Sunday, October 14, 2012

CR language training, week 2

Dan and I had decided over the weekend that we really needed to get moving, literally! So we got up a few minutes earlier on Monday and walked around the campus, up to the front gate and back – twice!  The sun comes up here, over the mountain, at about 5:40, so you can just imagine how early the folks on the east side of the mountain see the sun!

We attended our Spanish classes as usual (Mondays, I have a 2-hour class and Dan has two 2-hour classes).  I could tell you about the verb tenses we’re studying… but I’ll enjoy more telling you about our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner that evening! Because the Kuceys were missing their friends and family this time of year, it was decided that we’d join the missionaries and all celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving. We had divided up parts of the meal in a discussion last week and I was to make the mashed potatoes. I’ve never made mashed potatoes without a mixer before, but they turned out just fine and were a great accompaniment to the “turkey” (really chicken this time) and carrots and stuffing at the Tooleys’ home.  (Dan and I had found a bag of almonds at a grocery store, so I also made sugar-spiced almonds to share… mmm!) We’ll get to share another missionary Thanksgiving in November in Argentina, but this one was unique, sharing a meal and our thankful thoughts and prayers with these special friends.

Tuesday morning, as Dan was ready to walk up the hill to the classroom, Gaby dropped off a cake for surprising Shelley after lunch.  Shelley’s birthday was Sunday and Gaby wanted to make sure she was treated!”  So Dan sent Shelley a short email asking her to come by our Casa #23 around 12:30. Unfortunately, her first thought was that we had some complaint or bad news to discuss, so she came by with her husband David and she was, instead, surprised with a belated cake!  Shelley is SO very caring; it was great to do something for her this time!

We listened to the afternoon Cardinals baseball game on the Internet (great win, 8-0) but, shortly after, we lost Internet. I went on to aerobics, again using every single muscle in my body (the teacher really is incredible!), and returned to the still-puzzling situation of a good signal, but no connection to the Internet. It was a really strange evening not connecting to friends on Facebook nor sending/receiving emails – we’re SO dependent, right? Finally, Wednesday morning, we found the problem; an Ethernet cable had disconnected in the apartment upstairs!  Rejoined, the connection worked great – we’re back “in business!”

Wednesday’s big event for us was an evening meeting in the Biblioteca (library) on campus – Dan got to present Bible Quizzing to 3 Costa Rican NYI leaders, Gaby (not our teacher) and Erika and Hellen, who are anxious to re-start this ministry! The Tooleys and Webbs were present too for translation help and ministry encouragement as he described the need for organization and the benefits to the youth of this country!  Since this was a first meeting, another will be scheduled to include more of the local leaders!

Thursday was another day full to the brim with activities!  Dan attended his class, then I joined him and Gaby as we enjoyed our weekly field trip time, taking the bus downtown to the National Museum of Costa Rica.  After Gaby explained that we are students and we showed our student IDs, we stepped into the first area of the museum – a butterfly garden of several levels with large, active butterflies of many colors. We tried to catch photos of them; it was much harder than we thought! We enjoyed the special exhibits of historical symbols of power, then some photos from Haiti after last year’s earthquake. There was an historical reproduction of a typical Costa Rican home from the early 1900s and black-and-white photos of businesses and factories of that time – SO interesting!!  After a while, Gaby gave us a choice, shopping or lunch – and we all chose lunch! We suggested that we’d like to eat local food, so Gaby took us a couple of blocks away to a good local restaurant. Funny thing, though, we shared ceviche (Peruvian) and arroz con camarones (rice and shrimp), not something typical in Costa Rica!  But Gaby ordered churros to share for dessert – fried dough with a creamy caramel filling.  Wow – delicioso!

That evening, I was invited over to the Tooleys’ to teach Allie, who just turned 13, how to knit! Dan stayed home, watching the vice presidential debate on the Internet, while I got to sample a fudgy dessert Allie had baked with chamomile tea. Allie is determined to be a knitter, so we kept up repeated steps until she succeeded at the basic knit stitch.  We’ll get together again soon!

Friday morning, Dan was home after his class and I was at mine, and Allison Tooley stopped by with an invitation for me for a tea party!  She had decided to bake and have girlfriends (even her mom Pam and older friends like me!) over for tea at 2:00 o’clock.  The teen girls arrived in hats and skirts, with lipstick too – so cute!!  And we enjoyed a wide variety of tea to accompany Allie’s chocolate chip scones and banana bread! What a fun time! Even little sisters AnniKah and Paulina joined us for a while, but only wanted to sit still for the food!
Even with Joel out of town, Pam Tooley invited all the missionaries over for Friday Taco Night (a common end-of week event), which we cheerfully attended (after taking the bus downtown to Economy car rentals to get a car for a short trip tomorrow). Everyone brought something to add to the taco meat and tortillas; what a fun evening!  And now, we “have wheels!”

Saturday morning, Dan didn’t even have to bribe me with breakfast out to get us out the door early. We stopped at the McDonald’s in Guadalupe, not far from the Seminary, and we both ordered “McPinto” breakfasts – scrambled eggs with Gallo Pinto (the Ticos’ favorite dish of rice and beans).  Ticos can eat Gallo Pinto 3 meals a day and don’t get tired of it!  I like it, too; just not sure I could eat it that often! From there, we headed west toward the Pacific.  There was quite a bit of traffic on this new highway on a holiday weekend (Monday is a national holiday here) but, since we were not in a hurry, the drive was pleasant and we found our way through the beach town of Jaco (say ha-KO). We found one beach that was pretty rocky and with lots of surf. We walked a bit, then I walked more while Dan soaked up some sun. The waves were just too strong for us to enjoy any time in the water, so we decided to find the restaurant for lunch that Tooleys said we “had to try!” Easy to find just off the main street, the TacoBar was just what we wanted, with a huge variety of meat and sea foods tacos to choose from and a great salad bar! We drove around the town, taking streets toward the beaches until we found one at the south end that suited us. It was shallow for quite a ways out, with dark gray, very fine sand. The waves were constant, but more tame.   Dan was able to body-surf for a while!

Drying off bit, we drove back to San Jose over the “old highway” and it took the same amount of time as the crowded new highway. It was a more scenic route, though, and quite curvy, but Dan enjoys driving!  (It reminded us both of southern Missouri!)  We returned the car and splurged on a taxi back to SENDAS. It was a great day away!

Sunday morning, we attended the Coronado Church Sunday School and worship service with the Tooleys, understanding a little more each time we go to a Spanish language service!  Back at the Seminary, we had just sat down with meat and cheese wraps for lunch when Stephen and Ann Sickel stopped by to ask if we’d like to share pizza with them! The Sickels are the Work & Witness Coordinators we’ll be working with in November when the rest of the team from the Missouri District flies here! Since we’d already started our lunch, we just picked up our plates and glasses and walked 2 doors over to spend a couple of hours getting to know them and their 7-week old son, Micah.  Their home is part of the building that houses the Regional Office for the Mesoamerica Region and only 2 years old – very nice!  Rain started soon after we arrived and kept up, hard, all afternoon! We had to borrow umbrellas to get home to Casa #23, then walk over to the Kuceys’ home, all on the SENDAS campus. Tonya Kucey had asked us over to “pick our brains” about a report on voluntary missionary care that she’s been asked to write.  She’s spent quite a bit of time on this, with lots of research, and Dan was able to give her some more ideas to expand her already-in-depth paper.

Our Sunday, that we had anticipated being rather quiet, turned into a very social day! The missionaries here are incredibly caring!  I think God has given us these people to balance our intense studying time!  He’s awesome, amazing and knows what we need at all times!

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