Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A few days at Hotel Fiesta

Here are a few pictures from my "resort time" at Hotel Fiesta with the Hoover family... Hope you enjoy!

Here I am with Carol (middle) and Candice (right) of those where you try to fit too many people into a picture, and no one else is around to ask to take the picture...very becoming.

Sunset on the beach the first night...and the bugs ate us alive :)

Here it is...well, part of it...pool, bar in the pool, lounge chairs, and palm trees. The long building in the background was the "dining room".

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Some of the every day...

Here is little Jose Andres...bread criminal...and his beloved Manchez.

Every day on my way to school, I pass by this road. I think the view is phenomenal...although better in real life than what you see here...

Here is the giant Catholic church that I pass by on the way to school.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Fraggle Rock

Who remembers this? Carmencita and I were discussing Fraggle Rock yesterday...and all it's splendor. The names were different in Spanish for her growing up, but we definitely have the same fond memories of those characters! Here it is for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about...or for those of you who want to relive your past :)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

And they say a cat has nine lives...

This weekend I saw the most horrific thing followed by the most intriguing thing. Here in Costa Rica (as with most Latin American countries) there are many dogs that roam the streets. Seeing as Bob Barker isn't here to tell us to get our pets spayed or neutered, it just isn't happening. And so, the dog population continues to grow. However, you would think that if you spent your days roaming the streets, you would quickly learn that cars are big, and loud, and can hurt you. Sadly, I was witness to the misfortune of one dog this weekend who's life was ended when he collided with a car. It was horrific...and I wouldn't wish it upon anyone. However, ten minutes later (no joking, literally 10 minutes), I witnessed another dog run underneath a moving car. He was pulled up underneath the wheels, the car carried him along for about 2 seconds, and then he fell out from the car, and ran off to safety. I don't necessarily believe that animals have guardian angels, but God took pity on this poor fellow. I don't think there are many dogs who can say that they've run away unharmed after being run over by a car...well, I don't think there are actually any who can "say" understand what I mean.

El Pan

So the other day, little Jose Andres tells his mom that he's hungry. But little Jose Andres tends to be rather picky. Down here they say he's a gringo, cause he won't eat red meat, won't drink fresco (homemade juices), and generally is very picky (today he refused chocolate I think he's not even a gringo, he's just a funny little kid). So his mom offered for him to eat something, and of course he didn't want it and said no. In the meantime, there was a loaf of sweet bread on the table, which his mom had bought for our breakfast the next morning to go with our coffee. She told him that it was for her and for me. Well, Carina (his mom) and I then went next door to say hi to her aunt, and as they do down here, just spend time talking. There's never really an urgency to do anything else (unless I have homework), so we sat and chatted for a bit, and then when I said I needed to do homework, we returned next door. Well, wouldn't you know it, little Jose Andres, in all his hunger, had gone ahead and helped himself to some bread. He ate, not just one small piece of bread, oh no, he ate almost the entire french loaf. But you have to hand it to Jose Andres...he did think of me and his mom...and left us the ends.

Monday, May 22, 2006

"The Sweatshop"

Saturday afternoon I saw one of the "funniest" things so far. Carina (my host 'mom') brought me over to her Aunt's house (one of the aunts), which I hadn't yet visited. When we arrived I was ushered into a back room, where I was introduced to, as I say in jest, "the sweatshop". This little area had bags and bags and bags of fabric. There were about 8 different machines - sewing machines, embroiderers, etc. And so I was shown "the ropes" - fabric, cut into certain shapes, and sewn together, and then...this was my favorite part...affixed with various "Roxy" or "Quicksilver" tags. Hmm... :)

Friday, May 19, 2006

The rain falls mainly on the plains in Spain.

This is not true. I have grown up in an area with much rain...and again am experiencing even more of it here...rainy season has arrived Folks! Even for me being a BC girl, the rain here is very interesting, because it is just heavy. Downpour. Buckets. Cats and Dogs. These do not even describe the rain. And I love it - only if I don't need to be outside for a long period of time (or even a short one...cause you are just as soaked in 2 minutes as in 30).

Anyways, I was thinking the other night about the things that I love about living in Belen right now, such as the rain. I made a list:

1. Masi - she is the abuelita (grandma) of my "host mom" (who is only a year older than let's scratch the mom...and the host...and say my friend). She is my favorite person here. Every morning, when I walk to school, I walk by Masi's house. She waves me down, I walk over to her, she greets me, big hug, many kisses, asks how I am and tells me to say goodbye because I need to go to class. She makes my day better - and I think everyone needs a Masi in their lives.

