This past Saturday (two days ago) was the UWC Costa Rica graduation. The are some important traditional elements for the UWCCR graduation, two student speeches (one in English and one in Spanish); a speech by a teacher; and a male and female team to emcee the ceremony. The students vote and decide on all these roles. At the beginning of the month I was told that I had been selected to host the ceremony, along with my colleague Juan Diego. It is an honor to be selected by the students, so despite my nerves, I said yes. After practicing saying all the names as many times as I could in the three days leading up to the ceremony, I felt ready. The names were what I was most worried about, so hopefully the students felt I did a good job! It was fun to have a “job” to do at graduation and to be part of something that is so important to these young men and women. So thank you students for selecting me! During the whole ceremony I was trying to be aware of my face, I wanted to look happy as I didn’t want to be in the background of anyone’s pictures looking like a sourpuss or looking crazy. Unfortunately despite my best efforts, one of the student photographers (Blake Ashby) caught this: Luckily that picture is the worst one I’ve seen. The speaker had requested that no one cheer until all the names had been called, then after the first name there was cheering and she looked over at us like “really?!”. And my reaction was caught for all eternity. But I recovered, and got this nice picture with a student, with both our eyes closed. 😦 Not the best photography day for me!
On Saturday evening a small group of friends joined me at my favorite restaurant in Santa Ana, Al Tapas. Unfortunately, they weren’t having flamenco this past Saturday, but we had a fun time despite that. While getting ready to leave for the restaurant I was looking for a plastic bag for my friend Misty, so she could more easily carry some items I had given her. As I went through the pile of bags, I discovered a very unwelcome house guest. This is a tarantula and it was about the size of my palm. Misty, who is much braver than I, was able to get it into a bucket and take the unwanted guest into the garden. I hope, I pray, pray, pray, pray that it stays in the garden!
Today while leaving the campus I got a little treat.
My time here is coming to an end, but I feel fulfilled by the things I’ve done and especially by the people I’ve met. Costa Rica has been an interesting and at times frightening (see above tarantula photo) experience, but I am so glad I made the decision to give this place a try. Even though in the end it wasn’t the best fit for me, I’ve learned a lot about myself, met some amazing people and I don’t have any regrets. I will miss my students and friends of course, and probably the weather. I will miss all these yummy fresh foods each week at the feria: And I will miss delicious treats with Alex: