We left for Miami one week ago, but we have done so much that it feels like we’ve been here a lot longer. We were so blessed by our time in Miami at the LAM Office! We got a chance to meet so many people that we had been emailing for months. Their prayers, stories, and advice were so encouraging as we prepared to come to Costa Rica.
On Friday we arrived, weighed down with 2 checked bags and 2 carry-ons each. James says we have one big bag and one small bag per year 🙂 We hit the ground running, grabbing a quick lunch and then heading to our first staff meeting. After the meeting, we spent time with the family we are currently living with, Matt and Lisa Befus and their four daughters. The next day proved to be an adventure as we attended the day-long school fair. We were able to meet a lot of our future students and try some of the traditional Costa Rica food.
Later that day we made our first effort to find an apartment. That proved to be more of an adventure than we’d anticipated. Costa Rica has no street names or numbered buildings. No, it is not just that they have no street signs posted…they really don’t have names. So you can imagine how fun it is to try to get anywhere. Directions usually consist of “significant” landmarks. For example, one of the most common landmarks in Belén (where we currently live) is a very large tree…that was chopped down over 30 years ago. Awesome. Another good one is when someone tells you to turn right by the barking dog or the corner where all the men hang out. Too bad those markers exist AT EVERY INTERSECTION. Needless to say, we are thankful that no one is ever on time in this country because even if we tried to be, we would probably get lost.
On Monday we began teaching at the school. Our days start at 5:15 here, which hasn’t been as challenging as we thought. (Granted, we do go to bed before 9:00…) We wake up and get ready for the staff meeting at 6:15 and the students’ first class begins at 6:45. James taught his first science lecture to the 9th grade on Monday! From what I hear, he did an excellent job. I was able to meet the 2nd grade class that I will be working with and I definitely see why they needed an assistant. There are several challenging students who need one-on-one attention and I am glad that I will be able to give that to them. This week is the last normal week before the school break. Next week they will have Spiritual Emphasis week and we are excited to get to be a part of that.
We will then have 3 weeks off when James will be taking an intensive Spanish course and we will (hopefully!) be settling in to our new apartment and learning how to navigate the bus system.
We could use prayers for our transition in general, but we have a few specific request. First, that all of the preparation for Spiritual Emphasis week would go well and the students would be impacted by the various activities planned. Second, that we would be able to find an apartment relatively soon so that we can start to feel settled here. This has proven to be quite a challenge because of traffic. An apartment that is 15 minutes away by car could take over an hour by bus, so we have a pretty limited area in which we need to find place. Lastly, we ask for prayers that James will learn the language with ease and his eagerness to soak up everything he can would not fade.
Thank you for all those of you who are praying for us. Even amidst the challenges, we feel encouraged to know that you are with us in spirit.