2. My family - I live with a couple who have a 4 year old son. The son is precious but rambunctious, and likes his way. He's an only child. His mom says I can understand because I am an only child as well. I don't argue; it's true. Anyways, the family in my house is small, but somehow every day there is much more family present than lives there. I never know who's going to be there - and I love it. Cousins, Aunts, Sisters: sitting at the table, drinking coffee or juice and eating bread...and making fun of each other. They are incredibly sweet to me, and every once in a while will remind each other than they need to speak slower so that I can be part of the conversation.

3. My walk to school - I am a person who likes time to myself. Obviously with this much family around...I don't get a whole lot. But most days I walk to and from school by myself...a whole 40 minutes every day to myself, where I can be quiet...not have to practice spanish...and explore a little.

4. Fruit - I am a freak for fruit...and I always forget how good it can be until I get here...and realize that we pay WAY to much for fruit in Canada.

5. When I understand - I don't know if you've ever studied a language. I remember in highschool being able to write essays in French, but couldn't ever have a conversation with someone, because I couldn't understand what was being said to me. Now that I'm studying Spanish more indepth, I have relished the moments where I get it. When I'm sitting around the table with the girls, and know what's going on. They happen enough that I know I can keep going...

And so these are those things so moments to delight in, which I hope I will remember and continue to relish in when I return home.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

squeaky cheese

There's one thing that I forgot about in Costa Rica...squeaky cheese. There's this cheese down here, and my host family loves it, and it has earned it's name because when you chomp down on squeaks. Even when it's melted, and you take a squeaks. Can't say it's my favorite thing, but I've learned how to eat it. I just had to smile when I took a bite this time, because there's no way you can forget that squeak.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The news from Belen...

Today I started language school - the four hour long lesson went by in no time!Of course, now I have homework for when I return "home" to my family. I moved in last night...and the family is wonderful! They have a 4-year-old son who woke me this morning to say hello (and I think to make sure I was still there), and so far I have met an aunt, an uncle, two cousins, and grandma. They are all very excited to see me...and it is a nice feeling. Well...time to walk home - hope you that are reading are also doing well!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Off, off, and away!

Well, folks, tomorrow I leave for Costa Rica. I wish you all well...and encourage you to keep checking this puppy out, cause there's bound to be something interesting here (knowing the way my life tends to go...)!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

On entering a new world...

So on Monday, Laura and I went to the Wild Orange Spa for massages - which, by the way, a good and dear friend of mine paid for, making the experience all the more enjoyable, and me all the more grateful for the kind of friends that I have (I hope that I can be as good a friend to them!).

Anyways, I don't know if you've ever been to a Spa, but honestly, it's a different world. As I sat in the steam room, multiple sitcom clips ran through my mind (i.e. Chandler's embarassing episode due to some steamy lenses, and Elaine's attempts to verify the authenticity of certain body parts on Jerry's latest girlfriend - why is it that I remember pointless drivel such as these moments, and not the more important things?). Overall, I felt like a rich lady, exhausted from the "hard work" of running a household of servants, and thus ran off to the Spa with a girlfriend, in order to escape life for a couple of hours...but when rubber hits the road, that is not who I am at all, and thus found myself more curious about the lives of the ladies whom we encountered, than on getting a massage. (Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the massage :))

Which led me to wonder if there was a job getting to know people's stories...and how I could get that job. It reminds me of something I saw on Oprah once (which are how a lot of my stories start, oddly, considering I've watched very few Oprah episodes in my life), of a young reporter in the States, whose entire job is to open a map, point to a place, travel there, and upon arriving, pick up a phone book, open a page, pick a name, call that person and ask to hear their story and show it on the 6 o'clock news. We are driven by story...why else would the blog world have started...and become so popular?

All this to say - The spa was a great experience, I love people's stories, and I'm sitting in my house bored and writing with no direction...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I stepped out of the way.

On Saturday I went to a wedding. It was beautiful, and fun, and I knew lots of people there, which always makes a wedding a better event for the guest. So when it came time to the bouquet toss, I joined the many single girls, and promptly found an "in the middle, near the back" position, thinking it would have the best chances of not getting the bouquet (I don't know...not into the hype of it I guess). So as I watched the bride windup, I immediately recognized that at the angle she was heading, this bouquet was heading straight for me. I simply looked at my friend Laura, and stepped out of the these flowers flew at my person. I literally had to move out of the way, in order not to catch the bouquet. It dropped to the ground. The entire group of single girls looked at me, and shrieked "Kathleen!"...and then a young teenager flung herself on top of the bouquet, and conquered it for herself. It had to be the funniest moment of my life...and made me reflect on why I don't appear to want the bouquet just yet?? I have another wedding to go to this Saturday...if the bouquet comes for me again, I think I need to start planning a wedding.