Sunday, October 28, 2012

CR language training, week 4

Monday started off with our Spanish lessons, as usual, but we’d scheduled 2 Skype sessions in the afternoon. We Skyped with daughter Erica and later with missions candidate, Courtney. Skype is a wonderful thing! It’s so good to talk almost-in-person with our favorite people! We are continuing to appreciate technology and its capabilities, as we also are watching the Cardinals or the Presidential debates online (however, we had voted early, the day before we came here).
Tuesday was so FUN! Since this would be our last field trip, Gaby had planned our outing to include 2 museums and lunch! As our bus rounded its last corner before our stop at the park, it started to rain! So we whipped out our umbrellas – like good Ticos (what Costa Ricans call themselves) and began our walk to the Museo de Arte Y Diseño Contemporáneo (Modern Art). It was a short journey and, after we “parked” our umbrellas and received our pamphlets, we began our tour of the museum. Ultimately, the building itself was way more interesting than the weird modern art, but it was an experience, as we chuckled our way through the exhibits. 

Outside after our tour, it was still raining quite heavily, but we walked for blocks, headed for a restaurant Gaby had in mind, for a plato del dia (plate of the day) of typical Tico food. That restaurant was not open for lunch on this day, much to Gaby’s disappointment, so we walked back a few blocks to a well-known panadería (bakery), where we had a large dinner of delicious, homemade food, still laughing about all the walking and the strange “art.” 

It wasn’t too far to the second museum, where we really enjoyed the playful art of Luis Chacon at the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud, set up by the well-loved, former president of Costa Rico, Dr Rafael Calderon Guardia. This place was formerly a large home and the paintings were really delightful, with different styles in each room. There were a few rooms dedicated to the former president, and included photos and some personal items. When we left, it had finally stopped raining and we walked just a couple of blocks to a bus stop to head back to the seminary.

We got right on Dan’s computer and Skyped with our friend Cindy, who’s a missionary in Argentina – we’ll be seeing her soon! Then it was time for aerobics with the other missionary ladies and we got to exercise for a while on the deck of the pool, then got in to do some aqua-aerobics – what fun! Getting out of the pool, after feeling so light and mobile in the water, I suddenly felt very heavy. I wrapped up in a large towel and walked across the way to our home where Dan said, “Did you feel the earthquake? It was just about 8 minutes ago.” Oh! Maybe that’s why I felt so strange on the pool deck! It turned out to be a 6.6 magnitude earthquake centered north of here, closer to Poas, where we’ll be in a couple of weeks! What an eventful day!

This was one of those weeks, for sure, with back-to-back activities each day! After our morning lessons and lunch, Allie Tooley came over (she’s 13 and home-schooled) for a second knitting lesson. It’s really fun to teach her and she’s determined to master the 2 basic stitches and how to combine them for different patterns. She’s a good student and fun to be with! Later, Dan and I Skyped with our friend Erica in Poland; she’s fulfilling a long-time missionary dream of Christian coffee shop ministry in Krakow! 

 Our evening was full as well! We had plans to go out with Tico friends Pey and Crhis and their 2 children. It was Pey’s birthday and we went to one of his favorite places, a Mexican restaurant, Antojeria (which translates to something like “cravings”), then to Pops for ice cream cones, with even a short stop for groceries at Mas X Menos (More for Less).  Pey and Crhis have agreed to the the national trainers and coordinators of Teen Bible Quizzing here in Costa Rica. This in addition to being the youth ministry leaders of their local church and Pey's responsibilities a the Principle of a major Christian school here in San Jose.  They will do a great job.

Thursday was, thankfully, a bit calmer, with classes and planning for our weekend away! Friday, after lessons and a quick lunch, we got to Economy car rental once again, loaded up our suitcases and Dan drove us to a place recommended by David and Shelley. It was farther than Jaco Beach (where we’d been a couple of weeks earlier), but we found the Hotel Playa Bejuco (say “PLAH-ya Bay-HOO-co”) at Bejuco Beach, got settled in, then walked about a half block to a long, shiny beach where a sunset was ready to blossom. We took photos, watched a few others stroll along this wide stretch of dark sand with constantly crashing waves, and totally relaxed! It was great to take a few deep breaths and not be on a schedule! Back at the hotel, we cleaned up and went to their restaurant. There were other guests, but we had a private dinner for a while, enjoying our refrescas (fruit drinks) and outstanding Sea Bass Cardinal and a pasta dish.

Saturday morning, the staff understood that we’d be heading out early, so we were quickly served beautiful fruit plates and good, strong coffee, with home-baked, toasted bread, and guava jelly – heaven!  Soon we were on the road, heading for our 8:00 AM “canopy tour” with Rainforest Adventures, about 40 minutes away. And despite a fall on slippery tile that resulted in a bloody hand and a huge bruise on my left hip, I was quickly bandaged and we were soon outfitted with harnesses, helmets, and leather gloves. We were the only people in this time slot, so we had our own private tour!! 

The beginning was about 30 minutes of a tram ride (it was like a ski left, but could hold probably 8 people) that took us up the mountain. One guide went ahead and one guide rode with us, pointing out an iguana on a branch and a 2-toed sloth, colorful birds and very interesting plants and trees. When we got to the top, we received instructions on the correct position for traveling the fastest on the zipline (so we’d be sure to reach the other side!). The first guy hooked himself up and went before us, to receive us on the other end. The second guy did all the “hooking up” we needed, then followed after us. 
There were 10 runs of several hundred feet each. I’d had no idea this would be SO much fun! Without even a moment of fear, we flew over the green, green rainforest on the mountain. In the middle, it rained for a time, so we had to turn our heads or get pelted in the face… but the entire experience was awesome! And we would do it again in a heartbeat! We were also treated to a tour of their serpentarium – a display of live, venomous and non-poisonous snakes in glass cases.
The TacoBar restaurant was our destination again for lunch and we sat on the swings on the outside of the bar to enjoy our mango smoothies and awesome grilled tuna and mahi mahi soft tacos with their great salad bar.

We drove back to the hotel and laid down, exhausted from the exhilarating morning. And after we’d rested a while, we returned to the beach, to walk and gather shells and enjoy this day’s sunset. Later, we showered and changed and headed for the upstairs, open-air restaurant for a great shared dinner of garlic shrimp, rice, salad, and vegetables. In the meantime, the staff (and Dan) had noticed that our rented car had a flat tire! Dan called the rental company for their preference in how it should be handled. The decision was made to wait until morning, then the front-desk guy changed the tire to the spare, finding 2 large nails in the tire! The rest of the process included driving into Jaco to an office of the rental company, where they exchanged the spare for another tire and wheel of the correct size.

Our drive back to San Jose was leisurely and included a stop for lunch at RostiPollo, a local chain of roasted chicken restaurants. After turning in the car, a taxi was hailed for us; the taxi driver was familiar with the seminary and took us to our door! And after such a relaxing weekend, it was time to do some laundry, check our homework, and get ready for a new week! Truly, the time away felt like more than 48 hours, and it was a refreshment to our minds and bodies.

God provides all we need – and so much more!

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