Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dia Cuarenta y Cinco – I'm Back!

30 de Junio del 2009

So, Gregory :-P what’s up with the pictures (or noticeable lack thereof)?

Well, the short answer is that I just didn’t feel like taking pictures this week. Yeah, it’s a lame answer, but to tell you the truth I really didn’t feel like doing much of anything.

This week, I was ill. I got sick, my mama tica got a sore throat, Rodrigo (the dad/uncle next door) got in an accident and hurt his eye...and Michael Jackson died. I’ve been reading Matthew 24 again and I am wondering if this is a sign of the end times ;-) So anyway, I will spare you the details of my “getting sick in Costa Rica” experience, but I will say that it wasn’t pleasant. I am feeling much better today (Monday) and I think the worst has past. I treated myself to some movies at the rental store and I finally saw “Hercules” (which is one of those Disney movies I always wanted to see but my mom had objections when I was younger). It was enjoyable, but I think I like Lea Salonga singing “Go the Distance” more than Michael Bolton. OH! Also, I am going to see UP this week. The theater has one showing of English and I am going to go see it :-) I am super, Super, SUPER looking forward to it.

This week Steven left and now I am all alone with my tico family and their extended family/neighbors. This is also the last week that Adonis is going to be taking classes here. Adonis is my classmate who is an American but lives in Costa Rica. He is the last person who is here from my original week. Once he is gone, I will be a super old-timer here. I’ve outlasted pretty much everyone else who has come for the past few weeks. It’s fun to see the new groups come and go. It’s a little be funny how similar they all act on their first week and how they acclimate.

Okay, I need to get going now, but here is a random fact: You know how in English we speak “Spanglish” by adding “o” or “a” to the end of words? i.e. “Pass-o me-a the salt-o por favor.” Well, “Espanglish” is spoken almost as simply. You can take any word and add an “ation” to it to speak “Espanglish.” For example: Casa-ation, Perro-ation, Comida-ation. See? Muy simple :-) So now, I can speak Spanglish and Espanglish...I just need to work a bit on my ig-pay atin-lay.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dia Treinta y Cinco - Past the Point of No Return

20 de Junio del 2009 – Dia Treinta y Cinco

This is it. The peak of the mountain. The point of no return. I am at halfway point of my trip.

Today is the thirty-fifth day that I have been in Costa Rica. I have exactly thirty-five days remaining. Tomorrow morning I will wake with the majority of my time in Costa Rica behind me, the road ahead growing ever more narrow.

Time seems to have flown by so fast. It seems as only a few days ago that I got off the plane and spoke practically no Spanish at all. I can see how much I have learned, but I still feel so far from the goal of basic comprehension of “street Spanish” (as opposed to “classroom Spanish”). I can only hope that learning Spanish is more exponential than linear. I feel like I could pass a test in five weeks, but I still can’t imagine myself without a Spanish-Ingles dictionary while conversing with real people.

With Noah and Benjamin gone, though, I will have less opportunity to speak English, which I hope will help me a lot. I am going to try an experiment this next week. I am taking a short break from writing the blog to both recharge my batteries for blog post ideas and as part of a larger “English fast.” I have decided to take this opportunity while Benjamin is gone to do my best not to speak or listen to English at all this week (or at least, as minimal as possible). This means I will take my mid-morning breaks and avoid the English speakers as much as politely possible, I will not read the news on the English websites for a week, I won’t read non-essential mail, I won’t check facebook status, and I won’t write my blog. (Even when I write in Spanish, I really write in English first and just translate it.) Instead, I will try to take pictures during the week and post them instead. But for this week of English fasting, I won’t be writing any. Which means this is my last written post for one week. We’ll see how it goes.

I am excited about the new few weeks. I am so glad that God worked it out so that I would be in San Joaquin for the whole ten weeks. I love the town, I think I am learning more here than I could elsewhere, and my tico family is perfect, I cannot imagine going somewhere else and having an improved experience. I have known them only five weeks but I look forward to staying with them another five (if they can put up with me for that long, at least ;-) :-P).

