Summarizing the last few crazy weeks...

Emmy Bean came to visit!!!!!! We spent much of our time together singing and playing and practicing for the gig people here are still talking about. Wish we could do another. We are rockstars here. Actually, this is the first time since working at camp all those years ago when my rockstar self has come to visit. It's about the audience. Monteverde is the best audience I've ever played for. They don't care that we're still learning how to play our instruments and are experimenting with songs we haven't fully arranged yet. It lets me try things and feel confident playing. The concert was fun and I hope we'll do some back in Montague. I promise to keep practicing and learning more about music theory so I can arrange songs how I want them to sound.

Emmy and I went down to San José a day before she had to leave so we could go shopping. I was a little nervous about getting it all done. Then the taxi showed up later than expected and I didn't think we could do it. But our driver turned out to be the amazing Sergio, who took us to the mall in Escazú and dragged us around to the stores we needed. I desperately needed new shoes. My old ones had holes in them and no traction and my feet hurt just thinking about walking down the rocky road in them. My new ones are shiny red and make me bounce. And I can't feel the sharp rocks through the soles. We also bought some gifts for some of you loyal readers, which I cannot divulge at this time because you haven't received them yet. But having Sergio along meant we got the Tico discount. You really can bargain a little bit here, even in the mall full of U.S. stores. Weird to see Abercrombie here. We had a great time. And when one of the shoe store clerks started flirting with Emmy (who was blessedly unaware of what was happening) by asking about her tattoo, Sergio went off about how she got it on their honeymoon. Then he and I both started calling her wifey, a new vocab word for him that he loves. He speaks really good English but we got to teach him a few key slang phrases. Bimbo is my favorite. It's the name of the really big bread company here than sponsors fútbol teams and such. It's printed on shirts and in stadiums. He told us a great story about when he was just starting to learn English and was giving a presentation to an auditorium full of Canadian high school students. He spoke about how great the beaches of Costa Rica are and how everyone like to visit them because they are hot and you can relax and lie down on them. Except he was pronouncing it like bitches. Everyone was laughing but he didn't know why until after. I love stories like that. It turns out Sergio is also quite knowledgable about pirate history in Costa Rica.

The night I came back from San José with Rhiannon, I had to call a contradance. I thought nobody would show because at 7:30 there was still no one there. However, people eventually came and we had a fun short dance. I enjoy calling, but I miss dancing. Can't wait to get back to contradance central, but I hope the mean Greenfield dancers have gotten nicer since I left.

The next night Annie and I were invited to an A-list party in Monteverde and felt like part of the in-crowd. We have always enjoyed hanging out with people a few years older than us. We were definitely the youngest adults there, and we're not all that young anymore, both in our 3os. I've been getting asked by friends and strangers alike lately when we're going to have kids. Don't worry, it's in the plan, but we need some money and a baby daddy first. We're hoping for the next few years. We already have a name picked out, lucky kid. According to my half brother it's not bad growing up with old-fashioned and weird names. Just hard to go by the middle name all the time. We'll keep that in mind, Shockey. Thanks for the advice.

So, just like when we left Montague to come here, things are going much better than they had been. Rainy season was hard. We were really homesick. We had a few friends here, but nothing like our community in Montag. We didn't like our work and missed our house. But now things have improved a lot for me and I'm feeling sad about not having another year here. I love teaching music lessons, even on instruments I'm not really qualified to teach. My students are making rapid progress though, so I'm not freaking out anymore. My advanced English class is awesome and I always leave in a good mood. I've started teaching computer skills to a group of middle-aged housewives who have never touched a computer and gotten a ton of requests from people for private lessons. It seems I have some needed skills here. If we should ever return to this beautiful town, Annie will work for the zip line people as a guide and I will teach music and computers to Ticos and gringos. I will also offer dog training classes. I hate being around poorly behaved dogs and I don't like the Tico attitude towards dogs. They are either guard dogs only and stay chained up at the house all day or are allowed to wander and behave in a way controlled only by their instincts. Very few people spay/neuter their animals so there are always animals needing homes. People take the puppies but don't like the behavior and so give them away or chain them up. I want to teach people how to train their dogs so that they are loving and lovable parts of the family. I can deal with them not being allowed inside the house because it never gets too cold for a dog here. As long as they have shelter and enough food (Ticos think skinny is healthy) and love from humans I'll be happy. Toast is doing her part as an international ambassador to improve the well-being of dog populations here. She convinces Ticos in a heartbeat of how great and happy a well-trained dog can be. It helps that she is naturally soft and clean and smells good. Mmm. I love her smell.

This week I spent a million hours trying to organize showings of our soon to vacant rental unit. Muchisimas gracias a Tamara who is saving the day yet again. There are some good-looking prospects, but I'm nervous about not getting to meet them before having to choose. I want friendly helpful neighbors. I wouldn't mind if they were bilingual Spanish too. Annie and I want to keep up our Spanish for when we go traveling again. You know, with all our money.

Things that happened recently that I wish I had documented.

On the way home from our gig and then again a couple of nights later there was a HUGE sloth using the power lines to facilitate its quick traveling. There's been a baby sloth living with Benito and it's been cool to see it on occasion, but huge giganto sloths climbing along power lines are very different than baby sloths in bags (don't worry, not suffocating) because they have diarrhea. In addition, though it makes just as much sense as birds and squirrels using power lines, I never thought to see a sloth on a power line.

