Prospero Año Nuevo and not Prospero Ano Nuevo –

Hallo from Pookaverse. And hello from Costa Rica. More specifically Santa Barbara Canton in the Province of Heredia. Canton? Province? For this is the Switzerland of Central America. A rare thing. A stable country with no standing army, a high decree of literacy and a burgeoning eco-tourism industry that this the envy of it’s neighbors. Not many pictures taken from when we arrived in Heredia town. Tourists and their belongings are fair game in the urban sprawl. Out here – 10 minutes away in a taxi – the mood seems more relaxed. But we hooms remains vigilant.

Our flight from Santiago was an uneventful and comfortable 6:45 hours. This left the 1:20 hr hop from the nexus of Panama City International Airport to San Jose, Costa Rica. And a stay in the Hotel Hojanascas – a comfortable boutique hotel. A little off putting at first glance. As most house and businesses in Costa Rica have a direct approach to home security. Bars over all the windows and razor wire over the top of every exposed wall. In England, this would be the sign of an impoverished area. But here it is part of the scenery and sensibility. A different way of doing things. Including the shower systems. Where cold water meets plastic electric water heater above your head. Heated prior to dispersal often with mixed results. Leading to a visually disturbing conurbation of red wires and pipes.

New Years Eve...the early part at our hosts home in Santa Barbara

New Years Eve…the early part at 19:35…in our hosts home in Santa Barbara

Pookaverse is staying in the front bedroom of a house owned by Manuel, Angela – their daughter Angela and son Johan. It could be a bit tricky staying in someones house and to be honest there was a sinking feeling when we arrived and were shown to this room as very little English is spoken within the family. Typically, Angela junior speaks some English and this has been very useful as we try and respond in our fragmentary Spanish. Yesterday evening, Pookaverse was introduced to Carlos and Marilyn – friends of Manuel and Angela. We waded through different topics in ‘Spanglish and it seemed that everyone had a good time with plenty of laughter. Laughter, as if it needs restating, crosses all manner of boundaries. Linguistic or otherwise.

We are both ill on this New Year’s Eve night. Another milder and none the less irritating cold. Not quite where we wanted to be at less than 19:05 in the evening. This evening. New Years Eve. However. At least the perennial anxiety about where to go and what to do has been suspended. And in it’s place something different. Not necessarily good nor bad – just different.

Today was our first Spanish Lesson at the Amistad Institute. It started this morning at 8am – 8.30am ‘Latin Time’. Leaving the house after being prepared toast and coffee by Angela at about 07:45 and walking less than 5 minutes to the site. Hence why we are staying in this canton. The exam started at 08:30. Not much said as it is a rule that only Spanish is spoken in the School. Alison seemed to perform quite well having answered at least one question satisfactorily at least 1 hour later when the exam came to an end. Rohan managed to write his name at the top of the paper and date against it. Like that recurring dream after the stressful finals. Turning up to an exam without having revised. Both hooms are going back to school in the same class.

It is strange how things come to you in a way that you did not expect. For example. Rohan and Alison often talk about what it would have been like to have met at school. To have met earlier in life. This morning, this regret was fully nullified as we both realised that we were walking to school together.  And that Rohan was carrying Alison’s bag for her. Just an observation.

There are quite a lot of stares for the Gringos as well as the Gringas. As other students on the course have observed. Not hostile. Just curious. Europeans stand out here. Whether it be for pale skin, height or wariness in their eyes having listened to all the stories of opportunist crimes. According to the school, Europeans staying with Costa Rican families typically means that we are volunteers. It is perceived to be a worthy and honourable activity and according to our administrator, we have to be careful at all times in deed though not necessarily in word. As we are role models for parents seeking to teach values to their children. That is quite a weight responsibility isn’t it? To not muddy the waters for those that come after you?

Anyway. Be that as it may. On this New Year’s Eve night with peacocks howling outside, the music from the barrios rising contemptuously and the occasional firework being set off outside, Pookaverse wishes all of you a very Happy New Year. Just Gone. And here. Four hours to go. We’ll of course let you know what happens next….

Note: The title of this blog is fair warning to all potential Spanish Speakers. “Año” is “Year” in Spanish where as “Ano” means “Anus”. A different way to mind your P’s and Q’s


4 Responses to “Prospero Año Nuevo and not Prospero Ano Nuevo –”

  1. jose Says:

    Happy 2013 to you, we have th sun out at last, a drier spell is forecast, expect you to speak fluent spanish when you return, oh,
    hope you held hands as you walked to school? Keep safe, be good
    role models, lots of love to you both xxxx

  2. Terri and Andrew Says:

    Hi Ali and Rohan, Glad your getting to grips with the lingo and able to be at school with each other! Hope 2013 will be a healthy and happy New Year for you both. I (Terri) was full of cold too so went to bed early. We are now back home and I have a day or so to recover before being back in the “mad house”!! Safe Travels and Andrew says take care not to make an “Ano” of yourselves!!

    Lots of Love, Terri and Andrew xx

  3. Rach Says:

    Happy new year Guys!!!!! Well done with learning Spanish! Ah its the old ~ above the N which i seem to remember makes it a “Ny” sound. Happy new Anus would be difficult to fit into any situation that I can think of? 🙂 Love u xxxxxxx

  4. Rach Says:

    I’ve thought of a suitable situation to say it. If you were a tactless Colo-Rectal Surgeon with an extremely poor bedside manner 🙂 xxxxxx

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