1. We're living in an apartment in the city of Puerto Limon until the end of March.
|Our first solo shopping experience to fill the kitchen in our|
apartment. Here we are highlighting the fact that many
things come in bags (sour cream, salt, spices, ketchup, mayo,etc)!
2. In April we will move into this awesome bungalow in Cahuita (about an hour south of Limon) and likely live there until we head back to the States.
3. We're teaching! Chris and I will teach together at a small private, Christian school. The principal of this school is also the pastor of a Baptist church a few blocks down from our apartment, which we're currently attending. At his school we will teach Science in English to 1st and 2nd grade, and we will also teach English to 2nd grade. Our schedule is three days a week, teaching for a few hours Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. We're very excited for this opportunity, especially as it will be a great experience the have under our belts before we look for teaching jobs in the States. If we can do this with the extra challenges of no curriculum and teaching in a different language than their native tongue, we think we'll be more equipped for later on.
4. We now have a better idea of a timeline for our adventure. The school year here begins next Monday (March) and finishes in November. Knowing this, we're planning on teaching until then and heading back in December to spend Christmas with family. Of course, nothing is set in stone here. We commonly repeat, "We hold our plans lightly," as things are often changing.
5. Our landlord, Roy, was a connection made for us by the pastor/principal, Miguel, and he's been extremely helpful since we arrived. He attends the Baptist church also and works in Tourism off and on. Due to this, it's as if we have our own private tour guide all of the time, and he's taken it upon himself to show us around town and connect us with all of "his people." He seriously knows about every other person he sees when walking down the street.
As for some of the things we've learned thus far...
FOOD: Thanks to Roy we now know: the best place to eat Pati, a typical food in Limon. Caribbean food is somewhat different than the food we ate in San Jose. It tends to be spicier, and they have a few meals that they are known for, like Pati and also rice and beans. This is pronounced in English, like it's all one word, "riceandbean." Typically it's served with marinated chicken, and it's quite delicious. There are trees laden with fruit all over the place. They have bananas and coconuts of course, but then they also have papaya, cocoa trees, and many other fruits that you won't find in the States. Of these new fruits to us, we've tried water apples (not too fantastic), and cacao (cocoa) seeds. Before they make chocolate with the fruit's seeds, you can suck on them to get the white substance surrounding them. It is delicious!! It's so sweet, it's as if you're eating a little bit of candy. Lucky for us, the bungalow in Cahuita is surrounded by cacao trees so we're excited at the prospect of getting our hands on some more of that fruit!
|My favorite food here? Patacones! And I|
made them myself for the first time on Sunday.
They speak Spanish here of course, but the native tongue of many is an English-based Creole, or Limonese Creole here. It's spoken with such a thick Jamaican accent that sometimes Chris and I look at each other and ask if the other understood a word of what was spoken. After being here a couple of days it doesn't take us off guard as much, but we have to listen carefully if we want to understand what they're saying. One example: "Whappin" means "What's happening?" There's a rhythm with which they speak and it's quite entertaining, but I'd definitely be showing my color, or lack thereof, if I tried to speak like them. :) Speaking of which, having white skin here makes us stand out even more than our height. In general people are taller here than in the Central Valley, but their skin is much darker. It's a melting pot in many ways over here because of Limon's history. (Christopher Columbus dropped anchor here, introducing Spanish settlers to Costa Rica, and then the railroad project brought many Jamaicans, introducing the English dialect.)
Yes, it is very hot. You won't find a bed here topped with more than a single, thin sheet because you do not need blankets here. It cools down ever so slightly during the nights, but not enough to always notice it. It's a mixture of high temperatures and high humidity, which justifies the cold showers. Even with the option of hot water last night, we both opted for cold showers because it's a reprieve from the heat and it lowers your body temperature to a more bearable level. Never really thought I would choose a cold shower, but then again, I never knew I'd be living in the Caribbean either. :)
Roy took us to one of the beaches last night, and as we were walking along and the sun was setting (not over the water for change) we had to pinch ourselves to make sure it was real. We're experiencing so many new aspects of God's creation and beauty, it hardly seems possible at times. We were thinking back to our life in the States just before we moved here, working to save up and not seeing each other nearly as much as needed. It makes us realize how blessed we are to have this opportunity to be here, volunteering in such different capacities, and all the while shoulder to shoulder. God is so good, so faithful, and so beautiful.
|Pacific Coast Sunset, coming home from|
Turtle Island on Valentine's Day