Thursday, May 24, 2012

Good bye friends of Wartburg!

Today, all of my friends from our group left Costa Rica to travel back home to the states. It was a day a little bit difficult for me. Although I am very excited to continue studying spanish in Costa Rica for the next 3 weeks, it was hard to accept that I wasn't able to see all my family and friends back home like they all were. I knew that I was going to miss the group very much while I am still here. We all had so much fun together and the first 3 weeks were an awesome experience. But nonetheless, I woke up and got myself ready for my 15 day of class with Intercultura. All of the professors were rather surprised to see me still in Costa Rica without the rest of the group. But their enthusiasm made me very excited to study and learn more from them. After class, I moved in with my new mama tica and worked on my powerpoint presentation and reflections that I had put off the entire trip. It was a very long day of homework. But all day long, I was thinking about all the cool things I was going to have the opportunity to experience in the next 3 weeks. I am very excited!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

¡Pura Vida!

Pura Vida- Loc. adj. [jergal] Bueno, que gusta.// 2. Con salud.// 3. Loc. adv. Bien o muy bien.// 4. De acuerdo, conforme, satisfecho.// 5. Expresión usada como saludo y despedida (¿Todo bien?, Si, ¡pura vida! / Hasta luego, ¡Pura vida!).  
El lema en Costa Rica es “Pura Vida” porque es la vida de la gente. Los ticos viven una vida muy relajada, tranquila, y lenta, sin mucho estrés. Es muy diferente que la vida en los Estados Unidos. Personalmente, me gusta la idea de pura vida, pero no a la extensión de los ticos. Pienso que hay demasiado estrés in los Estados, y no bastante estrés in Costa Rica. Para algunas personas, “pura vida” es la vida perfecta, pero para otras personas no es perfecta. Para mí, necesito planes y un poco estrés esta bueno. Me gusta un horario ocupado. Pero también, me gusta vivir “pura vida” para un poco tiempo durante el año, una semana o menos, porque es muy bien para desestresarse. Creo que otras personas en los Estados con vidas estresadas deben vivir “pura vida” por un poco tiempo. Aunque tres días sin un horario, haciendo lo que quiere hacer cuando quiere hacerlo es relajado y buenísimo para salud. Para los americanos es muy difícil, y imposible vivir “pura vida” todo el tiempo, pero pienso que es posible.
Las tres semanas en Costa Rica fueron increíbles. Costa Rica es un país con un cultura fascinada, una manera de vida muy relajada, y las mejoras frutas. Estoy muy agradecido para esta oportunidad estudiar en Costa Rica.
Our trip back to Waverly was an interesting and tiring experience. With Heredia winning the finals of their tournament a couple days earlier, the streets were still filled with confetti when we woke up at four in the morning. We met at Intercultura at 5:00 AM to begin our long journey home. Our first flight was from San Jose to Dallas, TX. It was interesting on the plane when the instructions were read in both Spanish and English. On the way to Costa Rica I ignored the Spanish because I did not understand it, but on the way back I was able to understand both the Spanish and the English. It is amazing how much my Spanish has improved over the course of the trip. After we landed in Dallas we went through an intense security screening and by the time that we got through it was time to board the next plane. From Dallas to Chicago the flight attendants were really nice. One of them snuck some cookies from first class to a few people from our group. Right when we got off the flight in Chicago we begun our six hour bus ride back to Wartburg. Throughout this trip we all made new friends and memories that will last forever, along with the improved Spanish and knowledge of Costa Rican culture of course!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Final Day in Samara

