My second week of classes was in Heredia, in the central highlands. It was cooler and rainier there.
I had another great teacher this week. Victoria is funny and charming and made me look forward to each day of class. She personified the even-handedness in her treatment of all the students that is a hallmark of the school.
My class in Heredia. Victoria, like Victor in Sámara, was good at stimulating and moderating discussions on current political and social topics. It made for wide participation in the conversation, great new vocab, and at the end, even people with opposing viewpoints seemed to come out friends. One informant told me that this teaching style was the philosophy of the Executive Director, Marcelo Arroyo.
And here's the culprit now! Marcelo wrote the textbooks we used in the course. They were good; you should publish them, Marcelo, and make big bucks. Marcelo was friendly and helpful, and, together with founder Laura Ellington, has created a very effective school. I spoke with some students that had only been studying Spanish 4 or 5 weeks there, and they were already doing very well communicating in the language on a day-to-day basis.
In Heredia I lived with Manuel, on the left, and Franklin, also with Maritza, who was Manuel's wife and Franklin's granddaughter, and Raquel, who was Manuel's and Maritza's daughter. Maritza took me and another student out for beers the first night we were there. Huge.
Franklin was one of my favorite people of the whole trip. He took me on a tour of Heredia and seemed to know everybody in town. Franklin kept me entertained in the evenings, playing chess, listening to his collection of antique classical music records, and teaching me Spanish phrases that were left out of the curriculum at school. ¡Oye, Franklin! ¡Que te atropelle un tren! ¡Que te den con un sarten y no sepas quien!
I was interested in finding out a little more about veterinary medicine in the country, and asked Maritza if she happened to know anyone in the vet school. My jaw dropped when she replied, "Sure, I have a good friend who's the section head of microbiology there." She arranged an interview for me and I visited the vet school.
I didn't take any pictures of the school itself, I was too enthralled in seeing everything to waste any time looking at it through a small hole. These pictures are of the entrance to the campus, several miles outside of Heredia.
I went and met her friend, Dr. Magaly Caballero, who graciously took the time to give me a tour of their facility. The school was very nice and parts of it were quite high-tech. Dr. Caballero invited me to come give a talk to the students someday about current topics in veterinary medicine in the USA. I agreed, and hope to return soon to the school.
Sylvia is from Switzerland and was a student at the school. We teamed up one day to go see the National Museum in San José. It's a fabulous museum, set in an old fort with bullet holes in the walls.
At the museum they had a "careta," or ox cart, painted in the traditional style. The spheres are made of lava and were carved by hand, thousands of years ago, into perfect spheres by the ancient aboriginal peoples who dwelt here.
The next page has pictures of my family home and a swimming pool we used to visit when I lived here as a child, and will probably be of interest primarily to my family. You can check them out or head straight to the pictures from Tortuguero National Park.
San JoséTortuguero National Park
Or, go back to the previous page.
© 2004 Lee Fike
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