What a crazy month its been!!
We've been in Costa Rica for over two months now - wow! Things are going great and we are continuing to learn a ton of Spanish. We only have 5 weeks left in this trimester so the teachers are really picking up steam so that we can learn everything we need to learn before our second trimester begins. We both have grammar exams tomorrow. It's hard to believe, but we are already picking which classes we'll be taking. Josh will be continuing to focus on grammar and conversation, and I am planning to take a Spanish/English translation class and also a Spanish Bible class. The translation class will be invaluable to me when mission teams come to Ecuador - I will definitely need to know how to translate for doctors, nurses, and pastors in the hospital. The Bible class will give me a lot of the tools I need to be able to clearly share my faith with the people we come into contact with. Also, we would like to hire a tutor to learn some key medical words and phrases so that we are prepared for the communication we will need to do. We are very excited about the upcoming semester!
We've also been kept very busy helping our "Little Brother" family. We've been talking to landlords over the phone (in Spanish - what a challenge!) and setting up meetings to view different houses. Tomorrow we will be meeting with the landlord of the house that our family has selected and signing the preliminary paperwork. I can tell already that having this experience will help us a ton once we are in Ecuador looking at properties for ourselves and for the hospital we'll be building.
Since we've been in Costa Rica so long, we needed to get our visas stamped so that we could stay in the country. At the end of June, Josh and I went with about 40 other people from the Institute to Panama for a weekend to achieve that goal. It was great fun, but also served its purpose. Panama was beautiful - but VERY hot! Thankfully the hotel that we stayed at had air conditioning and we got to enjoy AC for the first time since we arrived in May. We are now legally in the country for 90 more days!
A few weeks ago we had a family get-together for Fathers Day and our Costa Rican brother's 20th birthday. Once again our "new" family included us in the cooking and celebrating. Josh cooked a buffalo chicken dip, which was another great taste of home. This was also a very good opportunity to force ourselves to practice our spanish. We will try to post a picture of this later when the internet is working.
It was very interesting celebrating July 4th in Costa Rica. The week of July 4th was also Spiritual Emphasis Week at the school and we had chapel twice a day and a lot of other activities focused on unity and families. During that week, the school threw a 4th of July party complete with games, hotdogs, chips, and cupcakes so we definitely got a taste of home, and of course I made sure to wear red, white, and blue on the actual day! The only thing we were missing was fireworks :-). Check out the photo below. We were so happy to have a hotdog.
And finally, Josh's 25th birthday was yesterday! A girl in one of his classes bought him a small cake from a bakery close by and the he and I used some of his birthday money from his grandparents to enjoy dinner together last night. It was a lot of fun and as awesome as it is living with our Tico Family, it was very special for us to have just a little time alone.
We are looking forward to the upcoming weekend and we will continue to keep you updated! As always, we can't thank you enough for your support, prayers and love - we could not do this without your encouragement behind us.
Love and God Bless,
Steph and Josh