Tomorrow is the big day. It will be the first day that a PHCer will not be living within walking distance. In one sense it is the peak of the mountain for the time I am here. But in another, more important sense, this is only the beginning of the foothills - still the first steps of a continuing endeavor to learn and speak the Spanish language. I’ve invested the last five weeks in learning Spanish and I have begun this journey. It is a journey that will last a lifetime and it is a journey that recognizes only those who reach the goal and those that fall short. Now that I have started, there is no withdrawing. I either learn Spanish or I fail to accomplish the enterprise I started five weeks ago. The die is cast, the journey begun, and I have past the point of no return.

Dia Treinta y Cuatro – Give and Take

19 de Junio del 2009

Today I was given a gift and was witness to a theft.

CPI had a Spanish language celebration day of some sort today. A few days ago, everyone wrote down their “favorite Spanish word” and submitted it. My favorite word was “puedo” which I realized later was actually kind of Obama-eske. Puedo comes from the infinitive “poder” which means “power/to be able/can.” So in a slightly indirect way, my favorite Spanish word was “Yes, we can” (though, technically that would be “Sí, podemos” but it is the overall idea.) The reason I choose “puedo” though is because when you use it as a question it changes from “I can” to “Can/May I?”. It is a word I have to use a lot and it is also fun to say so I decided (in the two minutes we were given to decide) that it was my favorite word. Benjamin choose “que?” (What?) because it is the word we use whenever we can’t understand what our families are saying ;-) Our professora, however, said Benjamin should have chooses “aburrido” (bored) because Benjamin is an adventurer who gets bored rather easily ;-) :-P (Truth be told, on the very first day after arriving in Costa Rica, “bored” was one of the first, if not the first, word Benjamin looked up in the Spanish-English dictionary.) No, I’m not really trying to beat up on Benjamin all the time...I’m just razzing him as much as I can before he leaves :-( It is going to be so weird to have both Benjamin and Noah gone.

Anyway, they put all the favorite words in an envelope and today they drew from it. And out of all the students who participated, they drew my name and I got a book on the birds of Costa Rica. It is a really neat book with many exquisite pictures. I felt kinda embarrassed about “winning” it though. I feel a little guilty winning something that I didn’t earn in a game of chance. Games of strategy, games of skill I like to win. (Actually, I love to win :-P I’m pretty competitive. I really don’t care about the prizes; the sinful, proud part of me just likes to be able to know that I won.) But in games of pure chance, if I get something that other people don’t get for no other reason than a random drawing I just feel really awkward about that. Anyway...that was kinda of random tangent. I got a really neat gift from C.P.I. on the birds of Costa Rica :-)

I was also witness to an attempted theft today. I was at the Megasuper looking for ingredients for Snickerdoodles and they didn’t have any cream of tartar. I am going to have to hunt around in Heredia to find some. Anyway, while I was shopping it started raining incredibly hard. The rain was coming in at about a 60º angle and bouncing off the pavement. I have a twenty/thirty minute walk home and I had my books with me. I decided to wait it out because I’ve learned that when it is raining that hard, no matter how big your umbrella is, you are going to get soaked. So, I was waylaid at the Megasuper for about an hour. During that hour it was very interesting to observe the people coming in, going out, and how they responded to the rain. No one went out in the rain, most had cars and a few people called taxis. Quite a few people, like myself, just waited. As we waited, I saw two ladies walk out and the guards (Megasuper has guards right outside the doors) stopped one of them and found that she had about 12 sticks of deodorant stuffed in her pockets. Over the next thirty minutes, they had the police come and take the ladies in for questioning/whatever it is they do with shoplifters. It was very interesting to observe (from a polite distance)...I really want to be in law enforcement someday. I know it is kinda weird, but for me, it was really cool. :-) Crime doesn’t pay, that gives me warm fuzzies in my heart for some reason.

So today, I received a gift and I saw a theft. It was a rather interesting day.

