Back to School Night, Birthday and Beach

Trip Start Jul 31, 2012
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Costa Rica  , San Jose,
Saturday, September 1, 2012

Wow, I can't believe that I have let two weeks pass without an entry! Just shows how busy and exhausted I have been by the end of the day. But I can say that I am looking forward to this coming week. It should be a little more mellow. As of now, it should be my first typical week back with no extra programs, meetings or extra stresses....hopefully! 

So time to catch you up on everything that has been happening these past two weeks. One big event that I have had was Back to School Night. This is a night that the parents come in and meet the teacher and then we give the parents a presentation about curriculum, classroom polices, and major things that are happening during the year. This was a big stress for me because it came after only 8 days of school. This means I had no idea of what I was doing and still had to put on a show for the parents making them believe I knew what I was doing. I was stressing about getting all the details perfect and was really nervous the night of but after I got to my classroom with my parents I had them doing an activity and finally calmed down and had a great evening. I had parents of 10 of my parents come. It was nice to get to meet them and get to know more about them. It was interesting listening to them introduce themselves and here where they have been or where they work. I have a parent that works for Cargill and actually travels to MN every once in a while, another works on or has a banana plantation for Chaquita Banana Company. Another works at the US embassy. Most have spent time living in other countries. It still blows my mind! But the night went smoothly, all the parents were very nice and supportive. It was a big relief when that night was over.

The rest of that week went smoothly. I spent the weekend relaxing and doing some school work. I have to say I am loving having a nice pool at my apartment. It is so nice on the weekends being able to go lay out for a couple hours and then get ready for my day. One of my other favorite weekend activities is going to the market on Saturday mornings. It is about a 20 minute walk to get there, all uphill, but it is a street lined with vendors with all fresh fruits and veggies. It is all so reasonably priced and it is all fresh! So much better than the stuff you get in the states. I have a picture of one weekends purchases. For less than $20 I got all those veggies, bought a hot breakfast and some fresh squeezed orange/pineapple juice! Gotta love that!

Last week at school was another crazy week. It was filled with more meetings learning all sorts of new things. We learned out to give a DRA reading test for all our students. Luckily this wasn't too much new information since I spent all of last year giving similar reading assessments. I also learned about our grade book program. Guess that means I better get my grade book figured out! I also spent the week worrying about my observation with my principal. For some reason I decided to schedule it on Friday so I had that hanging over my head all week. But it was a pretty simple lesson, nothing too crazy and extravagant. Just glad thats over! 

Last week also marked me turning a quarter century! Can't believe that I am 25! If my next 25 years can be as good as my first I will be one lucky girl! I spent my special day at school surround by students wishing me Happy Birthday everywhere I went, even students that weren't mine. They post all the daily birthdays on a white board at the entrance to the school. My students brought in gifts for me. One student listened the first day when I said that I REALLY like chocolates. I got a very nice box of chocolates from her. I also received an excellent pack of fancy post it notes and some really cute bracelets. During lunch my 5th grade team had a very yummy desert that they brought, complete with candles and we sat and had lunch together. Some of my students also brought in treats for us to have a little celebration. This included WAY too many sweets. We had 24 cupcakes and 24 large cookies, a large jug of apple juice and more candles. I made sure this was at the end of the day so I could send them out the door on their sugar high. After the kids were out the door I headed to the office because I was told there was something for me. To my surprise I walked in to see a huge flower arrangement and box of chocolates! Kevin had found a way to get flowers delivered to me at school. I don't even know where there is a flower shop around Escazu but somehow he figured it out! They are called birds of paradise flowers. He always know how to surprise me! After school I went out for dinner and drinks with some of the other teachers. Throughout the day I also received many emails and Facebook posts from people! Thanks for those! It is always nice to hear from people, especially on your birthday when you are so far from home. Overall I had a great day! I also got another chance to celebrate on Friday night. One of the teachers made a homemade ice cream cake for me! It was SOOOO yummy! I will have to make it when I get back to the states! Thanks to everyone who helped make my birthday so special!!

This weekend I took some time to really relax and get out of the city. This was something that was really important when I was in Taiwan as well. I needed to make sure that every couple weeks I was taking the time to get out of the city and explore and experience new things. I finally had the chance to do that this weekend. On Saturday morning a group of us hopped on a bus and headed to Jaco beach. This is a beach on the Pacific Ocean side that is only like 1.5 hours from San Jose. So it is really close and easy to get to. The bus only cost $4 each way so it is also really cheap! The beach was pretty nice. I feel like a beach snob after spending so much time in South East Asia where I was able to visit some of the nicest beaches in the world. Jaco was a pretty rocky beach and the waves were HUGE!!! I think I only ended up going in up to my hips. Any more than that and I would have been sucked in! But it was nice to get back to the ocean. It was a really sunny day which meant it was hot! I had to look really cool because I could tell I was getting enough sun so I had to whip out the umbrella and sit under that. I looked just about as cool as my dad does when he sits under his umbrella on the floatie at the cabin :) But it did save me from getting super burnt! Around 3:00 we then hopped back on the bus and headed back into the city. It was a nice escape and just what I needed to get me through the week. Next weekend I will get to get out of town again. More about that next week! 

This week also marked one month that I have been here in Costa Rica! It is crazy that it has been a month already. I feel truly blessed that I have been given the chance to live here. Parts have definitely been hard but I am learning to adjust. Besides missing friends and family it is hard missing out on big events back home. I have already missed out on a couple weddings and also the birth on Baby Adison, Brit and Bill's baby! Luckily for the internet I have been able to see plenty of pictures but it is always hard not being their for those major milestones! But I know that is just part of living the life of someone working abroad. But know that I miss you all and all your support means the world to me! Love you all! 


Hasta Luego! 

-Ashley
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