Thursday, December 13, 2007

April 11, 2007 - Juán Santamaría day, Spanish school, Los Ticos

4/10/07 (Tuesday)

Today was my second day of class with a new teacher (Belfort). He makes it easy to use new words and verb forms, in part because we aren't very structured, and in part because we mix English in with the Spanish. During one exercise today, I was to fill in the blanks of a sentence with a conjugated verb (pretérito – past tense!); well, each sentence took many minutes, because we would start talking about different meanings for the sentence, and how to word it other ways, then slip into an aside. Usually I learned a lot about normal, average life in Costa Rica during these side trips into chat-land.

I told him about how I finally dropped in on my neighbor of 6 years, and we had a lovely chat at her kitchen table. He said “how sad that it took so long,” then pointed to every house we could see out the window and said he knew all those who lived in them. When one person bakes a cake, the neighbor comes over for a slice. When he walks by, all wave and greet him.

We keep hearing about people who work a long way from home. The father of my Tico family has one of the easiest commutes – he leaves at 6:30 each morning, and drives perhaps an hour to Turrialba. He works for ICE (the state-owned electric and phone company). He usually returns by 7:00. His oldest son also works for ICE, but he travels all over Costa Rica, and is gone for 11 days at a time. One of the sons in law works in construction in Guanacaste (in the far North-West of the country, perhaps 5-7 hours away by car), and has the same 11-day schedule. Their wives and children live here in Orosi, and we see them quite a bit. Two other sons work in San José, 1½ to 2 hours drive away.

Five o'clock is a popular time to visit people in Orosi. On Sunday, friends of the Tico family came to visit from San José de la Montaña (this is a town of 4-5 thousand people, north of Heredia, and is on our list of towns to check out). We had coffee and sweet bread. Then a family from the USA dropped by (the son had homestayed here in the past) – more coffee and bread. On Monday, we walked with Teresita to her sister's house to see her ailing father. While there, more coffee and bread (surprised?). Many different sisters and brothers and cousins stopped by, talked, listened for the lottery results, and watched the news. The jokers in the family reminded me a *lot* of my family (ahh).

I think the rainy season is upon us – today it started raining about 2:00, and rained (with thunder and lightning, of course!) for several hours – we waited out most of it at the school, then hurried home in a drizzle.

4/11/07 - Juán Santamaría day
I asked my teacher today what Costa Ricans do on Juán Santamaría day - he said there are no big celebrations (at least in Orosi. I think Alajuela has more celebrations since he is from that province.). He said that the children in the schools put on a play that depicts the war and event that made Juán Santamaría a hero.

Weather report - Beautiful, sunny morning. 72 degrees inside at 8:00 am. 2:00 rain again, this time we had a real downpour! But it was pretty much over by 6:00.

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