Una Cultura Diferente

Trip Start Aug 08, 2008
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Trip End Oct 12, 2008


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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Alli and I were under the impression that exams ended last week, and that this week we'd begin teaching in earnest. Apparently we were mistaken.
 
We arrived at the school at a quarter to eight, and found students taking tests in Ruth's classroom. So we waited fifteen minutes, but at eight, she still wasn't back, and the students were still testing. We found her in front of another building, and she told us that the exams wouldn't be over until nine.
 
Each of us had prepared a Powerpoint presentation, per the teacher's request, Alli on natural disasters and I on the four seasons. (Costa Rica only really has two seasons, "wet" and "dry," so I made a slideshow with facts and photos about what Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter are like in the U.S., in terms of weather, holidays, and popular seasonal activities.) Since I had my laptop with me, I was able to use the time to catch up on my blog entries from the weekend.
 
At nine, Ruth's students still hadn't arrived, and she didn't know where they were. By now I was getting just a trifle annoyed. I'd stayed up late the night before composing this presentation, and the teacher didn't even know whether the students were coming to class? She said something about exam times meaning weird schedules (her English isn't quite as good as Christian's, and sometimes I have a little trouble understanding her.) In the meantime, Christian had invited us to hang out in his classroom, so we took him up on that.  
 
I don't think he actually had a class today, but there were several students milling around the classroom anyway, and he got them involved in translating slang expressions with us. Alli played hangman with a group of kids, and Christian and I traded notes on how to accuse someone of screwing up (metiste la pata!) or kissing up (estas lavando el coco!), dismiss a song as "mushy," (pepiado) or say you're sick of it (lo me empacho), describe a high-five (choquela!), call someone a spoiled brat (carajillo malcriado), say that someone is bullshitting (estas bateando) and tell them to knock it off (no sea tan mamador!) and stop bugging you (no me joda!) He also taught me the difference between "probar" and "tratar"; both mean "try," but "probar" means to test or sample something (food, clothing, etc.) while "tratar" means "to attempt." For a linguistic nerd such as myself, it was heaven. 
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