Week 13: Writing To-Do Lists, but Still Living Life

Here I stand on the cusp of my final three weekly blogs…it’s odd how fast the time has flown while seeming to simultaneously drag its metaphoric feet through the mud in allowing so many activities to happen. Regardless, I am trying to make the most of the little time left here, but this week, I definitely felt more of the reason it’s called Study Away. Fortunately, I think the amount I got done this week will set me up nicely with some more free time to enjoy in the final two weeks. Without further explaining, I’ll let the accounts of the days speak for themselves:

Monday we began our fourth, and sadly final, module of classes through SOL. It’s a literature course with the professor we had for civilization and culture (also for history of cinema). After lunch, I posted the blog from last week and thought about doing something else for the afternoon. That’s when I decided taking a two-and-a-half hour nap was the best course of action for the day. (I was definitely glad for that choice as the rest of the week rolled by).

Tuesday after class and lunch, a group of us decided to go play indoor fútbol to burn off some energy. It was a really fun time to be with everyone and just enjoy the exercise. I didn’t score any goals, but I did block a few as goalie. : ) After that it was time to prepare a presentation and read some Spanish poetry for the next day. I also spent time talking with my advisor and playing with class times for registration the next day. I think I went to bed relatively early this night as well.

Our café guides
The many flavors of Costa Rican coffee

I began Wednesday morning nice and early to register at 7:00 for fall classes…which meant 6:00 registration with the time difference. I was able to get into all the classes I needed in very nice time slots, and it looks like I’ll have all my required classes met to graduate! (It’s crazy to think about how close this is beginning to feel.) In class on Wednesday, Professor Jaime asked if I’d like to begin the class presentations with my information on poet Juan Gelman—so that was kind of neat. After class, we had a SOL searching group lunch and discussed empowered language. The Interpersonal Communication major in me really appreciated the discussion and new techniques for breaking disadvantageous language habits and establishing more empowered new ones. Immediately afterwards we drove across Heredia to the Britt coffee processing center for a coffee tour. Our guides for the day were fantastic! Both of them were a delightful mix of knowledge the industry and comedy to keep attention rapt. From plays on words and smacking one another with their hats in mock anger to odd facial expressions and absolute ridiculousness all wrapped into exquisite showmanship, the time there was wonderful (it’s a job I could see myself doing something similar to in the future). I learned a lot…in addition to drinking who knows how many cups of coffee worth of flavor samples. The afternoon went into preparing a presentation for the next day and trying to check as many other things off the to-do list as possible.

It’s pretty clear to anyone who reads these blogs regularly that Thursdays for me are usually very full of class work…this one was even crazier. We have decided not to have class on the last Friday of this module so we can have our closing ceremony all day. What that means in terms of credit hour requirements is that we have to make up the time somewhere else…like a four-hour class on Thursday. This is a long time to try and maintain an attention span, and I definitely was slipping off near the end of our lengthy poetry discussion. Fortunately, lunch came right after to recharge the energy and give me time to finish my Nahuatl presentation. At 2:00, it was back off to class for history of cinema to watch Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing.” It’s a very compelling social commentary, and was poignant and disheartening how true this portrayal from the 80’s of racism and intracommunity difficulties still rings today. Something to ponder. A short break and a snack found me heading into my third class of the day. We had our final presentations to begin giving, and I had decided I’d watch a few to see what format the professor expected, then go ahead and get mine taken care of. Not three minutes after I walked in the room and sat down, the professor asked me if I’d care to go first…well…sure, why not? I was definitely feeling some nerves as I got up to give a 15-20 minute solo presentation in Spanish to a class of 34 native speakers and the professor holding my grade in the balance. But some two slides in, the nerves fortunately calmed down and the theater background took over. At the end, my professor was very complimentary and my classmates were very encouraging as I retook my seat. The next group was when I realized we were allowed to work in groups…not sure how I had missed that detail in the instructions for this project. Nevertheless, it went well and I’m done with everything but the final exam now. This closed out my very long Thursday ( 9 ½ hours of class!) and got me back home for dinner. Finally it was time for…homework. I read the rest of a short story, reviewed famous Latin American poets, and tried to read the first thirty pages of a novel before sleep overtook me.

