A Day at the Beach and A Day at Work!

27 July 2014

I can’t believe it’s only been two days since my last post! And for you, it’s only been one day, since I had a delay in posting the last one. Sunday and Monday were pretty full days, so I may as well get right to it.

I had trouble sleeping Saturday night (I had my first pang of homesickness, but don’t worry, I’m ok!), so I considered backing out of the beach trip (we had to be ready to go at 6am). But I decided I needed to power through and go; literally everyone I know here was going, and I didn’t want to just waste the entire day putzing around the apartment by myself. I’m so glad I went!

Since we’re on tico time, we left a little bit after 6. We had to go so early because the beach is four hours away! Definitely quite a change from my usual three-minute drive up to the Spring Lake boards! It’s not that it’s so far away (I just mapped it and am cracking up that it’s only 40 miles away), but there’s just a lot of traffic in San Jose, and once we get on more remote roads, they’re winding and like up mountains and stuff. Plus, we stopped a couple of times along the way, so that was part of it as well.

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The first stop was at a bridge that is known for all the crocodiles that just sort of chill in the mud underneath it. We hung out there for maybe 10 or 15 minutes looking at the crocodiles and iguanas. It was fun, and I’m pretty certain the big fat croc was the one I saw a few years ago when I was in CR for an EF tour! We also stopped and had breakfast (I had huevos rancheros, which were muy delicioso), which was a nice way to break up the trip. I was thankful that I didn’t get carsick like I did on the way to La Paz.

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I was trying to be artsy here.

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Once we got to the Manuel Antonio National Park, we laid down our blankets and got comfortable. It was somewhat overcast but still really hot, so it didn’t feel like a waste of a beach day at all. I did a little reading, which quickly led to a little napping, and then I headed into the water for a while. It felt so great to be out in the waves. The water was super warm, and I taught the over/under game to a couple of my friends. Being in the ocean helped with the homesickness for sure. Even though it took four hours instead of four minutes to get there, I was so glad to feel the waves and float around for a bit. A friend of mine had this hand paddle thing that he let me try. Basically you put the paddle on your hand (hence the name) and flippers on your feet and try to catch waves. I have never been good at catching waves, but I got one after a few failed attempts. It was fun! After a while, the ocean started getting pretty rough, so I was done.

After the swim, I went for a nice long walk along the beach with a few folks. We found a freshwater stream type thing that was flowing from the trees into the ocean, so we had some fun just sort of splashing around and rinsing off in the fresh water. The sand got progressively softer the farther we walked, which I enjoyed (the beach where we were sitting was a little walking). I had forgotten how fine the sand in Costa Rica is. It just kept getting everywhere; no matter how many times I rinsed my legs, it was just stuck to them again. Eventually I just gave up trying.

**Now it’s been three days since my last post. Last night I got tired and stopped writing in the middle. I hope to finish it up now, but we shall see if it actually happens! I’m quite pooped after my first two days of work!**

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This is the little freshwater stream we found.

This is the little freshwater stream we found.

The day eventually wound down, and we packed up our stuff and headed back to San Jose. On the way, we stopped at a great restaurant for dinner. The food was delicious, and of course the company was great, too. I had nachos, in case you were wondering. I feel like there was so much more about the place, but right now I can’t think of anything spectacular to say. Perhaps my favorite part of the trip home was the playlist; our amazing driver Arturo had the single best playlist on his iPod. It was basically just my entire childhood and adolescence in a nutshell, and every song just got better than the next. Some highlights were “Toy Soldiers” by Martika (I mean whattt??), “Something to Believe In,” and a string of Tracy Chapman songs. I probably owe my new friends an apology for signing the entire way home, but hey, I don’t think I could have stopped if I had tried!

I’m glad we went to the beach because it was a great way to unwind before starting school on Monday. New teacher training started bright and early Monday morning, although not as early as it should have! There was some sort of miscommunication with the bus, and it somehow missed picking us up (there is a faculty bus that picks us up and drops us off at the compound every day). So we ended up being late for work, but at least it wasn’t because I overslept or anything! I won’t bore you too much with the details of new teacher orientation, but I will say that it was a good day.

I was pretty overwhelmed by the deluge of information, but I knew it’d be coming, and I know it’s all part of the process (I think I’ve said “it’s all part of the process” about 96 times this week alone!). I was really excited to find my classroom and start to get more specific information about the courses I’m teaching and how the school works. It sounds like the kids will be great, and so far everyone who works there has been super amazing, too. Everyone is really welcoming and helpful, and the longer I’m there (all two days of it, haha), the more I know that it’s a good fit for me. I love how clear the school is about its mission, and I can tell that everyone there knows, understands, and works toward the mission (and as I learned in my ed leadership classes, that’s like the most important thing!). I’m still seeing the emphasis on the IB learner profile, and I am definitely digging the focus on technology (it’s a 1:1 iPad school, so if anyone out there knows of any cool apps to use, please do let me know!).

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This was the original view I had from my room.

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But then my classroom got moved, and now I see this.

Speaking of technology, today was exciting for me because I was asked to be on a committee that researches new technology tools/apps and shares them with other teachers. I went over to one of the guys who’s in charge of that sort of thing and introduced myself. I had emailed him a couple of months ago to ask about the available technology, and I wanted to thank him for responding so thoroughly. That’s when he asked if I’d be on that committee, and of course I accepted practically before he even had the question out of his mouth. Anyone who knows me, especially those of you who know me professionally, will agree that it’s definitely the right committee for me to be on! I’m excited to meet with the team and share my passion for tech with my colleagues.

Ok, speaking of tech, I’ve been on it too much today. I am shutting down and heading to sleep (and it’s only 10:00!). I’m trying to be good about my bed time now that I’m here. In New Jersey, I was always up until ungodly hours, and I just can’t handle how tired I am all the time. I’m trying to take good care of myself now that I’m here, especially considering how much a change like this impacts my nervous system. Even though I’m really happy to be here, it’s still a huge transition, and I find myself in a constant state of stress. I know it’s all part of the process (there’s that phrase again), and I’m not worried that I won’t adjust, but sometimes going through it is draining. I was so happy today when I took down a bar that was hanging in my closet. I think it was the first basic task that came easily since I’ve been here. Everything else (laundry, dishes, turning on the stove, getting my phone to work, etc.) just feels like it takes more energy and thought than it would at home. I feel like I have this heightened sense of awareness of things all the time. But don’t worry, I’m managing it just fine and still don’t regret coming here!

Oh, I’m also starting this new thing called #WindowQuotes. Our apartment windows are huge, and I thought it would be fun to write dry erase messages on my window since we hang out in front of my apartment a lot. So tonight I wrote a Kurt Vonnegut quote (of course the first one is Vonnegut) on my window. I took a picture and texted it to an old pal, and he told me I should tweet them out every day. I joked about the hashtag, and he seemed to think it was a good idea, so I figured why not. So, I’ll end today’s post with my very first #WindowQuote! As always, thanks for reading, and I’ll try to write more soon! ¡Ha luego!

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2 thoughts on “A Day at the Beach and A Day at Work!

  1. Have you heard of/used educreations interactive whiteboard? Two years ago, my school got iPads for all the 6th graders. The iPad’s were supposed to move up with the kids, but, of course, we somehow lost our grant. Anyway, this app was something my team was looking at using when we thought we were getting the iPads. los like a neat way to bring lessons to life!

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