That is all for now. :-)

Have a great weekend everbody!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dia Treinta y Tres – Nothing to do with Costa Rica whatsoever

18 de Junio del 2009

This doesn’t have anything to do with Costa Rica, but people like people who don’t complain. It is so easy to start a conversation by complaining about something; school, work, professors, employers, the weather, etc. It is easy to talk about because everyone can laugh a little and say “yeah, that stinks.” ...but then one of two things happen. Either the next person complains about something else and you get into a complaining-fest or there is the awkward silence as the people who want to think about more positive things try to decide whether it would be tactful to talk about something good that is happening when someone else seems to be having a bad day. It is so much more pleasant to be around people who have nothing but positive things to say about life. I need to be more positive. Melanie Hamilton in Gone with the Wind should be my role model.

So, I’ve been reading a bit about Obama and Iran and all that. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what Obama should be doing or how he is doing awesome (generally opinions are divided by party lines...of course :-P). I actually read an article by John Kerry that made a lot of sense to me (I would have never expected that, but hey, it’s the argument and the warrants that are important, not how much you agree with the person in general). Democracy in Iran should absolutely be supported and human rights upheld, but if the United States takes the situation in Iran and uses it to start saying “hey, we told you so, you had better listen to your people” the mullahs will twist our words to warn their people of outside interference and unite the Iranian people against the US. The one thing Iranians hate more than their oppressive government is the violation of their national sovereignty and their pride of being Iranians. Before we step in and help a resistance movement we need to make sure it is there. If we move too early it becomes self-defeating as the domestic resistance movement dissolves to unite against the foreign “threat.” (What would have happened if the French landed troops in the colonies against the British BEFORE the Declaration of Independence?) Of course, I am open to changing my mind given better arguments. I welcome your thoughts on this.

PBR, for those of you who have been asking is “Principles of Biblical Reasoning.” My next year at PHC is full of indecision right now. The chorale is going to Europe in the spring. I know it will be an amazing trip...only I really, really, really can’t even imagine myself affording it. I have no real cash reserves (even the money I have in the stock market is not worth much right now), and earning/raising the amount of money I need in the amount of time I have would take a miracle...and we only have about two weeks to make a final yes/no decision. I might be able to earn half the money if I get a job at PHC and can work enough hours a week...and in that case I’d definitely have to drop a course this Fall...which would also kinda put a dent in my school plans. I have decided against trying to do the SI program. I just looked at all the classes I really want to take, all the concepts I really want to learn, and the SI program just wasn’t compatible with my priorities of what I want to learn about. I would LOVE to take every class PHC offers. But I only have a certain amount that I physically can take. The SI program is an amazing opportunity, but the courses it requires just aren’t as high on my priority list. I am thinking right now that I want to declare as a general Government major...we’ll see.

Anyway, you probably couldn’t tell from this note that I am in Costa Rica, miles (or kilometers) away from the nearest McDonalds, huh? ;-)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dia Treinta y Dos – Wishing I was Somehow there at Nats...

17 de Junio del 2009

...Sometimes it seems, if I just dreamed, somehow I would be there!

Wednesday is cooking day. Sign up for the free cooking class and get a free lunch included. :-)

I have decided against participating in the CPI volunteer program to help teach English :-/ I would really like to, but there are three mental obstacles that I just can’t overcome. First, it will cost me $60. It COSTS $60 to VOLUNTEER to spend eight hours a week helping teach English. That just seems kinda backward, doesn’t it? I am not actually that deterred by the cost, it is more the principle of not supporting the system. I understand a registration cost if they are providing extra transportation or extra services. I understand if there is a small fee for processing the paperwork, but $60 is no small fee. Anyway, reason number one (though not necessarily the most important) is cost. Reason number two? Time. As the days go on, I find that I seem to have less and less time to get what I need to/want to get done completed. I keep thinking of new activities that I would like to do that I just don’t have time to do all of them. (I’d like to exercise/run more, play soccer, watch movies in Spanish, read books in Spanish, tour the city, organize my life, sleep, etc.) I need to put the higher priorities first and volunteering just isn’t a high priority for me right now. Finally, I want to speak as much Spanish as I can. Benjamin volunteers at nights and basically just speaks English during his volunteer time (that is what he is volunteering to do). I want to be forced to speak as much Spanish as possible. Being required/obligated to speak English for an extra eight hours a week is probably not going be a good investment of the opportunity to learn Spanish here. :-/ So anyway, for these three main reasons I have decided against registering for the CPI volunteer program.

