Sunday with the Tico Family

The cat that walks on my roof and wakes me up. I discovered today that she's crosseyed, as evidenced by the photo.
We ate tamales for lunch in the park... Here's Judit's tamale with the whole family in the background.
Judit had a spoon and was flicking us with it. Ouch! Here cousin Andres is reacting.

Awwwww the cousins Mario & Andres, the sisters Judit & Rebekah, and aunt Sarah.

Lto R in back: the great uncle (I'm not remembering his name... he reminds me of Rusty who used to come listen to our jazz band practices), aunt Sarah, cousin Andres, sister Rebekah, cousin Mario
and in front: Blanca and her step-mom... I also forget her name.

And one of the many gigantic spiders in the backyard. Yuck!!


Siempre Hay Aventuras Nuevas

Title: There are Always New Adventures

Last night, Trish and I went to the Diem's to watch the boys while Steve and Becky went out. We watched Ocean's 12 and I graded papers. Woohoo, what a Friday night! All was normal until...

Trish and I took a taxi home and it dropped us off by her house. I walked the three houses down to my place and then I saw it... the gigantic chain and padlock was closed. The only key for this monster is inside the house. So I yelled, like a great gringa, "Tricia!!" and ran back down to her house. I knew if I didn't catch her before she went inside the house, there would be little hope of, well, sleep (ha, and safety!). So Trish and I discussed what we should do and it was decided that I would sleep in the extra bed... Then we found a cockroach in Trish's room and spent a good 45 minutes chasing it around in circles. By then, it was almost 1am.

Finally I fell asleep in the extra bed... and then the bed broke! I was half asleep when the middle board on the bed fell out! I was quickly awakened... and well, it was an interesting night of sleep to say the least.

Turns out last night, Judit had returned home like 5 minutes before I had, and she had assumed I was home and locked the padlock. This morning when I walked in at 7:15, she was like, "Where were you?" and I tried to avoid the question but it wasn't working. She felt bad about me "sleeping in the street!"

So there's the new adventure of yesterday... we'll see what will happen today!

Is it Possible to Skip the Fractions Chapter?

Teaching is good... hard... funny... sad... all at the same time. So much time and energy and sweat goes into it... It's definitely worth it and some days the concepts are clicking away in student brains, and other days the concepts don't seem to sink in.

For example: fractions. The classic fraction example my students have been exposed to in their 10 years is "Hey, can I have 1/2 of your cookie?" The curriculum introduces numerators and denominators on Day 1, and then immediately on Day 2 we're supposed to be comparing fractions and creating equivalent fractions. Students seemed to be doing fine with the ideas, but yesterday (Day 6 according to curriculum) we were supposed to be changing improper fractions to mixed numbers and so forth... Oh my, you would have thought it was World War III for all their panic.

Um... so quick teaching reflection -- next year we'll have a week of exploratory activities to have more reasoning skills about fractions before jumping into the algorithms.

Ha, thanks for reading my teaching reflections :).


Easter... Costa Rica Style

We had a going away party for the Wilsons AND an Easter celebration all at the same time. Diane brought the painted eggs, Kim V. brought the apple pie, I brought the guacamole... and we were ready to party :).
Josiah sitting in his dad's shadow.
Let the game begin!! Diane brought painted eggs for a classic egg toss... in the street. Crazy gringos!!

Josiah wasn't so sure about this game.

And then Kim threw the egg and it broke on the electrical wires above John's head! He was trying to avoid being hit by flying egg yoke!

We won!!!

I requested a "family" photo. :) These people are seriously my foundation here... What will Trish and I do when they all leave?!?!

Awwww. From Left to Right: Kim V., Peggy (below), me (above), John, Kim Loosa, Trish, Diane, Steve Wilson, Steve Diem holding Josiah, and Becky holding Elliott. What a great group! Steve and Becky Diem and their boys are heading to Argentina in August, Kim Loosa is moving back to Ohio to be closer to John, and Kim V and Peggy are probably moving back to the States as well. Life changes so quickly!

Josiah laughing it up. Now that I look at the photo, it looks like he has to go to the bathroom, ha, but he was just dying laughing... I think!

Josiah and Elliott fighting over a blanket... great brothers.

and Elliott in best form... with his ball.

Playa Montezuma

Alright, so someone asked me what my favorite beach is... and I really don't know. I mean, every beach has it's own characteristics and pros and cons.

This week we stayed in Montezuma, a little artesan's town on the eastern side of Nicoya Peninsula. We hiked to 4 different beaches, hiked to a waterfall, chased crabs, and got sunburns. This is becoming more and more my ideal vacation... this could be a problem when I return to the States!!
Sunset from the ferry on the way back to San Jose.
Who knew there are cactus here? I'm always learning something!

Trish and Kim in their hiking gear.

Playa Piedra Colorado. There were tons of colored rocks stacked on top of one another.

We saw lots of birds migrating north.

And more birds on the move. My camera and I were fascinated with the birds.


We hiked to a waterfall... I know this isn't a "literal" photo of the waterfall, but I think it's a great abstract photo :). I'm loving experimenting with my camera.

Large black rocks lined every beach it seemed.

Our hut. It would be awesome to say that we built it... but that wouldn't be true. We found it and borrowed it for a couple hours.
Another ferry passing our ferry.

