus on the way back to Monteverde. The ride back took about 3 hours instead of the bumpy 4 on the way there (thank goodness). Although I was exhausted when I got home Sunday night the trip was well worth it. This week I am going to go Canyoning (repelling down a waterfall), take a cooking class, hopefully rally a group to go to the bar on Thursday for Samba night, and go to Manuel Antonio this weekend (by the beach!!!). I am very excited to relax and get some sun this weekend! I am starting to research some places that I want to trip. Although I love Monteverde and the simplicity of the natural environment that surrounds me on a daily basis, I haven’t been very pleased with the tourist activities that I have done. I think I am going to need to look off the beaten path in order to find activities that appeal to me. Luckily I have 5 months to explore Costa Rica and have plenty more to see/ do in Monteverde.
Things at home have calmed down a bit. The family often goes to pray at their grandfather’s grave but my host mom seems to be doing much better. This week I have class from 7-12:30 rather than 8-12 and another class from 1-2:30. Although I have to wake up an hour earlier I prefer this plan because it gives me more free time to explore in the afternoon. Tomorrow I am going to go into Santa Elena and walk to La Creativa (the school I will be teaching at starting August 11th). I’m going to try to blog more often! I write in my journal every day so its hard to feel motivated to then write in my blog! K that’s all!

7.20.2010

pretty things

Blog summary: this one is much more reflective. Funny story at the end if you wanna laugh. Overall pretty boring. No stories. I can see myself moving to Costa Rica at some point in my life. Music Recommendation of the day: Tony Lucca, Matt Duke and Jay Nash, Song: Pretty Things, YOUTUBE IT!


Wow. Its been 10 days in monteverde and in some ways it seems to have flown by but in others it seems to be dragging on. I was able to meet the coordinator at the school I will be teaching at. She is unbelievable. Its wonderful to see all of these young kids who graduated from college and up and moved to costa rica. Most of them fell in love with costa rica during a semester abroad or summer trip during college (very much like what I’m doing now). I’ve been thinking about that often and how it isn’t that strange or foreign for me to imagine. Life in monteverde, and in costa rica in general is extremely relaxed. The food is simple and the people are kind. I am constantly greeted with smiles and I love that. My host family has also completely adopted me into their home. I already feel like one of the kids. My host mothers father passed away on Saturday and I spent the weekend helping/ watching Allison (or trying to at least). And although I felt very in the way and out of place, it brought me much closer to the family. However, There are things that bother me about the culture in terms of the roles that men and women play which makes it difficult for me to envision a long life here. For example, I could never marry a tico and be expected to stay at home and cook him 3 meals a day. Absolutely not. And I think that “modern” idea is frowned upon here. But that’s the only thing that bothers me. Oh and the bugs. But I would just build a well insulated and bug free home. I am enjoying my classes at the language school but I am excited to start teaching at La Creativa. The schedule/ routine of the entire experience will provide me some structure. Not only that, but they have a “uniform” aka T-shirts with the school logo on them. I am verrrry excited to buy some of these shirts so that I don’t have to pick out an outfit each day. I know my family (Katrina) is laughing and rolling their eyes at that comment but I’m very excited about it!!! I couldn’t bring many clothes and everything gets wet so this is a wonderful solution to my problem. Funny story: So the secretary at the language school brought me the telephone today and said something to me in Spanish that I really did not understand. Turns out my parents sent a package and the UPS guy was calling to tell me that it was in. Of course I really had no idea what he was saying at the time, but I took down some numbers and said si a lot and hung up. But after the conversation I realized that I had NO idea what he said and that I wouldn’t be able to get the package. Luckily I talked to the secretary after my phone conversation and told her that I couldn’t understand what the man had said. Of course she asked, “did you ask him if he spoke English” which would have been a logical thing for me to do but of course I didn’t. Luckily the secretary called the man back and once i pay the fee I can get my package. Its in San Luis right now which is about a 3 hour drive but somehow its going to get here once I pay. Haha basically I’m stupid and if I didn’t have the secretary’s help I would never get the package. So I can’t do that next time! Haha Also I have a musical recommendation although it isn’t Latin music! I haven’t listened to enough music yet here and the bar I went to on Friday night played reaggae and American stuff…kinda lame although the band was awesome (I only really watched the drummer!). but my recommendation is a CD titled TFDI by Tony Lucca, Jay Nash, and Matt Duke. Youtube the song Pretty Things. These guys are talented. And sound so beautiful together! Well, thats all for now.

