From June 1 through 17, 2013, I was in Atenas, Costa Rica with a group of students and professors from Ohio Dominican University. I had the opportunity to work at a bilingual school for the duration of the trip, as well as learn Spanish, stay with a host family, and visit the tourist sights. All of the following images were taken by me and are not allowed to be taken from this site. Enjoy!
Here is the whole group, minus Tony, our other “chaperone”, who took the picture of us, the ESL crowd. We are at the DC airport, and just waiting for our flight into San Jose, Costa Rica.
This is the view from the porch of our house in Costa Rica. There was a church that held prayer meetings there a few nights a week…and they played loud Spanish worship songs until 2 in the morning. (In retrospect, I wish my Spanish had been better. I might have gone to join them…)
Coming up the street, we can see the local Iglesia, the church. This was our meeting spot every morning as we waited for our taxi van to the school.
On our second Wednesday there, I got the morning off, because I wasn’t going to be helping with any English lessons, so I went to the internet cafe to do some work for school, and to check blogs, email, etc. Then, I had lunch at this cafe next door, which had the cutest tables! I had a frozen mocha drink and a spinach quiche.
Costa Rica is home to many beautiful views, which I wouldn’t mind waking up to every day. Maybe someday I will retire there!
We drove past this daycare center every day. I love the mural on the wall!
The first Monday, we spent the afternoon in San Jose, but since the Chinese president was in town, most of the streets were blocked off, and the restaurants weren’t able to get their shipments of food. So we ate at this Chinese restaurant.
San Jose has some beautiful architecture and statues from throughout its history.
Mercado Central – a famous place, similar in design to Columbus’s North Market, except of course, everyone speaks Spanish instead. I got some postcards and magnets here. I also had to avoid a whole section, because it smelled so much like meat. Ack!
A group of us outside Mercado Central. We are all so excited to start our work in Costa Rica.
Every Friday there is a farmer’s market in Atenas, where locals sell fruits, vegetables, yogurt, goods, etc. Here, a local chops up some Guanabana for us to try. It has the consistency of a pineapple, but tastes a little bit sweeter.
Recycled bottle animals! They were everywhere at the Recycled Bottle Zoo. This is where we had our cooking lesson on the second Tuesday evening.
This is Fabio’s (our dance instructor) mother. She is a gourmet chef, and gave us a cooking lesson. We made empanadas and dessert.
I’m grating coconut for the dessert.
My three empanadas – potato, bean, cheese – were so delicious!
A view from outside Manuel Antonio – our final weekend outing.
Lauren 3 and Emily F. riding the seesaw outside the hotel restaurant.
There are lots of plant and animal life in Costa Rica. I don’t know what all the plants are, but they sure are beautiful.
The entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park. We had to walk through a rainforest to get to the beach, but the water was so beautiful, and it was all worth it.
Here we are, enjoying a break outside one of the classrooms at Green Valley School in Atenas. Even having to wake up early every day, we still seem so happy to be there!
It rained almost every day there, this was just the first day, from the bus. Some days we even got caught outside in it.
Jaco Beach, Costa Rica – our first weekend excursion was just for the day, but it was so sunny and beautiful! The waves were crazy, so we mostly stayed at the pool. We also took a small shopping trip through town, and I took photos of signs, flowers, and little statues.
We took Spanish lessons at ATESA Spanish Academy, and we sat in these little pagodas for our lessons.
This is the national football stadium (football in CR = soccer in USA). The building, materials, and work was all donated to Costa Rica by the Chinese government. Reason unknown.
The best coffee in the world comes from Costa Rica. Everywhere else it pretty much sucks.
The most common teaching strategy was writing on the board, and having students copy it into their notebooks. This flies in the face of everything we learned in teacher school here in the US, but I’m not really in a position to make those kind of changes overseas.
Our daily schedule. It varied day-to-day, and each time a new class was offered, a new teacher came to the room. Not to worry about the students being left alone, each classroom had a teacher’s aide in the room to help out.
Lela, my host madre, made delicious empanadas and presadas for us!
Our dance class, where Fabio taught us to merengue and salsa!
Los professoros, newlyweds, dancing at the lesson!
Felix (our driver) and Javier (our tour guide)
Los professoros (Tony and Michelle) were so awesome, helping out wherever needed, and helping us to communicate with our hosts.
Me, Katie, Hillary, Amy, Megan, and Emily C.
Lolly, a green parakeet, was a friend to Stephanie, Emily C., and Lauren L.
Some random decorations and flowers from Baldi!
Baldi, in La Fortuna, is a hot springs located on a volcano. We had a day pass, and spent the day there. As you move from pool to pool from the bottom towards the top of the volcano the waters get hotter and hotter.
This is Indian Cane. The natives used this to make their skirts.
This is the volcano. It was very cloudy that day, so I couldn’t get a good view.
These are the only animals I ate while there. ; )
They came from the bakery down the street from our host family’s house. It was right next to the sports bar, where we got our internet!
This is the piñata factory down the street from the school. We got a chance to tour it.
The view from the corner of our street. Our house was at the end. I had to walk up this hill every day.
Ha! Pizza in Costa Rica! It was muy rico!
Outside the pinata factory:
Maricela, our Spanish teacher:
I got a certificate from completing my Spanish class!
This is the park at the center of Atenas. We met here every morning.
Outside Green Valley School:
Manuel Antonio National Park:
Our home in Costa Rica:
Thanks for sticking with me. I hope to update more in the future!