Tuesday, September 8, 2009
i survived my first week of classes!
6 septiembre 2009
Well, I just completed my first full week of the semester! And loved every bit of it. We started Spanish classes this week, which we have every afternoon for 3 or 3 ½ hours, depending on the day. We also had our first two segments (Tuesday and Thursday mornings) of our “core seminar,” which is the class that all the students in the program take together (there are 41 of us in all). The way core seminar works is that we have a different topic, with assigned reading, each class period. The overall theme of the course is “Perspectives on Latin American History and Contemporary Issues,” so each topic fits somewhere in that broad area. We have discussions and special speakers, etc. So far, I love it, and I think it is going to be a significant part of my overall experience.
With classes starting, my week was pretty busy, and thus flew by. In the mornings I didn’t have class, I usually went into downtown San Jose with some friends before going to our afternoon Spanish classes. I think one of my favorite things about life here is that I can live in the peace and tranquility of the mountains, and then within a 30-45 minute bus ride (which costs about the equivalent of 50 cents), I am in the heart of the city with all the excitement that brings. I love visiting the little stores and markets, drinking coffee in whatever café we happen to stumble upon, and – my favorite- buying random pastries (with names that I still don’t understand) from the panaderias (bakeries) that are on almost every corner. Just a few of the things I am learning to love about San Jose.
This weekend was also pretty exciting. On Friday night I went to a café with a friend from my Spanish class, Liz. Her tica family had recommended it to her, because on Friday nights they have live guitar music (and he sings too, we found out!) At the end of the day, Liz and I decided we couldn’t really think of many better ways to spend a Friday night than relaxing in a café (in Costa Rica, no less), with good food and even better coffee, while being serenaded by a Latino guitarrista. I mean, honestly…can you? Haha.
Saturday was also a good day. After spending the morning studying, I met up with the 3 other SNU girls and we met Sarah and David Hilley (directors of SNU’s science research campus in the cloud forest here in Costa Rica) for lunch. It was fun to spend some time with my SNU friends. Then Saturday night was the big Mexico vs. Costa Rica fútbol game. A very big deal here. So I watched the game with some friends, but sadly Costa Rica lost 0-3. I was really hoping we would at least score once, because I wanted to get to yell “GOOOOOOOOOOLLLLl!!” with everyone. =/ Better luck next time (Wednesday).
Then today, Sunday, was maybe the best of all, because after breakfast, my “mom” randomly asked me if I wanted to go see Volcan Irazú (one of Costa Rica’s still-active volcanoes)– an offer which I obviously was quick to accept. So my tica parents and I hoped in the pickup and drove the hour/ hour and a half trip up to the volcano. The views on the way there may have been even more impressive than the volcano itself. Absolutely gorgeous. When we arrived, it was pretty cloudy at the top of the volcano, but fortunately we were able to see inside. It hasn’t erupted since the 70s, and right now the crater is water filled and looks like a turquoise lagoon. A pretty impressive sight!
Needless to say, it’s been a good week, not just because of the cool things I’ve gotten to do this weekend, but just because everyday I’m reminded of how incredibly blessed I am to have this experience. I am absolutely loving it – class included (weird, I know)! I love my family, the new friends I’m making, the challenging topics we discuss in core seminar, the readings, Spanish classes, the food – all of it! I appreciate your continued prayers as we get farther into the craziness and business of the semester. Know that I am praying for you all back at home too. Thanks so much for your encouragement and support! It is so very much appreciated.