A busy last few days

Published: September 21st 2010
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Tamarindo to Monteverde

The first 2 hours get you to the base of the mountains, about to the point where the map ends in Juantas. The next hour and a half takes you up winding dirt roads, if you can even call them roads. It takes an hour to go the last 20km and the entire trip is 150 km...

Disclaimer: The Spanish may not be correct but I tried hard! After the Spanish is a more detailed account in English of the past 4 days! Enjoy.
Hint: You can enlarge the photos! I suggest doing this with the ones of the monkeys so you can actually see them!

Tengo mucho para escribir y no tengo mucho tiempo. Después de escribiendo mi blog, necesito hacer mi tarea y ya son las nueve y media de la noche. Clase empiece a las ocho de la mañana y si quiero comer, necesito levantarme a las seis y media de la mañana por lo menos. Han sido cuatro días desde la última vez que escribió por mi blog. Tengo que hablar sobre sábado, domingo, lunes, y hoy, martes.

Primero sábado. Sábado miré el partido de fútbol americano de los Huskies y los Cornhuskers. No era bonito. Los Cornhuskers ganó por más que vente puntos. Miré el partido a Sharky’s con una pareja de Seattle! Ellos viven cerca de Freemont. Pero ella fue de Nebraska y estaba animando por los Cornhuskers. Fue divertido pero un poco triste también. Después del partido, fui a escuela y dormí. Luego, miré el partido de los Sounders. Fue mucho más divertido y bonito. Ellos ganaron por cuatro goles. Después de eso, mis amigos y yo fuimos a cena con estudiantes de otra escuela. Por lo menos, ellos eran de Europa: Bélgica, Holanda, Alemania, Noruega, y Suiza creo. Nosotros comimos a un restaurante italiana. La comida fue fantástico. Pasta fresca con tres tipos de salsa de elegir entre. Después de comiendo, nosotros fuimos a Sharky’s por “80’s lady’s night” adonde la música era de los 80s, y las bebidas fueron gratis por las mujeres. Bailamos y hablamos hasta casi dos de la mañana. Intentábamos regresar a la escuela de los europeas para nadar en su piscina pero su guardia de seguridad no nos dejaba entrar. Entonces regresamos a escuela y nos acostamos.

Domingo era muy más sencillo. Cuando me levanté, comí pan tostado y empaqué mis maletas. Luego miré partidos del NFL y cerca doce mis amigos y yo fuimos al Pescador para comer nuestra última harina juntos. Era la última día en Tamarindo para Luisa, Kyle, Dustyn y yo. A las dos mi paseo arribó y salí por Monteverde. Después de cera cuatro horas, arribamos a mi escuela en Monteverde y recibí mis llaves por el apartamiento. Tenía que levantarme a las seis de la mañana por consiguiente me acosté temprano.

Lunes era muy emocionante. Tuve mi primera día de escuela nueva, y también pude ver la ciudad con luz. Después de clases, fui a la tienda de I.C.E. para comprar una chip de teléfono celular. Y luego fui al supermercado para comprar comida por la semana. Compró mucho comida y tuve que regresar a casa por taxi. Cociné cena de pasta con carne y muchas frutas y verduras. Después, hice mi tarea y leí mi libro de fútbol.

Hoy, martes, me levanté a las siete de la mañana y comí pan tostado y frutas, mientras bebiendo jugo de naranja. Fui a clase y durante mi descanso hubo 3 monos en los arboles de la escuela. Después de escuela fui a la fábrica de queso con tres otras estudiantes. Era divertido y barato y aprendí mucho sobre queso y Monteverde.

Okay so because of time constraints I am going to stop there with the Spanish and now it is time for a more detailed English version of what was said above:

Last time I wrote was Friday night so I have a lot to catch you all up on:

Saturday's football and partying

Sunday's last meal and ride to Monteverde and dinner with my new friends

Monday's first day of school, trip into town to get a cell phone and $80 worth of groceries, cooking dinner, homework, and MNF

Tuesday's interesting conversation with my professor, monkeys visiting at brerak, rain, lots of rain, visiting the cheese factory, getting soaked on my walk home and ruing my new phone and pants.