Benjamin is leaving next week. I don’t think that has sunk in yet. It will be at the exact halfway point and all my PHC buddies will have moved on. It has been interesting being here for so long. All of the “new people” are now in the “veteran group” and are getting ready to move on themselves. I feel ancient. Once Benjamin leaves every student (that doesn’t live in Costa Rica) who was around during my first two weeks will be gone. It is amazing how long and short five weeks can feel at the same time.

Classes this week have been interesting. We spend a TON of time just talking. Often we rarely even get to the “lesson” until the last twenty minutes (technically the whole class is a lesson, really we just don’t get to the grammar until later). It’s good for me because I am listening to a lot of Spanish and am responding in Spanish and am able to think about the communication rather than the new grammar concept. The hard thing though is that in class, while I understand pretty much everything the teacher and the other students say, at home I still don’t understand a lot of what my tico family says. When they speak to me, I can understand their meaning because they speak more slowly and clearly (and I think use simpler words). When they talk to each other, though, I just get completely lost. I recognize some words and can see the general structure of the sentences they use, but they speak with so many words I don’t know and conjugations I don’t know and so quickly (and slurred) that even when I would know I don’t understand. Anyway, it is a little frustrating because while I feel I am making progress in the classroom it doesn’t feel like I am making any progress at home. I know that isn’t true but that is the way it feels.

I’ve been trying to keep up with Nationals on RND (and HSD when it is up). I am so excited for Region IX! Region IX, y’all are doing great! Keep it up :-) I am really bummed about McNair and James and the Voells not breaking :-/ They both amazing teams that I could easily see deep in outrounds...but I guess God has different plans. In debate, you don’t have to win to be great. So many great teams don’t win and so many teams that win are teams that have some things they could improve on. Anyway, I can’t wait to see more results. I wish I could be there :-(

Long live Region IX! Huzzah!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dia Treinta y Uno – I Need to Think of Some More Exciting Titles

16 de Junio del 2009

I am a little bit bummed today. You gotta hand it to Pixar (and Disney too, I guess), they really do care about quality. They care about quality so much that instead of releasing a second-rate English version with only Spanish subtitles in a Spanish speaking country, they dub their latest film in Spanish before it hits theaters. Most other American movies in theaters here only have subtitles. In fact, the only movie that is dubbed in Spanish is the one movie I really want to see: Up. I just can’t do it. I know that my Spanish isn’t good enough to comprehend a whole movie in Spanish and I don’t want to ruin the movie by seeing all the visuals and only later adding the audio. I wanted to see Up and now I have to wait. :-/ So, I am bummed.

You know how in English we say “Good-bye”? The etymology of that phrase is “God be with ye.” I was thinking of the Spanish version “adios” and wondering whether it has its etymology in “a Dios” (roughly “to God”). That would be pretty cool. I had never considered that before. I wouldn’t doubt it at all.

I am so thankful I go to the college that I do. I am reminded here at the school in Costa Rica just how lucky I am not to have to hear certain words or listen to certain topics all the time. The worst thing we have to worry about is John Miller at Parli meetings ;P (Sorry John, you are such a good example and I couldn’t resist.) But yeah...there are a lot of people who use curse words as their amplifier of ever adjective. It’s not terrible or anything, it just makes me realize how much I appreciate the environment at PHC.

The days seem to be getting so short...it as not as though I have more school but the time I have to write my blog seems like so much less. At night I write after I do my homework and I start to fall asleep. After class, in the afternoon I usually try to finish what I started in the prior evening but then the goal becomes to finish before the deluge begins. Once it starts raining, you never know when it will stop. You don’t want to get trapped.

Now that I have a soccer ball, I am going to try to organize a semi-regular pickup soccer game. If we can play a few times a week, that would be a lot of fun. We’ll see how that goes.

