Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Disclaimer: Here, just like everywhere else in the world, average days don't really exist. Plus a million little things are happening all the time. So, maybe these posts are under reporting what we do in a day, but they do provide a framework for what our days 'look like'.

Back to post:

Ah, Mondays.

Sandwiched between my favoritests Sundays and Tuesdays, are Mondays.

But they're not to shabby either.

Mondays we rise to clean up what's left from the night before and get ready for a day out of the house. You see, if you leave even a crumb laying around the house, the-march-of-the-ants will be sure to follow. And ants are the best thing you could hope for to help you clean up crumby messes...

On Mondays we are usually on the early bus heading to Turrialba, the closest thing we've got to a city. Turrialba has all the amenities we need; a gringo food store, a bank that will actually accept our debit cards, locations to pay cell bills, and restaurants that have menus, not just rice and beans and whatever else they have on hand. Mind you, the restaurants in Turrialba pretty much only serve rice and beans with something else, but at least the option of 'something else' is written down.

The bus to Turrialba takes about 45 minutes. The views of the land and lives around you are just amazing. You pass through nicer areas and poorer areas, fields of sugar cane, coffee plantations, and men carrying machetes. You can often see the Volcan Turrialba too, smoking from it's new crater!

We go to the gym in Turrialba on Monday mornings (we used to go twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays, to train for Chirripo, but now that our major trips are done we've moved it down to once a week.) Going to the gym, as silly as it sounds to do in such a beautiful country, is such a stress reliever and health inducer! A friend of ours(originally from Canada)'s husband owns the gym and is a trainer. Over the past few months he's worked with us to get our knees, ankles, and minds in shape for Chirripo. (He's also the gentlemen that donated many of the chickens we brought to Chirripo!) We're continuing to go for the health aspects, and knowing we may actually be heading back to Chirripo yet. (More on that in a later post.) We're usually at the gym for an hour and a half.

Monday afternoons we have Spanish class... Usually focusing on areas we found we were lacking-in over the weekend. For example, the past participle and conditional tenses were lacking in my sentence structures when discussing "if" situations with the female youth. "If you had a significant other that was abusive, who would you talk to?" (Because this is not the same question as "If you have a significant other that is abusive, who do you talk to?") We either meet our Spanish teacher in Turrialba and host the class in town or her house, or we take the bus to Tuis (1 hour) to have class at the Christian Immersion Spanish Academy (CISA). Classes are 3 hours long.

I have to say, learning another language isn't always easy.

On the way home we usually take advantage of the fact we are near a bus stop and near a store, so we grab groceries to resupply the items the weekend ran us out of. These are usually big trips if we're in Turrialba. After getting home and making/having dinner, we settle in to do some much needed admin work: plan for the week ahead, return e-mails and write new ones, update time sheets and budgets, write reports, draft blog, etc. You would not believe the quantity of time this stuff takes!!! Especially so when large projects are approaching (STMs, Chirripo trips, ladies retreat, etc.) Admin work needs to be done nearly everyday of the week, but Mondays are the days we try to block off a few hours to ensure we keep up on it.

We often also use our Monday nights to reconnect with those in the community we couldn't do so with over the weekend. Because in a relationship based country, if you don't maintain relationships the entire system breaks down.

A little more on that note...
Often people will just come over (this is not restricted to Mondays, or evenings, or really have any restrictions at all). CR is much different than Canada in the fact that you don't really need to give people notice when you're coming over... Nor do they give you notice! And visits are usually long; be sure to be ready to make coffee or a meal at all times. Just ask Laura and Liz how long and 'schedule disrupting' these drop-in visits can be, but I'm sure they'll tell you that the hours spent talking to the people lead to deepened relatinoships and a greater understanding of the culture and community than could be gathered any other way. So around these parts, plans are alway subject to change depending on someone showing up on your doorstep. We've all but dropped the Northerner American way of operation, and yielded to the culture here. This process hasn't been the smoothest, but it has been an amazing lesson.

The nearest bus stop to our house.

Da bus... Usually with funky music playing.

The communities on the way to Turrialba.

Smokin' Turrialba Volcano

Maxi Bodge = Walmart in disguise. It's were we get our goods.

Admin mode!

Keeping up with those back home.


Q&L said...

hi, this sentence "if you don't maintain relationships the entire system breaks down." ---I think that applies here too, especially when you have friends, family who are long distance, if you don't pick up the phone, take time to go see them, its very possible the relationship can break down, very true sentence. Altho I'm sure it applies in different ways in the CR. The sentence about drop-ins...I remember when I was young, living in the country, people would drop in, usually for coffee. Even now, my parents will call us the day that they are coming into the city, to let us know they are coming into the city. This leaves us scrambling to change or make plans last minute.
I think here in Canada or even moreso in the city-living, we expect people to be respectful of our boundaries and to be tolerant and mindful of our schedules. For instance, we might expect people to simply understand that we have a busy life and that's why we haven't hung out with them for a month.
Thanks for those points, and reminding me that they exist here too, if even in a different way.

Candice said...

Completely agreed!

Did you notice the last picture was a Skype call to our family back home? It's one way we try to maintain those relationships too. It's been hard, many people have made many sacrifices for this trip... both our families in Manitoba, and in Montreal.

Q&L said...

yep, that's cute, big family pic :)

ge said...