Right now I am using the Internet cafe in Atenas. I´m still adjusting to the different keyboards here. Unfortunately I have not had time to update as much as I´d like or to upload pictures, but I will post some later.
Today I woke up early, as usual, since the sun rises around 5 and is incredibly bright and the birds chirp continuously in the mornings. Did I even describe the house I´m staying in? There is a mother who teaches religion at an elementary school, Maria Gonzales (sorry, don´t know where the accent keys are, either) and her three daughters, Maria Jesus (20), Victoria (15) and Paula (13). Paula is the easiest to communicate with since she´s currently taking clases de ingles at her school, but none of them can speak any English, still. At first that was terrifying but now I´m adjusting. Anyway, their house is relatively small for the number of people with only one bathroom, but it is still lovely and definitely more than sufficient. It is interesting how much more simplistic life is here, probably why everyone is so much more calm. I hear the phrase ´´Es tranquilo´´ often. There are two dogs, one is nineteen years old! And right outside there are fruit trees, one with sweet lemons which are delicious. Frequently Maria and her family members will sit on the porch in rocking chairs chatting or playing games. I am sleeping in Victoria´s bedroom. There is no AC but you certainly don´t need any of that here. Also, the water is cold, but I haven´t minded at all, except yesterday the water was out for a bit and no one could shower.
We went to the iglesia last night, I cannot remember if I already wrote about that, but it was a lovely experience. After dinner some of us went out again for my birthday. This morning we went to el centro para la educacion y nutricion de Atenas to sand and repaint chairs and the outside wall of the building. The children there come from poor homes and really unfortunate circumstances, so it was good to help them. Another group cleaned a river, apparently pollution is a problem here, people throw trash in the water without really considering the consequences. Then we went to San José (there is the accent key!) to visit Intel and learn about the company and why they are based here in Costa Rica. The hugeness of the building and the intimidating amount of security was a little off putting, but the guy who talked to us about his job was so enthusiastic and friendly, describing the aspirations of the company and how important ´´being green´´ is to them, I felt much better.
Something else I failed to mention, when we first arrived at the student center Friday, our families came to pick us up. Strange feeling, like being adopted! There are two Sarahs in the group and we mixed up our families, so we had to do a little exchange, which was kind of awkward. Whoops, wrong student, here´s another!
I feel like I have so much more to write about - Michelle, our Spanish professor from back home, just arrived, and it was good to see her. Oh, and on the way back to Atenas today we stopped and had some delicious corn pancakes, not sure what the official term for them is, but apparently they are a traditional and common food here. Speaking of food, everything I´ve eaten has been delicious, except the beans are definitely having an effect on my stomach - hmm, that´s a lot of fun.
You know, I can´t tell if my Spanish is really improving yet. I think it must be, and I´m more comfortable speaking at this point, but it´s so easy to forget if I speak English with students during the day and especially since I mostly talk with my family in the mornings after -5 hours of sleep or in the evenings when all the delicious coffee is wearing off and the lulling heat of the day has sunken into my skin, my brain. The atmosphere really gets into your blood here. It´s a beautiful thing but perhaps stunts productivity a little, at least for me! That´s why there´s coffee.
I have to go soon because we have our Latin dancing class tonight. I took a ballroom dancing class once and it was pretty disastrous, so we will see how this goes. I am excited, though! Then tomorrow we visit the Volcano Poas.
Sorry if there are mistakes, I am anal about that kind of thing usually but have limited time now. Overall, things are so lovely, perpetually, intoxicatingly!