Day 25 [June 30] – My birthday was wonderful. I went to school, as per usual, and my teacher was acting very strange. She kept leaving the room and coming back with a grin on her face. Eventually, it was time for our cafe or tea and in the kitchen was a CAKE! It was so beautiful, the top had four sections of different fruits: mango, apple, strawberry, and grape. They all sang Happy Birthday to me and we had the scrumptious cake. Later that day we went to Casa San Lazaro to visit our internship site again… It made me very nervous for the following week… Later, for dinner we had my favorite: Canadian Bacon & Pineapple pizza! Coke-a-cola! and CAKE! It was a homemade chocolate cake, and it was delicious. I was sad to not be home with my family for my birthday, but all of the people around me made it wonderful still.
Day 26 [July 1] – This weekend Sam and I decided to stay in San Jose because we start our internship/community service experience on Monday and we didn’t want to be worn out on Monday, and traveling usually makes us very tired. So, today I went out to celebrate my birthday with my host brother Brian, his friend Alejandro, and my very good friend Kati.
Day 27 [July 2] & Day 28 [July 3] – This weekend we went to Volcan Irazu for a day trip Saturday. We wanted to stay close to San Jose because we start official full days at C.S.L. on Monday! The Volcan was interesting and a nice day trip.
Day 29 [July 4] – I was very sad to not be in the U.S. today. I love the 4th of July… Today we had our first “official” day at Casa San Lazaro. It was stressful. This week I am spending time getting to know the children, what conditions they live in, the population, etc. This town makes me so sad. The living conditions are rather poor, yet the children are still so upbeat. It’s amazing to me that they can still smile everyday.
Day 30 [July 5] – We took the children on a paseo [trip] to the University of Costa Rica’s farm. I’m not sure why this location was picked, but the children enjoyed it. Today we took the small children. On the bus ride there we had to continuously tell them to sit down in their seat [both ways]. The University’s staff had programming for the children and they really seemed to like it. It was a nice day outside too so I think that helped.
Day 31 [July 6] – Today we took our second trip to the University’s farm with the older children. It was a little more organized and not as stressful as yesterday. The older children are also a little less wild than the younger, so there wasn’t as much running around.
Day 32 [July 7] – Today we worked at Casa San Lazaro until 3, then we went to Teatro Nacional to see a show. The concert was lovely, it was a band composed of a flute and/or saxophone, piano, and drums. It is such a beautiful building… I couldn’t stop looking around during the concert at the big room and all of the things there are on the walls.
Day 33 [July 8] – Today we had Spanish class. It was weird to go back to school after working with the children all week…
Day 34 [July 9] & Day 35 [ July 10] – This weekend I hung out with the family and stuck around San Jose for most of the weekend. I enjoy exploring the city. It’s so nice that there’s always something to do here…
Day 36 [July 11] – Today we had our first “official” workshop. It was about feelings. We had the children play an ice breaker game then they made a collage of feelings & facial expressions or things that make them feel happy/sad/angry/etc. I thought it was a fun activity to start up the workshop series.
Day 37 [July 12] – The workshop theme today was Self-Esteem. We discussed what self-esteem is and what it means. Then we painted their hands/made pictures with positive and negative attributes that they have. The children enjoyed painting a lot, I don’t think they get to do it often.
Day 38 [July 13] – For my workshop today, I told the children the story of Franklin Chang-Diaz, the first Costa Rican astronaut. Afterwards I had them make lists of their dream occupations and what they want to be when they grow up. The purpose of the workshop today was the discussion after they made their lists about how to accomplish their goals. We stressed the importance of staying in school and getting good grades. In this area school is a huge deal because it can change their entire future.
Day 39 [July 14] – Today we took the children to CIME to watch a video about violence. I honestly think the children were just excited to get out of Rio Azul. They came in and some said, “Que rico!” and other phrases like that. They thought school was so fancy. While they watched the video they got popcorn and such. After they broke off into groups and took magazines and made collages about violence. Then we had pizza AND soda for lunch. The children were so excited for pizza. It broke my heart a little to see something so small make them so happy.
Day 40 [July 15] – I had school today, which seems arbitrary in comparison to my internship now. I enjoy it so much, I would much rather be there than in class practicing the subjunctive tense and other nonsense… but I did come to learn Spanish, so I guess it’s okay.
Day 41 [July 16] & Day 42 [July 17]: This weekend we went to La Fortuna to see Volcan Arenal and enjoy the hot springs. It was a cute little town and the springs were amazing. We went to Baldi Resort and Spa for the springs.
Day 43 [July 18] – The theme of the day was hope. I read the children the story of Martin Luther King Jr. (basically the highlights that we learn in school in the U.S.) and then had the children draw their hopes and dreams for the world, their city, etc. We also sang a song, “Color Esperanza” and the children absolutely loved it. This group was younger than the ones before, and I think that’s why they enjoyed singing so much.
Day 44 [July 19] – Today I had two workshops – one with the younger kids in the morning and one in the afternoon with the older kids. For the younger children I had them write/draw things about themselves: name, house, age, what they like, goals, etc. In the afternoon the older children did a workshop about sexual abuse: what it is, their right to say no, what to do if it happens, etc.
Day 45 [July 20] – Today’s theme was the future. I had the children draw two self portraits – One of them today (with their favorite things, family, etc.) and one of them in 20 years (with their occupation, things they want to have, etc.). It was a very successful workshop and the children enjoyed talking about what they want to be when they grow up.
After C.S.L. Sam and I went downtown to look for souvenirs. It was fun for both of us. I finished up most of my shopping for my friends back home.
Day 46 [July 21] – Sam and I went to the Museo Nacional this morning. We didn’t have to be to C.S.L. until noon, and we didn’t want to waste the morning, so we [finally] went the museum! It was lovely. I will post my pictures soon… I hope.
Today was also the end of my internship. We had a workshop for the kids about emotions again. We felt that ending with the same topic we started with would be a good idea for the children, to add a sense of closure. It was very sad and hard for me to leave. The activity was to trace the children on large pieces of paper and they were to fill themselves in with colors that represent their emotions and such. The children loved it. While they painted Sam and I were just doodling and ended up drawing (combined) 6 or 7 drawings that some children took home. All in all it was a nice way to end the project. I was sent off with many well wishes by the staff at Casa San Lazaro and by Laura. The bus ride home was joyful because it was nice outside and it almost felt like a Friday afternoon… you know the feeling I’m sure.
After we went home and changed, Sam and I met up with Jose for our “surprise.” We ended up going to a lovely Italian restaurant that had a view of the mountains. They were beautiful when it was dark, the little lights reminded me of Duluth a bit, except they were a little more spread out. Jose also invited a special guest to our dinner – my old Spanish Professor Hilda! She was my Spanish Professor during my sophomore year at UWS. It was nice to catch up with her and actually be able to speak Spanish with her, unlike two years ago when I wasn’t as good.
Day 47 [July 22] – Today was my last day at CIME! We had our usual class from 8 am – Noon. After that I went to the movies with my good friend Kati – we finally got to see Harry Potter! It was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. Tonight I have to pack up some of my stuff before I leave for the weekend with Sam. We are heading over to Montezuma in the gulf! Our last weekend at the beach!