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Archive for January, 2012

Orientation Day 1/Day 2

Yesterday I woke up around 6:45 do get ready before breakfast which was at 7. After breakfast my mom and I walked to the university. I no longer have any worries about weight gain because walking 1 km everyday is going to keep the fat away! WIN. Anyways….we met all the other ISEP students outside the university and went to the library. It was refreshing to know that they were as nervous and had troubles with comprehension as well. Then from 8-5pm we basically sat in a room and listened to Ivelina (the resident director) and other UNA staff members. The campus is beautiful! I love that I can see the mountains from outside the library! Our lunch break was nice because we were able to walk around and see more of the campus. Then around 3pm or so I was too tired to understand most of what the staff members said. Once I returned home with my mom I took a two hour nap, ate dinner, then went to bed.

Today was the day of the placement exam! I was really nervous at first but the written was only a few simple questions and the interview was not all that bad. Profe Alexa was unsure where to put me so she said I can try intermediate and if she sees that I am doing well she’ll move me up to the advanced level. I hope so because I want to make sure that I get the credit for 342. At first I was a little bummed because Cori, Bill and many of the others were placed in advanced, but I figure if I work hard and improve that’s all that matters. We then took a tour of the campus and around Heredia which was entertaining. I think what will be harder than taking the classes will be crossing the streets without a car hitting me. We ate lunch at a café or some sort, courtesy of ISEP, and I had chicken, rice and cake. It was delicious! Cori pointed out that by the time she returns to Ohio she won’t want to eat rice for a long time, I am beginning to agree with her! Returning to the front of the university we waited until it was time to schedule. Scheduling was AWFUL! Oh my…. Most of the classes that Wireback had approved were at times we could not take them because of the culture course. We then figured we might as well knock our fine arts out of the way here. I ended up signing up for Dialectología hispanoamericana, Literatura española contemporánea, Teatro humanismo y sociedad, ISEP culture course and the Exchange Language Club. The Exchange Language Club is working one on one with a native speaker, helping them with their english and they help us with our spanish. It isn’t for any credit, but I figure the experience will be worth while 🙂 Once we were done (after 3 hours or so…blech!) I walked with my mom to the grocery store to buy food for dinner. We took a different route than before so I was confused. Once we returned home I downloaded my pictures from the day and just chilled until dinner was ready. I had to try really hard not to nap because I want to get a good nights sleep. Tomorrow we explore San José! I really hope I can remember the name of the market where Señora took us!

Eso es todo, ¡adiós!

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La Primera Domingo

I woke up this morning around ten o’ clock, it was an amazing sleep! I then showered and prepared for the day. I am so thankful for having had the chance to go to Costa Rica before  because I remembered some of the tips from last time. Most homes do not have a long supply of hot water, mine was luke warm for maybe 5 minutes before it turned cold, I am so thankful for my privileges in the U.S.. Once I was all dolled up, my host mom gave me slices of papaya and let me pour yogurt on top, it was so yummy! Then she had made gallo pinto (rice and beans) with scrambled eggs and a piece of sausage. I was stuffed! She had told me yesterday we would leave around 12 to buy my phone, but running on tico time it was not until 1:30-2pm when  we got to the mall, but I was okay. The line to buy a phone was very different from a store in the U.S.. A security guard had to let people in one at a time because inside the chairs for waiting were full! After about an hour-long wait, we were assisted and I bought my little prepaid phone, it’s green and adorable! Then we went next door to Bagelmen’s (somewhat like a small Panera’s) and I ordered a BLT wrap, ginger ale and a chocolate chip cookie. The cookie was delicious! I didn’t enjoy the BLT as much as I thought I would, it was very rich and different from a BLT back home. Then Ana’s friend who drove us from the airport, Eddie, picked us up to take us to Ana’s church. The service was SPECTACULAR! ODM. There were over 100 people and it was very contemporary. Everyone had their arms raised in worship, it was  awesome. I could understand most of the songs because they had the lyrics on a projector, I even recognized some of the songs (“Grande es nuestros Díos” = “How Great is Our God”). However understanding the message was a different story. I could pick up some of the message, but I wish I had brought my bible, because the slides changed to quickly for me to read all of the scripture.

We then left church around 7 and Eddie began to drive us home. Ana then asked me if I was hungry and I said yes. She asked if I preferred Taco Bell or McDonald’s, so I chose McDonald’s. A unique thing about a McDonald’s in Costa Rica is they serve fried chicken, awesome right? I ordered chicken, fries and a coke. Once we returned home I began to eat my meal, the chicken was delicious. The fries were okay, but they weren’t what I was expecting. They weren’t very salty and had a sweet taste to them, I ate them anyway of course. Around 8pm I told Ana and Eddie that I was going to talk to Ian on Skype and told them goodnight. I talked to Ian for about an hour, then Facetimed with my parents.

I must now go to bed because orientation is in the morning at 8 am and we have to leave around 7:30 to start walking there! ¡Qué lindo!

*My host mom knows little English so when I spoke to Ian it was the first time all day that I broke down and used English. I am still adjusting, at times mi máma can speak too quickly for me to pick up what she is saying but other times I can understand.

The Big Day

I decided to write this blog while in the airplane. Now obviously it was posted after I exited the airplane but in case anyone was wondering, I did wait until landing to post this.

