Sunday, September 7, 2008

First Week in Samara

Sunday, I took the bus from San Jose to Playa Samara. It was about a five-hour bus ride with all the stops and cost about $7. Samara is on the Pacific Coast. It is a really, really small town. The school is right on the beach. It is a little warmer here than in Heredia/San Jose. I arrived about about 6:00pm and went for a tour of the town. It didn't take very long.

The house and family here are quite different than in Heredia. For starters, they are younger than me. They have a girl that is about 7 or 8 and a 1-year-old son. The little girl gave me a distinct dirty look when I arrived. When I got to my room, I figured out why. My room looks like a kid's room with the decor and linens and I think it's hers. Since there is only one other bedroom in the house, I think all four of them are sleeping in it. The house is basically a little more than a beach hut with a tin roof. The walls only come up about 6-6.5 feet. Above that, there is either latticework or nothing. It's quite a bit noisier than in Heredia. You know how you can hear muffled sounds in another room, well here the noise from the living room and the bathroom come in crystal clear. The rain on the tin roof (bare tin over the shower, a ceiling over the rest of the room) also makes for a lot of noise. I've learned to sleep with earplugs. I have my own shower, but the toilet is in another room and the sink is in the kitchen. The shower is basically a pipe overhead and only has cold water.

This is about as different of a living situation as possible from the way I live in the states. I think I have acclimated to the noise and he "rustic" living conditions. They warned us about these things in Heredia. But the family is not quite as engaging as the family in Heredia. The family in Heredia was always greeting me, asking me questions, and correcting my Spanish as I replied. I'm not getting as much of that here. I'm going to talk to the people at the school about it this week when I extend my classes.

There were three people in my class this week. Two Americans and one Swiss. The classes are getting quite challenging. This past week we started on reflexive verbs and imperativo. I thought my head was going to explode. It's mentally draining. It seems like I've always struggled harder to learn new information and concepts than my peers. However, I'm better at remembering stuff over the long haul. I think it's called hard headedness (is that a word?). Not sure that's a word. It's hard to get information in, but once it's in, it tends to stay there. A perfect example of this is with my GRE scores, which I just got back. I scored a 680 in the math section, which translates to being in the 67th percentile of people taking the test (people wanting to go to graduate school). The math section consists mostly of algebra, geometry, and statistics. I think this is a pretty decent score, considering that I had last taken algebra in college 15 years ago and geometry in high school 19 years ago - and made mostly "C's".

I played soccer for the first time on Friday afternoon. It was three on three beach soccer. The teams were divided into Swiss and non-Swiss. There are a lot of people from Switzerland here. We got our asses handed to us. They play and watch a lot of soccer. To them it's a real sport.
Prices here are more expensive than in Heredia. Lunch is costing about $7. A beer at a bar is about $2. A cab ride in town is about $2, although that always going to be a short ride because of the size of this place. I've only taken a cab once because it was raining really hard. It rains quite a bit here. On Thursday it started raining and didn't stop until Friday afternoon. It got pretty bad with the back up. The roads were getting hard to navigate and the sinks and toilets were struggling to drain. They blame the hurricanes. I'm not sure how hurricanes in the Atlantic and the Gulf cause downpours on the Pacific, but that's the word down here. The weekend was nice though. It's been sunny all day today (Sunday).


Dan H. said...

Jay, really enjoying reading your posts. Embrace the usual - you can always be "comfortable" when you come back to the states. And see if you can't get them to play a little "beach baseball" or football. We'll see how good the Swiss are then...

Shaun said...

"They play and watch a lot of soccer. To them it's a real sport. "

I'm enjoying your updates...thanks. Good luck with learning Spanish.

Ozzy Nelson said...

Loving it man. We missed you at seminar. May I request pictures with you in the scenery?

Andrew said...

Jay, first blog I've ever read and I actually really enjoy it (although I'm very jealous)! I understand your struggle with spanish. Two phrases which helped me a lot were "Es que" and "Pues". They are good ways to start sentences. Of course, I learned my spanish in Spain and I know South/Central Americans thinks the Spanish talk like fairies so take that into consideration. Also, isn't Joder the best word ever?

Jay G said...

Ozzy - I know you miss seeing my face every day. I will get my camera out and take some pics with me in them.

Andy - Thanks for the tip. Haven´t been taught Joder yet. I will ask my teacher what it means. Yeah, if you come around here speaking with a Castillian lisp and using the vosotros form, you'd probably get your ass kicked.