Today is our last day in Samara as well as our last full day in the beautiful country of Costa Rica. A large group of us started our day off trying to soak up as much sun as we could, but with our luck, the sky was full of clouds and it began to rain on us! Another group participated in a local nonprofit fundraising event. The nonprofit is CREAR (to create in Spanish) and gives kids of the local area an opportunity to play and create. The fundraising event was a relay race where one person biked, another ran, the third swam, and the last surfed.
We boarded the bus to leave Samara at 11:30 and made our five hour trip back to Heredia. We arrived at Intercultura in Heredia and returned to our original houses to stay the final night. Many of us were looking forward to reconnecting with our families in Heredia after a week away from them! We had one last meal with our family and got ready to leave tomorrow morning bright and early at 5 a.m. These past three weeks flew by and we will miss Costa Rica and all of our friends and family we have met very much, but it is time to go home and share our memories with our loved ones. Pura Vida :)

Ultimo dia en Samara

Hoy es el ultimo dia en Samara. Esta semana nos pasó muy muy rápido. Estoy triste para salir de mi familia. Nuestra mama tica fue mi favorita de este viaje. También, esta semana fue como un sueno. Salimos en bus a 11:30 para regresar a Heredia. Fue un viaje de 5 horas. Muchas personas dormieron en este viaje a Heredia. En Samara, había mucha lluvia y no sol. Que lastima. Yo estuve triste que en el ultimo día, no había sol en el cielo; solamente nubes. Mañana, regresamos a los Estados Unidos, y Wartburg. Vamos a regresar a medianoche. Sería un día muy largo viajando. Este viaje fue muy rápido en total. Durante este viaje, a veces fue muy lento. Pero, al fin, yo realice que fue muy rápido. Voy a pensar todos los días en las memorias que nos hacemos durante este viaje. Fue días cuando yo quise regresar a casa pronto, y fue días cuando yo quise vivir en Costa Rica. Las experiencias yo encontré estés 3 semanas me haceria mayor a español. Y, este viaje mejore mi español mucho. Este viaje me enseño que hay mucho en la cultura de Costa Rica, y Costa Rica es un país pequeño, pero muy diverso. Es un país muy lindo, y las personas aquí son muy genuinos y simpáticos. Cuando yo regreso a los Estados Unidos, yo voy a continuar mis estudias de español para siempre.

Sabado en Samara

Hola! Ahora fuimos a playa Buena vista pero no habia un Buena vista. Aqui esta el invierno y en el invierno hay muchos cocodrillos en los rios. Anoche habia un gran tormento y el rio fue rojo en playa Buena Vista. No nadamos en este playa porque fue muy peligroso. Durante el dia habia mucho lluvia y playa samra tuvo mucho madera y basura. Muchas personas en nuestro groupo pasamos tiempo en la escuela. Estoy triste que este noche es uno de los ultimo dias aqui. Fue un experencia increíble. Muchas personas de nuestro groupo conocieron nuevas personas y hoy tienen amistades que serian para siempre. No quiero regresear a mi casa pero se que un dia en el futuro regresaré. Pura vida
For my blog I am going to talk about graduation and some of the things that have been learned the past three weeks. The graduation ceremony took place in the garden, and all of the teachers and students attended. Each student had the opportunity to say a few words in Spanish and thank the teachers and Intercultura. The ceremony lasted about 45 minutes, and after the ceremony I had a chance to think about what I have learned.  
We obviously came to Costa Rica to develop our Spanish language, but I think one of the aspects often overlooked is the cultural perspective. I have learned a lot about the Costa Rican culture, for example, the food is a lot different. We have rice and beans for every single meal, along with a different type of meat. Dancing is also important in their culture. The most important part of the culture is friends and family. This experience has been great because of the culture, and I will definately return in the future. Pura Vida!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Saturday in Samara