Kim V. is the official spotter of monkeys. She spotted this little guy right outside our hotel window. Que lindo!

Mas Fotos de la Obra de Teatro

More photos of the play by request of my mom :) Hi mom! :) Jordan's expressions as The Count
Tara on the ground after the curse is broken.

Nolan reading the curse book while Trey and Johanna "tremble" the chairs in fear.

Tara and her "parents" on stage.

Bethie, beautiful as the town vendor. She sells umbrellas and fish... all in the form of flowers. ha.



No matter where we go right now, us gringos living in Costa Rica are "exotic". Why??

Well, we live in Costa Rica... but we´re from the United States. Therefore, we are unusual and different to everyone who is Costa Rican.

Then, we travel here in Costa Rica to beaches where there are lots of Europeans and Americans. Everything is great and normal and we´re semi-normal in these places... until people ask us where we´re from and we expound on how we´re from the States but we live here and yada yada yada... Then we´re exotic to the tourists because we´ve lived here for 8 months.

And then finally, we go home. Family already knows where we live right now, but when we run into random high school acquaintances and they`re like, "Wow, how you been? You`re so tan! Where are you living?" and then once again, we are somewhat crazy and unusual and definitely set apart because we`re learning a different language and culture and go to hot vacation spots every month that people dream of going for their honeymoon...

Interesting thoughts of the day after a 4 day trip to Playa Montezuma.

We just returned from the beach yesterday, and to make a long excuse short, the Internet on my computer isn´t working and then my tica sister´s computer won´t read my hard drive... so we´ll have to wait on the photos. They´re good, trust me :). Waiting will make them that much better!!

Much love!


Tongue Twisters

Try to say these ones:

En parte de los partes que tu repartes si que partes muy pronto para otras partes. Yo quedo aparte mas si partes me partes de parte a parte.

Tres tristes tigres comieron trigo en un trigal.

Good luck! :)

Empenadas Recipe

These delicious treats are so easy to make!!! I made them with the family a week or so ago and am just now posting the recipe. Mom, give it a try! It's as popular here as your cinnamon rolls are there!

3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 stick margarine
1 egg
Mix all dry ingredients together, then cut in the margarine. Press together with hands until there are no more margarine chunks. Add ice cold water just a little bit at a time and knead with hands until the dough has a good consistency. Roll out and use a circle cookie cutter. Spoon jelly (for a dessert empenada) or cheese/chicken/beans (for a main course option) into the middle of each circle and fold in half. Use a fork to press the edges together. Place on a greased pan and brush the tops with egg. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. Serve warm!


It's April?

Since when is it April? Seriously, where is time going?

Lots going on right now. I'm staying with a friend (Becky) and her two sons as her husband is in the States, and I'm growing more thankful every day that I don't have my own family yet. I mean, it's so much work!!! The boys (Josiah, 3, and Elliott, 2) have had some rough days without their dad, and I'm glad I could be available for Becky... I see how it is continually challenging to discipline the boys and yet remain patient and calm. Oh my... I'll send "my kids" (aka students) home every day at 2:30, thank you.

The play is over! After a week of 4-8ish? practices, the actual performances seemed to go by so quickly. Today I was already on the task of sorting out the props and costumes and giving back all the items. Wowee, quite a task, but it's definitely quicker than finding all the items!

I'm kind of sad that the play is over. I mean, I was enjoying the creative outlet so much and it was great to remember why I love art. It's seriously so relaxing to me to paint or to sketch... but I haven't done it this much since painting class a couple years ago.

While staying with Becky, we've been making clothes after the boys go to bed. That's right, "making clothes"! I sewed a skirt yesterday inspired by this company: http://www.karizadesigns.com/. I've seen the skirts for sale at the beach and Becky bought one on her recent beach trip, so I was inspired. I'll have to post pictures when I take some. Tonight we're making a tank top for Becky from my skirt scraps... We're going to match with our skirt and shirt! :)

This week is Semana Santa, meaning that everyone in Costa Rica is on vacation... except Sojourn Academy. One of the teachers was telling me today that this is the first time in 30 years that Sojourn has been in session during Semana Santa... It's kind of like when I had to work on Thanksgiving last November... except now it's the ticos who are bummed. But along with working Semana Santa comes mission teams doing Bible School in the morning, so teachers are on the sidelines. Sweet deal! :) Vacation before vacation.

Speaking of vacation, we (Kim V., Trish, and I) are heading to a new beach on Wednesday... Playa Montezuma. It's on the Nicoya Peninsula on the Pacific side. Photos to come soon!

There was a bird in the classroom today. You know, the usual, ha. Oh, and because it's Semana Santa, I only had 6 of my 11 students actually at school today. Wow, can I just take the day off too?

I think that's a pretty good summary of life here right now. Happy Birthday to my Daddddyyyyy!!!! Number 47?? I may have just announced your age to the whole world, Dad... whoops. Love you! :)


Play Photos!

It was opening night this evening at Sojourn Academy, and the high schoolers did so well!!! We were all so proud of all their hard work! Here's some photos from Wednesday night's photo shoot during dress rehearsal:Waiting for the Count to arrive to propose to their daughter.
At the wedding: the bride and parents

the house set

the postman, butcher, and vendor reacting

the whole cast, responding to the urgent letter the teacher receives