EWH Summer 2011 - Central America Blog
Today was a day of mixed emotions. I am entering in the third week of my stay here in Costa Rica and it is everything Gladys informed us about this morning before Spanish class. This morning, I tried to wake up early enough to practice my speech over an incubator (all in spanish) and finish the homework I failed to complete last night. I was able to read my speech a couple of times this morning but I was definitely not going to be able to wake up at 5:30 am like I had set my alarm clock to do. After a full night of Salsa dancing, I was ready to SLEEP IN! I didn't have the drive like I usually do to get up this morning and get my day started. I do believe that was hint numero uno. On the bus, I could feel my nerves getting worked up about this presentation that was honestly not that big of a deal. It was going to be in front of my classmates and my teacher but for some reason, I felt like it was in front of a crowd of all spanish teachers grading my performance. I guess you can say I was really harsh on myself today but I have been lately. I came here with high expectations to learn spanish as much as possible, as quickly as possible and become at least on my way to making loads of sense.
I get to school and the first thing I do is go straight to the classroom and just practice my memorization of this presentation. I can tell you now, it was not completely memorized! A few minutes before class, Gladys calls everyone to the main area to talk to us. We start talking about culture shock and the roughness of the third week. She was very welcoming and has always been but as soon as we begin talking about our families and contacting them and not feeling bad, my heart sank. I felt like I was going to just crying. Of course, I held it in but it was obvious the symptoms I've been experiencing lately is home-sickness. Don't get me wrong, I love it here! I love to travel and be around all these people PLUS do engineering and learning new things, but I've been getting so frustrated with myself.
The speech went okay (from what I remember). I do believe I just went with it and did the best I could :). The past few Spanish classes have been very rough. I feel so lost sometimes or just frustrated that I keep thinking in French and speaking in French but clearly I need to be speaking and translating in Spanish. Leah, my partner, has been really helpful with everything. Last night, she went through my speech with me and corrected my pronunciation with everything. Already we've become really close and I am very blessed to have her as my partner. She lets me rough it out but that's how we learn right?!
Today during break I finally caved in and teared up.  It was bound to happen! HAHAH. I can laugh about it now because of how hard I worked to keep them in during class. The second half of class went a lot smoother and my spirits picked up tremendously. I asked my Spanish teacher if we could meet to go over a rough section we've been learning in class but one-on-one and we are meeting tomorrow morning at 7:30 am. The teachers are really helpful and are patient with everyone so it was very easy for me to ask for outside help.
Lecture seemed so much longer today than usual, but it was pouring outside and storms usually put me to sleep. We learned about microscopes, autoclaves, centrifuges, blood bank refrigerator  and other instruments you would generally see in a lab. We didn't have a quiz today because J.J. thought he assigned another section of homework last night, so we kind of lucked out ;)
For our lab today, Liz and I were going to have to go shopping for a laptop battery charger in the city of Costa Rica. It was pouring outside and we were given a choice to shop for it another day (just as long as we purchased it before Thursday's lab) but we figured since it rains everyday and we are used to walking around in wet shoes, today shouldn't be any different. We first started walking around with 2 other pairs but then split up after the mall. We went into about 3 stores in the mall and 2 on the way there. Since we are both in the beginner class (this was done on purpose by the way) we had to muster up all of the spanish knowledge we had to buy a charger within the budget we were given. It was tough at first and some of the store assistant's first reaction was to not watch us struggle and speak in English. but with one of the stores in the mall, I said I was going to try to speak only in Spanish and he understood, apologized and began helping us again. We couldn't find one that was in our budget BUT we were able to obtain directions to 2 other possible stores. We had to get on our bus going home to get to the other store recommended which requires us to practice asking the bus driver if he stops at the stop nearby AND if he could take us there. We got off at the correct stop but unfortunately never found the store. We went into a mall, a few other stores, walked in a residential area, and ran across traffic like frogger BUT IT WAS THE MOST FUN I HAD ALL DAY. I did some praying this afternoon and it did help a lot :).
So how do I feel now? A little frustrated, a little relieved, a little anxious for the next two weeks, and very much blessed to be here. It's hard to swallow sometimes all the changes happening but at the end of the day, I am surrounding by people who just want to be here as much as I do, feeling the same feelings, and are trying to accomplish the same goal. I have to remember, by nature, being an engineer comes with being very competitive.

4/16/2012 03:51:25 pm

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