Today, we had a day planned for the beach, but of course, with the unpredictable weather of Samara, it was a little easier said than done. Last night there was a massive thunderstorm; lots of rain, wind, thunder, and lightning. When we arrived at the beach today, it definitely didn’t have an inviting look to it as it was covered in debris from the storm and the ocean consistently washed up debris as well. Our neighbor, who has been cooking us breakfast because our host mother is gone, told us that this storm was actually very rare for Costa Rica. I would definitely hope so! Even though the plan to enjoy the stay at the beach didn’t really work out, our group had a nice time relaxing and taking in the “Pura Vida” lifestyle during the day. At night, we had a good-bye dinner at a great restaurant and the realization that we were about to leave the beautiful country of Costa Rica came to mind. Tomorrow, we are beginning our trek back towards the United States, making a quick stop in Heredia, and it is definitely a bittersweet feeling. I have enjoyed my time in Costa Rica so much, and I will definitely miss my host families and the relationships I have formed. I definitely feel as if my Spanish has improved through this experience and look forward to the possibility of returning to Costa Rica in the future.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Las dias en Samara han sido como un sueño. Hay tanta belleza en Costa Rica. Me gusta que las playas son limpias y no hay piedras tan como en las cataratas. El agua es fresco y las olas son grandes. Es buenisimo. Una cosa que yo aprendi es que la gente en Costa Rica tiene carino por su pais. Por ejemplo, miercoles algunas personas de nuestro grupo ayudaron los ticos limpiando la playa. Tambien casi todas las personas reciclan en sus casas aqui. Reciclar es muy importante. Hay cajas de reciclaje en todos los lugares: restaurantes, tiendas, casas, y escuelas. Ayer tuvimos el ultimo dia de clases. Eran clases culturales. Aprendi malas palabras de Costa Rica en mi clase. Mi profesor nos enseño estas palabras para que podriamos entender personas en Costa Rica y no tendriamos problemas. Despues de clases nos graduamos y recibimos nuestros diplomas. Entonces fuimos a otra playa para relejarnos. Jugamos en el mar y comimos empanandas y enchiladas. Es casi tiempo para regresar.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thursday 5\17

Today our classes were in the morning, from 8am to 12pm. My teacher, Ilsen, played ALTO with us. This game is our class favorite. Each round a letter is chosen by one player and all of the players must think of a spanish word that starts with this letter in 5 or more different categories. For example, when the letter "B" was used, in the categories of fruit names I thought of the word "bananos." Also we had an oral exam in class, given by Profe. Each student spoke in spanish for five or so minutes about a topic given. I spoke of my experiences with my host families in Heredia and Sámara. My mamá tica in Heredia was a familial, kind, religious women who loved to cook and to talk about her experiences with her grandchildren. We had many discussions over religion and politics over dinner. Her home was in the center of the bustling city, and she lived a city lifestyle. My family in Sámara is larger, with a papá tico as well as a brother. This family talks less and lives a very simple lifestyle. Both my families were very kind and helpful.

After class today our group had the option to go horseback riding or to work with the crear program making friendship bracelets with the local children. I chose to go horseback riding, along with several other students. We rode horses for two hours in the hot sun, along the roads and in the mountain trails. The horse that I was given had a month old foal in tow. This foal proved to be a great distraction and made the trip a bit more difficult than necessary. However, by the end of the ride, I had learned a great deal about how to stay on the horse going up and down narrow trails, along with the random cantering spurred by the foal. Along the way, our group saw howler monkeys and a beautiful view high above the two beaches near Sámara. It was interesting that the horses were used to the cars and dogs in the streets. One major difference that I noticed was that these horses were accustomed to roaming free. We had a couple of younger horses without riders that just followed along as they pleased and never wandered far. In the streets many cows, horses, and dogs walk around during the day and return to their homes at night.

After we returned from horseback riding, I went to the cooking class at the school. Along with several other students, I learned how to make tortas de yuca. This is a type of yucca pancake, made with eggs, yucca, butter, salt, and milk in a griddle over the stove. The most difficult part of the class was grating the yucca. Yucca is a vegetable similar to potatoes, yet sweeter. Grating the yucca took half the time because it needed to be grated into very small pieces. After making the batter, our teacher showed us how to cook them. Everyone tried a slice of a torta de yuca with sour cream or queso blanco, a cheese that tastes like mozzarella.