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Published: September 20th 2012
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Hola Amigos and Amigettes!

I reckon I've been rather busy with classes, friends, spanish and being in another country. I think my last update was about the earthquake which seems to have passed a million years ago.

Last Saturday was La Dia De La Independencia, Costa Rica's Independence Day. Four friends and I headed out around noon to see what cultural spins were in store for us. Here, they celebrate Independence Day for about a full month. Flags go up and they shoot off fire works nightly. We sauntered through the streets until we found a Costa Rican marching band going ham. These guys were no joke. Eventually, we took a taxi into San José, which I expected to be the epicenter of cultural exhibition and parties. I guess we missed the boat because everything was pretty much over. We watched a street performer juggle/unicycle for a while and wandered over to what we thought was a parade. Turns out, it was riot policia, barely containing an angry crowd. Several fights broke out and there were two semi-stampedes. It was very interesting to see from my vantage point, relatively safe from danger.

Classes terminated on Wednesday, which percipitated a small graduation ceremony and pizza party. I enjoyed my classes a lot and I think I could really find pleasure in teaching English. I'm looking into some volunteer programs right now for when I get back to the states.

My Spanish is improving daily. I can read almost anything without problems. Listening is still the hardest and speaking takes some effort. I just completed my first full novel in spanish, 430 pages of googling words, conjugations and context-guessing. It was a great read though - La biblioteca de los muertos. It's originally in English, The Library of Death. Great book and it really helped my comprehension. Dialectal Spanish is very hard and different. One of the first things a teacher tells you when learning spanish is forget the vosotros form. You'll never use it. Twist! It's one of the most common forms used in Costa Rica, so study up. Tú is almost never used. Save among family, lovers and close friends.

Last night I went to an event sponsored by the Art Society here. Pretty much all of San José's celebrated musuems, free of admission, with a bus tour. Due to time allotments, I only made it to three of them, but they were worth is. I met up with a Tica named Vanessa, and we traveled about the town together. Practicing English and Spanish. She works here in a call center for Microsoft. I never realized just how many call centers were here. It's amazing.

Many people here have a very interesting view of America and think that I really want to listen to their opinion of my country. I have my own view of America as well, and its best served for senators and activists. Cultural exchange is great. But when it comes from the xenophobic, media driven view that the 21st century has ushered in - coupled with a few too many beers - well, loose lips sink ships. Politics are an invented institution that exists because we say it does. We should never lose sight of the fact that we're all just people trying to be happy.

Nos vemos.

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