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Showing posts from 2006

My dad says I haven't written on my blog for awhile. He's right.

Ah, Winter break. It's a fine break so far. I'm doing... kind of nothing. Or at the very least, I'm doing enough things I'm not ecstatic about that it feels like nothing. But let's stay positive. I am currently learning Japanese thanks to Pimsleur's "Instant Conversation" course, and I'm working on a follow-up to my critically panned one-act "Indifferent About Walnuts". This next one has a woman talking to a radiator, which is more than enough for me.

I've been watching a lot of stuff lately. Which I figure, while not the best for me, is certainly easier than doing things.

Monster House: Awesome. 8.5. That house was super pissed.

The Devil Wears Prada: 6. Meh. Anne Hathaway getting pretty, losing her morals and regaining them was done earlier and better in The Princess Diaries. There, I said it.

Superman Returns: On the X-Men scale, it was above 3 and just below 1. If you understand and agree, we should talk.

Wordplay: Solid 7.…

Good news!

I'm home. For me that has meant flipping between thinking everything is normal and being weirded-out that everything is so normal.Truly bizarre. But despite everyone speaking English, the abundance of fat white people, and the conspicuous absence cheap public buses and taxis that go everywhere (driving? So odd.), you get used to it.

I do miss my gringo-cool that I finally perfected. I was talking with a stranger who told me about his friend who went to China. He said that what emerged were these two different selves. The new Chinese self was bumbling and kind of dim and that's what he left behind when he left the country and went back to being a local. So maybe I miss my Costa Rican self. Sure he got lost and sunburned a lot, and he made a whole bunch of mistakes, but he was eager to learn and fail. He tried his best, and to be honest, I'm not sure if my American self always does that. I don't think he died, I just think he stayed in Costa Rica. So maybe if…

Wow.

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I can not believe I am still here. It’s kinda like when a practical joke goes on so long, you just can't believe anyone would put that much effort into trying to fool you. But I can't shake the feeling that if I just admit I'm in another country everyone'll start laughing and speaking in perfect English and it'll turn out I'm just in a soundstage in Burbank.

It's only been 4 months. That might be the most ridiculous part of all this. Like I won't even be here for a year. Not even half a year. I'll spend 5 months total in Costa Rica (if that is your real name) and 2 weeks in Nicaragua and Guatemala.

I think part of my disillusion comes from the feeling that I'm not in another country so much as I am in another school- a school in which I'm substantially stupider. That's what study abroad means to me right now. And of course that feeling will change, as they all do, but it's just good to get it out in the open.

I've become a badass an…

Tres de Mayo

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I was telling Sarah that Cinco de Mayo was a right crappy name for a holiday, since it was just the name of the date. Then she pointed out that 4th of July was the same thing. Fair enough.

So in short, this has been a month of family and travel. Sarah's parents and sister came in the begining of April and took us to Dominical for Semana Santa where I more or less learned how to surf. Then, with a few hours of overlap, my sister Fay came in from London and we traveled to Monteverde. Picture a national cloud forest reserve but then surround it with miles of bumpy dustyy roads. Then stick tourists in there. We did meet some cool Swiss guys, Josh and Ilan, as well as an older Swiss couple, Balthazar and Caroline. The great discoveries of our conversations together were that Swiss cheese was actually Emmental, and that Swiss Miss does not exist in Switzerland.

As a side note, my parents are currently enjoying themselves in Monteverde as I plod through the rest of my academic week. The pl…

The Sting Incident

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So several weekends ago Sarah and I had tickets to this two-day music festival about an 1.5 hours away in La Guacima. It was a pretty big deal for this country as Jamiroquai and Sting were both playing on the first and second days respectively. Personally I didn't care much about any of the artists, I just wanted to be there for the spectacle of the whole thing. Which was pretty spectaculous.

Day 1. I wander around for 3 hours trying to find my friend Anne after I had unintentionally left her waiting for me for an hour. I almost got the security guards to announce her name on the loud speaker. But they said it was busy. It was pretty dark at that point so I gave up. Sarah and I then get Churros and enjoy the rest of the bands, and this impressively crazy tall white girl who was dancing in front of us. When, exhausted, we finally leave on the bus to go back to San Jose we both agree that we don't want to go back the next day.

Day 2.
Sarah decides (and then I agree) to go ba…

Routine

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As I was writing to my friend Megan (aka The Fist) who's last known whereabouts were reported to be in Botswana I seem to be entering a new phase of my experience here. For lack of a better word I will call it the boring time. And maybe that's a little too harsh. To be fair it's more like the, "my life is not currently ruled by my fear of failure" time. Basically, it means that I've found a routine in which I can succeed reasonably well and don't need to make many decisions on a day-to-day basis.

The awesome part of this is that I've actually become pretty comfortable around here. The less awesome part is that since I've become more comfortable, I get the feeling that I'm not growing as much.

I won't say that my rapid personal growth spurt is over for good, but once you get comfortable it's hard to want to get back on the "everything is new and intimidating" train. Still, I think I'm starting to enjoy this time a wh…

I think I might actually have some more pictures available...

