We're enjoying life in Central America and language school with so many committed missionaries. I recently wrote a friend about our life here and thought I'd share part of that letter with everyone:
Costa Rica is excellent. We're in San Jose, which is in the middle of the country about 5000' above sea level. So, the weather is like a beautiful spring day, every day. The temps are probably in the low 70's during the day. I'm not sure, since they do temps here in centigrade. At night it is cool, often requiring a jacket. Since our house has not heat or air conditioning, I often feel like we're camping. Of course, we're camping in a really nice camper. Our apartment is very large and very beautiful. Our kitchen window is huge and looks right at the language school. So, we can see everyone who comes and goes. As for life in San Jose, we're just getting into it. This week, Lena and I, respectively, took cabs to get groceries or the kids at school. As such, we had to actually talk in Spanish to strangers. It was exciting. The Costa Rican people (called Ticos) are very kind, so they're helpful when I butcher their language.
One of the missionaries went to the beach this weekend. I thought it was too cold to swim. He explained that the beach is 4000' below us. There, the temps are in the 90's and the water is in the 80's. There's also a volcano region. It is higher in the mountains, so it's cooler. Both the volcano region and the beaches offer the jungle. There's a third region, which I think is usually part of the volcano region in most people's trips, it is the coffee region. Really good coffee is grown at higher altitudes. For example, most Starbucks coffee is grown at 5000' or higher, mostly in Costa Rica. I haven't had a bad cup of coffee since I got here.
The cost of living is about the same as at home. We visited the Mall, today. It was our first visit to a non-food store. A nice pair of Columbia hiking shoes were about $52.00. We bought shorts for Hannah at a store like Kohls. The shorts were about $11 a piece. Taxis are fairly cheap. We can get one for about $3.00 to go to the Mall or to a warehouse club.
My understanding of Spanish has grown. My joke is that my vocabulary has doubled in one week. At this rate, I'll be fluent in a month. I'm in the same class as Lena, which is a stretch for me. She's studied much more than I (in school) and has a vocabulary that is 4x mine. I'm guessing that in three months, I'll be able to begin conversations without having to say, "Please forgive me, I only speak a little Spanish." I've made friends with our next door neighbor. He's a divorced father who recently started attending an evangelical church. He hasn't had any discipleship, so I'm looking forward to deepening our friendship.