Friday morning, we were scheduled to have our first test in class; but I think Jaime realized just how much we as a collective didn’t want to do that. We watched a movie basically scripted in poetry instead. It was quite interesting (and explicit) but the cinematography and imagery used throughout were genius. After class I wanted nothing more than to have lunch and just relax after the mentally trying week. Fortunately, I was able to just spend the afternoon alone in my room drawing, drifting in and out of naps, and watching videos online. It was definitely the mental break I needed. Spanish interaction has unquestionably gotten less taxing on my brain since being here, but I think Thursday was just a burning-out overdose on language and extroversion.

Saturday, I decided to wake up reasonably early (despite having the time to sleep in later) because the to-do list is getting longer and the time is getting shorter. I began with breakfast of a food I haven’t eaten before—pretty great that after four months there are still new things to try! Then I wrote and e-mailed in our literature quiz, entered a photo contest, sent pics of my time here to MO State, messaged the theatre group I’m now leader of for our earth day festival, sent a copy of my fall schedule to my advisor, made plans for next weekend with a Tico friend, took a college experience survey, and had lunch break. Then it was a quick trip to the store, a little time to relax and check up on the Facebook happenings, read a short-story for class next week, talk to mom, prepare the presentation for next week, watch Whose Line online, and write the blog up to this point. What a week it has been! I do feel really good about how productive today has been and it will be so nice to have as many things left on my to-do list as possible done before I get home to not have to worry about them.

Hangin’ out with Zoe (this has become quite typical) 🙂

Sunday felt quite active this week. We packed up and left the house a bit before 10:00 to go to a private outdoor recreation center for Josué’s Karate belt ceremony. Upon getting there, we passed time shooting casual basketball hoops before a lively scrimmage. Then was the ceremony, and it was really neat to be there for such an important event for my host brother (it made me think a lot of the ballgames, wrestling matches, dance recitals, theater productions, and such I’ve gotten to attend to support my siblings back home—I’m looking forward to being back with them.) Next event was a picnic-style lunch. Well, it was really more of a family-reunion-type affair with the way everyone was more of less just wondering through the tables sampling some of what each family had brought to share. I took a quick dip in the pool—quick mostly because it was freezing! We rounded up ten guys and had ourselves a friendly little fútbol match in the afternoon heat. I managed to score my team a goal and everything (today was a lot more sportsing than I’m normally accustomed to, haha)! After our match, the chilly pool was a great way to cool off before we headed home. After a refreshing shower, I took some time to rest and chill with our family dog, Zoe, before taking care of some e-mailing and a Skype meeting about MLS (which is rapidly approaching). The rest of the night goes into writing and publishing this and making as much headway as possible in my novel for class this week—it’s gonna be another full and exciting 7 days to come!

This week was the first one where I’ve really been hit with the reality that I’ll be leaving Costa Rica soon. It’s been something we joked about in our group all semester and playfully commanded one another not to talk about. Now that it’s almost a reality, it’s a ‘downer’ thing to ponder. But the melancholy is not solitary, as there is simultaneously extreme joy at the prospect of seeing my family and friends back home again very soon. Pranav, Karla, and I have discussed it more than once now, and she assures us it’s quite normal for students to feel this way. Regardless, it’s leaving me with a complex network of emotional dispositions to work through. I hope memories of this feeling will someday fuel my desire to return to Costa Rica. (My goodness, if this is the tone of my musings when there are still two weeks left, the emotional exposition of the final week is gonna be unreal.) Anyhow, as always, thank you for reading and keeping up with the happenings here. I hope you have a marvelous week ahead of you. Until next weekend, ¡Chao, ten cuidado!

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