That’s all for today.



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dia Treinta – Some Thoughts about Next Fall

15 de Junio del 2009

We have an excellent professora again this week. This week is definitely focusing on conversational Spanish, we are still learning a grammar lesson but two thirds of the class is talking. I can actually carry on a decent conversation in Spanish with my professora. Now, the problem is figuring out how to keep up a conversation (beyond a few sentences) with my tico family. They speak much faster and use more words that I don’t know. They also slur and use incorrect grammar ;-) I don’t want to have to ask them to repeat themselves over and over so I don’t actually understand a lot of what they are saying. I am finding it easier to speak Spanish than to understand it right now. We are learning the differences between imperfect and preterit tense now. I can now conjugate verbs in present, past (preterit), future, and imperfect tenses. Yay! (Well, sorta...I need my book sometimes for irregulars :-P)

I bought a soccer ball today. It cost me about $12. I am finally going to start practicing soccer! Though, I realized that I am not going to be able to try out for the team this next Fall like I wanted because I will be doing debate during tryouts. I need to practice and get better anyway. I haven’t played a single pickup game for a year now and I need to build my skills. If I don’t play soccer, I need to make a concerted effort to play some sport and exercise. In the Naval Academy, you are required to play a sport. I promised myself that I would require myself to do the same thing, but I am not as hard on myself as the Naval Academy would be and I have been lazy :-/

At the end of this week, I will have reached the halfway point. Only five more weeks. I’ve been thinking a little about life when I come back to the states. I am looking at my school schedule next year and I haven’t decided whether to take 18 credits or drop PBR in the fall and take 15. I need to take a total of 33 credits in my sophomore year to finish the core (which is my goal) which means I need to either take 18 credits this semester or next. So the choice is to take PBR while I am taking Con Law and Biology or while I am taking Philosophy and Economics. Anyway...with only a few weeks after I get back, I need to start planning.

That’s all for now. Hope y’all are doing well!

God Bless,

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dia Veintesiete hasta Dia Veintinueve – Tres Dias, Tres Cosas

Yo tengo tres cosas por los ultima tres dias:

1. Apple

I caved in and watched the WWDC Keynote on Friday. Apple is amazing :-) My favorite part of any keynote speech is always the Mac OS and the Mac computers. Admittedly, Snow Leopard is not a groudbreaking release, but it still is pretty neat and the price is incredible! Apple knows and admits that Snow Leopard is not a huge new OS and specifically calls its new features “refinements.” So for Leopard users, they are selling the new OS for only $29. I saw that part of the keynote and I audibly gasped. The new Macbooks look pretty amazing too. The thirteen inch MacBook Pro was such a neat announcement because it really is true; it truly is a MacBook Pro and they are selling it at the price of a MacBook. So anyway, Apple didn’t release anything utterly game-changing but I think it was a pretty solid advance for the Mac OS and the Mac computer line.

What I thought was really cool was the iPhone updates. I usually don’t really pay as much attention to the iPod or iPhone parts of the Keynote speeches but I think the new iPhone + iPhone OS is pretty neat. For the first time, I am really considering the iPhone not just as a cool gadget to have but as an incredible tool. GPS, calendar, phone, IM/email service, CAMERA (the iPhone takes pretty amazing pictures), to do list manager, etc. I am seriously considering saving for the $199 16GB iPhone.

2. Benjamin

I have decided to write a short blurb on Mr. Benjamin. Benjamin and I went hiking on Saturday. Benjamin decided he wanted to hike up Volcan Barva asked me to come with him. I learned a lot about Benjamin on the eight hour trip to the Volcano and back. Benjamin and I get along splendidly but we have different viewpoints on a variety of things. You probably already know from my other posts that Bejamin is more of an adventurer while I guess I am more of a homebody. When we missed our bus in Heredia and had to make new plans to get to the volcano on the fly (namely by getting a bus to another town and taking a third bus to our destination) my mind instantly began to consider the things that could go wrong: What is the bus schedule for this new route? Will the buses be running all day? How will we know when to get off the bus? As I pondered these and other questions in considering our new situtation, Benjamin turns to me and says with a smile, “Awesome! This is going to be an adventure.”

