I made a little video showing the little tortuguitas running like heck for the ocean in Tortuguero.

Aren't they cute? Too bad only 2% of them will survive to return to this exact beach to lay their own eggs.

Facebook brings joy but sucks time

So Annie and I just joined Facebook...finally...after years of resisting...because we realized that many of our good friends check their Facebook more than their email or this blog and we miss them. The unanticipated result is that we are both reconnecting with long ago friends. I'm still looking for Meg Norris if anyone knows how I can find her. With Facebook sucking our time and attention, we haven't written on the blog for a bit. So here is the news:

We had an awesome vacation in Tortuguero, one of the national parks (of which there are many in Costa Rica) and saw so much wildlife. 8 kinds of water bird, 2 kinds of tree frog, a caiman, spiders, birds, a fresh water turtle, and a few dozen baby green sea turtles making a break for the ocean, and probably more that I am not remembering. Check the picasa album for photos.

We travelled in the style of my father: a package tour with transportation, food, fancy lodging, and guided tours all with the same group of people. It isn't how I would have chosen, but I ended up enjoying myself a lot. Because the purpose was to be on vacation as well as see wildlife, it was nice that we didn't have to figure out where to stay and where to eat once we got there. And the rooms were clean and showers were beautiful (you come to appreciate these things in a wet climate where mold grows on everything, including you, and where you get hot just walking around and need more showers). There was a little covered hammock hut where we spent some time relaxing. And a pool. Now, maybe you think "why do you need a pool when your lodge is 100 meters from the ocean?" It's because you shouldn't swim in those waters. The undertow is really strong and sharks frequent the area to eat the cute baby turtles. So we swam in the pool to cool off. Quite a luxury, but we definitely enjoyed it. And the only reason we agreed to do it the package tourist way is because we get a really good deal for being residents of Costa Rica and a friend of ours knows someone who works there and he got us an even better deal. Our tour guide was pretty good, though he didn't always say the same things when he translated for himself, so it's a good thing I understand Spanish and English. I got a better tour because of it. And there were some nice folks from other countries. Actually, no one from the states. Just Iceland, Spain, and Sweeden. So all in all a nice vacation. We even got to spend some time shopping in San José before we headed back up the mountain.

Our second dog, Flora Segunda Panqueques, is better than before, but training is a little difficult because she is a serious jumper. And with all the mud around here it means keeping clothes clean is impossible. Toast loves her though and is much happier with her around, so we keep trying. She has gained enough weight to seem in the range of healthy and she doesn't freak out about food anymore, though she still won't eat her vegetables like Toast does. We sneak them into her food covered in yummy things like yogurt so she'll eat them.

My English classes are going pretty well, though I wish I had more students. It's hard to play games or do pair work with such small groups. I find that I enjoy myself a lot while I'm in class, but that I don't especially love planning. And it's difficult to build on previous knowledge when students are not reliable about coming every week. Oh well. Still fun and they pay me.


We're going to put up a bunch of pictures, actually, they might already be up on jor's picasa thinger, from our recent vacation to Tortuguero. If you click on the slideshow on the right, you can then get to the Tortuguero photos. Or you can go to You should know a few things: I'm procrastinating my planning, I really would rather still be on vacation seeing cool animals and not responsible for decisions educational and I am frustrated by some of the teaching that I'm doing right now, but not so much that it's driving me crazy. This is the little poison dart frog that our guide went and found just for jordan. It was really really cute and made up for his grumpiness with us at the beginning of the trip when we were running late. Oh well. We saw a ton of different birds, spider and howler monkeys, a baby caiman, basalisks and iguanas and other kinds of lizards unidentified, some green frogs with red eyes whose name i have forgotten, only two cockroaches and some really HUGE bats that were pollinating the banana flowers. any idea about their id alex? We also saw lots of baby green sea turtles making a run for the caribbean and lots of mama tracks that looked like mini-atvs coming in and out of the ocean. We went with Nicole who I teach with and it was great to have someone else along because these sorts of adventures are really best shared with many people. We met two couples from Spain, one from Iceland and one from Sweden. The Spainards were shocked and amazed that Nicole and jordan spoke Spanish. Oh it's good to prove that all Americans aren't stupid sometimes.

skype etc.

Just in case you're one of those who knows that we're often on skype on Sunday afternoons, today is a different situation. We're going to someone's house to have a bluegrass jam because I fixed my banjo and it's good to play music with friends. I have to say I'm often intimidated by others and their musical abilities, but since moving down here, it's much less of an issue. Maybe it's partly because I'm carrying one of the few banjos around or maybe it's because I've finally got enough time to practice so I'm feeling good about the songs that I do know, or maybe it's because I'm okay with being a beginner at this because I can balance that out with being really good at other things, like singing. I went to the choir practice this weekend and it was good to be able to mostly sightread the music that they're doing. Not sure how much of it I'll actually like singing in the long run, but it's good to get some exercise and to be working towards something.
Ultimate yesterday: I finally got to play because we've finished all of our house visits and then had conferences. It was muddy and slippery and we had at least 21 people out there so we rotated teams in and out as three points were scored by one team or another. The rain on the glasses doesn't really help, though, so I admit I was a bit of a wuss and stopped playing during the downpour after I couldn't really see anymore and was worried about torking my knee. There were a bunch of CEC teachers there, the other bilingual school around here, and it's fun to have some more men to hang out with. We've only got two at our school and I only get to hang out with one regularly. I know teaching is a predominantly female profession, but damn, only two? Even though they're both good guys, I'm still missing PaulTonyTomKenScottChrisColinPaulandTim and the guys who show up to play frisbee and football and the teachers from the Center School. The funny thing is, it's not even because we're hanging out with a bunch of queer girls. Aside from the director, I only know of a couple of other "lesbians" probably, and we're not friends with them at the moment for whatever reason. Most of my friends at school either don't have boys or didn't bring them along. And those that do, many of them speak Spanish so I'm not able to carry on long conversations. Fortunately, boys do like to play frisbee and that means I'm getting more boy time now that I've got time to play.

That's about it for now. Yay for playing frisbees and banjos. I'm feeling quite homesick lately, so anything like home is good...


my banjo done broke again. and we´ve got practice on wednesday so i´ve got to get some superglue somehow magically between now and tomorrow so it´ll have time to set.