Socializing :)

This weekend was quite the social weekend. We joined a group of people at a Chinese restaurant on Friday night. Basketball tournament Saturday morning. Another tico family interview Saturday afternoon. I went to a student's house for dinner. Then today (Sunday) we had our Christmas teacher party all afternoon. Here's some photos from the basketball tournament...
Trish and her team! They won a 2nd place trophy!
Kim V. is way too excited about working at the concession stand.

The cheerleaders doing their thing.
The cheerleaders coach, Trisha. She's leaving CR in 2 weeks to go to chef school in Italy!
Jordan concentrating.
All in all, a good weekend. Love!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the United States! I'm thinking of you!

and now I'm off to work...


A Note from a Student

Dear Miss Siscoe,

Sorry for all the trouble I've caused you.

p.s. Secret.

{no signature}

Shout Outs

I wore a bracelet made by Abi Gum today... Thanks Abi :)

I also have paper flowers on my desk from Sandy Gum... Thanks Sandy for the great memories as your RA! :)

Again, thanks Mom for the candy corn... I am still enjoying every little bite.

Thanks Uncle Jason and Aunt Janna for coming to see me in 2 1/2 weeks! Woohoo! We're going to have a blast!

Thanks Christie Griffin for preparing me for teaching... I think of you often!

Weston... I am jealous of your Coldplay concert. Too bad the plane ticket was $500 to join you.

Christina Watson, I know you're praying for me! :)

Bluckers, Jill, Gpa&Gma, Jaclyn, Mom&Dad, Verschas --- Thanks for your financial support! I couldn't do this without you!!!


YAY! I'm finally feeling better!

I didn't realize how hard it was to breathe these last couple weeks, but there was a moment yesterday when it hit me... I can breathe again! A deep breath! Without coughing! Woweee! I hardly know what to do with myself!

I did have a couple coughing sprees today, but I'm definitely on the mend. Thank you Jesus!

Tricia has started coughing... a put-put sort of cough that isn't coming from her throat... it's coming from deeper... so your next prayer request is for her health!


Finally, Photos of the New Class!!!

Sorry it took me so long to remember my camera... but here they are!
The miniscule desk... crowded with organization, of course.
The carpet, bookshelf, and doorway... and yes, we have hardwood floors!
Another view of the carpet area.... piled with notebooks I need to grade.

Where we spend most of our time :)... I'm so glad it's so colorful!

Teacher Student Swap Day

Tomorrow is Teacher Appreciation Day here in Costa Rica, so today was a dress-up day with teachers dressing like students and students dressing like teachers. The girls were excited to wear scarves "just like Miss Siscoe does all the time." Here's some photos of my goofy students dressed like me.
I was dressed like a student in the school uniform polo, comfy pants, braids, and a pink camo backpack (courtesy of my student Christina :)). Front: Bayley, me, Gaby, Paula. Back: Christina, Rebecca, Katie, Valeria, Nicole.
A close up of Bayley's mustache. He was dressing up like Profe, the PE teacher.

Oh Gaby... haha, she is always making me laugh.
Mis estudiantes tienen mucha energia...

And the neck scarf girls... just like me :). Rebecca, Christina, Katie. Hopefully, I don't often have the same look as Christina, ha.


Adventura Numero 30,000

As Trish and I leave school today to go visit tico families, she says, "Well, adventura numero trenta-thousand!" Nothing like a little Spanglish to get us started. We met 3 host ticas today with the possibility of living with them -- Norma, Maria Carmen, and Adriana. We have another visit on Sunday. Meeting each woman and their children made me feel much more at ease with the decision to move in with ticos. I am excited to learn Spanish... and of course I'm nervous also because I know my grammar is really bad.

Please pray for me. I've never had bronchitis before, but it's certainly not fun. I just slept 2 hours right after getting back to the apartment from our visits. I'm just so... sick. Blah.


Package Shout Outs

Thanks Joann Blum for the goodies from the States! Trail mix, Rice Krispie treats... I am living the life now! ha. Oh, and thanks also for the snowflake garland. It immediately went up above my classroom door... (speaking of classroom, I still need to take photos of the new classroom, don't I? Whoops...)

And thanks to Mom for another package! Lots of fall goodies... and CANDY CORN!!! Yes!!!!!!!!!

(Whew, 2 packages in 4 days!!! I don't know if I can handle the emotion!) :)

Weekend Photos!

We went to the National Theater to a ballet this past Saturday night. I finally have photos! :) The curtain... The blurry ballerinas...

The theater...

Outside the theater...

And the lovely ladies! :) me, Trish, Peggy, Kim, Laura

And I finally went to the doctor's today for this cough that I've had for the last... 2 or 3 weeks, we'll say. My coughing has interfered in many a lesson the past few days and it was to the point that my chest hurts so badly every time I cough... Don't worry Mom... but it turns out I have bronchitis. The doctor kept asking me, "Have you ever had this type of cough before?" I kept saying no, but I don't think he believed me or something. He muttered something about chronic coughing... I sure hope this isn't chronic. He gave me a prescription for 3 drugs -- an antibiotic (which I haven't taken in years, thanks Mom), a cough suppressant, and a mucus loosener? something like that. Woohoo, so I'm currently high on drugs. I just hope there's no severe side effects...

