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September 30th 2010
Published: October 1st 2010
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Home to school

My house is in the NW, the school is to the SE

Primero español y luego ingles (first Spanish and then English)

Esta semana:

Esta semana fue mi primera semana en Santo Domingo de Heredia, y también fue mi primera semana con una familia de acogida. Dos diferencias grandes para mí. Primero, estar en Santo Domingo es un gran cambio de Tamarindo y Monteverde. Aquí, hay mucha más gente y también hay más crimen y menos seguridad. Es una estila de vida completamente diferente del resto de la país. Las casas son más grandes, hay tráfico, y también hay dinero. He visto por lo menos, diez, BMWs nuevos. También las Mercedes y Porsche. ¡Mi familia de acogida tiene un Xbox 360! San José tiene personas con dinero, pero también hay pobres.

Tengo mi propio cuarto con una pequeña cama, escritorio, y combinación de tocador y estantes para mi ropa. Es acogedor. Mi horario es frenético, y cada día tengo que despertarme a las siete. Una ducha rápida (¡con agua fría!) le sigue con desayuno. A veces es un buen desayuno con tostada, huevos, fruta y jugo. Otros tiempos es arroz y frijoles. ¡Por desayuno! Es un poco más para mí. Siempre hay arroz y frijoles. Un día tuve arroz y frijoles tres veces.

Después de comer camino a la escuela. Normalmente solo necesito diez o quince minutos a lo más. A escuela tengo clase desde ocho y media hasta diez y media, un descanso por treinta minutos y luego más clase desde once hasta una. A la una tenemos una hora para comer almuerzo y a dos, por los estudiantes que tienen clases de discurso, tenemos dos más horas de escuela. ¡Estoy a escuela por 7.5 horas! Es como un trabajo, ¿no?

Me gusta mucho mis clases y profesores. En la mañana mi profesora es Zaidy, y podemos mover rápidamente porque por lo menos estoy repasando sobre gramática que ya sé. En las tardes tengo clases de discurso con Alejandra. Cada tarde es diferente. Mi primera clase nosotros realizamos una entrevista en español. Creo que puedo obtener un trabajo aquí después de mi entrevista. Ayer tuve que leer un cuento en español y luego contarlo a Alejandra usando solo verbos en el futuro. ¡Era difícil!

Cada día también, la escuela tiene actividades para los estudiantes después de clases. A lunes fui a un partido de fútbol del equipo Saprissa. Hace dos años, los Sounders jugaron un partido con Saprissa en el mismo estadio. Ayer fuimos al centro comercial para hacer compras y ver una película. Vimos Wall Street 2: dinero nunca duerme. Me gustaba mucho. Mañana tenemos una clase de baile. Más salsa para mí.

Este fin de semana voy a viajar al Caribe con unos pocos de los estudiantes y también nuestro interno (un alemán). Vamos a Cahuita, no sé mucho de esta ciudad pero estoy emocionado regresar a la playa y sacar fotos.


This week:

Fist let me apologize for the lack of photos. Santo Domingo is not the nicest place you have ever been, not the safest. I do not take my camera or laptop out of the house and do not walk alone after dark. During the day I have been fine and even ventured into town and bought a new cell phone (+506 8742-9515) and used the ATM today without incident. Costa Rica for the most part is very advanced so I was surprised to hear that crime in San Jose is very bad, and that even in the suburbs (Santo Domingo is about 10 minutes from downtown San Jose without traffic) there have been incidences of robbery and other petty crimes. Most of the other students at my school haul their laptops to and from school every day but I don't really see the need/ don't want to risk it.

So a little more about Santo Domingo, it has about 40,000 people and it is within the province of Heredia, (there is also a city of Heredia 5-10 minutes away, that has 100,000+ inhabitants). The houses here are fairly sized, and even big compared to the ones I am used to in the States. Not many people park out on the street and all the houses are barred in. You need a key to get into the yard or garage. Iron bars on every window and fences everywhere don't scream safety but I think it is a bit overkill from what I have experienced so far. The weather here is another story. It will rain at any time of day, and when it rains it can pour. It is the rainy season so it is normal for the locals. I don't go anywhere without my umbrella.

I live about 10-15 minutes walking distance from the school (about a kilometer) and walk to school everyday at 8 am. I have to take cold showers every morning (for all the internet and nice cars I see, I find the lack of hot water strange) which wakes me up quick, and I eat a varied breakfast prepared by my host mother. It can range from typical American (eggs, toast, fruit and juice) to rice and beans with tea. One day I had rice and beans in all 3 of my meals, they weren't joking when they said they are the national dishes.

I have 6 hours of class every day. (the 4 normal plus 2 extra for conversation practice) so I get to school for 8:30 start and leave after 4 every day. Its tiring. We get a half hour break from 10:30 to 11 and and hour for lunch at 1. In the afternoons the school normally offers some sort of activity as well so on Tuesday I went to a soccer game for the biggest team in Costa Rica, Saprissa. The Sounders actually played them here in San Jose about 2 weeks ago. Yesterday (Wednesday) was movie day. We went to see Wall Street 2. At the local theater movies are discounted and cost only about 3.50 on Wednesdays. The mall by the way (located in Heredia) is nicer than Northgate. It has all the stores you would expect of an American mall except the big department stores. There was office depot, all the fast food chains, stores selling the surf brands, Nike and Adidas, an Apple store, it was crazy. There are people with money around here. I see two or three nice BMW or Mercedes a day when walking to and from school.

This will be the last post until at least Sunday night as I am headed to the Caribbean coast for the weekend. It will be nice to get back to the beach! I have been here almost 3 weeks and it has gone by so fast. The school here has turned out to be way better than I imagined, and although the style is different than my previous two schools I am learning a ton and making new friends. If I play my cards right I will have tons of places to stay next time I go to Europe! Tomorrow night we have a dance class (Salsa and Merengue) I'm excited to get back out on the floor!

I have finished two books and am deep into my third already. I need to buy some more or find some easy Spanish ones to begin. Suggestions?

Thanks all for reading and stay in contact! If anyone wants a postcard let me know. The blog has had almost 200 visits in the month it has been going. I don't know how many people have viewed it, but if 15 of you have read every post then that makes me feel good!

Hasta luego amigos!



30th October 2010

Hi Matt I can tell you are doing good in CR!! About a week ago I had some American friends over and we had a blast, as you mentioned the weather wasn't that good but we still did lots of fun stuff. I wonder where you study, I am Costa Rican and and teach Spanish. I love hearing great stories from exchange students. i lived in boston for 2 years so believe me I know how it feels like being emerged in a different culture. The salsa thing is a must! keep trying hard and very soon you'll be able to show off! Enjoy your time, get confident and speak as much Spanish as you can. El tiempo pasa muy rapido asi que disfruta tu estadia en Costa Rica, anda siempre con cuidado y disfruta de todo lo q sea diferente a tu pais, estas viviendo una gran aventura, disfrutala!!! Best wishes

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