Category Archives: Costa Rican Profile

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!/ ¡Felíz Día de las Madres!


We can all agree that one day a year is not enough to express the love we have for our moms. And no gift that we choose can be great enough to perfectly honor the fact that our moms brought us into the world and have loved us for our entire lives.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are forever indebted to our mothers. That’s why every August 15th in Costa Rica we ask ourselves, and now what can I give my mom? We make a long list in our minds of possibilities on the market, which bombards us with options of different products that would obligate us to set aside a big chunk of our paycheck to finance the endeavor. Which is the best gift: perfume, a blouse, a purse, an electronic or maybe a massage?

Let’s stop for a moment and analyze the situation. They dedicate their lives to see us grow up and be happy, without ever needing to go to a store and buy “love” to give us. The best Mother’s Day gift is all of the love, respect, understanding and dedication that we can shower on them. A few more days of the year should be dedicated to recognize the value of our moms, but the best thing would be to celebrate our moms each of the  365 days of the year…just because they deserve it. 

I promise to love you and you’ll always have a place in my heart.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

***

Todos estamos de acuerdo en que no basta un solo día al año para celebrar el gran amor que tenemos por nuestras mamás. Mucho menos, un regalo lo suficientemente grande o perfecto que iguale el hecho de habernos traído al mundo para amarnos para toda la vida.

 Sí damas y caballeros, estamos en deuda con nuestras mamás. Por algo cada 15 de agosto caemos en la gran duda de, ¿y ahora que le regalo a mi mamá? Hacemos un listado en la cabeza de las diferentes opciones que nos ofrece el mercado, quien nos bombardea con diferentes opciones de productos, que a menudo nos obligan a dejar buena parte de la quincena en estos negocios. ¿Qué es mejor regalo: un perfume, una blusa, un bolso, algún electrodoméstico o talvez un masaje?

Debemos hacer un alto y analizar bien la situación. Ellas dedican su vida para vernos crecer y ser felices, sin necesidad de ir a una tienda y comprar “amor” para darnos. El mejor regalo del día de las madres es el amor, el respeto, la comprensión, y la dedicación que podamos brindarles. Deberían existir un par de días más en los que se les reconozca su valor, pero lo mejor sería que la celebración se llevara a cabo cada uno de los 365 del año… solo porque ellas se lo merecen.

 Prometo amarte y llevarte siempre en mi corazón.

¡Feliz día mamá!

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Long live Guanacastan culture!/¡Vivamos la Guanacastequidad!


 

The month of July is a great celebration for everyone from the province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. On July 25, 1824, the Nicoya Party, a political-administrative Spanish colony, which is now part of the province of Guanacaste, was annexed to the country of Costa Rica. The slogan of the annexation is “Of the Fatherland for our Own Will,” and that phrase is now part of the district’s crest.

But, what is the symbolic meaning of this date? Guanacaste added to Costa Rica a great variety of culture and traditions that include music, dances, foods, sayings and customs, as well as economic pursuits such as agriculture and the cattle industry, rich soil, majestic rivers and beautiful beaches. This marvelous gift is the “Guanacastecan culture” that identifies the Guanacastecan person before the world and makes us unique in our own country.

That is why we invite you to get to know Guanacastecan culture during this month of July so you can soak in the rich traditions of this land, fall in love with the Costa Rican culture and practice your Spanish in the most colonial and small-town Guanacastecan way.

“Bombas”

or bombs, are riddles that locals ramble off in competions at festivals. They are many times a rime and are spoken so quickly, it’s hard to catch each word. They are said in a joking and happy way, to celebrate a special date or activity, to serenade, to challenge an opponent or just to be silly. Here are two transcribed poems, but they do not rhyme in the English version.

Bomb!

The orange was born green and time made it ripen;

My heart was born free but yours imprisoned it.

Ooh ooh ooh mama!

Bomb!

I like onions or beets;

I’m not here to see your daddy,

but instead for the young lady.

Ooh ooh ooh man.