Oh, and I didn't mention that these drugs cost me 1/10th of my monthly paycheck. Drugs here are more expensive than the US and they sure better work...

And to end this post on a happy note, we put up a Christmas tree! Yay for confiscations from Sojourn's random storage closet :). . .


Decisions, Decisions

Well, I wanted to put up photos from the ballet, but they're on Trish's camera and she's currently in the shower... unless I creep through her purse... but that's alright. I'll have to ask her for the pics later.

We're making some big decisions about finances and where to live next semester. Kim is possibly returning to Sojourn as a hired teacher (this semester was her student teaching), and she definitely wants to live with a tico family to work on her Spanish... so Trish and I have been discussing options for what we should do. We could stay here in the apartment and pay more rent... we could get another roommate... or we could just take the plunge (that we were thinking would happen next summer sometime) and dive in with tico families as well.

After talking with Gretel today (she's in charge of tico family housing at ILE), we acquired a list of names and numbers of available families. We'll be visiting them within the next week or so. PLEASE PRAY as we make these decisions! To be honest, I'm nervous about it (of course!) and I want to find a good fit family (of course!). My main motivation for doing something like this is for intensive work on my Spanish vocab and speaking abilities.

My mom says I'm braver than she is. Maybe I'm just crazy.


A Taste of Home

We walked into Wendy's today in downtown San Jose... you read that right, Wendy's. It smelled so much like ... well, it triggered my "home" compartment of the brain... and that doesn't happen often these days. So of course I had to get my favorite junior bacon cheeseburger. YES!

And then another stop off at McDonald's for an Oreo McFlurry. Aaaahhhh, a day of healthy eating, for sure. Healthy in terms of tasting home, anyway.

Exploring San Jose

We had the day off today, so of course we explored the city and shopped for Christmas. What a great day!

Here's some photos of the architecture ceilings with wire -- to keep the birds out?
a cathedral
palm trees and the Costa Rican flag
The National Theatre... we're going tomorrow night for the ballet! Que bueno!


Conversation from Today

Student: Miss Siscoe, is teaching hard?
Me: Well, sometimes... but not really. Why do you ask?
Student: I don't know.
Me: Do I make it seem hard?
Student: Well, no.
Me: What might be hard about teaching?
Student: Because of students like me.

Ha, if only he knew!!!


A Chocolate Bar and a Fan Make My Day!

Students brought in gifts today :). We just moved to a new classroom and desperately needed a fan for the stuffy room... So Jackson brought in a fan for us! He was so proud to present it to the class, and his mom said he was so excited that he carried it the whole way to school (15-20 minute walk!) and refused any offers of help from his parents. The fan was definitely appreciated today!
And Bayley went to the States this past weekend and brought back a jar of peanut butter and a giant Hershey's chocolate bar for me. Oh yeah, I'm living the life now. Ha, it's not too difficult to make my day. :)


Coach Trish

Here's a sneak peek of Trish coaching her basketball team. Ha, she has the funniest expressions while she's on the sidelines.

Steve was roped into being the referee. Who knew?

Another Trish coaches the cheerleading team. This is one of my favorite snapshots of the night, even though it's really grainy.
And we watched the sun set as the game progressed. Gorgeous, huh?

Home Sweet Home

Costa Rica is becoming home. Slowly but surely. What makes it "home" for me?

Cooking. I'm enjoying trying out new recipes and knowing where to buy ingredients. We eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies -- carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, avocados, peppers, pineapple, bananas. Fresh spices -- cilantro, garlic. I love mixing it all together and seeing what happens.

Fabric. Kim V. and I went shopping for fabric for curtains in our classroom, and maybe this is a bit too domestic for my nomadic lifestyle, but I LOVE all the textures and colors of fabric. I bought two yellow fabrics to make curtains...

Spanish. Mi vocabulario es pequeno y mi grammatica es pobre, pero aprendiendo poco a poco cada dia. (My vocabulary is small and my grammar is poor, but I'm learning little by little each day.) It's a good challenge, a tough challenge, but each day I learn something else.

Kids. My students are another healthy challenge for me. Enough said.

Sunshine. Ha, it's crazy that it's November and I can still sit out in the sun. It's as if summer has just followed me. I don't mind, not one bit.

Friends. I didn't know these girls before moving to CR, but when you are the only gringas around, you become pretty good friends, no matter what.

And, my bed. I spend 7 or 8 hours a day sleeping on our rock-hard bed, so I figure it better be homey with my blankets from college. Que bueno!

