Did the Sun Do This in the U.S.??

So this afternoon we saw a phenomenon here in CR... a rainbow circling the sun. Could you guys see this in the States?? I tried to capture it with my camera, but of course, it doesn't have the same effect. It was so bright and so dark all at the same time... all the ticos were out in the street yelling and dogs barking and ... the old lady down the street was sure Jesus was coming back. I have yet to see Jesus face to face today... but I'll keep you posted. :)

Costa Rican Independence Day

Soooo we just celebrated what felt like the 4th of July here, except it's on September 15th. The freedom story of Costa Rica is quite interesting, very fitting with their passive international policies. Apparently there was a night meeting of the Costa Ricans and Spaniards where the Costa Ricans were requesting their freedom from being a Spanish colony, and many Costa Ricans lit their lanterns and walked to the cabin where the meeting was taking place. The tico's purpose in doing this was to show that they were united as a would-be country, but the Spaniards understood that with all the lanterns and commotion outside the cabin, that the ticos were planning a suprise attack and now had them surrounded. So the Spanish signed that Costa Rica was free and ... they became free without fighting.
So now the tradition is for every school to have lantern making contest and night parades. Our school has a day parade just around campus, but some schools block off all the streets around and have real parades.

Anyway, here's a peek at our parade and my 4th graders!! :)
Lily and Savannah





Loving Kids

To sum up love simply is to just admit that it's hard. Sometimes really hard. I have glimpses of how hard it is as I work with kids 7 hours a day, but I think I'm only just beginning these discoveries.

The student that I am most on top of to stay on task, to always be following directions, to only go to the bathroom when the class goes, to keep reading, to finish assignments.... today he told me 4 times how much he loved me. Complete with hugs and everything. Wow. I feel like I'm so tough on him every moment of every day. . . and here he's hugging me and telling me I'm the best teacher ever.

Another aspect of love is the ability to laugh. Today I told one of the girls that my favorite pet here in CR is named Tequila. She looked at me in disbelief and asked if I knew that was a kind of alcohol. I told her that yes, I knew, but Tequila was also my pet dachshund's name. We both laughed about that misunderstanding... that my favorite pet was a type of alcohol.

Love. What else will I learn today?


Parent Teacher Conferences...

...in Spanish!!!

I have been so nervous for about the last week, for lots of reasons. Last school year, I really wanted to have relationships with the tico parents, just like I did with the gringo parents, but it was virtually impossible because of the language barrier. The tico parents knew I was learning Spanish, but it is hard to bust out a Spanish conversation A) when you're not confident about it and B) after a day of speaking English with 10 year olds. So the tico parents turned to the EFL teacher when there were issues the school needed to know about... and I was left feeling like I wanted more.

Plus, my goal someday is to work in a bilingual school in the States... so I felt the weight of that goal a little bit as I asked,"Can I really do it? Can I really be fluent and have relationships with families in both languages?"

So this year parent teacher meetings yesterday were like my debut and the culminating point for my nerves. I spoke in Spanish for 5 conferences yesterday and it felt so good!!! We were able to discuss concerns and strong points of their children, and I told the families that I wanted to learn about the language and the culture from them. I also told them to contact me at anytime by phone or email.

I did it!!! Thank you, Jesus, for teaching me so much in one year!!!


Who Knew Grammar Could Be So Fun??

This year's first grammar lesson generated lots of laughs... so I thought I would share it with you. Today, I opened the lesson asking the students to show me how they felt about grammar and I received many thumbs down... uh-oh, I told them, I had to teach to a tough crowd. They all said, "Good luck!!"

I handed out a half-sheet of paper and the students wrote one sentence. My example was "The cow jumped over the moon," which I knew to be from a nursery rhyme, but the ticos thought it was the funniest thing and what was a nursery rhyme?? Each student wrote their sentence as I told them it could be as silly or as serious as they wanted it to be. Here's some samples of what we ended up with:

My teacher is great.

I just saw a really weird thing.

The sheep jumped in a bikini.

Miss Siscoe is great.

I am happy today because my mom is happy.

Jonathan is a rat.

My name is Jonathan.

I wasn't really sure what the girl who wrote "Jonathan is a rat" was trying to imply about her classmate, but we went with it and he was good humored about it.

Then we divided our sentences between the subject and predicate (aka the noun and verb), and I instructed the students to cut their paper in half on the line they had drawn between the two parts.

Then the fun really began.

I read all the subjects one at a time. We decided they were not complete sentences.

I read all the predicates one at a time. We decided they also were not complete sentences.

Then I mix and matched the subjects and predicates together, and here's what we got:

Jonathan is Jonathan.

I am a rat.

Miss Siscoe jumped in a bikini.

Uh-oh... that last one had them rolling on the floor. I was a little worried about parents hearing that I was talking about wearing bikinis... with their 10 year olds.

And then the killer question came that just topped off the whole stand-up comedy routine:

"Miss Siscoe, do you really wear bikinis?"


2009-2010 Students!

All smiles for the camera...
The girls begging me not to take more photos...

and the boys not minding at all...

fun bunch... and this isn't even all of them! twins arrived today, so that puts us at 15.
please pray for our classroom. it's like a personal sauna, and we have lots of headaches and hydration issues. pray for a lasting solution to the problem! thanks.


Coming Soon...

photos of the new students!!! :) I just have to take some photos first and then I will introduce you!

Volcan Irazu

Judit and I ventured to another Costa Rican volcano today... there's so many to see! We could walk all the way to the edge of the crater of Volcan Irazu! It was very strange to see the land... almost sandy, but the sand was black lava rock, and only a few plants growing. Also, it was at an even higher altitude than the city (at 4000 feet) so it was really cold. There was lots of fog and cold winds. Most of the plants were considered lichens too... which I thought were only in Alaskan tundra or whatever those are called! Who knew there was everything from palm trees to lichen in Costa Rica??
We thought this plant looked like a nest...
Cute flowers, but not so nice to touch... they have thorns in the petals!
One of the craters had this emerald lake in the middle...
Me modeling with the landscape and fog.
Judit laying an egg on our so-called nest plant
Crater #2
It was so foggy we couldn't see the top of the satellite tower 50 yards in front of us!
On the way back we stopped by a restaurant with business cards tacked all over the walls... and when I say "all over," I mean "all over." We didn't have any business cards to leave, and I decided it wasn't a good idea to leave my passport copy... :)

Austin's First Day of... High School!

I was glad to be around for such a monumental moment... and I just had to capture it. Here he is, my baby brother headed off to high school...


Fireworks with the Fam

Gramps and Gram with the little grandkids. :)
While I was home in the States, the Siscoe's had a belated 4th of July (and summer birthdays) celebration, complete with Grandpa's choice toys... fireworks. 3

Kallie and sparklers.
Wes was "big enough" to help with the fireworks this year... I think he thoroughly enjoyed it!

and cousin Chloe in the pickup headlights...

Forgotten Photos... that are no longer forgotten

I forgot to post more photos from my US visit! I took about a 1000 photos while in the States, ha, so I thought I would share a few more... these are some of my friends I was able to spend a morning or afternoon with...

Chelsea Winn and I at my house...
Dick and Chris Ratliff and I at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline...
and Jenny Olson and I at her house...