Friday, July 4, 2008

Gran Aventura (great adventure)

You can tell that I am back in a Spanish speaking country since I am titling my posts in Spanish. :-)

I am finally safe in Costa Rica. But it was no easy feat getting here. After Liz's wedding, I stayed with some friends in Chicago for one night and they took me to the airport on Sunday morning. I flew from Chicago to Houston and prepared myself for the 5 hour layover that awaited me before flying into San Jose, Costa Rica. After a few hours of sitting in the airport, watching the torrential rain pour down outside, and hearing the loud booms of thunder and seeing bright flashes of lightning, an announcement came over the loudspeaker that they were basically shutting down the airport due to the storms. No planes were allowed to land nor take off until further notice. "Great" I thought to myself. "I am already bored out of my mind sitting here in the airport, and now I just have to wait even longer."

The language school had given me a phone number of a man named Rodrigo who was apparently supposed to pick me up at the airport and take me to my host family's home. I tried to get ahold of him to tell him my flight would be delayed, but all attempts at international calling failed. So I began to pray and began to prepare myself that I would be arriving in Costa Rica sometime in the middle of the night, there would most likely not be anybody at the airport to pick me up, and I would need to figure out how to get myself to orientation at the school the next day at 8:30 am.

So, finally we boarded the plane at about 9:30 pm and I arrived in Costa Rica around 2 am. As I suspected, there was nobody at the airport to pick me up. So I had decided that I would just try to sleep a few hours on the floor of the airport, and take a taxi the next morning to the school (which I had the name for, but no address). However, a nice (unofficial) taxi driver began to offer his help. He tried to call the number I had for Rodrigo, to no avail. So he then suggested that he take me to a nice clean hotel and I sleep for a few hours and then try to contact the school in the morning. Great idea.

So after a few hours of sleep at the hotel I woke up early the next morning to get my first taste of Costa Rica. This included dogs barking, horns honking, people talking loudly through thin walls, no hot water, and a cockroach running across my floor. Not the most welcoming, but nothing I haven't experienced before.

So, after a delicious free breakfast of rice, beans, fried bananas, eggs, fruit and cafe con leche, I tried to get ahold of the school to figure out how to get myself there in time for orientation. But, of course, no one answered my phone calls. So, my only other solution was to jump in a taxi and try to make it to the school. With nothing more than the name of the school, the taxi driver and I went on a crazy journey trying to find the school. We found it, eventually, after stopping to ask for directions a few times, and I walked into the orientation 30 minutes late. The director, a Costa Rican (or Tico, as they call themselves) looked at me as I walked in and said, "Ah, right on time. Tico time!" Latinos are notorious for being late, 30 minutes late is usually considered right on time.

So, that's my crazy story of my first day in Costa Rica. I am so thankful that God protected me the way He did, because there could have been all manner of horrible things the could have happened. Praise God for the taxi driver at the airport who was so nice and helpful. Praise God that I already knew Spanish and was able to communicate and get myself around. And praise God that we found the school and I arrived safe.

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