This afternoon was back-to-school for the 5 of us as we have enrolled in the Instituto Estelar Bilingüe to immerse ourselves in a new language. It’s five days a week for four hours a day this week and next – all in Spanish. This is our primary reason for staying in Liberia for two weeks before we venture out to the rest of Costa Rica and Panama.
Returning to school wasn’t as unfamiliar to the kids as it was for the parents. After all, Tiffany and Brian have not been pupils for roughly 25 years. We didn’t even bring a boligrafo or paper to school with us.
The children and adults were separated into two classes. It’s not clear who is getting it faster as CreeperPuppy was quick to teach Brian letters in the alfabeto during a shared break in the lessons.
Rythmic clapping heard from the kids’ classroom seemed to indicate a degree of play was involved in their learning style.
We could all tell we are out of practice sitting with our thinking caps on for several hours. The day felt longer than it actually was but we all seemed to enjoy the experience, despite the expression on some students’ faces in the after school photo below. The kids even downloaded the Duolingo app and continued lessons after hours.
On the domestic side, the new adventures continue. We made sure when we chose the AirBnB that it had a clothes washing machine. Traveling with only 5 backpacks doesn’t leave room to carry an extensive wardrobe so laundry facilities are a must for a long stay. What we didn’t expect was a semi-automatic twin tub washing machine rather than the fully automatic machines typical in the United States.
Tiffany got the first turn and spent several minutes with google’s translate program deciphering the controls. The semi-automatic part is for real – first you run the water into the wash tub via a hose, once that’s done and you’ve added your soap and clothes, you use the automatic part to agitate the clothes. Then manually move the clothes over to the other tub to automatically spin out the dirty water, back to the wash tub to rinse, back to spin again and then done. Note – that’s not how it went the first couple loads. That’s the technique after doing some internet searches and watching a helpful gentleman from the UK demonstrate the process in a 25 minute YouTube video.
Tiffany said it reminded her of being 5-6 years old and watching her Grandmother do laundry in the basement. There was a big tub (maybe two?) and a wringer Grandma would run each piece of clothes through to get the soapy/dirty water and then the rinse water out. It looked like fun when she was five – now she knows better.
We don’t share this to complain by the way. We suspect many of you have semi-automatic and non-automatic laundry experiences in your life so we wouldn’t garner any sympathy if we did complain. We share because it’s sort of awesome (along with annoying). It’s part of what is makes this trip fun – to live differently than we do at home.
It also interesting because Brian and Tiffany frequently point things out that the kids think have always existed (smartphones, videogames, electronic navigation, Spotify, etc) and remind them that isn’t so – to try to get them to appreciate the things that make their life easier or fun and how they can potentially impact the world. Turns out we should do remind ourselves too.
Time to close for the night, we’ve got Spanish homework to do. Oh, and in case you’re wondering- the dryer is not at all automatic. But you probably guessed that already.