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Published: December 16th 2007
Honor Roll Owen
Way to go finishing Grade 3 in only 2 months? And with honors!
After the awesome trip to Nicaragua, we were all a bit tired but life kept moving with Ron and Benjamin heading off to school on Monday morning. Owen did not have to attend school for the first three days of the last week, as the students were writing exams in Spanish. While he has been learning a lot of Spanish at school, he was not quite ready to write the exams. He did however write the Math exam, in Spanish, and did very well. In fact on Thursday, November 29th, at the final school assembly, Owen received a certificate of honors for his work in all the subjects taught in English. We were very proud of him, as he adapted to the non-planned attendance to school, participated eagerly and performed very well. Especially considering that if he were attending school in Canada he would now only be in the 4th month of Grade 3 and here he completed the 9th and 10th months work, with honors. At the same time he has been working on the home schooling work we brought for him and has completed about half of the workbooks already.
It is interesting to note that the schools
here focus a lot on the exams at the end of the trimester. Each class has one exam per day for the last two weeks of school. Even the preschool children were “tested” individually to evaluate their progress. Benjamin’s teacher did not “test” him as he was only in class for two months. He did however receive a certificate for Most Improved Student, which he was very proud to get. With the focus on one exam a day, the rest of the day is basically a write off and Ron enjoyed two weeks of trying to keep the students occupied and somewhat interested in continuing their work. All three boys were excited to see the school year come to an end- it is a pretty sweet deal to have another summer vacation so soon after the last one they had.
To finish the year the school held a talent show on the last morning, Friday, November 30th. Benjamin’s class had been preparing two songs and he had been singing them at home and trying to teach us the words too. They even had costumes made to wear and we all loved Benjamin the “Angel”. Unfortunately the sound system they
had rented for the event was turned up so loud that we couldn’t really hear the kids singing, but they looked so very cute! The other acts of the show included students playing instruments, dancing, clowns and a very interesting number where a little girl was to do a dance but didn’t want to, and then Mom convinced her to try again. Mom then ends up trying to coax her through the whole thing, waving her arms around dressed like a pink flower (that’s Mom in the pink flower costume, very cute). I don’t think this is a cultural thing - but a general lesson in parenting… a parent should not try to force children to perform for the parent’s sake. It was quite amusing, but sad at the same time.
After the talent show we all came to home to get ready for our housewarming party that night. Ron had hired a DJ and had ordered appetizers from a local caterer so all I had to do was hang up a few lights and sweep off the patio. The boys were very excited that the staff from school and many other people we have met along the way
A class of angels
Benjamin's school buddies, this time not all the parents stood in front so we could see. The talent show was held in the outdoor gymnasium. Lots of room!
were coming over to party. About 25 people came over for bocas, loud music and some karaoke fun. Little did I know that karaoke was so popular here, but the people seem to love it and we had some great singers in the crowd -including Ron’s Bob Marley song. We even did some Latin dancing with our friends showing us how to get down- “suelo” to the ground. Everyone seemed to have a great time, and we had a lot of fun. With a quiet time bylaw of 11pm and a fun, but not too crazy, crowd we were all tucked in bed by one o’clock. Benjamin tried hard to stay up until the guests arrived, 7:30ish, but very soon after asked to be tucked in. After sleeping soundly through the noise all night he woke up the next morning and said, “My nap was too long, I missed the party!” He was quite disappointed until I told him that he was smart as he was now well rested for his own party.
So, Saturday morning Benjamin and I went off to another party, the preschool class year end party. Owen and Dad chose to stay at home for
Owen didn't tell us but his class performed a song in Spanish and yes, Owen's lips moved as he tried his best.
some quiet time thinking that we would be gone a few hours. Instead this children’s party started at 9am (we arrived at 9:30 and it was just getting set up) and ended around 4 or 5 pm. The organizers had rented a beautiful party spot, overlooking the Gulf of Nicoya. It had a covered eating area with kitchen and best of all a pool for hours of fun. Benjamin loved swimming and I enjoyed watching him interact with his new friends. Because most of the little ones in his class are just beginning to learn English there is still a language barrier but it is amazing how children work around that. Benjamin likes to be silly and make the kids laugh. Or he just does his own thing. Besides swimming there was a DJ, with karaoke again, and tons of food. We ate all day and enjoyed such local favorites as: frito - a stew like dish made out of pigs head ( I just had to try it, though I didn’t ask what it was until after) , vigarones - which is shredded cabbage with boiled yucca(like a potato), covered with chimichurri (like a salsa-chopped tomatoes, onions, peppers and
While we enjoy the nice price of rum we were only 2 of 5 people who were partaking at the party. Is this a cultural thing or a crowd thing- no matter what we all had a good time!
cilantro with lime) and chicharones (deep fried pigs ears). I was glad I had taken my cooking classes as I knew what most of the dishes were. They also served BBQ pork and rice, hot dogs, salad, ice cream, marshmallows on toothpicks drizzled with honey, and cake. There were games, presents, a piñata and candy bags too. This is the second children’s party we have attended which goes on for hours and has so much to offer. I almost feel guilty about our simple parties back home…almost, but not quite.
On Sunday we were all happy to relax in the morning but decided to visit the beach in the afternoon. With several beaches to choose from close to our home we set off for Caldera Beach. After a 15 minute drive from the yard to the parking we explored the third beach we’ve been to in the area. With some pretty big waves crashing in and a bit of a pull we checked out the water cautiously but soon found it to be powerful but fun. Benjamin got down and dirty in the sand, like always and Owen did wave jumping with Dad. We also enjoyed watching the people
Owen thinks it's loco
Owen is wiser than his parents in thinking that giant bottle is just a bit loco - crazy. Good boy Owen!
who were paragliding from a cliff right in front of us. At times there were 6 to 10 parachutes floating about and even an ultra light flyer. We didn’t stay long at the beach but liked the idea of being a 15 minute drive away. Next beach visit we plan to explore a new beach until we’ve visited all the ones close to home.
I realize that in reading this blog it may sound like life is just one big beach party but we just don’t write much about the mundane day to day life stuff. It does exist, but laundry in Costa Rica is just like laundry back home. Except that I use a washer with spinner and it’s good to do it early in the day to have it dry nicely in the sun. Ron is still working hard as ever and even though the students are finished classes the teachers have to work for the first two weeks in December. Stay tuned to read about some field trips and fun times with the staff at school.
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