Blast from the Past

Students at Sojourn are required to wear uniforms (gray T-shirts or blue polos), and about every other Friday, the Student Council has a "Fun Friday" where students can dress up. I think the idea is to make up for the uniforms the rest of the time. Last Friday was "Blast from the Past"... and me and the roomies had way too much fun deciding what to wear. Here's what we eventually came up with:

And then our neighbor Steve saw the fun on the porch and decided to join:

Peggy and Kim V. at school were rocking the outfits of the past as well. . . ha, our teaching staff has way too much fun!

I think I'm having too much fun...

We went to a Saprissa game yesterday and ... as Trish says, "Well, adventure # 19!!" (meaning, we've already had so many adventures, so why not another one??) We read on the Saprissa website that women wearing purple shirts got into the game for free, SOOOO :) we got the bright idea to go for it.

When we got there, we found the ticket office and discovered that we could only get in for free IF we were with a man who was paying for his ticket... This is so random, and I can't believe it worked out, but there was a group of 4 ticos buying tickets at the next window and they overheard our dilemma. They offered to "escort" us into the game so... we got in for free. It was a good opportunity for Spanish practice.

The field! We were sitting up really high and the wind was cold. I mean, COLD! Ha, this was the first time I can say I was truly cold in Costa Rica... and it was probably about 55 degrees... not as cold as Chicago's 33 right now!

The 4 musketeers -- Laura, me, Trish, Kim.
Roomies! Kim & me.


Bubble Pens, Tempers, and Saprissa

The latest discipline problem: bubble pens. They are nifty, bulky pens with bubble solution in the middle and a bubble wand at the top. I turn my back on the class for one minute and when I turn back around there are bubbles in the air... "Um, why are there bubbles in here?" Girls start giggling... and I confiscate the bubble pens.

Ha, when I'm teaching and trying to explain something, it seems that anything and everything pops out of my mouth in trying to get the point across. For example, I am trying to explain what a "temper" is... so I compare it to a bomb. "When you begin to lose your temper, it's as if you just lit a really short string on a bomb. You need to know when you have to step back from a situation in order to make the string on your bomb longer. If you don't take time away from the stiuation, your bomb will explode for sure." ... Hopefully that was a good analogy?

My old classroom is depressing right now. I took down all the posters and moved all the books to the other classroom. I had several students today mention that they already missed the books. Yay, they miss reading! :)

The BIG MOVE of my classroom is happening tomorrow afternoon. I've got parents, students, and the basketball team coming to help. I'll be sure to take photos of the mass chaos! :)

We are learning multiplication this week in Puzzles, and I made up a simple game by the seat of my pants today called "Flash Track", basically a gameboard that each player progresses on as he/she answers their times facts correctly. The students seemed to enjoy it :). Any way I can get them to practice multiplication facts and have fun at the same time is wonderful!

Plans this weekend: fabric shopping with Kim V., basketball game Friday night (I'm the photographer!!! YES!!), phone calls to family and friends, and a Saprissa game! (For those of you who don't know, Saprissa is one of the two popular soccer teams here... photos to come :)).


Mail Shout Outs!

Thanks to Jaclyn Miller for yet another letter! YEESSSS!!

And also, thanks to Jenny Olson and her creativity in writing a whole letter in Spanish... when I translate it with my Spanish dictionary, I will write back! ha, I'm learning more every day.

And a thanks to Scholastic Book Company that sent me a free teacher tote bag along with my subscription to their magazine... however, I had to pay $16 to get it through customs. Whoops.


Check out Kim's blog for more of our weekend adventures. Our neighbors had us over for Costa Rican cooking lessons... all in Spanish!

Moldy Shoes and Changing Classrooms

Yup, you read that right. Our shoes molded. Trish stepped in mud and green mold appeared on her shoes a few days later. I put my favorite gold shoes on this morning and halfway through the morning, my feet were disgustingly sweaty and gross... I took my shoes off and the shoes reek. I mean, really reek. Ha, sorry if stinky feet is a huge turnoff for you... but it's true. It happens to the best of us. So here's photos of our shoes before saying goodbye with the trash pickup tomorrow.
A long story short: Principal Reilly approached me on Friday asking about how I would feel about changing classrooms. At first, I thought she was just asking my advice about how I would feel if I were someone else who had to change classrooms mid-semester.... but then I realized she was serious. I asked when this move would be happening, and she casually answered... "Oh, next week sometime." Oh my. So today after school, I was taking down posters and washing my beautiful painted windows... The good news is that the 5th and 4th grades are moving into the just-finished building. Our classrooms are on the second floor, complete with a balcony and gorgeous view of the mountains. Wowee... Photos of both my current depressing classroom with nothing on the walls and my new exciting classroom (also with nothing on the walls yet, ha)!
And here's a few photos of this past weekend. We explored the northeast suburb of Moravia and it's artisans shops. We were Christmas shopping :) and spending way too much money, ha.

The crochet work on a hammock. Beautiful!
My friend Laura who is currently a student at ILE, but taught in Honduras for 2 years before joining the Costa Rica crowd. She leaves in December for Argentina.