Monday, April 13, 2009

Mi casa es...just like The Real World

I've not lived in Tita's house for 2 weeks now.
Instead, I've moved into CEA's private residencia, Tierrasol, where I'll stay for the rest of my time here.  Five newbies have joined Sharifa, Rebecca Dos (now simply dubbed Rebecca, as I'm Becka), and I, and one student, Oso the big friendly bear, from the last 3 months is finishing out his class with Ticos for the next month (they last longer, but cost less, joy to us).  
The building itself is increeeedible.  From the outside it looks like gray concrete, and though it doesn't have the usual ugly barbed and electrical wire fence (we have a guard posted at all times instead), it's not the prettiest thing to meet the eyes.   Once you get inside, though, it's a whole different story.  I've never seen the Real World, but I'm told the house looks a lot like a version of one of hte houses from that show.  I Google-imaged it, too, and it seems somewhat true.
It is thoroughly modern.  The inside still is mostly of varying shades of gray or white, but there are large, bright paintings on many walls, and lime green, yellow, and blue furniture.  All parts feel very open, and as it is situated at the base of the hill that peaks at Veritas, the rooms are at varying levels, with half staircases in between.  The ceiling over the entrance is really just a glass platform that leads from three of the dormitories  (including mine) to the half- stairwell up to the library, dartboard, and Oso's room, or down the half stairwell to the kitchen and a triple dorm that houses the two 3-month guys, Geoff and Justin. During the day the entire building besides the private rooms can be lit by the see-through roof, and the balcony door is left open so that a breeze cools the whole place a little.  There is a small TV area (can't call it a room, since it has no doors) with bright couches and cabinets and glass tables between the room I share with Sharifa and Cayla and the room where Rebecca Dos and Tristen stay.  It's the best place to catch internet, and there's almost always someone sitting here, talking, on the computer, playing the resident guitar, or watching one of the dollar bootleg movies with Spanish subtitles.  Each dorm has its own bathroom, and there are still 3 unoccupied rooms that have their own sitting areas, so we won't even feel cramped when 8 more students come for their early start summer session in June.  I can wish only two things, and those are that we had air conditioning in our room, and that our room was completely closed off (the wall doesn't touch the ceiling) so that it was a little more sound proof.  
I really am very happy with all of it.  It's convenient to have the CEA staff in the same building as me, though I miss having someone do my laundry for me.  We have recycling cans finally, and the mosquito problem that greeted us when we first moved in has been nearly irradicated (knock on wood!).  The people are all really interesting and friendly, and we live less than a slow 5 minute walk from class now, which means I can sleep past 7 and still shower and make breakfast. ...And I only have to make breakfast about half the days!  The other half the maids cook us delicious eggs things and gallo pinto or pancakes!  I discovered the beauty of guanabana (a super sweet white fruit) juice in coffee.  Mmm!!!
I think that is enough about that.  It was probably pretty boring. If you were skipping it, you can start reading again here, cause I'm just going to write a few quick note-bursts:
  I forgot to mention that Panamanian dragon flies are neon pink.
I think I also forgot to include that they use American money there!  They do!  I'd be interested to know why they were granted permission to do this, why they wanted to, and why they think they can give me change in the no-longer-accepted Panamanian coins when I paid with legitmate dollar bills.  Apparently there, if it's around the size of a quarter, it counts.  But I can't see that working when I get back to the States.
My teacher for Avanzado 1 (my class last month, I'm realizing now that it really was NOT a good class compared to everything else here!!!) got very confused when a girl said something like "We don't have those in America."  Central and South Americans don't differentiate between the two continents, technically.  Therefore this is America, too.  We are Estadounidenses.
There are 3 people in my new class!  We get sidetracked and talk in Spanish about Cuba or China or Harry Potter or boat-parts or asthma all the time!  Plus it runs on Tico time, so I can get there at 8:10 or 8:15 no problem.  I love it.
I have 15 meal tickets, worth 5 dollars each, left, which provided by CEA for us to use at local restaurants.  Tita also accepts them, and will cook for me if I warn her.  She tried to teach me to make Costa Rican spaghetti two weeks ago, and I plan to cook for her sometime this week.   Gotta have those delicious homecooked Costa Rican meals at least once a week!
PS I'm taking a cooking class once a week right now, so soon I'll be able to make my own delicious homecooked Costa Rican meals.  So far: coconut balls.  Tomorrow we're doing arroz con pollo, though, so we'll do real food, too!  Mmm!!!!
We're reading a Garcia Marquez short story right now that I like. 
The internet here is VERY patchy and thus annoying.  To anyone I try to Skype with, only to cut out on a minute later, I apologize.
Tomorrow=salsa/meringue dance class for the first time!  Get excited!

Okay, it is time to go meet someone for dinner before the restaurants all close.  It's only five, but since the main meal here is lunch, this is a real fear.  I can't wait for a casado.  
I'll come back and tell you about my week of big-group travelling soon :)
Hope all is well and you have your pirate spray!

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