How do we end up where we are?

Trip Start Jan 10, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Saturday, May 19, 2007

As I bumped along my dirt road to civilization, trying not to focus on the overpowering scent of the three different kinds of cologne that seem to be the only ones that Cost Rican men wear, my thoughts were flying.  My family had left Monday after a five day visit to my town and Volcan Arenal (we actually got to see it for a whole day, which is very rare due to the constant cloud cover), leaving me totally drained.  It had been a tumultous couple of weeks with exams, a bit of gripe, kids that just wouldn┤t behave, the excitement and stress of my family┤s arrival, and now the come down.  You never feel quite so alone as you do after you are surrounded by the people you love for only five days and then they leave.  You feel the void to your very core.  All I┤ve wanted to do for the last week is sleep and watch movies.  I didn┤t want to talk in English or Spanish, let alone teach.  My lucky kids got to have two days of English movies while I worked on getting my grades finalized... and getting back to being more like myself.  Maybe my kids sensed my loneliness or maybe they┤re just being themselves, but I haven┤t received more candy and flowers and hugs and besitos since I first arrived.  They too missed my parents who were so impressed by their every move, my brother who they all agreed was a worldclass soccer player and speaker of Spanish.  So my students, those beautiful little people who I worry about constantly as if they were my own offspring, those curious little people always asking me how to say mono and caballo in English, those kind souls who only want to help you out, are the ones who got me out of my little rut.  Instead of thinking about my own aching, I began to think about them.  Play rehearsals are progressing, and I am sorely needed to keep order and provide inspiration.  My first day back I taught the Roses how to be flirty, the roosters how to be scared like a rooster and not like a little boy, and the Zorro (played by my sister Jessica) how to walk like a slightly sleazy man.  I┤m starting an English Club that meets two times a week after class to prepare my 5th and 6th graders for colegio.  We┤re going to paint a mural, do a play in English, and study grammer.  And of course, in normal class, we┤re studying colors and shapes, which delight my students.  I tell them about how my first Spanish teacher, crazy Se˝or Chi from Taiwan used to make us sing the colors.  They point out different colors and shapes around the room.  We laugh together.  We explore both English and Spanish together.  We have created a family, a support system together.  Sometimes I want to strangle them in frustration, but more often I want to hug them in thanks.  I don┤t know how I ended up here exactly, what exactly set me on this path to La Estrella, but I┤m grateful.  Sad and lonely at times, happy and fulfilled at others, but always grateful for this crazy wonderful experience...

Note:   This didn┤t fit into my piece this week, but I just have to give you a bus seat update.  I am FINALLY getting some real desks and chairs!!!  It┤s definitely poco a poco, but about half of my students are now sitting in desks that you may have seen in your own high schools (after about 30 years of use with countless names scrawled and carved into them, but who really cares at this point).  Hopefully by the end of next week, I will have a totally new set up!  Though, I must admit, a part of me will be missing those big old, dangerous things...just a little part.

Another Note:  I do realize that I haven┤t devoted an entry to my family┤s visit, but it was great, they were great, and everything turned out perfectly.  I┤m presently too tired to write about the excitement and joy of that trip with the right amount of enthusiasm.  But my two families eating and talking together; showing off my town, students and school to Mom, Dad, and Luke; and relaxing while staring at the volcano were truly special moments!
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dadofdivaboots on

So grateful too
our visit was indeed a very very special time for all of us...and memories to last a lifetime and a half! I too felt a void when we left you there at the airport but all the more fulfilled...and yes very grateful for such a special time together. La Estrella is just totally awesome in a very different way...

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