Your Costa Rica Resource

Thinking of moving to and living in Costa Rica? Learn from our experience - we are your resource. Click here if you're living in Costa Rica and would like to be a contributor.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Getting settled (sort of) in Costa Rica

Since I've been here for a month now, I thought I'd better let people know a little bit of how things are going. Since I got here during Semana Santa, I couldn't really do anything about getting a job until the following week, except I did call Bruce at Butler Academy to set up a time to come in on Monday. So Monday I took the bus to Heredia, a slightly nerve-wracking experience since I had never been to Heredia or taken a bus in Costa Rica by myself. My host family told me where to catch the bus, and I asked a couple people at the bus stop just to make sure. I also asked someone on the bus when I thought we were getting close. I didn't have any trouble finding the school once I got to Heredia. I talked with Bruce about my experience and about what the school is like, and worked it out to come observe some classes over the next couple of days. Then I followed Bruce's directions and found the bus stop to catch the bus back to Alajuela. The next few days were easier as far as taking the bus, and I got to see a few different teachers teaching, and even participate a little in the discussions. On Friday I was supposed to come to the school and do some listening to student recordings in the lab and present 3 discussion questions to the co-director of the school, Christian. However, with one thing and another, that didn't work out--I came and did the listening, but Christian wasn't able to meet with me to do the discussion questions. So on Monday I came in and did them, me teaching and Christian pretending to be a Costa Rican with English problems. I was a little nervous before I started, but once I got in the classroom, I switched into "teacher mode" and wasn't really nervous at all. Christian gave me a few suggestions, and said I could start coming to team-teach his two classes with him, from 3 to 6 and from 6 to 9. I started that on Tuesday of that week, and continued for the rest of that week and the next week. Christian led some of the discussions/activities, and I did some (I sort of ended up doing more than half a lot of the time). Then this week, on Tuesday (since we had Monday off for Labor Day), I started out with my own class. So, job taken care of. The apartment thing is still a work in progress. I'm currently staying with a host family in Alajuela, the family I stayed with when I studied here four years ago. This is a very nice situation in many ways, since they are wonderful cooks and take care of all the housework. On the downside, though, it's tiring having to take the bus from Alajuela to Heredia and back every day, about a 35 minute bus ride. Also, I don't really have any place to go to be by myself in the house where I am now. So I'm looking on craigslist,,, and a few other classifieds pages for Costa Rica. I also walked around the university campus one day looking for flyers. It's tough to find an apartment or house that's close to where I work, is fully furnished, and has a phone line, while still being affordable. I've looked at a few houses and apartments, a couple of which didn't have phone lines (that was before I knew I needed to ask), and I've started looking along with Tony, one of the other teachers here, who has an even longer bus ride than I do. We visited one on Tuesday that was really nice, furnished, phone line, even cable TV, and within the price range. The only problem is that it's not available until the end of the month. So we've got that one at least, and we're still keeping our eyes open for anything that might be available.