This morning I woke up at around 3:00, which was essentially a one-hour nap because I could not sleep. Ian was able to make it and spent the night at my house on the couch while we talked most of the night about random silly things and how much we’ll miss one another. I was so thankful that he could come to the airport to say goodbye, if it weren’t for the amazing Andrew Chen, he would have been stuck in the ol’ Oxbox. After arriving at the airport check in was easy, I don’t know why I was so worried, then again, who in their right mind would want to hang out at the airport at 4:30 in the morning! We then took many pictures, some of my parents and me and one with Ian and I, then before security Kayla and I had our pictures taken together. Security is the most nerve-wracking thing ever, I know I have nothing to hide, but boy do those x-rays make me feel like I’ve done something wrong! Kayla and I then hit Starbucks for something to have on the plane and within ten or so minutes we were allowed to board.

Now from the layout on Orbitz, I was picturing something relatively huge, with some elbow space. We were both shocked to find that our plane was very small! As someone who is claustrophobic, my stomach sure tied in knots and the anxiety levels rose. Kayla and I then had a great talk about our host family, how much Spanish we’re ready to speak and our preparations for the trip.

At the moment (8:17 a.m.) Kayla decided to nap, so I put my headphones in and decided to write some of my blog. Once we arrive in Houston I can either post this part one, or write more on the Houston airplane. Not much else to report except while waiting at our gate, we overheard some native Spanish speakers (perhaps they are also going to Costa Rica) and we both joked how we should join in their conversation to practice! Since sleeping on the plane is not working for me I’ve decided to watch You’ve Got Mail instead (Thanks Dad for putting in on! ☺).

Part two: The arrival

After a very nice dish of arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) I am about ready to take a nap, but first I will retell the arrival. First of all, whoever said the middle of the day would be less crowded in customs lied. But it was not that bad, I decided to try my Spanish, which would have been a better idea if I weren’t sleep deprived and still feeling the motion of the plane. I felt silly because she was talking away and I could only understand some of it. Then all us Miami kids claimed our baggage and made our way to meet our families. I will paint the picture, you turn a corner in the airport where it is nice and calm then you find a least a hundred people pressing up against the glass with name signs. My host mom was outside so when I didn’t see her I worried, mainly because I didn’t want to walk into the chaos alone. But alas she yelled “Kate!” (Yay for Facebook recognition). Then her friend drove us home. I love my tico home! My room is blue with a calm blue and yellow blanket on the bed. It is smaller than the dorm at Thomson but I am perfectly okay with that. After the tour Ana had many customers (she rents party supplies, like napkins and chairs) and I asked if it was okay if I took a nap. She said of course but said I should eat first, and with tico time the “dime un segundo” became a couple hours. But I was okay with this, I practiced speaking with her and then her boyfriend came over and he helped me a lot! We talked about my church and my family and other little things. He told me “poco y poco” which means little by little I will speak and improve at my Spanish. The meal was delicious, Ana gave me some homemade jugo de piña (pineapple juice) and it was delicious! Now I am going to Facetime with my parents for a few minutes before I go to bed, I can still feel the motion of the plane 😛

Panic mode

¡O Dios Mío! Wow, with the countdown to 8 more days I have hit the panic mode. Obviously staying up until 3 am to post about my panic demonstrates this. It has hit me that I am in fact leaving the country. There is still so much to do, mainly making copies and looking through all the paperwork to remember what to bring, phone numbers and addresses. I’m mostly worried about the language placement test. Crazy right? I’ve been learning Spanish for almost 6 years now (WOAH) yet I’m afraid during the oral exam I’ll stick to “Hola” and “¿Cómo está?”. This fear mainly stems from my regret that I haven’t used the extra 28 days I’ve had to study and used them to instead sleep and worry. But I’m going to try and twist my worries into another goal for my time abroad: CUT DOWN THE WORRYING! I’ve always been a worry-wart, such a gross word, but it’s true. Hopefully the culture shock I experience will help take away my worries, extra stress and help me gain the confidence I have down deep inside me.

On a brighter note I have been reading about Costa Rica. While I’ve been there once before (a time I will never forget) I’ve realized that I have completely forgotten many names of the places I visited and stayed. Reading more about the culture brings back so many warm memories of my first trip there. This brings out the “I can’t wait!” emotion because this time around, I am living in Costa Rica for 5 months instead of 2 weeks, giving me plenty of time to explore, absorb the culture, and definitely improving my Spanish. I think my ultimate worry is that I won’t be able to sign up for the classes I really need for Miami, but I’m starting to accept that in the long run, as long as I take transferable classes to my major, either way my Spanish will improve.

Tomorrow I plan on shopping for my remaining necessities and making those copies. After having time to write out my thoughts the panic attack has subsided….for now.

¡Adios!

¡Hola!

Twelve more days until I leave for Costa Rica. I will use this blog to update everyone on my soon to be adventure, studying abroad. Hopefully today I will be able to find some new clothes, tank tops, carpis, etc. I’m so excited but nervous at the same time. I think my main fear is that I will come back and still be at the same level of speaking as I left. While I’m sure that will not happen, I won’t be sure until I arrive. This first post is mainly to set up my blog, and write out my goals.

Goals:

Gain CONFIDENCE 🙂

Improve fluency in speaking skills

Talk to everyone I can (in Spanish)

Build my faith

That is all for now, I may post one or two more before my trip!

Adios

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