Friday, November 30, 2012


Okay I shouldn't get too excited, but I have just completed another step in my residency process.




I have been asking the lady at the office since last Wednesday for the papers.  This entire week she has assured me "they're done, we just need to pick them up"  Well every day it was another excuse as to why they couldn't get the papers.  Today I asked in the morning "Oh I'll send Johnny".  I asked for them in the afternoon "Oh, let Johnny finish lunch then he'll go".  I asked at the end of the day "Oh, is it possible for you to go get them?"  (then goes on to tell me what a hassle it has been for her to get these documents.  Preaching to the freaking choir my friend.)

Umm, hell yeah!  I just want the freaking papers, I'll do a back flip over a pit of flaming knives if that's what I need to do to get them.

So I got my very first tico directions and went to get these freaking documents.

I'll admit it, I'm spoiled.  Oscar is tico so he knows his way around.  And he's awesome and drives me just about anywhere I need to go.  Or gives me absurdly detailed directions of how to get somewhere.  So this is the first time I've ever had to drive somewhere by myself when I had only a rough directions of "200m past the bus stop, take a right, 200m on the left".

I got lost, but eventually found the place.  It was hidden under a big "CLINICA DENTAL" sign.  I thought the whole building was the dentist, but just the top part was.  Anyways...


So now I need to make about 3 copies of each paper before I turn them in.  Also, I need to make a $50 deposit.  My director told me a month ago or so that she was going to do it that day, but when I emailed her about it she never wrote back.  I'm going to safely assume she didn't do it.  So I'll make the deposit tomorrow.  Then on Monday, after an appointment with the Embassy, I'll waste my entire day waiting around in migracion.  I'm hoping that getting there by 9am or so isn't too late and they'll be able to see me that day.

Cross your fingers for me!  Hopefully this is the last hoop I have to jump through.  Then it'll just be waiting for migracion to get their act together and approve me.

*crosses fingers*

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bear Awesome!

The end of the school year (and actual year) is upon us!  Since I have a homeroom of 5th grade I thought I should get little presents for them.  Cause that's what you do with little kids, right?

I was thinking over a few things, but all seemed to labor intensive.  I mean I don't like the kids that much.  Then I considered a piñata because Oscar mentioned that's pretty normal to have at the end of the year.  But I couldn't quite figure out a way to avoid the slaughter the kids would partake in in order to get the candy.  So I finally figured it out!


They are totally my thing.  My mom used to make them for us when we were growing up.  They're super easy to make and everyone thinks you're some sort of genius because you made a card that talks.  Perfect.

Until I started making them.

The first half I made with snowman saying "Have a great brrrrr-eak"  (Later Oscar told me I should have put "cool break" DUH!  How did I miss that pun?  Sheesh)  Anyways, they were pretty cool but for whatever reason I wanted some variety.

I figured the second half of the cards I would make with reindeer heads.  Well as it turns out I'm awful at drawing reindeer.  They sort of ended up like bear dogs.

After two of those failures, I thought "what is really easy to draw and has a mouth?"  A SNAKE!  To make it like Christmas I'll just put a Santa Hat on him!  Those looked like sperm.

By now I was dying laughing at myself because I was so bad at making these pop up cards.  I tried to think of another animal that I was good at drawing and also had some sort of pun.  That's when I thought of a "My Name Is Earl" episode where there was some Bear Festival in town.  They kept seeing commercials for it and they would say "It's Bear-tastic!"  "It's Bear-aful!" and the one which I thought was the most funny was: "It's Bear-awesome!"  I added a Christmas tree so it would be more holiday-y.  So that was my last two cards.

I had a real good thing going with those snowmen!  Don't know why I made life difficult for myself.

So the kids are getting some wacky cards.  I'm not remaking them.  They'll just be happy candy is attached.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


And not quite as angry as the last one.

This time it's residency nonsense.  Just to recap:

In January 2012 I completed all the papers needed to apply for residency.  In the first week of February I gave those papers to my director who gave them to the worthless lawyer (WL).  The WL stalled for months and ended up turning in my papers to migracion in April (after I had to make an emergency border run since my visa ran out).  In July I had not heard anything so I contacted the WL who thinks that my director decided not to use him anymore.  When in fact that was not true.  The WL and my director speak a bit and after a few weeks of constant phone calls he makes his way to migracion to check on my case.  It turns out I'm missing 3 documents and a $50 deposit into migracion's bank account.  I asked for those three documents from the school about two months ago.