Benjamin is cheap. And for anyone who knows me, if I say someone is cheap, they are. My family is the “never pay retail” family and when it comes to spending money, I like to think that I am pretty good about keeping my spending down. Benjamin takes this to an (I would say unhealthy) extreme. You are going hiking for about 4-5 hours, what do you eat for breakfast and what do you bring for lunch? If you are Benjamin, you eat half a loaf of white bread (it’s like candy) for breakfast and eat the other half for lunch. WHAT?!?! Yes, it turns out that Benjamin has been eating sugar and starch for the last few weeks for lunch because he is too cheap to actually buy something with protein in it. (And yes, I got permission from Benjamin to post my thoughts on his eating habits before I shared them with the world.)

Benjamin’s philosophy is “what can I get away with” while comparatively I seem to be a “better safe than sorry” kind-of-person. What do you learn in Boy Scouts that you need before, during, and after a hike? Water. Yes, lots of it. I drank two bottles of water during our hike. Benjamin? Half a bottle at most. Why? “You need to purposely dehydrate your body so that you can train it to need less water.” Stephen, are you reading this? You are pretty smart concerning this topic. I think one of us is crazy, can you say which?

Finally, Benjamin is fun to hang out with. Sure, he drags me into hiking with him up a volcano by ourselves in the middle of nowhere in a country we don’t speak the language in. But we survived so I can say that he is a lot of fun to talk to and has a lot of senior wisdom to pass on to this little freshman. Anyway, the trip was fun. I am very thankful to God that we got back safely. And I don’t think I am ever. Ever. EVER doing that again. (At least, not in quite the same way.)

3. Steven

Noah got replaced. On Sunday, a new student named Steven came to live in Noah’s old residence. He is 17, speaks less Spanish than I did when I first got here and talks like Ian Sturdy or Matthew Miyares (two debaters I knew in NCFCA). He seems to be a thoughtful, contemplative person and it will be interesting getting to know him. I sometimes serve as translator between him and his tico family and it is fun to practice my Spanish in that way. He plays chess (we are 1-1 right now) and is interested in science. In our walk to school, he was naming the plants as we passed by. Wow. To me they are just “plants” and “bushes” and maybe a “tree” here and there. He knows their names and characteristics. It is pretty cool how people have such variered interests.

Anyway, that is all for today. I look forward to a new week and I hope y’all had an amazing weekend!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dia Veintiseis - No Me Gusta Objectos Indirectos

11 de Junio del 2009

¡Hay! Hoy tuvemos un lección dificil...and my head hurts so much from the overload that I am going to write in English :-P We covered indirect objects and their pronouns today. I understand the pronouns. They are extremely easy, and since our homework mainly deals with pronouns, completing the homework is easy. The problem is that even though I know what to do for the questions they give me, I don’t know why I am doing it or why it works. I understand what an indirect object is...in English, but I am having a lot of trouble comprehending even simple sentences in Spanish that use the indirect object pronouns, I get lost extremely quickly. Anyway, I am currently in the process of looking at English and Spanish grammar websites and trying to figure this out. :-/

Anyway, a few things coming up. I am looking into are going to Volcan Arenal in a few weeks. It’s expensive but if I can only do one trip while I am down here, that would probably be the best one to go on. Benjamin wants to go hike some nearby volcano on Saturday. I am planning to go with him and hopefully it will help me gauge how much I would be willing to spend on a trip to Arenal. I am also wanting to do the volunteer program here and am still gathering information on that. The only volunteer program that seems to be feasible is volunteering for the English department here in the afternoons. I would have to commit about eight hours a week and they charge you $60...to volunteer! :-P I haven’t decided yet.