***

El mes de Julio es de gran celebración para los guanacastecos. Ya que un 25 de julio de 1824 el Partido de Nicoya (actual provincia de Guanacaste) decidió anexarse al país de Costa Rica. “De la Patria por Nuestra Voluntad”

Pero ¿Cuál es el significado simbólico de esta fecha? Guanacaste otorgó a Costa Rica una gran variedad de cultura y tradiciones que se traduce a música, bailes, comidas, dichos y costumbres. Además de actividades económicas como la agricultura y ganadería, ricos suelos, majestuosos ríos y hermosas playas.

Ese regalo maravilloso es la “Guanacastequidad” lo que identifica al pueblo guanacasteco ante el mundo y nos hace únicos inclusive en nuestro propio país.

Por lo que le invitamos a conocer la Guanacastequidad durante este mes de Julio y que usted se empape de las ricas tradiciones de esta tierra, se enamore de ella y practique español de la forma más coloquial del pueblo guanacasteco y de la cultura de Costa Rica.

¡Bomba!:

Dichos o frases que se entonan con gracia y alegría para enamorar, celebrar una fecha o actividad,  para retar a un contrincante o sino para vacilar.

¡Bomba!

La naranja nació verde y el tiempo la maduró;

mi corazón nació libre

y el tuyo lo aprisionó.

Uyuyuy mamita …

¡Bomba!

No me gusta la cebolla ni tampoco la remolacha;

no vengo por su “tata”

sino por la muchacha.

Uyuyuy carajo…

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Costa Rican “Agüizotes” for New Year/Los agüizotes de año nuevo.


“Agüizotes” are customs that we inherit from our ancestors. They were birthed from the cultural mixing that resulted from the conquest and colonization of Costa Rica. These customs come from the indigenous cultures of Africa, Asia, and Europe and are practiced to bring good luck and fortune for the next 365 days.

The most popular Agüizotes that Ticos practice on New Year’s Eve are the following:

  • Yellow underwear: Yellow symbolizes happiness, friendship and prosperity. So, if you want a year full of prosperity and richness, wear yellow underwear!
  • Red underwear7 or a red ribbon: If you want love or a new partner, wear red underwear! But, if you don’t have underwear with this color, you can tie a red ribbon under your clothes.
  • Grapes: For wishes to come true for the next 12 months, put 12 grapes in a glass and just 12 minutes before the New Year arrives (11:48pm), eat the 12 grapes one by one as you make your wishes.
  • Luggage: Do you want a year full of adventures abroad­? At midnight, go outside and walk around the block with an empty suitcase, and the next year you will be traveling.
  • Lentils or beans: When the clock strikes midnight, eat a spoon of lentils. This will bring you a year full of economic abundance, and you will never lack food. Or, for the same result, you can keep a bean in your wallet for the next 365 days.
  • Money: Welcome the New Year with a bill in your shoe! This is for economic stability and abundance for the next year.
  • Broom: With the arrival of the New Year, take a broom and sweep away from the principal door to the street. This is to get bad energy out and purify your house.

***

Los agüizotes son costumbres heredadas por nuestros antepasados que nacen del colorido mestizaje cultural durante la conquista y colonización de Costa Rica. Herencias de origen africano, asiático, europeo e indígena que son prácticas para atraer la buena suerte y fortuna durante los siguientes 365 días.

Dentro de las practicas más comunes que los ticos realizan son:

  • Calzón amarillo: el amarillo simboliza la alegría, fortuna, amistad y prosperidad. Por lo que si desea un año lleno de abundancia y riqueza, vista una prenda de este color.
  • Calzón o Listón rojo: si desea un año lleno de amor o busca una nueva pareja, vista un calzón rojo. Si no posee una prenda de este color, puede amarrar un listón rojo en la cintura debajo de la ropa.
  • Uvas: para pedir deseos y que estos se cumplan en los próximos 12 meses, coloque 12 uvas en una copa y justo 12 minutos antes de la llegada del año nuevo (11:48pm) debe comer las 12 uvas una a una pidiendo un deseo.
  • Maletas: ¿Desea un año lleno de aventuras en el extranjero?. Al marcar la media noche con una maleta vacía salga de su casa y de una vuelta a la cuadra para que el próximo año tenga la oportunidad de vivirlo.
  • Lentejas o frijol: Cuando el reloj marque las 12:00mn coma una cucharada de lentejas. Esto simboliza un año lleno de abundancia económica y que nunca le falte alimento. Sino, guarde un grano de frijol en la billetera por los siguientes 365 días.
  • Dinero: Reciba el año nuevo con un billete en un zapato. Esto para tener buena estabilidad económica y que el dinero vengan en abundancia el próximo año.
  • Escoba: Con la llegada del año nuevo, tome una escoba y barra de la puerta (entrada principal) de su hogar hacia la calle. Esto para sacar las malas vibras y purificar su casa.

