Monday, November 5, 2007

Oh tired, oh life

"Fresh mozzerella"
"Goat cheese"
"Oh goat cheese, my current fave."
"I love goat cheese."

We rattled off the missing pieces of our lives on the half-hour walk home today. Cheese. This is what we talked about in the rain, amidst the whizzing motercycles, buses, cars, and taxis. We past the small smushed-together shops, the gas station, the spinning class that gets your pedals spinning so fast you'd think your feet would fall off. We zipped through intersections, trapsed over large puddles. San Jose is nearing the end of the rainy season here, but it's not always dreary. In the mornings, the sun greets us warmly, but come afternoon, the clouds settle in, and we tend to prolong our walks home in avoidance of the drear. We wait until dark. Smart, I know. Sorry, Dad. (Don't worry, I'm with friends. With our powers combined, no pickpocketer/mugger/murderer stands a chance.)

When we got home, our host mom had prepared an incredible meal, thoroughly luring us back into an awe and love of Costa Rican food. She'd made an eggplant dish with rice and black beans and served it with a chai-tea-like rice water drink. And then there's her high, enthusiastic voice, always encouraging, always generous.

Pretty consoling after my first day of teaching. My four adult students seeemed to already have somewhat learned the concepts of possessive adjectives and pronouns, which was very helpful. As English teachers, we're not actually allowed to teach during class. We are only allowed to speak English, a language that they do not yet know. So we have to "ellicit" everything from the students. This means asking them a bunch of questions until one of the students somehow presents the right answer from the clues we give, which are supposed to start vague and become increasingly obvious. My technique? I write the answer on the board, ask the question, and then point to the answer. They do pretty well that way. Who knows if they have understood the question, but there's always the hope that listening osmosis exists, and maybe throwing English words out into the air and onto the board is enough.

You do what you can.

Okay, I think I need to go study some more teaching techniques.

One more thing...

So I am realizing that in all this description of my Monday, I have skipped over Halloween night, which I was holding you in suspense about in my last post. Well, it wasn't exactly as memorable as trick or treating or dressing up as Bob Marley's wife for dance parties in college, but it was nice to explore the inside of a local "hot spot." We went to a little jazz bar near our house where this woman with short dark hair sang passionately about lost loves and future hopes. Every emotion, so raw. So real, but so unsettling. Maybe it was my thirst for the consoling that made me want to put on my own ipod. There was so much nose-crinkling, eye squinting and closing, and knee-bending. More of a heart spattering onto the stage than a performance. Oops, that's mean. But hey, it's my blog. I do what I want.

DISCLAIMER: All words written here are simply the musings of a traveller trying to gain a better grasp of the world. I've tried in the past to understand it all in one gulp, but that doesn't work too well, so just look at these words as reflections on one sip at a time.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

love your musings Jeanine!!! I love how you're being honest w/ yourself and your journey! That's really the place we all should be! It sounds wonderful... and I seriously agree that Costa Rican food is AMAZING! Gallo Pinto... mmmmm live it up chica!
~Ruth :-)