Week 1 of classes and Tamarindo Beach

[slideshow] Hola! So far, everything is going spectacularly! Classes have been great. For me, Spanish class is definitely difficult. There is a lot of homework, but I have already noticed a huge difference in my fluency and my fluidity. The homework has consisted of readings and a vocabulary for the most part. The readings have been simple (once I look up the words that I didn’t know), and the questions have been easier to answer.  I’m feeling so good about it.

Our afternoon class is great too. Our teacher totally looks like a skater bum, and he is a complete hippy, so it makes us feel a little bit more at home. The class is called Environmental Impacts and Social Development, and it is a lot like a humanities class, or environmental science class, would be like back home. I love it though. We had a background class last time where we just talked a little bit about the history of Costa Rica, and what our perceptions were before we arrived. It was nice to have a class devoted solely to figuring out what we thought Costa Rica would be like versus what it is actually like.

Classes are from 8-12 (Spanish) and from 6-8 for us, so our days are pretty much all spent either in class or doing homework. This last Thursday, we had an AWESOME welcoming fiesta at the school. Kelsey and I got there late because it started at 6 and we had class, but we caught the tail end of a dance presentation by the gym down the street. Then they had another routine, and it was to the Shania Twain song “Feel like a Woman”. It was so funny! Then we had BBQ and cervezas. Thinking about how much that would NEVER happen at a school in the states is interesting to me. Especially the beer part XD.

This weekend, after classes, we went to a place called Tamarindo beach. It’s about 5 hours away from San Jose, so that was pretty rough. The CIS director in San Jose, Lisa, gave us all some stuff to keep us from getting super car sick though, so it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The people here drive like crazy though!! They use the horn for EVERYTHING. I asked one of my teachers about it, and they said that it is because the roads are so small. There is only so much you can do on a tiny road in a huge bus, so they honk to let people know where they are, to get someone’s attention, to say the light is almost green, when they are happy, when they are grumpy at the person in front of them, and even (so says one of the speakers at orientation) to tell you that you look nice that day ;).

After the crazy bus ride, we got to Tamarindo at about 7. We all went to our hotel rooms, dumped our crap, then went out! We went to KOI, a decently swanky restaurant that had sushi (which I didn’t eat) and Asian stir-fry (which I did eat). The food was DELICIOUS!!! And we went with a huge group, so it was tons of fun. Afterwards, we went downstairs in the same building to Aqua, which is a Discoteque (dance club). It was free drinks (with cheap rum, vodka, and local booze called Cacique [I think…]). We drank a couple of drinks, went dancing, and then all went back to the hotel for some much needed sleep!!!

The next day, another group of us went to breakfast at around 9 (which was waaaay too early). We had eggs and toast, which were both delicious. After breakfast, 3 of us, Kelsey, Jasmine (a girl we met who is from Virginia), and I, went around and looked in all of the little stores. I needed swim trunks, so we went shopping! It was nice to have some girl time!! Then we changed and went down to the beach. Tamarindo is on the Pacific side of the island, so the water smelled so much like home. It was warm though, which is so wrong for someone coming from Oregon. If you can keep your feet in the Pacific Ocean for more than 10 minutes and NOT have them fall off, something is just not right! We spent all of the morning and part of the afternoon there. We body surfed (or at least attempted too), swam around, and met a few of the Ticos (which is the Costa Rican word for Costa Ricans) who live in the area. All of them are incredibly nice and helpful. A bunch of the CIS students wanted to learn how to surf, and the Ticos were more than willing to help them out! After the beach, we went to lunch. I was feeling pretty sick at that point due to eating some pizza, and pretty good pizza at that, so I hung around in the room for the next few hours. Jasmine and Kelsey went shopping some more, and then met me back at the room. We went back to Aqua for a couple of hours, and then went to bed.

Today was the drive home. It was not too bad though. We stopped after a couple of hours at this place in the middle of nowhere. It was so beautiful. There were parrots and monkeys (I’m not sure what type) just living in the trees! They were gorgeous!!

After getting back to my Tica home, I ate dinner and now I’m working on homework and this.

Seriously though… This weekend was amazing. It was the definition of Pura Vida <3.

Until next post!!

2 thoughts on “Week 1 of classes and Tamarindo Beach

  1. I feel like the driving is crazy everywhere!!! So did you know some spanish before you left? I am in England which is nice because I dont have to try and learn another language…kinda…in order to communicate. Our school load is sooo full as it is I dont know if I could do it!!! If your starting from scratch I bet thats really hard!!
    Looks like your having a great time though!! 🙂

  2. I like the slide show and your detailed descriptions. You did some good investigating about the crazy driving and honking you observed and verified with the locals why there was so much honking. We are so used to wide roads and freeways in the U.S. that it’s a bit disconcerting when roads are narrow and winding. You are using your anthropogist’s eye. Keep experimenting with the DIVE technique–describe, investigate, verify, explain. You’re on the right track. Michele

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