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Our English students are the best!


We are very proud to display more writing from our high intermediate English students, Yuran and Dinia. Their teachers submitted their writing to be published on this blog. Happy reading, and congratulations to these excellent students!

Memorable experience – Yuran

I’m going to tell about one of my best experiences.  It was when I was just 6 years old and I really liked the race car. I liked seeing car competitions on tv. My dad at that time participated in motorcycle racing and I started my experience with adrenaline. My dad took me to see racing in guacima highway and you have no idea I liked me to see to those cars close. My uncle brought a mini car from USA and I thought I will could use this car the front of my garage only for practices.

One day my dad told me we were going out to visit my grandparents and that was a lie because it was not going to be right there. It was a surprise to take me to a place where they had a highway. I was very happy I could not believe that. Then I went every weekend to practice because my intention was to have the goal…a professional competition but I knew it was a effort to training and could do it. When I was 7 and participate this competition, I remember it was a Sunday and I was very nervous to see this place so full. The first laps I feel good during the race and I had confidence. Not win the competition but I really enjoyed.  I remember I had the tv interviews and photos with all other participants. I could not continue to participate because it is very expensive sport and had to study. Also participate in motorcycle rally car events and water 4×4 when had more age.

 

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Yuran is the student sitting on the left side of teacher Nate. This is his English class at Instituto Estelar Bilingüe in Liberia, Costa Rica.

Trip Unforgettable – Dinia

This Easter week was wonderful because my boyfriend and me had 1 week off. So we planning visit different parts of Costa Rica that didn’t know before. We coordinate all necessary for the trip many weeks before because we wanted  that it was cheap, so we had to planning all very well. First I rented a car 1 month before, them I looked basic information and advice about the places to visit, and I coordinate the travel route. The places that were in our plans were: Zoological Tempisque, Barra Honda Caves and National Park Tenorio. For visit our first place we preparing: A car, cash, back pack, comfortable shoes for long hiking, food and beverage, repellent, sunblock, hat and camera. Zoological Tempisque is located in Rosario downtown. The way is long and most of the street doesn´t has good conditions, only from Liberia to Nicoya  there is paved street. When we arrive the tourist guide brings us the welcome and the tour.

This place open daily from 9am to 4pm. In this place we can see variety of wild animals like: Tapir, Scarlet Macaws, Monkeys, Emus, Ocelots, Small mountain tiger, crocodiles, Green iguanas, capibaras, Boa constrictors, Guatuzas, Tepezcuintle, danta, White tail deer and others.

To visit Tempisque Safari is an unforgettable experience, not only because you can observe and photograph an impressive variety of wild animals in their natural hábitat, but you can also interact with many of them.

Next day we went to visit Barra Honda Caves, for visit this place we prepared confortable and fresh cloth, shoes for long hiking, sunblock, camera and a lot water. Barra Honda is unique among the National Parks of Costa Rica its main attraction is an intricate large system of limestone cavers wich has a multitude of forms and figures. Before that people believed that Barra Honda was a volcano because they misinterpreted the whirring of bat wings for volcanic activity, and the aroma of guano for sulfur. The calcareous formation of the limestone caverns at the park are the main visitor attraction, wich are only estimated to be 50% explored. This place its really magic.

After that our final stop will be Tenorio National Park were we can find Rios Celeste.

