Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Independence Day and Bodies

September 15 was Independence Day.  So on Friday the kids wore traditional clothing and brought in faroles (lanterns).  It was very nice.  Friday night, Pavas puts on the whole show of running in the torch (see last year's post), but it rained so Oscar and I were like SCREW THAT and took a nap instead.  We're old people.  I was given Monday off which was great.

Here's some pictures from school:

Today the fifth through eighth graders went to see the Bodies exhibit in Multiplaza.  I printed out an extensive worksheet for them to fill out while inside.  I went through with my group, fifth grade, and explained a lot of the bodies and organs and such.  They did really well, I was surprised.  Although perhaps not that surprised, I gave all the students a pretty heavy lecture before we went in about being respectful and mature.  I warned them that the bodies are naked (*gasp*) and to my pleasure I didn't see a single kid pointing at penises and giggling.  Even at the penis box!  They all just sort of nodded while I pointed out the male urinary system (one kid said it looked like a flamingo! jaja!).  I only caught one kid sort of mocking the position of one body and I called him out immediately and he looked embarrassed afterwards.  Good.  (I'm such a bitch.  muahaha)

I love that these young kids think I'm some all-knowing being because I'm able to identify major organs in the human body.  I guess not everyone can do that, but everyone should be able to do it.

So yes, great field trip.  Great Independence Day.  Residency is still being difficult but I'm hoping in another few weeks everything will be solved.  *fingers crossed*

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering September 11, 2001

For about a week I have been conflicted on what to do about the mark of 11 years since September 11.  This was because of a couple things:

1.  I teach science class.  That has nothing to do with September 11.
2.  September 15 is Costa Rica Independence Day.  I didn't want to impose.
3.  Most of the kids at this school were not even alive in 2001.  And of those who were, all of them are too young to even remember it.

After mulling over everything I decided that this was too important to just let pass.  But I'll remember in a more silent way.  I'm not going to mention the towers, the Pentagon, the plane crashes, the lives lost, the horror or the pain.  I'm going to write a poem about heroes on the board.  For the youngest kids I'm going to have them copy it down, and draw a picture to go with it.  For the older kids I'm going to have them read it and then write their own poem on a hero in their life.  That way, it sort of ties in to both the heroism of September 11, and the heroism of September 15.

Because even though I don't know anyone who lost anyone in the attacks, it is still a very sobering day for me.

Here's some pictures I got from my third graders:

"I am a hero and my dog too"

Left side is her parents being heroes by donating blood.  Right side is her being a hero by helping her brother who hit his head.

Police officer.

"My father and my mother are heroes"

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Today at 8:43AM an earthquake struck.  Official reports are saying 7.6 on the Richter scale.  I think they are reporting one death of a woman from a heart attack, some serious building damage near the epicenter and the Guanacaste area (where the epicenter was) is without power.  Here in San Jose there was very minimal damage, but it was still a scary one.  Not my first one, but definitely the strongest.

My very first earthquake was the infamous Cinchona in 2009.  It was a 5.6 (correction- 6.1, thanks Randall!), epicenter in Poas, much closer to San Jose.  I remember sitting on my bed in my host family's house.  Everything started shaking and the mirror on the wall was slamming back and forth.  I was so confused.  What was going on?  My mama tica was shouting for me "Signe! Signe!"  I walked out of my room and she beckoned me into the doorway.  "Esta temblando!"  When I looked outside what I saw turned my whole world up-side down.  If I knew nothing else before that day, I knew the freaking ground didn't move.  But turns out it does.  I remember seeing the ground move like a wave.  My mama tica rented out the space in her front yard to the company next door to park and I saw the cars rolling back and forth over these ground waves.  It was very freaky.

Cinchona caused a lot of damage and a month later I went with a group called Un Techo Para Mi Pais to build emergency homes for those affected.  The image that struck me the most was seeing an empty house that looked completely normal from the front, and the back half was gone.  Slid down the hill.  Off a cliff.  Just gone.

My second earthquake was a little one.  I was on the computer in my university and the lights started shaking.  None of the ticos even blinked twice.  I still got up and left the building.

Which brings me to my third, and strongest, earthquake.  The one from today.  I was sitting in class and I felt the building shake.  I assumed it was a heavy truck going by as they shake the building sometimes.  As the shaking continued I thought "this is an earthquake".  I looked up at a student and we said at the same time "esta temblando!"  Nothing was falling off shelves, but this one was scary because it lasted for so long!  That and being on the second floor was a whole other ballgame I'd never experienced before.  It's been a long time since I last felt an earthquake but being on the second floor was definitely more of a roller coaster.  We got all the kids out of the building safely.

For the next hour or so, I felt sort of dizzy and off.  Like my equilibrium got messed up.  I don't remember that happening with Cinchona.  The director of the school decided to send everyone home, so I spent a long time passing around my phone for the kids to call home.  Luckily, I had switched to Movistar after coming home from Germany and I had signal.  ICE phones had none.

Once most of the kids had left, I went ahead and drove home.  The apartment is fine, the puppy is fine, Oscar says a lot of stuff fell over in his job, but that everyone is okay.  There were a few things toppled over here in the apartment, but nothing serious.  So I took a nap and went on a walk.  Life goes on after an earthquake...

Here's a video on facebook.  I can't just post it because blogger won't allow me.


Landslides are always one of the biggest problems after an earthquake.

Playa Ostinal

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tico time and kid's day

Just some updates about my residency stuff--

Three weeks ago I sent an email to the worthless lawyer (henceforth known as WL) to see what was going on with my stuff.  After he didn't reply, Oscar called him.  Turns out the WL thought that my director had hired someone new and therefore didn't know anything about my case.  What he did know was that immigration was waiting for my divorce papers. *heavy sigh*  (FYI- single, never married)  So I wrote my director asking for the new lawyer's name so I could contact him.  This is when I saw my director upset for the very first time.  She sent the WL an email explaining to him she had already paid him the Costa Rican equivalent of an arm and a leg and she expected him to continue with my case.  I guess he agreed because he sent me an email saying he would go to immigration next week and give me updates.

That "next week" was last week.  On Friday since I still hadn't heard from him, I sent him an email.  Which he of course did not reply to.  So yesterday Oscar called him again and the WL says he will go into immigration today and have news for me this evening.

Well this is where "tico time" comes in.  When I was first told that he would be going in "next week" I assumed he meant within the next three weeks.  And yesterday when he said he would have news "tomorrow" I assumed he meant next week.  So hopefully in another week I'll have an update on my residency!  *fingers crossed for good news*


Since I've now been writing this blog in Costa Rica for over a year, I have a feeling some things might be repeated.  But, this Friday is evidently "El Día de los Niños", Kid's Day.  Eating lunch just now I had a kid ask "What are you going to do for us for kid's day?"  My response: "Nothing."  All the kids stared at me in shock.  They say: "But all the teachers do something on Kid's Day."  Me: "But I don't like kids."  *jaws hit the floor*  I ask them: "When is Teacher's Day?"  Kids: "There is no Teacher's Day."  Me: "Exactly.  When you guys throw me a Teacher's Day party I'll throw you a Kid's Day party."

I mean seriously?  Do I not do freaking enough for these lazy mofos to begin with?


I know Kid's Day is a pretty big freaking deal, so I'm actually kind of glad they told me about it.  Otherwise I'd look like a total ass for not giving those little hellions anything.  In fact, I'd probably get in trouble from the administration and from the parents.

I think I'll buy them number 2 pencils.  The brown ones.  And perhaps some carrots.

Happy Kid's Day you filthy animals.