Wednesday, March 01, 2006



Yesterday Catie and I got off the school bus in front of Chunches, the local bookstore/laundromat/coffee shop where I figured I could buy index cards to make flash cards for Catie's reading words from LHPS. They had boxes to hold index cards, but no index cards, so we'll make do with sheets of paper. Then we went to the butcher where we bought all of the available chickens - 2 of them. There's a new ice cream shop run by the Cheese Factory next to the Catholic church, so went there to buy Kev some of his favorite ice cream - choco-menta, and Catie got a chocolate cone. Then we went to the produce store to buy carrots, celery and onions to make soup.

I thought we should take a taxi, as I was carrying all the groceries, but Catie wanted to walk home, a distance of about 2 miles. It was slow going at first, as we had to walk up a steep hill, which is a pretty good shortcut, as it cuts out the road going past the soccer field. Cate slipped and fell on the gravel, and was feeling pretty upset until she saw a daisy growing by the side of the road. She carried it to the Virgen Shrine, where she left it after kneeling for a few minutes. I thought she was saying a prayer, but she told me she was casting a spell.

Kev came home at 3:25, and was upset that I hadn't been waiting at the Panaderia for him. He had a much better day, and for his homework he had to do some reading. He has started to read King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

The surveyor arrived in the late afternoon to start his work surveying the farms. He's staying in the casita, so I quickly washed and dried the sheets and blanket on his bed. He was already gone this morning when we left to catch the school bus.

This is probably my last morning sitting here in Catie's class. I found out how to get wireless at home; Jim has to buy the equipment in San Jose, you install it, and use it. There isn't a monthly charge. I have no idea why this would work, but apparently it does. Let's hope so, or I'll have to keep coming to Prepa every day.

The Cloud Forest School's philosophy embraces educating the whole child. It's a very laid back approach that is very foreign to Kevin and Catie's experience. For example, class is supposed to start at 8 am. I went to speak to someone in the office, and when I came back to Catie's class is was about 8:15. No sign of the 2 teachers, and only 4 of the 18 children, including Catie, were in the classroom. Catie and her new girlfriends were making cards. The teachers showed up about 8:40 and the rest of the kids trickled in. Beth, who wasn't in class yesterday, announced that she had heard from Luz Marina, the other teacher, that the children had been very "active" (that was an understatement!) yesterday, and so today she had wanted to give all of them the opportunity to expend some of their energy so that they could sit more quietly in class. It really worked; the little boys are more receptive today.

Kev likes the school's relaxed atmosphere. Everyone is on a first name basis, which strikes me as odd because Costa Rican culture is actually fairly formal when it comes to titles. Next week when they are more settled, I'll start in on their work from LHPS. So far, they have both been reading at night at home. They haven't watched much TV or played video games since school started. Last night they were both asleep before 8:30. You get pretty tired out here!

Casting a spell? What was the spell?
Something about creating good weather... maybe we should have gone to church more.
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