The main visitor attraction there is Rio Celeste. Tenorio Volcano National Park a trip here involves a moderately challenging, but for me, was a big challenging of 3hrs hike through parks secondary forest, an effort that is well worth the trip. Two rivers merge into one at borbollones, a confluence where the minerals from the river and volcano meet and create the famous blue color. (sulfur and calcium carbonate). In addition to the colorful attraction of the water the river also has several thermal hot springs and a large waterfall. All the places that visit were wonderful, I recommended go to visit.

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Dinia is the student standing up! This is her English class with Sharai from California at Instituto Estelar Bilingüe.

7 Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher in Costa Rica


PROS CONS
You live in Costa Rica – the most obvious pro is that you have the opportunity to live in an amazing place with beautiful beaches, national parks, waterfalls, and volcanoes to explore. You don’t live in your own country– it’s not easy to leave everything you know behind. Although you are living in an exquisite country, you are not in your own country and this can be difficult at times.
You get to meet people and make new friends – living in Costa Rica and traveling around Central America gives you the chance to meet people that you never would have met if you had stayed in your home country. You don’t get to see your old friends regularly – although Skype and Facebook make it possible to stay in touch with your good friends back home, it can be difficult at times because you can’t see them on a regular basis.
You have the chance to learn Spanish – although your job is 100% in English, everything else around you isn’t. This makes it easier to learn Spanish because you are not only immersed in it, but you need it at times to get what you want and need. You have to be patient to learn Spanish – learning Spanish takes time and it can be difficult, especially at the beginning, to understand. Hearing announcements, reading signs, and talking to people are some things that can make you feel nervous or uncomfortable when you don’t speak or understand very much of the language.
The weather – even in the rainy season, Costa Rica is always warm. Sweaters and jackets are rarely needed, whereas shorts and tank tops are always appropriate. The weather – there are days in Liberia when the heat is unbearable. Usually it is a dry heat, but during changing seasons, the humidity and heat make it difficult to sleep, walk to work, or go anywhere without a fan.
Expenses – things like rent, water and electricity, and traveling by bus are cheap when compared to prices in United States or Canada. Expenses – Costa Rica is quite expensive compared to the surrounding Latin American countries. This can make it difficult to save money. Things like food, clothes, shoes, and personal items are overpriced and often lack the quality that you would expect for paying such a high price. 
You can try new foods – moving to a new country gives you the opportunity to try the foods from the culture. You can also learn to cook typical dishes and add them into your recipe book to use now and in the future.  You may have to give up some culinary favorites – Some foods that you love may not be available here. If they are available, they may cost more than you are used to paying. While there are some very delicious foods in Costa Rica, the selection is different than what you might find in the United States or Canada.
You are able to live a very simple, carefree life – Costa Rica offers a pura vida lifestyle that makes it possible to relax and live a slow-paced life. You may get addicted to the simplicity – the longer our teachers stay in Costa Rica, the harder it can be for them to return to their home country.

What our teachers have to say:

Carrie: “Teaching in Costa Rica makes you feel like part of the community. There’s a great cultural exchange between the teachers and students that’s a lot of fun for everyone. Also, beaches!!!”

Stephanie: “It’s an amazing, beautiful place to live with nice people. But it’s so hot!”

Nate: “There is no better way to learn a language. It truly is an adventure.”

Sharai: “I love living in Costa Rica! Teaching is fun and it feels good to watch your students advance. I am worried though that I will never leave – I have already extended my stay 6 months!”

Kate: “Living and teaching in Costa Rica has been an adventure, for sure, but acclimating and adjusting to the culture was seamless; the people here have been warm and welcoming and while I may be over 3,000 miles from where I grew up, I’ve never felt as at home as I do in Costa Rica.”

Adam: “It’s definitely an immersive experience in a welcoming culture.  Teaching English in this environment is incredible – you feel useful and driven to give as much as you get.”