The other day at lunch I looked up (on the day when the sun was directly overhead at noon, so it would have been Monday) and saw a swallow-tailed kite. It was the first time that I recall seeing the sun directly over my head (though it should have happened in August too, but I probably wasn't paying attention). That was cool enough. But then there was a new bird of prey to add to my list of birds. I like new birds. Your job, people with faster internet connections than mine, is to do your own darned google search if you want to see it because not only did I not have my relatively crappy camera, but I also didn't have my glasses on so it was literally just a silhouette with a cool forked tail.

Also, I recently saw a meter long brown snake while I was out with Toast. She missed it and had barreled on ahead, but I apparently scared it enough that it needed to run for cover. I've heard rumors that there's a quetzal building a nest in a visible place up at the reserve and I am going to try and get up there sometime soon to see it.

Other recently spotted critters that aren't new, but are recently on the upswing, are various different sized ticks. I found one that was about the size of a period (.)while I was combing Toast; I think one tried to bite my leg that was about four periods large (if you put them in a little circle), but I found it and there was an almost normal dog-tick sized one that decided to hitch a ride on my shorts that same day. I say boooooo to ticks and that they should go back to wherever it was that they've been for the previous 9 months when they would only occasionally show up on Toast and not on me.

I promise I'll bring the camera to our tour of the only local organic farm run by the father of the old school secretary (meaning there's a new one now, not that she's old). We buy most of our produce from him so it'll be good to see his layout and know more about where our food comes from, plus he's a nice guy. That's all for now.

The week after vacation.

Apparently, I didn't want vacation to end. Emmy being here was (she and jordan are in San José right now and her flight's tomorrow early) frankly pretty amazing. We played music for more than half of the hours that we were awake together, I think. Additionally, we played a gig with 20 songs, more than half of which we had never played together before she got here. Basically it was four days of rehearsal and then a huge set list and a lot of fun laughing at each other. I've really want to include a photo took of our superexcited audience, but it'll have to wait because the connection is awful tonight. Many of my students (and some of their parents) are now more aware of the things I've gotten in trouble for in the past thanks to jordan. It's relatively innocuous, I guess, but when I don't think I ever told my mom about the time I got to go and visit the Dean's office with my friends... Maybe I did. Really, all we did was break into the pool and go swimming. We had lifeguards. And a lack of swimming suits. I can't remember now which thing the dean thought was worse, the entering (one of the lifeguards had taped the latch on the back door to the pool) or the swimming because the cross-country team had just streaked a bunch of alums, or parents, or board members or something. We got more of a lecture about inappropriate nudity than we did about breaking and entering. Odd, considering that all of our nudity was consensual whereas those silly runners were subjecting unwilling participants in their antics. (Don't get me wrong, I just wish there were more acceptable ways to be in the world, including with less clothing on occasionally.)
The concert at Rio Shanti was pretty freaking amazing. Using just word of mouth we got a sizable collection of people who were willing to sit on the floor with blankets and pillows and yoga mats that smell sweaty. There was singing along, people learning new songs, and now a good selection of the ex-pat community in Monteverde know "I wanna be sedated" by the Ramones. Emmy does a really excellent impression of Joey Ramone. I thought I was going to blow out my voice, but it turns out I just used up the few reserves I had accumulated during vacation. A bunch of jordan's students came, both music and english, which means we actually had some Ticos in the audience. During science today I will freely admit that most of us had a five minute nap. Anyway, my new personal motto might be something about how perfection is unattainable. Given how much time we had together, we cobbled together a credible performance that was appreciated by many. We even got to give out tamborines and maracas for the Stevie Wonder song at the end. Next will be finally getting around to writing our own material and doing gigs in the states, I suppose. We shall see.
While we were out today Toast and I came upon some Capuchins. They like to bark at Toast and she only barked at them once. I think, perhaps, that my dog is scared of monkeys. I came around one corner of the trail to see her staring up at one of them and it was standing partly on a branch and partly on a stubby piece of branch that it was wiggling back and forth in an apparent effort to fashion a spear to throw at my dog. I guess I'm glad it stopped when it saw me because I don't want my dog to be assaulted by monkeys, but it might have been awesome to witness the monkeys throwing projectiles they had made themselves.
Anyway, I thought I would go to sleep hours ago, but instead I watched a movie and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog and now am finally approaching extreme tired. If you're still reading, thanks... We'll be home sometime around June 16th or 17th. Devon was wondering about a gemini party, but I think we might be busy trying to find furniture and moving back in since we sold or gave away almost all of ours including the bed and the couch. Any help on that front is, of course, appreciated.

Just a few things...

Again it's been a while since we've written. I've been having lots of thoughts about how I should be writing down stories about what I'm doing with my classes (making fireballs above campfires) and the animals I'm seeing (Toast chased a pisote the other day when we were out for our run) and the excitement I have about Emmy Bean visiting on Friday (uncontainable at this moment) and the gorgeousness that is the dry season finally upon us. Instead I've been teaching, going for runs, thinking about our upcoming gig at the yoga studio and trying to fend off yet another ear infection. I didn't even go swimming this time. That means it doesn't matter if I go swimming and I can just do whatever I want, right? I hope so. Anyway, the moral of the story is that I am on vacation this week and I hope to get a chance to catch up on all of my grading and some of my blog post writing. Right now, though, I need to go buy milk and then go home and grade some math tests. And some science assignments. And a quiz or two. I hate grading. Oh, and I need to write up my reports that I've been putting off all year. It's a good thing I have the whole week and not a beach in sight... Here's a picture of me diligently working in the backyardof the institute. The little building is where they do classes about greenbuilding. It's got a nice loft situation happening, and some skylights. I like skylights more and more.