Friday, October 5, 2012
WOW! We have had a crazy two weeks here. After a week of missiology training in cultural issues from conflict management to culture shock, etc. taught by missionary teachers from AGTS (Assemblies Of God Theological Seminary), to moving back into our Spanish language studies after a week of only English.
We were way out of practice and our teachers made sure we worked double-time this week for the week we lost, along with a Spanish chapel service dedicated to teaching us cultural nuances that nobody tells you.
We live in a crazy mixed-up world where everything is backwards and upside down, like my daughters are here.
But it doesn't mean that the people here are crazy or mixed-up or backwards and upside down, but I definitely feel that I am all of the above.
For example, if you meet someone on the street and are going to greet them and keep going, then you don't say, "Hola." You say "Adios." If you say "Hola" to them, they think that you are going to stop because it is an introductory greeting that implies you are going to have a conversation with them. But "Adios" means you are greeting them and going on your way.
Who knew? I surely didn't and I have made numerous greeting faux pas since our arrival. Oops!
We are also considered "loud Americans." I didn't realize how loud I was until people around me kept looking at me while I was having a conversation with my English-speaking friends and even they were shushing me. Oops! Apparently, I am louder than your average "loud" American. ;D (I know there are many out there agreeing with me about my being overly loud!)
There is also a thing called "taxi etiquette." If you are a male and alone, then you sit in the front with the driver. If you are female and alone, then you sit in the back. If you are with your spouse, you can both sit in the back together, but don't slam the door, because that would be rude.
Oh, and you wear shoes in the house here, and you definitely don't answer your door barefooted! That would be very disrespectful.
These are just a few of the odd and different things we are learning.
But what makes me feel so different is that I don't "yet" understand the language and it makes me feel a little ill at ease when I can't communicate with anyone around me.
Trust me, I am using all of my non-verbals, but they don't work for everything.
It is coming and I have a little victory party in my head and heart when I understand or "get it" in class. I know my classmates probably think I am crazy, but I really don't care, because these minor victories are the the very things that will lead to the major ones as we learn "poco a poco" or "little by little" as our Maestra Mecbel says.
So I will close with some of the beautiful things we see each day in our little area of the world.
These are the decorative bananas that you don't eat that are beside the stairs to our house.
A big brown bird seems to be the only thing eating them.
Coffee beans that haven't quite ripened
and these below which are just beginning to ripen.
These flowered blooms are on trees and bushes right outside of CINCEL.
This bird was in the community park where the kids play outside of CINCEL.
Finally, I have to leave you with pictures of some of our favorite made from scratch foods, like pico de gallo, guacamole, and fried plantains (with sugar & vanilla).
Let me just tell you, cooking everything from scratch is not always fun, especially when you are used to boxed cake mixes and other such easy recipes. But it definitely gets complicated when your oven doesn't list 350* or 400*, but instead lists 266* or 482*.
Finally, these days of waking at 5am will take their toll on you, as you can see Merci gave in and made her own little bed right at the table during our Spanish study group.
Today marks our one month arrival in Costa Rica! We are adjusting well and loving this new adventure even though we are tired and worn out at the end of each week.
Boy do we look forward to the weekends and exploring more of this beautiful place.
Happy Friday to you all!