Monday, August 07, 2006

Costa Rica Week 1


1 week down and only 40 odd more to go (that certainly sounds daunting when put like that). So yes, it's been an interesting week of introductions, soccer, and more than anything, just getting used to things here. Here's a little lowdown of the week:

Sunday: I arrived around 11 to find no one at the airport to meet me, so I used a nice man's phone to call Maribel the in-country-coordinator. She then told this man where I was staying and he took me to my homestay family's house in his car. Met my mom Hannia, her daughter, Valeria (17), son Louis (10ish), and grandma (whose name I'm not really sure). Then I met Jonathan and Simon, two of the boys and had a bit of a walking tour. Sophia came that night and we are staying in the same room (I have bottom bunk)! She is teaching english in the school.

Monday: We all met at the local school for our "inducion" with Maribel where we learned a bit about the area, the rules, etc. I also met the other boys, 12 in all. Then we just had the rest of the day to hang out.

Tuesday: Maribel took, Me, Jonathan, and Darynn to the school we're working at to meet the director. The school, Escuela de Excelencia Elias Jimenez Castro, is a public school but does a lot of fundraising on its own and therefore has a bit of money. What we will be doing is starting a Soccer Academy which will take place Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. But it must be very official. The director is sending home permission slips for all parents to sign. There are designated days and times for specific grades. There is also a dress code. Tuesdays and Thursdays we will be doing the regular PE classes. We also had our first spanish class.

Wednesday: A holiday, so the group had a hike up a nearby mountain, both hard and good (although made me a bit nervous for the Himalayas as I most certainly need to be in better shape)! Then we played a pick up game with some local kids. 4 teams of 2-3 of us and 2-3 local kids! Its games like that when I remember how much I actually love soccer. Then we had a welcome dinner at a restaurant with everyone.

Thursday: Our first official day at the school! We were introduced to a few of the 6th grade classes and then we went right into teaching. We were outside playing soccer with them from about 7:30 to 12. I totally fried in the sun but it was good fun! That night we had our first 5 a side game against the ticos (locals). They play this because as it rains so much, they need to have indoor space and a full field indoors is a bit hard. I didn't play in this one because I was a bit intimidated but I did watch.

Friday: Another day at the school, we were introduced to the rest of the classes we will be coming across in either PE classes or at the soccer academy. The english teacher, Fabio, helped us explain what we would be doing. Then we had another 5 a side game. We thought we had booked the entire field so that we could play against each other but alas, we had not. I played this time which was great fun. I didn't embarass myself too badly and I actually had some nice plays. Then I went into San Jose for a night on the town with some of the boys. Went to a few sketchy bars and then went home.

Saturday: This weekend trip was already planned for us by Gap Sport. All 15 of us piled in this minubus meant for about 12 and headed to Puntareynas. Puntareynas is a pretty much the closest beach to San Jose, a hot spot for locals (but not so much for foreigners). We made the most of it though. Had an awesome night with the partying and dancing and beach swimming and little sleep!

Sunday: Slept most of the day and then headed back to San Jose in the same minibus! I was exhausted by the time we got back and just hung out at the house with the family. (I love them!)

Ok, I think thats about everything. If something doesn't connect, well then, I've forgotten it for the current moment and I'm sorry! Today (Monday) we have a day off so a few of us are heading into San Jose for some exploring and shopping.

Pura Vida!


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