Monday, May 20, 2013

Costa Rica: Mi nueva familia - 5/20/13

¡Hola! Mis amigos. 

Been a few days since I posted and I definitely need to catch y'all up to speed. A lot has happened since I last posted on here. As you can see I can now write a few words, but I'll get to that later. To start with I'll go back to Sunday (domingo). 

Sunday was a pretty eventful day. To start off with we went with our guide, Javier, to a volcano outside of Heredia. Along the way we stopped at a coffee farm on the side of the mountain. It was so beautiful. 
Coffee is one of their main exports along with; tourism, textiles, and electronics. Of course I had to buy some coffee beans while I was there. I bought some "Peabody" beans which means the beans are whole instead of in half. They can't sell this type of coffee on the international market, but they say its naturally sweeter. My roommates are into coffee so hopefully they'll enjoy the Costa Rican flavor! 

The volcano Poas was a great visit as well. We had to climb up to around 3500 feet above sea level! And I believe even a little bit more if I'm not corrected. Needless to say my heart was in overdrive and I could feel the air getting thinner. The view was worth it though. 
That smoking thing in the middle? That's the still active volcano (clarification: it hasn't done anything in a long time). To my surprise its not in a cone shape that we typically associate with volcanoes. Instead it's down in a crater. What was also interesting was that the smog from the volcano would overcome us without any notice. 

Finally we arrived at the school to take our placement test. As well as walk around the community.
The wonderful CPI logo placed at the front of their building. 
Every city/town has the same setup. Centrally located is the church, soccer field, school, and a bar. Shows a lot about the society on a micro level. 

Home-stay placements finally happened!
One of my fellow students meeting her mama tica. (Unfortunately I don't have a picture of me meeting mine)
 This is mi nueva familia! My mama tica is in the top right of the picture. She's super friendly and welcomed me right into the home. Over casado we pieced together a conversation, getting to know each other. One point she even got out a dictionary so that we could point out words to each other. She lives with her husband in a small house that's connected to five other houses via a giant patio. Each of the other houses host family members. In the picture above is most of the family hanging out in one of the houses. Three sisters, a brother, and her mom plus respective husbands with 5 nieces and nephews total. Even though I couldn't speak that well we all hung out, laughed at the tv, piece meal conversations, and played UNO. Yes, they do play UNO in Latin America. Which they are very good at or at least better than me! 

Today was muy bien. It was our first day of class. In the morning we got to hear a lecture from one of the ministers of public education and a English as a Foreign Language Teacher about the school system in Costa Rica. Even though the EFL and ESL branches are different overall, but there are some similarities when it comes to language acquisition. Plus it was neat to hear about the school system in general. Did you know the public schools are majority of the time better than the public schools? 

Side note: my lunch was very delicious. We went to a small restaurant down the street and had great empanadas with cheese and meat. 

In the afternoon we met our Spanish teachers! We were each put into groups of three. My group was a semi beginning group. Our teacher though was awesome. She was really engaging and put off a friendly vibe. We worked on the letters, common syllables, greetings, numbers, days, and months. All was done in a super awesome environment involving creating our own dialogue for pictures and playing hangman. By end of the first class we were laughing and feeling a lot more comfortable speaking Spanish. Can't wait for tomorrow's class! 
Great view from the classroom! Perfect for studying Spanish. 

To wrap up the day I came home to a very excited Kevin. I hadn't even put my bag down and he wanted to play more UNO (he's nine). After dinner (casado with ham) we played along with his cousin Anthony. It was such a blast. Everyone was yelling, screaming, and laughing from the enjoyment of the game. Again I lost, but I beat Kevin which he was overly dramatic in his lost haha. Overall, another great night in Costa Rica! 
Kevin showing Anthony a card trick. 

Other things to make note of:
- moved from babbling to simple phrases
- dictionary is being less used in short conversations
- mi nueva familia is very friendly and family oriented as seen by the living arrangements
- Kevin is the perfect conversation partner because he loves to talk and no judgment on me 
- CPI uses the communicative approach, which is up to current theories in language acquisition 
- I love that we got to create our own input and output in class 

Soy cansado. Tomorrow we're making our first school visit! Adios mis amigos. 

"Just keep babbling." 


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