Which brings us to today.  I have had it.  I have spoken to the director multiple times and three weeks ago she assured me she would be giving all the documents to the lawyer.  Well, that never happened.  And these documents are not like anything they have to write.  All they have to do is make some copies.  That's it.  It would take maybe five total minutes to do this.

So today I go to talk to the lady in the office.  I hand her a paper which lists all the documents I need.  I tell her "I requested these almost two months ago, please please give them to me.  I will take them to the lawyer.  I will make the $50 deposit.  I want to finish this."  She was very nice and assured me I would have my documents by TODAY.

So I'm expecting them Friday at the earliest.  Maybe next Friday.  But I need to get them to the lawyer so that I can then call his lazy ass every day and pressure him into going to migracion.  Which will probably take a month.  So maybe residency by February 2013?

*sigh*  What a fucking hassle this has been.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pissed and need to let it out

It all started when I was literally walking out of the door and another teacher ran up to me and says "you can't go, we have a meeting today"

Have I ever mentioned Mondays are the only day I get to leave early?  I'm sure I must have at some point...

Anyways, I wasn't sweating it too much.  I have one more exam to write.  I'm just getting started when a teacher comes in to tell me all 7 of my exams that I had written can't be used.  Why?  Because I'm testing old information (like from the whole year).

Now, this is a final exam.  I would assume the final exam would test all information.   I made up the exams so that half would be old information, and half of it would be the new information.  I think that's pretty goddam fair.

So just a few minutes ago I was feeling so good about myself.  I had finished 7 of my 8 exams.  I had already sent out topics to the parents.  I was ahead of schedule!  Dopey me was ahead!

And then I find out I have to re-write all my freaking exams.  Because a parent complained.  It pisses me off to NO END.  The parent says that her kid has not kept the exams and how can he study old information?  I don't know.. with his NOTEBOOK or TEXTBOOK or ANY OF THE OTHER WORK WE HAVE DONE ALL FREAKING YEAR.

I told the teacher that for the ENTIRE YEAR I have spent class time going over exams questions to make sure they had the right answers.  I told them every single time that they need to hold on to their exams because the final exam will have questions from previous exams on it.  And now... I'm not allowed to do it.

I'm so sick of this school telling me I can't do shit.  I should be allowed to put on my test whatever the hell I want.  For the first two exams I was combining biology and physics because the kids only have me once a week and we never covered enough information to make a full test.  Well then I'm told I can't do that.  Then we get all these stupid ass rules about how to write a test (in multiple choice, the longest answer goes at the bottom, so it looks pretty I guess??!!)  Now I can't make a FINAL exam cover all the topics covered.  And I even gave them a list of the specific things to be tested.

So I'm pissed.  I have to send out an email "correcting" my exam topics and I will.  Tonight.  When Oscar can help me write a really fucking passive aggressive email saying stuff like "even though I've told the kids throughout the ENTIRE year to hold onto their tests, and even though your kid SHOULD REMEMBER all the information, and even though school is about LEARNING, and even though we have only had SIX CLASSES since the last exam and therefore the exam will now be very short, I have been forced to take away the old topics"  (and for biology and physics which I only have once a week, we will have had THREE classes.  How the FUCK am I supposed to make a fair exam off THREE classes of work???!!!)

So my exams will now be half the length.  Good luck kids.  You can say thanks to that ass hole parent whose child is stupid and irresponsible.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Birthday Bash and School Stuff

On Saturday was Oscar's mom's 50th birthday party.  And boy was it a party!

A mariachi came and played some songs.  Everyone knew all the words except for me, so I just drunkenly swayed back and forth and shouted every once in a while.  I think I fit in pretty well.

I love parties in Costa Rica because everyone always ends up dancing.  And I'm not talking a two step with a bounce.  I'm talking full on salsa, merengue, bachata, cumbia, bolero, everything.  If I haven't mentioned it before, Oscar is an excellent dancer.  I do an okay job of keeping up, but I'm nowhere near his level.  I told him I was embarrassed to dance in front of his family.  Because they actually know what dancing looks like.  When I'm home in the USA and just dancing in front of my rhythm-less, white family I look like a freaking star.  But not in front of Latinos.

In the end I think I did okay.  And everyone in Oscar's family is too nice to say other wise.


