Friday, September 30, 2005

Swearing In

A quick entry before our swearing in ceremony. Today I will transition into an official Peace Corps volunteer. Pretty exciting stuff. The ceremony is being held at the home of the U.S. Ambassador. That's right... tons of security and marines with no necks or expressions.

The last week has been pretty busy wraping things up. The primary focus has seemed to be restating what we have been hearing for the last three months. It's all good though, starting Sunday I will have plenty of time to think about and miss having something to do.

I thought I should also mention something about the weather. It is the rainy season, or as some say, the "wet" season. I havn't looked into it thouroughly but I believe the naming was derived from the fact that the weather has been rainy and wet everyday. I have experienced what is called and "aguacerra" which means that it is raining so hard that everything, EVERYTHING becomes soaking wet. When it rains in the afternoon, it is so loud in my house that I often can't hear the phone ring or hear music I've got cranked while I'm sitting next to the speaker. There was also quite a bit of flooding last weekend. Many roads were closed and people's houses were flooded. Apparently Puntarenas Central experienced some flooding but I called my new family and they told me they didn't get much where they are at. That's good. So begins the drama of living 10' above sea level. Ten feet is good, as long as the sea doesn't come to you.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Okay... I finally got the fotos to load. I know you all have been breathlessly awaiting pictures of the architecture in the National Theater. Wait no more...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

No Fotos

You have noticed that there are not, in fact, any photos on the next entry... having technical dificulties... will have to get back to you with those. Grrrrr.....!

Pepe Romero

Things are slowing down here a little bit... and when I say that I mean that my entries are beginning to slow because I have been quite busy but none of it really seems worth "writing home" about. The MAJOR exception being that we went to a concert at the National Theatre and saw Pepe Romero who is a flemenco guitarist from Spain. He is very, very "conocido" in Spain. Tickets to see him in New York go for $100 a pop. I was able to see him for $8 and unlike if I were in New York, I actually got to see him and didn't have to watch a speck producing music. He was really amazing. I posted a picture of the theater. It's a little blurry cuz I couldn't use my flash and I am not really suppose to take pictures, but the theater is very impressive as well.

You may have also noticed that, by popular demand, I posted a picture of myself and Esteban. So far, so good, still hanging out. We'll see what happens when I move again. He's very sweet though and we have fun trying to figure out what the heck the other is trying to say. I think he gets a kick out of teaching me "pachuco" (slang) and bad words... I get a kick out of his English vocabulary which consists mostly of song lyrics... "Ice, Ice Baby" being one of his favorites. (Sometimes U.S. exports are shamefully shameful.)

We have just over a week of training left. We have come to the conclusion that they are helping us to get excited for our sites by making the last weeks of training as excruciatingly painful as possible. It is working. Let me give you an example... today we started the morning watching a movie (Maria Llena de Gracia - Maria Full of Grace). Wonderful movie. I was very excited that I was able to understand it in Spanish. (We also had Spanish subtitles, which helped immensely.) We watched about 85% of it when they said "sorry not enough time... gotta move on to the next session." We then spent the next hour hearing presentations about our program. This would have been pretty okay the first week, but after two and a half months of training, I feel like I have a pretty good idea about the program I am in. I'm more than ready to go. It will be hard to not be able to hang out with "el Cinco" but I think it is time... It will just make it that much more fun to travel and visit each other's sites.

I would like to take a quick momment to say a big WELCOME to Annalyse Kathleen Brenzikofer. Annalyse was born at 1:37 am on Sept. 16, 2005 to Chad and Allison. I'm very happy for you both and am very excited to meet her. She should be just old enough to begin the corrupting process when I return. :) Congratulations and much love!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Back in the Cuidad


I made it back to San Jose yesterday. Am trying to get back into the swing of things. Which means that we are back in sessions... long, long Friday sessions. Not so bad so far, we all have lots of stories about our sites. One guy got to watch pigs mate. So it has been interesting. We have sessions again tomorrow and then we will be out on the town again. Should be fun. I'll keep you posted.

