The one request I had asked of Laura prior to embarking on this journey together was that I’d have the opportunity to learn Spanish formally. Well scratch that…two requests. The first was that I get to take my Sonicare toothbrush. The second was that we could take a month for Spanish school. A lot of hours were spent Googling Spanish immersion programs throughout Central and South America. My requirements were simple. A program in a country that I had never been to – easy because I’d only been to Costa Rica. A program that allowed us to live with a family and volunteer in the community – this actually weeded out quite a few. And finally, a school that seemed to get great reviews – La Mariposa was easily the best.
Yes, this post is in English…for two reasons. One, after learning 14 tenses in one month, I can now make even more mistakes than when I just knew past and present. Two, I want to get some sleep tonight and writing a blog in Spanish would take away from that considerably. That doesn’t mean that the month wasn’t worthwhile. Even after reading the reviews I never would have expected to have such an amazing overall experience on top of my Spanish lessons. The teachers and scholastic environment were great, but the true stars were the programs to which we contributed, the spectacular behind-the-scenes tours offered, and last but not least, the wonderful and generous family that shared this month with us.
In fact, our house father threw us a BBQ our last night there. BBQs here are amazing, the coal is literally straight from the earth, the marinades are all organic, and guess what, the meat is grass-fed all-natural. We’d never tasted anything like it. Now, this BBQ could have been a going away present or it could have been Bergman’s way of making me feel better after he tore my essay apart on my last day of class…either way, apology accepted.
The whole family participated…everyone was sent in a different direction to buy something from the store or prepare a portion of the meal. We were touched.
It was hard to say goodbye to the life we had a La Mariposa. A strict schedule and packed days left little down time. There was no need to plan/prepare as most was done for us. Meals were cooked. Transportation arranged. We’ll see what happens to us on the “other side.”
Guillermina, Paulette’s daughter, escorted us out of the school, but not without a photo. After spending a month with her, we knew she didn’t like to be touched, so we were both surprised when she wrapped her arms around us for the picture.
Our last morning was hectic. We packed, finished up a few emails at La Mariposa and waited until 10am to leave so there would be more space on the buses. I decided to wash my shorts as Laura looked on with doubt. She told me I was going to forget them. As we stood at the bus stop, she asked if I had remembered to pack my shorts that were hanging on the line. Not a chance. I used it to make one final comedic goodbye—race in, grab my wet shorts, tell everyone Laura was right, get a good laugh. It was the perfect way to leave.