7.14.2010

the green mountain

For those who do not want to read my scattered and descriptive post below I have provided you with a summary: I love my host family (mom, dad, 2 brothers and Allison (11) my best friend), the food is great and doesn’t give me a stomachache, I am taking 5.5 hours of Spanish class at a school called the CPI for 4 weeks before I start to volunteer at the elementary school, I am speaking and understanding a lot, over the next 4 weeks I will be taking little trips around Costa Rica, tours around Monteverde, and some dance classes in the area, there are crazy bugs here (a lot in my room!), and although I miss my family and friends terribly I am so so so so so happy here. And so excited for this journey. I already feel at home here and I am looking forward to becoming a TICO (or at least attempting) over the next 5 months.

Well, I’m here. And its real. And there is absolutely no turning back. As scary as that thought is, its beautiful. I got in to San Jose around 7:30 Saturday night. After a mini panic attack at the baggage claim I grabbed my 2 50 lb bags and found my way to the airport exit. My host dad was waiting for me with a big smile. Prior to my arrival my program director informed me that he was a big guy with a big smile and of course she was right. Although he isn’t huge, just round in the tummy : ) So we drove 3 hours from San Jose to Monteverde. The last 20 minutes were an adventure because the main road to Monteverde is not paved and has so many potholes I felt like I was offroading. Somehow I was able to communicate with my host dad throughout the ride! I really surprised myself since I haven’t taken Spanish for about almost 4 years. I met my host mom and the eldest son Leslie very quickly before going to bed. I thought about unpacking but was so overwhelmed that I decided to just sleep. I woke up around 7:30 and had breakfast with my mother and sister, Allison. I had some down time to unpack (and find huge bugs/ spiders in my room) and try to relax before heading to an annual bike race that is famous in Monteverde. I’m still unsure of the origin, but I think many people come to Monteverde to race and raise money for the town. We took a 30 minute walk to the finish line and waited for the boys (Leslie, Leslie jr, Sebastian) to finish the race. Sebastian (15 yrs old) is a national champion and is on a racing team. He travels all over Costa Rica to race and I guess he is very good! After the race ended we walked back home. I had some lunch, hung out, and took a nap for about an hour before dinner. And by the way, the food is amazing. Rice, beans, meat, tortillas, veggies, and fruit are staples. I have never felt better with the food. I’ve been here 5 days and have yet to get a stomachache, which I could really get used to because it is definitely not the case at home. We celebrated Leslie juniors birthday in the evening with the entire family. My host mother has 8 brothers and sisters so people are always visiting (which is great because I get to meet new people and practice my Spanish every day!) I spent most of the evening playing with las ninas. Allison likes to paint nails and she has a mini salon in her room so I volunteered to be her secretary because I have no nails. I re-wrote some of her notes and ended up coloring hearts and flowers for them by the end of the night. They started writing out orders for my drawings because they liked them so much! I love Allison! We are already very close and it has only been 5 days. Leslie junior just turned 18 and I haven’t had a chance to really get to known him because he is never here. My other host brother Sebastian is extremely smart. He loves speaking to me in English. Both Allison and Sebastian practice their English and I speak to them in Spanish. It is a wonderful experience for the three of us. After dinner and birthday cake I went to bed. Walked 10 minutes to my school (CPI) for 5.5 hours of class. My morning class has 2 students (myself included) and my afternoon class is a one-on-one conversation course for an hour and a half. I absolutely love the teacher because we are very similar. We spend most of our time talking about the educational system and the problems with young children who are lacking parental support. Its wonderful to have more intelligent conversations because it challenges and expands my vocabulary. I am able to use a phone and internet at the CPI and meet many American students, adults, and families. Many people come to the CPI for 1 or 2 weeks to practice Spanish because the school also provides guided tours and things to do. For example, I am going to take a dance class tomorrow night. The school provides information about restaurants and other places to go (I found out about a yoga studio that is close and offers classes each evening!) I even went on a night tour in the mountains and saw huge spiders, insects, and some weird animals that I had never heard of before. When I come home in the evenings (if I’m not at event) Sebastian helps me with my homework. Well really he tries to speak to me in English, his mom yells at him, I tell him I can do it myself, and then he corrects my mistakes when I finish. It’s a wonderful way to learn but also gives me an opportunity to get to know him. I think the family likes me. I absolutely love them and am looking forward to the time we will spend together (and trust me 5 months is a lonnnng time). This weekend I think I am going to stay at home. The CPI offers awesome trips to Arenal and some beaches which I am definitely going to take advantage of over the next 4 weeks but the boys are all going to Sebastian’s bike race and so my host mom y Allison y yo have planned a girls weekend! Well we haven’t planned it. But we joked about it. Ok well that’s all for now.