Your Costa Rica Resource

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Brief Reflection

So I'm currently sitting, waiting for my flight to board here in the San Jose Airport. That's right, I'm heading home to the states for the first time since I arrived in August, and I definitely feel like I'm taking a break from my life to visit family and friends for a short time rather than "going home" in the middle of my year long "vacation" here in Costa Rica. Basically what I'm saying is that in my 4 or so months here, I've begun to consider Costa Rica my home - not just some exotic location where I've decided to travel, study or work abroad. I'm settled in my home, I'm comfortable with my job, and I will be looking forward to returning after 3 weeks of Christmas vacations in the US. I think these feelings are not only comforting for me, but necessary. And not just for me, I believe that just about anyone who decides to uproot (although having just graduated college in May, I suppose I didn't have an extensive root system in place) and move abroad for anytime that could be considered longer than a vacation needs to feel like they belong where they've transplanted themselves - so that they are comfortable, so that they feel stable. To feel like you're caught in some sort of perpetual transitory state would disallow, in my opinion, the ability to fully take advantage of the country, city, and/or culture that you are trying to enjoy. Either way, I think what I'm trying to say is that here as I'm on the cusp of returning, if only for a small period of time, to the life that I voluntarily left, not out of discontent for the past and present, but rather for the anticipation and excitement of experiencing the future, I find it opportunistic to reflect on my last 4 months and, more than anything, thank the people I've known and loved and also those I've just met, who have made me feel comfortable and confident leaving and welcome in a new country, in a new home, in a new life. So i suppose that's it. Thank you, and I look forward to returning, to continuing this experience, and to figuring out who and what will direct me to where I'm going next.

That being said, to all the readers out there, both new and returning, you can anticipate perhaps one or two entries over the next few weeks, but mostly expect this blog to pick back up in January. You should all know, however, that we are far more effective of a resource when you, our readers, write us, comment, and ask questions. Tell us what your concerns are, ask us your questions (as complicated, personal, or perhaps basic and general as you would like). It's readership and interaction on your part that keeps us motivated and the blog relevant.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Looking for English Professors!

Are you currently living in Costa Rica and looking for a job as an ESL teacher? The school that I'm currently working for, Butler Academy, is interviewing and hiring teachers who are already in Costa Rica and would like to teach starting January 8th. The school offers a highly competitive hourly pay-rate with the added bonus of not having to travel off-site to teach lessons (all classes are taught at the school in Heredia). All of the students here are highly motivated, have a high-intermediate or advanced level of English, and are studying the language to find work doing customer service and in Call Centers.

If you would like to apply, please send your resume and a brief introduction to .

Also, if you are planning to come down to Costa Rica in early January and are hoping to find a job teaching, it wouldn't hurt to send your resume to the same email address. Please make sure to write in the email when you are planning to arrive.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Shopping Q & A

Questions and Answers on Shopping: "Can you find what you need, or are some things tough to locate?" For the most part, if you are looking for general items you can find what you need. If you shop at grocery stores like Auto Mercado and superstores like Hiper-Mas, then you won't have any problems finding most grocery items from the states. There are some things that are difficult to locate, especially if you are picky about hygiene items, such as certain brands of body wash, shampoo, feminine products, etc. For example, I've made a list of things to buy in the states over Christmas, including contact solution (very expensive here), Febreeze, 'Shout' pre-treater, binder clips, and a refill for my Sonicare toothbrush. Everything else, I've been able to find and it has been decently priced. If you have questions about specific items, I can try to help you out with that, too.

"Anything you wish you'd brought with you, rather than try to buy in CR?" If you have a good umbrella, bring it. Rainy season is the worst without a solid umbrella, and they go for quite a pretty penny down here. Also, like noted above, bring extra contact solution. Besides that, the only things I can think of are electronics. Bring any televisions, small appliances, computers, cameras, printers, etc. that you'll want. They are MUCH more expensive down here. If you don't want to lug some of those bigger pieces down, then I would keep an eye on Craig's List CR and classifieds in the newspapers that might list some used items that are up for sale.

"Difficulties due to language differences? " No problem there as long as you have a bit of Spanish to work with. And I would suggest brushing up on learning numbers before coming down, because that makes shopping at the Saturday fresh food market much easier. For the other stores, as long as you enter the store and say 'Buenas,' (casual greeting) and say gracias when you're checking out, you're good to go. We've also found that in Costa Rica the store-workers like to follow you around the store while you're browsing, but they're just trying to help, so if you're patient and polite they will eventually leave you to your shopping.

"Do you tend to patronize small shops and street markets, or stick to the bigger, Wal-Mart-ish stores? " A little bit of both. We do our big grocery shopping trips usually at Hiper-Mas (CR's Wal-Mart), due to the convenience and price, but we do our weekly shopping for fruits and vegetables every Saturday morning at Heredia's fresh food market. Almost every town has one at least once a week, and the produce is so fresh at about a third of the price you'd pay in any store. Besides that, we haven't done much shopping at all, except for buying some office supplies at a local office shop. The small shops are great and they have a lot to offer, but if you're going for one big trip per week, I would recommend going to Hiper-Mas.