While I am writing this, I cannot believe that I am more than halfway through my journey. Time has gone both fast and slow over these past 10 weeks. Since the third quarter of the school year has just ended, the fourth quarter is quickly approaching and that will fly by just as fast. There have not been many updates from me recently because the main activities that I continue to do consist of teaching and relaxing at home. I did happen to catch another illness...that lasted for another week. This time, I think it was from the students. But, everything is all better. Hopefully, this will be the last sickness of the trip. During that period of time, I did get some experience with coordinating an assembly performance. The set-up included doing warm-ups with the band and choir, setting up the chairs and music, and conducting the songs (except the band was conducted by one of the students!). It was definitely a bit challenging at times, but I am glad that I got to go through it with the help of some fellow teachers. Teaching has been going really well! There are still days when I make mistakes (meaning everyday), but that is expected. My teacher and I are preparing the kids for a final end of the year performance in which each grade level sings a "rock" song (this includes "Living on a prayer", "We got the beat", "Twist and Shout", and "Stand by me"). But, I have found that these songs have been following me everywhere I go. I even hear them when I am on vacation! But, it happens. All of the kids that I work with have been wonderful! They do provide a little bit of a challenge every time that I have to teach because English is their second language. There are may students that are already wonderful English speakers, but I have to remember to choose words and phrases that would be familiar to them. Ironically, explaining concepts or definitions in basic terms can often be the most difficult of tasks (at least for me)
In other news, I have finally taken the trip to Panama! It was a grand old time filled with many adventures. Since I am staying longer than three months, I have to renew my visa by leaving the country for at least three days. So, that was part of the reason for the adventure. When I crossed the border from Costa Rica to Panama, it was a little nerve-wrecking. Why, you ask? Well, the bridge consisted of many loose boards (some were nailed to the structure, of course) over a river. The group that I went with and I had to collect a little bit of bravery to pass the bridge. But, once we passed it, there was no problem and we were off to Bocas del Toro. We stayed at a hostel that was right by the ocean, and the ocean was as clear as day! It was so fun seeing everything in the water including the little stingrays, jellyfish, and fish. We also went on a full day tour that included seeing dolphins, going snorkeling and going to a beautiful beach. The snorkeling was a new experience, and a little nerve-wrecking as well because a jellyfish was spotted at the beginning of the snorkeling activity. But, except for that, it was very cool to see all the different colors and corals in the ocean. For the rest of the time, we either relaxed at the hostel or wandered through town.
Now, I am back at home enjoying a peaceful day that is again filled with peaceful and constant rain. I may fill the rest of my free week experiencing the Costa Rican culture by going to the mall and drinking some Starbucks. : )
The bridge of terror!
Sunset by the docks
Our mode of transportation during the tour
"Calypso Joe", our musical entertainment for Monday evening during dinner.