Week 14: Ya Casi (Already Almost)

How the days fly! Time for another blog…and nearly time to say farewell to Costa Rica. But thoughts of this need not put a damper on the stretch still available, and I’m definitely trying to make the most of the days remaining. Here’s how week 14 went:

Monday morning opened with an in-class discussion of some of the novels we’re reading before we moved into the theme for the week: the Latin American short-story. After class, I had thought of going to a park outside San Jose, but with the light drizzle and more clouds rolling in from the mountains, I decided to stay around the house and take care of some more of the to-do list. I also had planned to begin working on my costume for the theatre skit we’re doing next week at our Earth Day festival. I was just going to gather materials and get a rough idea done…but I ended up getting carried away and just constructing the whole thing. (Watch for pics of this at the festival this coming week.) As is almost habit now, a two-hour nap also made its way into the afternoon itinerary. A little more homework and dinner closed out a pretty chill evening.

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Teatro Nacional

We left class early on Tuesday to board a train to San Jose. We were headed to the national theater. However, the matinee we saw wasn’t a play or musical, it was a classical music showcase played by a string section with piano accompaniment. It was a neat experience; listening to the lovely production in such an elegant and historically significant building. The rest of the afternoon found me attempting to read more of my novel for class, more preparations for the fall, and again just having a relaxed afternoon.

Wednesday in class, I gave my presentation of Las Ruinas Circulares in the form of a clip-art illustrated power-point. Afterwards, we had our final SOL Searching meeting of the semester. It was a rather special one in that we had one of the SOL co-founders there with us to hear our experiences and talk about what options now available as alumni of SOL. It was neat to hear his vision of the program and his happiness with how it’s grown over the years of offering programs to students. I came home to rest a bit and study for a final the next day before heading to the train stop again to travel to San Jose. This time, we were on our way to visit an organization that works to lower the rate of prostitution in San Jose and offer options for leaving the industry, learning marketable skills, and facilitating new lifestyles for people seeking this. It was very interesting to hear their mentality about their work and how the organization is run, as well as talk with my SOL mates about their thoughts. Two of my biggest take-aways to ponder from the night were the importance of how an organization interacts internally and externally with the people it’s connected with, and the crucial balance between not only doing good things, but doing good things in an ethical and dignifying way. We received a lot of information, and it was a powerful evening that left me with many things to contemplate further.

We were scheduled Thursday to have another four-hour literature class…but fortunately due to an important lunch appointment. Profe decided three hours was sufficient. We had a meeting to debrief from the night before. This gave me more of a chance to express the experience, but also understand the thoughts and take-aways of others from the group and reflect on how I feel about the different facets of the night. After that, it was time for lunch and a power-study session for my final that afternoon. We watched a Billy Wilder film in History of Cinema, but I was studying amid watching the movie. Next was the real test of the day: a COM final in Spanish. Fortunately, it was a fairly short test, so the hour-and-a-half time limit was no problem, but it also means a smaller margin between percentages earned. We’ll see how the grade looks next week, but I feel like it went pretty well overall, and it felt like a personal accomplishment. I came home, had dinner, read more of my novel while chilling with Josué, made plans to go dancing…and fell asleep before 10:00. I remember Karla coming in and asking if I was ready for lights-out, I think I just muttered a half-awake ‘Sí’ and rolled over.

Friday morning found us presenting new information over the novels we’re working through—though not everyone ended up going. Anyhow, we also had a quiz in pairs over Latin American literature genre characteristics and some of the short-stories presented during the week. I was thinking of getting some more items off the list that afternoon, but ended up just doing one or two and taking a nap, playing a board game with Josué, relaxing, and going to bed early again.

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a sampling of San José street graffiti

Saturday morning was a leisurely time of waking up, having a fulfilling breakfast, making plans for the day with Pranav, taking care of more of the theatre group planning for Wednesday, a few more MLS requirements, writing the blog to this point, and generally enjoying the morning. That afternoon, a small group of us made our way to San José for a crafts and food fair of local products going on in the city. Afterwards, we took some time to walk around, just appreciating the city and the afternoon, and ended up in the market to look around and seek last-minute souvenirs for people back home. We came home to a waiting dinner, and I spent the rest of the night painting before an early bedtime.

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the iconic Heredia fortín

Sunday morning was another relaxing and slow start. I took a few more things off the ever-present to-do list and spent time with the family. That afternoon, I took a bus to Heredia Centro to do a solo walking tour, take a few photos of this beautiful city that has become another home, and paint in the park. I unintentionally attracted quite a bit of attention, and several children and parents stopped by to ask about what I was doing and watch a bit. About an hour in, a man came by and seemed particularly interested. He took a seat next to me and we began conversing about art he enjoys doing. Our small chat became a two-and-a-half hour full conversation of art, dreams, worldview, goals, interpersonal relations, indigenous culture in Costa Rica, international cooperation, and a variety of other topics. It was a very enjoyable exchange, and a neat reminder of my operational Spanish skills development that’s gone on during the time here. I headed back home a little before sundown to go to dinner with the family. We went to a restaurant famous for all the ways you can order a chicken, and split a massive family platter. It was amazing food, and we all came home satisfied, and ready to call it a night by 9:00.

It’s crazy to think this is the blog leading into my final week here. This Sunday was the last one I will pass in Costa Rica for the foreseeable future—and that’s very bittersweet. I’m so excited to see my family and friends back home…but that means leaving the ones here. I guess the goal now is to make the most of the final week here and know that I will carry the memories I’ve made here for many years to come. So here it goes, final week, make the most of it, and just realize how grateful I am for the past three-and-a-half months. Thanks for reading and following the winding down of my time here. Until next week, ¡Chao!

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