Saturday, July 28, 2007

Glad to be back!

I am finally back home from my month of fiestas/workshops/vacations, although I still have one more week-long workshop in the upcoming week. As I mentioned in my e-mail, it had been a little challenging returning back to my little, hot, poor town after about a month and 1/2 of cars, hotels, air-conditioning and hot water/real showers, although after being away for so long I am now remembering why I love Llano Grande so much.
A few days ago, I went to my neighbors´house to play cards (a big part of my daily routine). We played for a brief time until the mom, with whom I was playing, had to leave to go ´echar las vacas´ (take the cows to the pasture to eat), so that left the grandmother and I. We just sat there on the porch looking out, not really at anything in particular because during the day there really is no movement or sounds in my town besides the occasional parrots sqwuaking (they say that they are calling out for my Dad because they miss him because it sounds like they are saying, ¨Ken, ken.¨) Sometimes, we´ll get some excitement when a cow or donkey has wandered into the yard and all of the dogs in the vicinity go running towards it growling and barking. My dog caught on pretty quick to this and is part of the gang now. When I first got here, the fact that people would just sit there and not say a word, just gazing out, amazed me and drove me crazy because I thought that I would go insane with boredom, but ironically, now I find in calming and peaceful, not having to try to think of empty conversation...just spending time with people.
In hopes of raising some money for the library that is being constructed in my town in the old, until recently condemned elementary school, a movie night and dance were organized. I thought they both were pretty successful and I was really surprised at the number of people that showed up. The movie was held in a neighbor´s house that had been empty. I learned that it´s really important to be more selective in the movies that are bought for movie night. I guess I should have expected that there is a reason they are sold so cheaply in the city ($1 per copy). They even have some movies that have just come out in the theatres...hmm. The first movie we showed was in English with Spanish subtitles. We watched for a while, but obviously the people weren´t interested since they couldn´t understand and we realized that most likely many of them couldn´t read either. So, we tried several others and all of them still only have Spanish subtitles, but the actors voices that were supposed to be in English were muted which was even worse. So, all you heard were the background noises. The last one we tried was an action film with Silvester Stalone and because there was a lot of shooting and voilence in the general, even though the voices were muted as well, it still kept their interest. The second activity was a dance which was held last night. We have a ´casa comunal´ which is where all of the dances, reunions, etc. are held, so we borrowed a stereo from one of the neighbors and we were all set. Even though there was no alcohol, which is usually a fiesta must, the teenagers and some adults that arrived seemed to have a good time. At 5 córdobas a person (25 cents), we probably raised about 80 córdobas ($4), but as they say here, ¨poco a poco¨(little by little), every little bit helps.
Yesterday, I finally broke down and and spent a couple hours doing my mountain of laundry that had been collected since I left for my 2 weeks of workshop/vacation, in addition to my sheets because I had found some creep crawlies in there last night. Even though we are in the middle of the rainy season when the water should be plentiful, we haven´t been receiving that much water, maybe only 20 minutes or so which is only about 1 barriel full, i.e. not enough for 10 people, including myself, to bath, wash dishes, wash clothes, cook, and general cleaning of the house. After an afternoon in the sun, my clothes were dry in the morning. It´s such a happy feeling taking the clean clothes down from the line after spending so much time washing them. Yes, I know I´m a big dork and I´m not even sure why I included this part, but I was just really dreading washing all of those close and this morning I just kept looking out happily at my clean clothes.
Anyway, I hope all of you now understand a little of what makes Llano Grande so great. : ) Here are some pictures from the last month or so. Enjoy!
This is my friend Jess making us dinner, hamburgers with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, avocado and yes, pineapple. They were delicious!!
his is Jess and my neighbor, Dory, the Queen of the Hípico (horse parade).
This is us getting our groove on at the dance. Now I understand why they call me ´girafa´ (giraffe).

This is Jen and I on our Costa Rica trip. We are taking a boat to one of the beaches on the Pacific side.

This is us eating our first typical Costa Rican meal, tamales.

Jen on the zipline in the Volcano Arenal. This is a picture of about the 3rd time she got stuck in the middle because she braked too soon. : )

This is just a picture I took from the bus (well, it was actually a cattle truck that was serving as the bus because the bus broke down). You can´t really make out much, but the sunset was amazing!

¡Gracias a Dios!