Saturday I slept in a bit, understandably, and then I went to watch the Husky game at Sharky's. Of the 6 people in the bar when I arrived, there happened to be a couple watching the Husky game too. I was excited to have other Husky fans around. Unfortunately they turned out to be Nebraska fans, well one fan, and one neutral husband. They were however, Seattleites. They live over by Freemont, and the lady works for the glassblower Preston Singletary. It was nice to reminisce about Seattle, but the game stunk. We weren't ever in it and I left a few minutes before the game ended because I didn't want to spend anymore money at the bar. I made it the entire time without consuming alcohol though! Just a lot of greasy food and a bottle of soda instead 😞. After the game I went home and took a nap before watching the Sounders ROUTE Columbus 4-0. What a great game for Nkufo and the rest of the team. Around 8 my friends from the school and I went to meet up with some students from another language school in town. This school is mostly full of Europeans, and we went to dinner with a group consisting of people from: Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, Holland, and Germany. We went to an Italian restaurant where for $10 we got an antipasta, an entre which consisted of the pasta of our choice with selected toppings and a choice between 3 sauces. It was cooked to order like at Met Market back home. Also included in the price was a glass of wine as well. Not bad for $10 in touristy Tamarindo. After dinner we headed to Sharky's because Saturday is 80's lady's night. Free drinks for girls up until midnight. We stayed there dancing and talking until close at 2 am. We then decided to try and have a pool party at the other school (they have a pool, we don't). We went to our place to get our speakers and then headed back to their school but when we got there the guard wouldn't let us in. The no guest policy is very strict (the same would have happened at our school) so we headed back home and got into bed. It was around 3 30 or so once I was finally ready to sleep.

Sunday I woke up early because I was scared of missing my shuttle. I got up and ate some toast, the last of my food supplies, and then began packing my suitcases. After packing I watched some soccer and football until my friends were ready for lunch. We went to the Pescador, the same place where we had our new student drinks, and had a little good-bye meal as 4 of the 5 of us were leaving that day. Kyle is still in the country but Luisa and Dustyn headed back to Germany and California respectively. At 2 my shuttle came and I began the arduous 4 hour drive to Monteverde. The first 2 hours are not too bad. You drive through some nice scenery on fairly well maintained roads, but then you get off the main roads and it gets bad. The last 20km of the drive take about an hour because the road is a rutted out dirt road with a steep incline winding through the mountainside. It is very bumpy but very scenic. Upon arriving at the school the security guard gave me a packet with my apartment key and pointed me in the direction of my place. Luckly the shuttle drove me with my luggage the 200 meters up another dirt road (the main road in Monteverde is paved) to my residence. The apartments, named casa del toro (house of the bull) are owned by the school and used primarily as student residences. There is a young married couple from Texas staying in the unit next door (and attending the school as well) and they were kind enough to let me tag along to diner and show me around a bit. We enjoyed a nice meal of tapas at a restaurant down the road. I had a great steak and some prawns as well as a local smoothie type drink. It was a tad more expensive than I was looking for but it was good to get some food in me and I enjoyed the company. When I got home I was very tired and had to get up at 6 the next morning so after unpacking my belongings and checking e-mail I got in bed fairly quickly. I slept well on my queen sized bed and enjoyed a hot shower in my 4-star hotel-esq bathroom the next morning.

