The afternoon/evening rain showers here are nothing to joke about. I have experienced thunder and lightning nearly every afternoon/evening since I arrived (and un-related but still fun, two earthquakes). The rain is serious business as well. Being a born and bred Oregonian I pride myself on being comfortable in the rain. Umbrella? Only for non-Oregonians!
But, here in Costa Rica I have changed my ways. I forgot to take my umbrella to work one day last week and I was devastated. It was absolutely pouring and I had important electronics with me. Luckily one of my co-workers was able to give me a ride (thanks Bernardo)! Phew! I hope to never make that mistake again. And I hope to find some cute rain boots soon.
We are well into the first month of school and I am starting to get my schedule figured out. Not only are there classes, but we have tutorials (office hours), tutor group activities, whole-campus meetings, staff meetings and other activities. There is almost always something happening on campus.
This week was a particularly busy week. Costa Ricans (and other Central American countries) celebrate their independence this week. The celebrations in the community started on Sunday with a torch lighting (local students ran a torch to symbolize how Central American countries were told of their independence through the province) and then lit the final flame at the local school. This was followed by a parade of children with lanterns through the streets of Santa Ana.
Monday was the Independence Day parade and United World College Costa Rica was invited to participate. Since only a few of our students are Costa Rican, the school shows off the national flags and national costumes of the many countries represented at the college. I took the opportunity to join the German students by wearing my dirndl in honor of my German heritage, small though it is.
The College students were fantastic. They really embraced the day taking photos with each other and even with some of the local school children and Costa Rican families. It was a fun event and really lovely to see all the community out together. It was such a contrast to what I experienced during National Day celebrations in the UAE. It is hard to explain, maybe someday I will be able to do so, but for now all I can say is that this felt more real, more authentic.
The day was topped off by a tea for my friends at my new apartment. While shopping over the weekend I discovered a pre-packaged cake mix that was gluten free so I was very excited to try it. It is called tamal asado con coco and is a popular Costa Rican treat. I decided to make it and invite some co-workers who live in town to try it, sip some tea and relax on our first holiday. I think my co-workers enjoyed it and I really enjoyed their company and entertaining.