Sunday, January 22, 2012

A New Year

Well needless to say, a lot has happened since my last blog post.  I finished up the school year helping in the principle's office at Casa Maria's high school until December 15th.  Mainly, I was organizing and collecting data to help with the selection process of students for the new school year which starts in February.  My other four housemates left to go back to the U.S. on December 17th.  I used the next three days to relax, read, run, clean the house, and get ready for Juli, Kevin, Isabel, and Luke to come stay with me here!

They arrived on December 20th after a red-eye flight.  Fray Jorge, Roy, and I met them at the airport then came back to the friary for a delicious typical tico breakfast...thanks Fray Jorge!  After a couple of days at my house touring Moravia and visiting the Children's Museum in San Jose, we headed to La Fortuna which is located next to the Arenal Volcano for Christmas. I absolutely loved spending Christmas with them and getting to share in Isa and Luke's excitement.  It was such a blessing to be able to share this special time and travel in Costa Rica with Juli's family. The day after Christmas, we headed to a gorgeous beach on the Nicoya Peninsula called Playa Carrillo.  It looks just like a postcard-- lined with coconut trees and no development on the beach at all. We spent our days there playing in the water and sand, swimming in the little pool at our Bed & Breakfast, eating good food, and watching the sunsets.  When the time came for Juli, Kevin, Isa, and Luke to leave, it was of course hard to say goodbye.  They had all loved the trip and were even using some of the typical Costa Rican sayings like 'Pura vida!' which literally means 'Pure life' but is used to mean 'Everything is great!'.  I wished they could have all just stayed here with me in Costa Rica :)

However, I was not lacking in company for long. The same day that Juli's family flew back to Washington, Mom and Dad came to visit me!  We went to a few beautiful beaches and also up to a cloud forest called Monteverde, which was on top of the mountains and brimming with all sorts of plants and life.  At Monteverde we got our fair share of rain and cold, but it was more than compensated for at the beach in the sun and heat!  After the trip, Mom and Dad flew to Guatemala to take an intensive language class.

Right away, it was time for our re-orientation retreat for the program.  Our director and sub-director from the U.S. came to lead the retreat.  It was a great retreat at the friary in Alajuela again.  After the retreat, we were surprized with a quick trip to La Fortuna where we bathed in a thermal hot springs and walked on hanging bridges in the forest. What a treat!

This past week I worked at the daycare at Casa Maria.  I have a big change to look forward to beginning in Febuary.  I will be starting work at a daycare in Moravia near my house called CEN-CENAI.  It is a goverment run daycare that serves an extremely low-income neighborhood.  The reason for the change in my job is to have more daily interaction with those I serve and be in a better work environment.  I am so excited to begin this new position and work with the kids in this daycare who are ages 2-6.

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