Category Archives: Costa Rica

The Problem Of Packing

packing the bagsWe’ve gone through this before.  Ten months ago we were debating as to what needed to be packed, purged or provided for others.  When we left California we figured we had narrowed our stuff down to everything we absolutely needed.  Ten months later we are looking at several large piles of things we haven’t touched or thought about since August.  So, do we REALLY need that stuff.

On top of this our airline, TACA, has double their charge on extra bags.  Each bag over your allotted two is now $200.  Now added to the question, “Do we REALLY need that?”, is, “Is THAT really worth $200?”

We are donating food to friends, books and toys to Madison’s school and various things to other ministries.  Some clothes we thought we needed have sat in our closet unused.  In addition we are moving to a city where it is 85 – 105 degrees all year, do each of us really need three jackets?

This is the weekend.  Pack, purge or provide for others.  We fly out on Wednesday, June 25th.  It is time to make those decisions.

Our Costa Rica Language Learning Ends

Yesterday Mike had his last private tutoring session.  He spent two hours reviewing irregular verbs with Alejandra.  That officially brings our Costa Rican Spanish study to a close.  On June 25th we leave Costa Rica and fly to Honduras.  Our Costa Rican studies are complete.

We have spent 10 months here in Costa Rica dedicating ourselves to learning Spanish.  We are excited by the results.  Fluent?  No.  Conversant?  Yes.  Room to grow?  You bet.  Worth the time and effort?  Without a doubt.

When we look back at our first papers and exams from September we can truly see growth in our language ability.  We have come so far.  There is still much more to learn, but, we have developed a base that will serve us well in our ministry.

While our time in Costa Rica is coming to a close our Spanish learning is not over.  Once we get established in Honduras it is our intention to continue studying with a tutor a couple hours a week in order to continue our improvement.  We were once told that we will have 10 months to learn Spanish and a lifetime to perfect it.  Amen.

A Walk In The Park And More Goodbyes

Maddy fires at a cupThis weekend Madison and Mike took an afternoon to go play in the local park. Madison had recently purchased a homemade slingshot and wanted to try it out. She had never before shot a slingshot. They shot a whole bag of rocks at paper cups.
pick up soccerThey then walked over to the cement soccer court and watched a few games of “pick up” soccer. This would be similar to an inner-city basketball court on a Saturday in the U.S.  There were dozens of people playing and watching six a side soccer. They demonstrated some great skill.
Our family also continued the “Pettengill farewell tour”. We shared goodbye meals with some great missionaries we have met here in Costa Rica. We ate meals with the McClain family, missionaries to Costa Rica, Rhonda Wilkinson, missionary to Central America and the Cooks, missionaries to Argentina. A truly great bunch of people.

Heart On The Road

Site of a traffic deathIf you drive anywhere in Costa Rica you will notice big yellow hearts painted on the roads.  They are far and wide. They are in the city, in the country, small roads, freeways…everywhere.  Sometimes they are stacked up, two three right next to each other.
Each heart is placed by the government at the site of an auto death. After a fatal auto accident the government later comes along and paints these yellow hearts as a sort of memorial, but, also to remind drivers to take care.
Costa Rica is reported to have the worst rate of traffic accidents in all of Central America.  After living here for nearly 10 months this is not difficult to imagine.  Traffic lights, signs, lanes, speed limits are all generally ignored. Drivers blow through four way stops, blowing their horns to worn others they are coming.  Pedestrians have no right of way. Cars frequently swerve all over the road to avoid potholes. Frequent rain adds to the problems. Three or four cars often occupy roads with two lanes.
We have witnessed countless accidents, but, greatfuly never been involved in one.

At The Top Of Our Lungs

sssshhhhhhhOne thing that you can say about Costa Rica is the neighborhoods are loud.  It seems to be a cultural thing that noise is not a problem.  Everyone makes lots of noise and nobody complains.
Weed eaters are fired up at 6:30am.  Cars picking up people for school or work honk their horns at 6:45am.  The Coconut Man tosses his empty husk in the metal container at 6:50am. The trash truck roles down the street at 7:00am
Then you have dogs barking all day and night. Fireworks going off at all hours.  Church bells. Security guard whistles. Horns on delivery motorcycles. Car alarms. Crazy loud birds. And, nobody cares but gringos.
In the U.S. all my neighbors would have received citations from the homeowners association by now.  When I talk to my Costa Rican neighbors they just say, “Oh, I don’t even notice it.”
To continue the ongoing battle cry of the missionary: It’s not bad, just different.