So yeah, philology! It happened, I was there, it was... okay! I'm not ready to rave about it yet. The secretary that my group coordinator talked to said the prof was kind of a slacker. Let's just say he was no Dana Burgess. Plus my attention span is slowly stretching out to reach 2.5 hours, but it's hardly there yet.

So from what I've been told, (I think at least, you can never be sure in this language) philology is the study of language, but different from linguistics in that it's kind of like "the history of culture". So maybe it's charting the significance of words or something. Anyhoo, I'm bound to get it sooner or later.

Tomorrow I have another 7 am class, and it's a day of the arts. Theater, Dance*, and Art. I'll be pretty much spent creatively after that, so don't expect nothin' impressive. Or, y'know, anything at all.




*The dance teacher is impressively crazy. We're going to have an hour-long lecture on hour …

Philology- workin' on it!

Okay, so last Thursday was supposed to be my first philology class. It was at 7 so I woke up at 5:30 AM. I get to the building with minutes to spare. I'm fed, I'm in the right building- I'm even slightly awake. Things are lookin' up. However, when I arrive at the room in question (Letras 114) there seems to be a decided lack of philology classes currently meeting. Like zero. Whereas I was expecting at least one. I as the first student I see what class we're in. He says English. I ask him if he knows where philology is supposed to meet. He says he's blind.

So I asked a blind guy for directions. Not the best sign.

I run around Letras trying to get a hold of a schedule or something. I look at all the doors where they have posting of the classes that are held in that room. Nuttin'. I go upstairs to the school of philology offices and there's a big listing with all the classes, times, dates, and rooms.

Intro to Philology - 0700-950 M 0114
Now for those of you wh…

Already past closing...

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... in the internet cafe so I'm working on stolen time. The picture is from a volcano. Not the last one I went to but the one before that, in Cartago. I'll be honest, I was a bit disappointed when I went to see the volcanos and they didn't explode. They're not that much to look at otherwise. I mean when they're doing stuff it's awe inspiring, but when they're not... they look a surprising lot like puddles of arsenic.

Anyhoo, tomorrow marks the first day of classes, which is pretty exciting. I'm now expected to be a (more or less) fully functioning student at the University of Costa Rica. I think my secret weapon all along has been my ability to sleep. As we all know, sleep improves memory, so my Spanish should be more awesome the more I sleep. Sadly, I don't really have a backup plan, in the case that an excess of sleep just helps me to avoid having to interact with actual ticos.

Side note: I saw a guy with a t-shirt that said "the 80s…

8 minutes until closing

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I've completed a month here. I think I'm just starting to get the hang of language and life and the moments of utter confusion are much less constant. Or at the very least I've grown to appreciate the diferent flavors of confusion that are available to me.

Notes on confusion:
1. The first kind is a complete lack of words. Only a stream of vowels is parsed out. I don't hear this one as much anymore.
2. The second is a content lacking confusion. All that is intelligible is a very basic key word or cognate. "El" "Porque" "Sofa"
3. I don't know the 3rd kind. I think there's a hand gesture involved.
4. I'm at the 4th kind right now. It's where I get confident enough to respond moderately incorrectly. I know all the words, but not the meaning of what was said to me. If I ask them to repeat it to me it would probably clear up the confusion. But I have my pride... no... that's gone now too.
5. I'm working up to thi…

Not dead!

I had a quick bout with food poisoning yesterday. It was not all that awesome, but getting over it certainly was. I finally feel like I'm caught up on sleep and I think it's starting to hit me that I'm not really a tourist here. Like it would make sense for me to change my room to fit my style. The weird thing is, my first instinct upon realizing that this actually is my home for the next 5 months is to go out and buy stuff. Stupid stuff too, like Q-tips are probably at the top of my list. After this internet cafe I'm going to track down some kind of supermarket or pharmacy. Oh and photos! I'm going to upload photos somehow.

¡Election Day!

So February 5th is election day in Costa Rica which means that everyone gets as many flags as possible, hangs them out of their windows and drives around honking vigorously. Then afterwards, there´s a party. Sure it´s no electoral college, but you gotta admire the passion behind the honking and flag waving. It almost making me regret being an apathetic liberal. Another cool quirk is that the day of, the day before, and the day after the election the whole country goes dry. No alcohol is sold whatsoever until midnight on Tuesday. It´s kinda funny since my birthday is on the 6th, so despite my turning 21 I still won´t be able to drink for at least another day. I think I´ll survive, mainly because there´s no ban on huffing paint. Rock.

After I get out of this internet café with Sarah and her friends I´m going to my host family´s grandparents´ house for Sunday dinner. The food has been really good so far. Staples have been fried platanos, rice, beans, cheese, and I just had this …

Up and running!

So I resisted this whole "blog" thing on the "internets" for as long as I could. But I do like my self agrandisement, so yeah, here we are. I'm going abroad to Costa Rica in about 3 days. I'm not packed yet, but I do have some fresh clean clothes, so I'm hoping they're just gonna pack themselves. Anyhoo, this'll maybe serve as some kind of diary of my journeys so years from now I can look back at my life and be sorely disappointed in my ability to communicate through language.

Hoorah!

Ezra "everybody gets 15 mbs of fame" Fox