Speaking of which, I had a chance to talk to some of the English students here (the Costa Rican students learning English). We all talked in a blend of Spanish/English conversation. One sentence would be Spanish, one would be English and it was kind of a neat mix. I usually don’t get a chance to see any of the English students because they have classes at a different time and I’m often gone by the time they start. I got held up by the rain today and so we got to hang out a bit. Twas fun :-)

I asked the students what music they would recommend and they gave me a few names of artists that I looked up. I like a lot of these songs, but it is a painstaking process to lookup the lyrics online. I am making a list of all the melodies that catch my attention and then evaluating whether I can understand the words (since I would be buying for the sole purpose of learning the words). Looking up the lyrics, however, is hard because CPI has a “no music” internet filter. (The filter is trying to block media sharing/online piracy but ends up blocking anything that relates to music :-P). So, I have to browse through pages upon pages of google search results before I find a site that they haven’t blocked. Then I go to google translate which is good, but still needs a lot of work. So often I have to manually translate the lyrics with my Spanish-English dictionary. I want to get songs that I can learn the lyrics and wouldn’t feel uncomfortable repeating in a Christian environment :-P So far, I haven’t found much. All the songs I’ve found so far have been “clean” but they are all love songs ;-) I guess compared to mainstream pop in the US they are actually pretty tame, but I don’t usually listen to mainstream pop in the US. Anyway, still looking.

That is all for today. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dia Veinticinco – Solo en Español

10 de Junio del 2009

Clase fue difícil hoy, pero mas facil que ayer. Nosotros aprendamos objetos directos y sus pronombres. Yo comprendé la lección, pero no es “internalized” (la palabra no esta en la diccionario). Yo no comprendo oraciones por muchas minutas. Yo comprendo solo depues mucho tiempo y mucho trabajo. *sigh* Es muy difícil para mí.

Otras noticias, yo fui al cine esta noche. C.P.I. tiene un “noche de cine” cada semana. Yo quiero ver “Up” de Pixar proxima semana, entonces yo piensé aprender donde esta el cine y como comprar una entrada es un buen idea. Entonces, yo fui con el groupo de C.P.I. Yo ví la pelicula “Duplicidad.” Fue muy buena pelicula. La pelicula es de dos espías que tratan de robar secretos de corporaciónes y lo venden para dinero. Me gusta la pelicula porque los ladrónes no ganarse – acciónes malo no esta premié. En el mismo vez, la historia de espías es muy divertido :-)

Escribir en español is bueno para me, pero toma mucho tiempo. Entonces, yo no puedo escribir mucho. Lo siento, pero no mas hoy.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dia Veinticuatro – Estoy Cansado Hoy

9 de Junio del 2009

The only downside of having an awesome teacher and learning a lot is that it often comes with hard work that takes a lot of time. Homework was insane today and thus I have only this to say:

We went over reflexive and non-reflexive verbs, imperatives, and reviewed verb and infinitive combinations as well as went over all the regular verbs today.

My brain hurts.

Noah is in Monteverde.

Ben left immediately after class to go to Puerta Limon. He was really excited to go.

With Noah and Ben gone, I am “home alone” but “at home with my family” at the same time. It’s a weird feeling.

I am tired.

That is all I have to say.


That’s all.

Good-bye now.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dia Veintitres – Un Buen Dia

8 de Junio del 2009

Hoy fue un buen dia. Pero primera, yo olvidé algo importante anoche. Anoche, Costa Rica tuvo its national presidential election. Laura Chincilla won against Johnny Araya in a 53%/43% not-so-tight race. Fue muy divertido ver en la noticias. Yo pienso it is interesante que elections are muy similar and just as much (Si no mas) fun to watch when you have no idea who the candidates are. (Well, that’s not entirely true, I knew Laura was “firm and honest” because of her extremely repetative TV ads.) Anyway, twas muy divertido.

Nosotros tuvimos un nueva profesora hoy. Ella es muy buena professora y nosotros pensamos que vamos a aprender muchas esta semana. Nosotros tenemos un nueva classmate as well. Since Noah left us, Alex joined our class. Alex just recently graduated from college and works as an English teacher for CPI. He came down to Costa Rica to spend time with his novia, but apparently they broke up while he was down here y ahora él esta aqui solo por el trabajo.

