Monday, September 10, 2012

¡Un Mes!

It has been one month from today since I boarded the plane to Costa Rica to begin my year long mission and adventure.  I can surely say that it feels like I just got here.  It has been a couple of weeks since my last blog post so bear with me as I try to catch you up with what has happened.

First,  two weeks ago I decided to take some spanish classes at the Costa Rica Spanish Institute (COSI) because I sorely needed to brush up on my spanish skills.  Every morning I was in a one on one session for four hours drilling grammar and vocabulary into my brain.  By the time I walked out of class for the day my brain had turned into mush and it was only 12pm!  But I can see the dividends being paid off.  I am slowly but surely becoming more comfortable with it and starting to think in spanish more often now.  The afternoons were spent going through and writing e-mails, except one afternoon I decided to take a field trip with another American student to downtown San José.  We went to the National Museum which was very interesting and intriguing.  It is located in the old military fortress (Costa Rica has not had a military since 1948!).  Afterwards we went to the central market which is all about selling souvenirs to tourists.  Since I am the most gringo looking person I know, I was asked to come into every vender to check out all of the goods that would have been offered to me at a "special price."  Needless to say, I did not come out with anything (at least this time).

As mentioned in a previous blog, a few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to go to Tamarindo to help Father Pedro Méndez with the opening of St. Paul's by the Sea.  Well the big fella upstairs really likes me because I am now back in Tamarindo for the rest of the month until we open St. Paul's.  We are having a welcoming cocktail reception on the 22nd and our opening service will be on the 23rd.

This will be the location of St. Paul's By the Sea

So, last Wednesday I woke up at 5:30am (I am not a morning person) to catch the bus to Tamarindo.  During the 6 1/2 bus ride I was able to get some shut eye, but there is not much space on those buses so I was pretty cramped.  Well, after one stint of napping I woke up and checked my emails.  I saw that I had about 10 emails with the subject "Are You OK?" (something to that sort).  As it turned out (which a lot of you have heard by now) we had a 7.6 earthquake just off the pacific coast.  Well I guess it was the fact that I was on a rumbling bus or that I can sleep just about anywhere or through just about anything, but I did not feel a thing.  Actually I had no idea there was even an earthquake until I checked my emails.  But fortunately, Costa Rican engineers built the infrastructure with earthquakes in mind so there was not a lot of damage around the country.  I was able to contact my parents and the diocesan office in San José to let them know that I was alright.  As far as I know there was no damage to any of the Diocesan churches or buildings!  Thank you all for checking in and for the prayers.

I was picked up by Pedro and moved in with his family. Pedro, Norma (his wife), and their two little kids (Maria José and Daniel) are extremely nice and very welcoming.  They have made me feel right at home and I am very appreciative of them.  Pedro and I have been going around town meeting with business owners and locals to let them know about our new church and to welcome them to our opening reception and to join us for worship.  It is a new experience for me and one that I am still becoming comfortable with, but one that I know will be very rewarding.  There is still much to be done before the opening so these next couple of weeks will be busy.

Pedro, Norma, Maria José, and Daniel

Saturday was a nice day of relaxation in which I went with Pedro and his family to Playa Conchal.  HOLY COW is that a nice beach!  Just think of a pristine tropical beach with clear blue water and white sand and you have Playa Conchal. Actually, just look at the picture below.  We got to spend a great day playing in the water and checking out the howler monkeys that were hanging out in the trees right by the beach.  It was tropical paradise (except for the nice sunburn that I received on my shoulders)!  Yesterday was El Dia de Niños so Pedro and Norma took Maria José and Daniel to Liberia (the capitol of Guanacaste region) to celebrate.  So what did I do? The most American thing I could think some FOOTBALL.  I was able to catch my Jets beat up on the Bills, so I was in a good mood for the rest of the day.  Last night I went into town (Pedro lives about a 10 min drive from Tamarindo) to do more American things, a.k.a. watch more football and eat a delicious cheeseburger.  It was nice to hang out and chat with some locals.

Told you that this is tropical paradise.
At Playa Conchal

Everyday I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to come to Costa Rica and to do great things.  It is such a blessing and I know that I will hit many bumps in the road, but I look forward to taking them on head first! As for now, I am continuing my work and to enjoy being in such a beautiful place.

Pura Vida