And today I finally got around to making ribbons for the Science Fair winners.  I bought some sparkly blue ribbon and doubled it over so it was a little more opaque.  On the back I glued in a yellow card where I wrote "Science Fair, 2012" with the grade level and the kid's name.  On the front I put a glitter number 1.  I also am giving out a rubber snake with each ribbon because I have a ton left over from Halloween (I was Medusa).

So far I have only given out to fourth grade, but they totally loved it.  They were especially happy with the rubber snake.

I think they turned out pretty nice!

Well just this week left for teaching!  Next week is review week (although I'll probably continue teaching because I feel like we've had no time to cover anything).  Then the last week in November is Exam Week.  And then December 13 I fly home for a few days!!!!  So excited!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A new normal

Having been in Costa Rica for 15 months now, things that once seemed strange are now my new normal.  Here's a few I thought of.

Earthquakes-  This is what really sparked my thought on this topic.  Recently we have had lots of little earthquakes.  There was the big one a few months back that left some damage in Samara.  Then a little jiggle a few weeks ago (7.something, but very deep so no damage done).  Then just a few days ago there were two very strong and very short earthquakes only one minute apart.  I was sitting in bed, watching TV when it happened and the quake came with a very loud ''BOOM'' noise.  At first I thought someone hit the house with a car.  Then I thought maybe something fell on the roof.  I went outside to check when I heard another loud ''BOOM'' and a strong, but quick, shake.  I still had no idea what it was until I came back inside and one of my friends on facebook wrote ''yes it earthquaked, but it was quick''.  Ohhhh... right.  I'm in earthquake land.  When am I going to start realizing that the ground shaking means earthquake?  Who knows.  (FYI- these two little earthquakes were only a 2.3 but originated in Escazú which is the town right next to wear we live.  So they felt much stronger than any other quake I've felt.)

Ants-  They're everywhere.  You can check out a post I made in the very first months I moved here about the ant colony I found in the bathroom sink.  But they're not just in the bathroom sink.  I've heard (and seen) that ants have built nests in books, speakers, even computers.  They're everywhere, all the time.  In the USA if I saw ants in my kitchen I would run out to buy ant poison to get rid of them immediately.  Here, cleaning up the ants is just part of the kitchen routine.  We have a constant stream of ants going from outside, through a cracked window, across the wall, behind the sink and onto any dirty dishes that have yet to be washed.  We can now only feed Perlita once a day at night because sometimes she won't eat in the morning.  Of course by the time I get home from work her bowl of food is swarming with ants and I have to throw away the food.  All of our dried food, snacks, chips, cookies, etc are not only closed by a clothes pin, we also put them inside a sealed ziplock bag.  Because those ants get everywhere.  We learned after the infamous Ants-In-Grits incident back in February '12.  Lost four good containers of grits that day.  A sad, sad day.

Phone ringing- Sometimes it's the little things that make you miss home.  Here when you dial a phone number you get a long beeeeeeeeeep, beeeeeeeeeeep as a ringtone.  In the USA you have the riiiiiiiiiiing, riiiiiiiing tone, like a bell.  I am completely used to the beep noise, but everytime I call a USA phone number I just can't help but love the 'ring' instead of the 'beep'.

No hot water in sinks- I guess I don't really know why people need it.  I suppose to wash dishes correctly you have to use hot water.  But there are no sinks with hot water here.  Well, perhaps if you're fancy.  The thing is most homes (in the Central Valley) have what the gringos like to call ''suicide showers''.  Suicide showers have the heating unit right above the shower head.  I don't think anyone has actually been electrecuted by the suicide showers before, but it is a fun name for gringos to use.  So this means there is no hot water for sinks.  Which isn't something I even notice anymore.  If fact, I never assume a hotel/hostel will have hot water at all.  It's always something I look up first.  But then I'll go to some fancy pants country and get all excited because I can wash my hands in warm water.  I was thinking about this the other day because in school one of my homeroom kids got her nose bashed.  She was gushing blood and there were no gloves for me to use to help her stop the bleeding.  I was super uncomfortable dealing with so much blood and not having gloves.  I immediately went to wash my hands and was like ''oh yeah, no hot water!''  So I just washed them twice for about two minutes each time with lots and lots of soap.  Hope that did the trick.

Suicide showers usually don't look quite this dangerous, but you can see what I'm talking about.

Also, I just bought  a spontaneous trip back home to NC in December!  I'll be there for a couple days just to hang out.  Can't wait!!!