I am starting to recognize a lot more words now. We have a list of about 216 verbs total that we have been given over the past tres samanas and they are finally beginning to gel in my brain to the point that I recognize that I know un palabra even if I can’t always recuerdo its meaning. That’s is both good and bad. Good because it is finally starting to happen. Bad because it is only just now starting to happen. I realized today that in beginning my fourth week, I will be halfway done in two weeks. Yo no siento anywhere near having learned half the amount of Spanish I want to mientras yo esta aqui. Diez semanas is a long time...but it is also an incredibly short time. I need to work harder and learn faster. As much as I am going to miss Noah, his leaving is probably a good thing for me because he was both 1. Someone who could speak English to me, and 2. Someone who could translate Spanish so that I would not have to struggle through myself but instead could rely on him to translate for me. I just need to spend more time speaking in, reading, and listening to español.

Mañana, yo voy a buscar en iTunes for some more musica en español and I might compro mas, porque mi collection is limited.

Here is a random thought: Mi mamá y papá (The accents, called tildes, are muy importante for these words porque without los tildes usted cambia the meaning to a verb that describes something newborn babies do when they are being fed and a noun of a food item that, in one form, most Americans eat with salt, pepper, and ketchup)...mi mamá y papá tico are often commenting on the heat saying, “hace muy calor” o “tengo muy calor.” I don’t know if it is just me, though, but I really don’t think it is that hot or humid here. The weather is pretty perfect and I don’t quite understand why the weather is so much warmer for them. Yo llevo pantalons largo cada dia y yo nunca piensío hace muy calor. Yo agree that it is warm, but not really :-/

Anyway, is all for today. One quick, very important announcement: Pixar’s Up comes out next week in Costa Rica! I am going to splurge and go see it ;-)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dia Veinte hasta Dia Veintidos:-P

This was a busy weekend. On Friday we went to San José. On Saturday, we backed and Noah prepared to leave for Monteverde (the other location for the Spanish program here). On Sunday, Noah left and I came home after church and did homework. I figured rather than tell you what happened, it would be easier to show you :-)

San José

When we got to San José, it was raining. Hard. We hadn't eaten so we decided to find a place to eat and hopefully wait out some of the rain. We couldn't find a Subway, but we were craving some "American" food...

...so we ate at Burger King ;-)

Afterwards, we visited a nearby church. It was truly beautiful.

Noah had done research on a bunch of museums and cultural centers we could see, so we hiked around to find them. Unfortunately, everything seemed to be closing. (It was only about 3pm...we were disappointed.) We were able to get some pictures outside though.

As you can see, it hadn't stopped raining as we had hoped. Actually, Noah later (and accurately) described our trip by saying "we went swimming in San José."

Now, when most students or tourists go to a foreign country, they might look for the bars, beaches, clubs, and resturaunts. You can tell if you are a PHC students, however, if the first place you look for...

...is the Legislative Assembly. ;-)

No, we aren't really fanatical about government. ;-)

We took a walk in the park (in the rain) and saw many statues and monuments.

Some were more interesting than others.

Afterwards, we visited a museum of modern and "Disney" art. It had a large collection of chairs...

...and lamps.

Doesn't this look like it belongs in an Apple Store?

This was made entirely of pens.

This chair...

... was made of Army soliders!

Finally, we walked around the National Culture Center for a little while before hopping on the bus back to San Joaquín.

San Joaquín

I realized that I have been negligent in showing you our little town. Allow me to give you a quick tour.

This is the view from our porch.

Noah, Benjamin, and I literally live within "walking distance" of each other. My house is to the right, Benjamin is directly to the left, and Noah is the house on the left a little bit beyond Benjamin's.

We live in San Joaquín in the barrio of Santa Marta.

These are the two super markets: Megasuper

...and Pali. (I like Pali better)

And, of course, we can't forget the food. Here is the Chinese resturant:

And Loncho's Pizza!

(Don't worry Mom, it isn't barred all the time, it was just closed when we got there :-P)

Sunday morning was a sad day because Noah left us :-(

Goodbye Noah!

(I will post all the pictures on Facebook as soon as it starts cooperating :-P)