Sunday, November 2, 2008

Leaving Samara

Everyone has an exam on Friday to measure our progress. Yet they tell us not to worry about it. They actually encourage us to go out on Thursday night by giving us tickets for free drinks at Bar Olas. So everyone is usually hungover on Friday for the test. Seems kind of counter productive. There is also a gradation where the students finishing classes are recognized.The male to female ratios in bars is a bit lopsided. Locals seem to run about 80% men and about 20% women. The tourists run about 60% women and 40% men. The local women stay home and the men go out and dance with and hit on the foreign women. They're a little old school here. A local bar not frequented by tourists is even more lopsided. This is more of a small town thing. In San Jose, women go out to bars and the ratio seems to be about even.

I'm going to miss Samara, but I'm really ready for a break from classes and to get to the next phase of my trip. I'm a bit burned out on classes. Eleven weeks is a long time to be constantly inundated. If I had it to do over, I would have taken one or two one-week breaks in the middle to let my brain rest.

The addresses here, as well as in the rest of country, are kind of funny. Landmarks and directions are used in lieu of street names and numbers. I don't even think street numbers exist. For example, the address of my family in Heredia was “200 Meters West of the Plaza Fatima, Heredia, Costa Rica, Central America”. The address of my family in Samara was “Road to Congrejal, First Entrance After the Bridge, 150 Meters to the Right, Samara, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, Central America”. So if you wanted to mail me a letter, that is how you would address it. (don't send me a letter because I'll be long gone by the time it gets here). It could be one of the reasons my absentee ballot never made it down here.

To date, my absentee ballot has not arrived. I requested it before I left. It know it left Nashville in late September. The trail goes cold after that. I knew that the Davidson County Election Commission and the Central American postal service both working smoothly was going to be iffy at best. The time has long since passed that we should be able to vote by the internet. If the internet is secure enough for banking transactions, it should be secure enough for voting.
The Spanish is improving. The old saying “The more you learn, the less you know” definitely applies to learning a new language. There are still a few subjunctive verb tenses I need to learn, and my vocabulary could improve, but I have the basics down and what I really need to do now is to practice. You just have to throw yourself out there and not worry about getting it exactly right. I can get my point across in many situations, even though I may not be speaking perfectly. For example, a phrase I hear often from people whose native language isn't English is “Yesterday Night”. It's not proper English, but I know what they mean. I probably say a lot of things like that when I speak Spanish. You really just need to talk and have someone around to correct you.

I'm spending one night in San Jose and will leave tomorrow to go to Manuel Antonio. I'm looking forward to Heather, Jason, and Jen coming down. I hope their trip down here is smoother than the one my absentee ballot experienced. Although they are catching a 6:00 am flight the morning after a Widespread Panic concert.


mcstitcher said...

Good luck on the test! Can't wait to see what adventures await on the next phase of your journey.
Mary C.

Ozzy Nelson said...

Maybe the ratios will be better at your next destination. I guess the concept of "ladies night" hasn't caught on down there.

Ozzy Nelson said...

I like the new header pic. Is this a shot of the man of mystery dodging falling coconuts?