Thursday, December 13, 2007

April 04, 2007 - Spanish school in Orosi

On Saturday, we called Montaña Linda and arranged for a taxi to the school on Sunday. We were going to go with others, but I think we had too much luggage (enough for 3 months, afterall). So, on Sunday, Luis picked us up - a bit late, but he called to say so. Since it was Sunday, we weren´t able to easily find a restaurant open, so we settled for snack bars and figured we would stop along the way for a late lunch. It took us about an hour and a half to get to Orosi - it didn´t make sense to stop when we were so very close.

When we got to the school, they took our cédula numbers and gave us books. The book has general information about Orosi and the school in the front. We were able to find out right away that there are two internet cafés ($1 per hour), a bank, and several markets in town. We have the bus schedule - buses leave Orosi nearly every half hour. We also found out that we can pay for school and the homestay on Monday (cash only).

We were assigned a family to stay with - we had requested a homestay when we signed up for the school earlier via the internet. So Luis took us to Teresita´s house, and we unloaded our many bags. When we saw that our room had bunk beds, and when Teresita saw that we were a somewhat older married couple, she moved us to her son´s room - muy tranquilo - no problem. Teresita has a large family, with 3 adult-teenage children living at home, and several grandchildren who visit daily. Her husband works for ICE (the state-owned electric and telephone company) in Turrialba, about an hour drive away. Two of her sons work in San José, about a 2 hour drive. I guess commuting is a problem wherever you live.

So far, this homestay is a bit different than our last one. Our last family had signs up, and were clear on the house rules - when dinner was, what days were for laundry, etc. Teresita is a bit more relaxed, but of course we don´t know if we are causing her any problems...

We have class from 3 till 6, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday this week - it is a special schedule because of Semana Santa. Our family here has been very busy getting ready for the long weekend. Monday, they were slow-cooking maize over a wood-buring stove outside, then on Tuesday, they ran it through a grinder (remember using the hand-cranked grinder?) to get a rough paste. This morning, we had a wonderful sort of bread-cake (sweet and moist) made from the corn paste, coconut, cheese, and sour cream.

Rick expects to be done with the ¨beginner¨ book and start on the second (intermediate-advanced) book before we are done with our 3 weeks here. I think I will still have quite a bit of the first book left. We are learning some things in a different order here than in the last school (Intercultura), so some things are a quick review, and others are brand new. We both have our own teacher - we have one-on-one sessions for 3 hours each, so the pace is set specifically for us. I am letting my teacher (Margarita) decide what I need, and Rick indicated to his teacher (Margot) exactly what he wanted to focus on. He is doing more outside of class, and I am taking it a bit slower. As my teacher says, poco a poco is how I will learn Spanish.

Orosi is a nice little town - the days are a bit cooler than in Alajuela, and the pace is definitely slower. There is no concern about getting run down by cars - many people walk in the streets (there are still sidewalks tho). We will probably at least check into staying here for most of the rest of our trip - the school has contacts for houses that are available for short-term rents. It will be nice to have a place of our own, and interesting to see how we get things done without living with a Tico family.

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