Also wanted to send out a big public congrats to Lisa and Kevin for their BIG day tomorrow. I am thinking of you much and love you both. Any word on honeymooning here?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Como se dice "hooked up"?!

Wow! I have got to say that I am spending quite a bit of time pinching myself. So far, I absolutely adore my site. I feel incredibly spoiled. I can walk to the beach (granted it's poluted but heh...), my new family is really awsome, my room is huge, I have my own bathroom AND cable TV. I get to watch the news in English! I am bloggin from the school... yes... there is free internet access in my barrio! I am amazed. I am totally cheating... most people join Peace Corps and end up in B.F.E. Africa... I get paradise.

All that aside... I know there is balance in the universe so I am expecting some really rough projects. The barrio is pretty rough and has a huge drug problem. So... there is actual work here as well. But in the very least... I'll have a comfortable 'home base' from which to deal with all that.

Yesterday, I rode the bus into Puntarenas Central to meet Scott and Andre. (Andre is a current volunteer that has been living in the area for the last year. He is super cool.) I got on the bus and the driver asked me if I was the one running through the barrio that morning. I told him I was and he said it was better to run on the beach. "Welcome to the fishbowl," I thought.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Houka Lessons....

Apparently some Houka clarification/education is in order. The houka is a middle eastern water pipe for smoking TOBACCO. And by "tobacco" I mean that no drugs are involved. It is all perfectly legal and took place in a public Lebanese Restaurant. They are also available in the US if you are open to exploring Middle Eastern cultures. I highly recomend doing so.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Quintiscencial Peace Corps

The foto is a picture of Zoey and I in front of the "Food Court" (That's a Spanish term meaning "American food like items"). That's right, we decided we did not have enough time to bus anywhere natural and still have time and money to relax so we opted to go to the mall. You scoff... but let me just say that I had my first glass of wine since being in country and IT WAS WONDERFUL! Zoey is also really, really cool so a weekend full of hanging and partaking in great conversation was exactly what I needed. We watched a movie, and saw a Brazilian and a Cuban band. We danced met lots of international people which was kind of cool because we all had to converse outside of our native languages. Zoey nearly died as she stepped in front of a car trying to avoid a sketchy homeless guy, but she did't so we considered that a plus for the evening. We rounded the night out by stopping at a 24 hour chicken place and then stayed in a hostel whose entrance is only slightly less conspicuous than that of the bat cave. Thouroughly enjoyable weekend.

Monday and Tuesday we were at a retreat above Tres Ríos just outside of San José. It was held at a monestary and the grounds were huge and gorgeous. We met our counterparts, which are the agency and community representatives we will be working with in our sites. I had two counterparts at the retreat, one was a teacher from 20 Noviembre and the other is a worker in the PANI (Social Services)office in Puntarenas. It was a good experience although I had a moment of panic when the realization surfaced that I will have to be doing everything in Spanish. It's better now that I have repressed that reality.

I was in a hurry packing my things when we left and I forgot my journal at the retreat. I called and they said they couldn't find it so I spent most of Tuesday evening in a deep and dark depression. I called again on Wednesday and they had found it so I feel much better now.... assuming that it was my journal and not some other book. I will know on Friday when I get it back.

Okay.... I don't think Lisa is going to let me off the hook on this one so I will make it official. I have been dating a Tico. His name is Esteban. He doesn't speak any English which is good for advancing my Spanish but may not turn out so well if we find out that once we are able to understand completely what the other is saying, we don't like what we hear. Last night, we watched the Costa Rica v. Domincan Republic soccer game at one of his friend's house. It was a lot of fun and definately a cultural experience. Costa Rica is the playoffs for the World Cup. So it was quite exciting.

On Saturday I go on my site visit. I spend six days in Puntarenas and then return on the 15th. One of my objectives is to check out community resources a.k.a. find internet cafe so I should be able to write before I get back.