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PROS CONTRAS
Usted vive en Costa Rica – el más evidente  pro es que tiene la oportunidad de vivir en un sitio increíble, con hermosas playas, parques nacionales, cascadas y volcanes para explorar. Usted no vive en su propio país– no es fácil dejar atrás todo lo que conoce. A pesar de que vivirá en un exquisito país, no se encontrara en su propio país y esto puede ser difícil a veces. 
Llegar a conocer  gente y hacer nuevos amigos – viviendo en Costa Rica y viajando por América Central le da la oportunidad de conocer  gente que nunca habría conocido si se hubiera quedado en su país de origen. No puede ver a sus viejos amigos con regularidad – aunque con Skype y Facebook  es posible estar en contacto con sus amigos en casa, puede ser difícil a veces porque no se les puede ver personalmente.
Usted tiene la oportunidad de aprender español – aunque su trabajo es del 100% en inglés, todo lo demás que lo rodea no lo es. Esto hace que sea más fácil  aprender español, porque no sólo está inmerso en la cultura, también  necesita hablarlo para obtener lo que necesita y desea. Usted tiene que ser paciente para aprender español – aprender español lleva tiempo y puede ser difícil, sobre todo al principio. Cosas como entender  anuncios y rótulos,  hablar  con las personas  y lograr entenderles son algunas cosas que le pueden hacer sentirse nervioso o incómodo.
El tiempo – incluso en la temporada de lluvias, Costa Rica siempre es cálido. Suéteres y chaquetas raramente son necesarios en Liberia, mientras que los pantalones cortos y camisetas siempre son apropiados.  El tiempo – hay días en Liberia, que el calor es insoportable. Suele ser un calor seco, pero durante el cambio de estaciones, la humedad y el calor hacen difícil dormir, caminar al trabajo o ir a ninguna parte sin un ventilador.
Gastos – cosas como alquiler, agua, electricidad y viajar en bus son cosas baratas en comparación con los precios en Estados Unidos o Canadá. Gastos – Costa Rica es bastante caro en comparación con los países circundantes de América Latina. Esto puede hacer difícil ahorrar dinero. Cosas como alimentos, ropa, zapatos y objetos personales son demasiado caros y a menudo carecen de la calidad que usted esperaría para pagar por un precio tan alto.
Usted puede probar nuevos alimentos vivir en un país nuevo le da la oportunidad de probar los alimentos de la cultura. También  puede aprender a cocinar platos típicos y agregarlos a su libro de recetas!  Es posible que tenga que renunciar a algunas especialidades culinarias – Algunos alimentos que le gustan pueden no estar disponibles aquí. Si están disponibles, pueden costar más de lo que usted está acostumbrado a pagar. Si bien hay comidas deliciosas en Costa Rica, la selección es diferente a lo que se puede encontrar en los Estados Unidos o Canadá.
Usted es capaz de vivir una simple y despreocupada vida – Costa Rica ofrece una pura vida que hace posible relajarse y vivir  a un lento ritmo de vida. Usted puede ser adicto a la vida simple – entre más tiempo nuestros profesores permanecen en Costa Rica, más difícil es que quieran volver a su país de origen.

 

Lo que cuentan nuestros maestros:

Carrie: “Enseñar en Costa Rica te hace sentir como parte de la comunidad. Hay un gran intercambio cultural entre los profesores y estudiantes que es un montón de diversión para todos. Además, las playas!!!!!!”

Stephanie: “Es un lugar increíble, hermoso para vivir con gente agradable. ¡Pero qué calor!”
Nate: “No hay una mejor manera de aprender un idioma. Verdaderamente es una aventura.”
Sharai: “Me encanta vivir en Costa Rica. Enseñar es divertido y se siente bien ver a sus estudiantes avanzar. Me preocupa sin embargo que no voy a querer  irme – ya he ampliado mi estadía 6 meses!”
Kate: “Vivir y enseñar  en Costa Rica ha sido una aventura! Pero para adaptarme a la cultura y a la gente fue súper fácil; la gente aquí es muy cálida y acogedora. Y aunque este a  más de 3.000 millas del lugar donde nací y crecí, nunca me he sentido  en casa como lo hago en Costa Rica.”
Adam: “Definitivamente es una experiencia de inmersión en una cultura acogedora. Enseñar inglés en este ambiente es increíble, uno se siente impulsado a dar más de lo que puede y se siente súper  útil.”