My first day of school! After doing very well on my placement exam I was given a quick tour of the grounds (which include a jacuzzi, small gym and shower, library, and computer lab) before meeting my professor for the week. Sadly, after two days I can't remember her name, but she is very nice. At CPI, they don't do a lot of grammar only work unless you ask for it. It is more conversation based learning which is different for me, but good for me. We spent our first hour or so talking about various things and I found myself quite comfortable and competent. At 10 we get a 20 minute break to get some coffee and fruit and do whatever else we please. After break we conversed a bit more and then worked on some grammar. I have asked to do a quick review of basic principles in addition to our conversing. Monday was spent refreshing myself on irregular verbs in the present tense. I never realized how much I learned during those 6 years of class (2 in middle school, 3 in high school, and one when I was at DU). I have a very good base, and once again was complimented by my professor for being an above average student when it came to conversing. She thinks I will have no problem being near fluent when I leave in 8 weeks. Another vote of confidence! We were able to have some interesting conversations about sports, politics, and life in general. It was a good first day. After class I returned home to put away my school supplies and get my money and passport. I was off to buy a SIM card for my cell phone. I was told to expect slow long lines but I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of purchasing a SIM card. Apparently foreigners have only been allowed to get a line since January. After this, I went to the grocery story and spent nearly $80 on food for the week. I got all sorts of things, eggs, cereal and toast for breakfast, pasta, meat, fruit, vegetables, snacks, laundry detergent, etc. It must have taken 25 minutes to check out though. The checkers are very slow and their computers kept malfunctioning. When I was being rung up, the computer froze after the last item and it took 10 minutes before I was able to get my change. But that is part of the experience no? After this I went home and spent the rest of the evening on the computer and cooking an elaborate (by my standards) dinner that consisted of pasta with homemade meat sauce (ground beef, pepper, garlic powder, garlic salt), sliced fruit and vegetables (bananas, avocado, carrots, cucumber), and a beer! After this I did my homework while watching Monday Night Football. Then I read a little from my book before getting to bed.

It was raining more today and I wasn't prepared for it. I wore my same J Crew slacks with a shell and my northface gore-tex shoes thinking this would be sufficient. It was for my walk to school and back, but not later. At school I once again conversed for 1 to 1.5 hours. Today we talked about work, learning languages, which ones are important (Mandarin is now number two after English, while Arabic is important but the hardest) and Costa Rican politics including their recently escalating problems with drug runners using the country as a transport hub between Colombia and Mexico/ the US. I was very impressed with the level of intellectual conversation we were able to have. We did some more work with the grammar (we did a one day review of irregular past tense verbs) which was a little difficult for me. I learned most of it at one point but there are so many rules and exceptions that it will take some more practice before I stop stumbling when using said verbs. During our break today, some monkeys came to visit, hanging out in the trees behind the school. We tried to feed them but they were a little shy. It is apparently rare for them to hang around the school this time of year so I am happy I was able to see them. After class I went to take a tour of the cheese factory with 3 other students and it was full of information. We learned about the cheese making process as well as the history of Monteverde (settled by American Quakers in the 1950s who fled the US because of the draft). The cheese was very good too (but expensive so I didn't get any). It was during the walk to and form the cheese factory (15 minutes each way, so probably a good 2 kilometers each way) that we got soaked. When I got home my gore-tex rain coat, the one I use skiing, was soaked through and the pockets had puddles in them. My cell phone was vibrating out of control and I haven't been able to get it to work normally since. It turns on but the screen just goes blue and the whole phone vibrates nonstop. What a bummer, I just got it working yesterday. Now I need a new phone! The money inside my pants pocket was soaked too but it dried after a few hours laying out. I took a nap and wasted away time on the computer before eating dinner around 8 and now it is nearly 11 and I haven't started my homework which includes a presentation on the state of Washington! She said she expects it to be University level, however I couldn't tell if she was serious or not. A powerpoint with a few notes is in store as well as 20 minutes worth of grammar exercises I need to complete. I won't be getting to bed before midnight, that is for sure.

I'm sure I have missed some details along the way but that's life. Thanks for reading and I'm sorry for taking so long between postings after getting into the habit of writing daily. I will try to find a mix of every other day or every 3 days so that when I do post, they can be more detailed and enthralling, with pictures as well. Take care everyone!


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23rd September 2010

Keep practicing your spanish it's coming along great!

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