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Helping Kids in our Community / Ayudando a niños de la comunidad


Learning English can help improve a Costa Rican’s future. At Instituto Estelar, we want to help make English classes available to children who want to learn but need help paying for the materials to do so.

Vera is a single mother living in a low-income neighborhood, and she wants her children to learn English so that they can have better lives and improve their situation. Her six year-old daughter, Keiryn, and eight year-old son, Densel, are eager to study English and have been asking to take classes for some time.

We recently enrolled Keiryn and Densel into our kids program and gave them scholarships to cover their monthly tuition. An organization that gives shoes to needy children, Souls Helping Soles, will be giving them new shoes to wear to school and future English classes. However, we still need help paying for their books. The books cost 30.000 colones and we already have 10.000 in donations.

You can help send these stellar children to school with the materials they need!

If you are interested in donating, please contact the director, Bethany, at Info@estelarcr.com or 2665-6921. Thank you so much for helping us give this opportunity to local children!

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Vera, showed here with her two full-scholarship children in Instituto Estelar Bilingüe’s Kid’s English Program, works hard to keep our campus clean.

Aprender inglés puede mejorar el futuro de los costarricenses. En el Instituto Estelar, queremos que clases de inglés sean accesibles a los niños que quieren aprender, pero necesitamos ayuda en pagar los materiales de clase.

Vera es una madre soltera que vive en Nazareth de Liberia, y ella quiere que sus hijos aprendan inglés para que tengan un mejor nivel de vida y mejoren su situación. Su hija de seis años, Keiryn, e hijo de ocho años, Densel, han tenido ganas de estudiar inglés con nosotros.

Recientemente se matricularon Densel y Keiryn en nuestro programa para niños y les hemos dado becas completas para pagar sus mensualidades. Una organización que da zapatos a niños de recursos bajos que se llama Souls Helping Soles les va a dar zapatos nuevos para usar en las clases de inglés. Sin embargo, todavía necesitan ayuda para pagar sus libros. Los libros cuestan 30.000 colones y ya tenemos 10.000 en donaciones.

Usted puede ayudar a estos estudiantes estelares con los materiales que necesitan.

Si usted está interesado en colaborar, por favor comuníquese con la directora, Bethany, en Info@estelarcr.com o 2665-6921. ¡Muchas gracias por ayudarnos a dar la oportunidad a los niños de Liberia!

A Truly Stellar Student – Un estudiante estrella del estelar


Learning a new language takes time, commitment, and a lot of self-motivation. At Estelar, we like to recognize those who display these qualities from start to finish. Melvin Hernandez Arias, a 28 year old English student from Nicaragua, is one of those people. Melvin began studying at Instituto Estelar Bilingüe in 2012 in the very first level, where he learned beginner vocabulary and grammar. This week he started Advanced Low 2 – the final level of our basic English program! Not only is he the only student from his original beginner class that is finishing the entire program, but he has done so with excellent grades and stellar dedication. In addition to studying, he works very hard as a street vendor and regularly attends our Spanglish social. Melvin is a perfect example of a hard-working student and we are so proud of all of his accomplishments. Congratulations, Melvin!

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Aprender un idioma nuevo requiere tiempo, compromiso y mucha motivación. En el Estelar, nos gusta reconocer a los estudiantes que tengan estas cualidades. Melvin Hernández Arias, nuestro estudiante de inglés de 28 años de Nicaragua, es una de esas personas. Melvin empezó a estudiar en el Instituto Estelar Bilingüe en 2012 en el primer nivel, donde aprendió gramática y vocabulario para principiantes. Esta semana empezó el nivel Avanzado Bajo 2 – ¡el ultimo nivel de nuestro programa básico de inglés! No sólo es el único estudiante que empezó con él en el primer curso que está terminando todo el programa, sino que lo ha hecho con excelentes notas y dedicación estelar. Además de estudiar, trabaja muy duro como vendedor ambulante y asiste regularmente a nuestro Spanglish social. Melvin es un estudiante ejemplar y estamos muy orgullosos de todos sus logros. ¡Felicidades, Melvin!