First Days in Language School- Costa Rica

1-4-10 Our last night in the U.S was fittingly spent in our nations capital.  We squeezed in a one hour tour that included Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, FDR Memorial, The Capitol Building and of course The White House.  With so little time the tour was heavy on the visual side of things.  The cold and windy weather erased all feeling of trepidation about heading to a foreign country.  The thought of moving to a warm climate suddenly sounded great.

1-5-10 Past conversations, planning and anticipation is becoming reality.   We arrived last night in San Jose with 15 bags weighing close to 500lbs.  So much for being light and nimble.  Fortunately, a classmate from the language school picked us up and showed us to our casa somewhere in San Jose. All that I know is that we are not in Kansas any more.  Our new home certainly has a different pulse than what we are used to.  People shouting in the streets, noisy buses and car alarms screaming at 2 a.m.. Annoying and strangely exciting at the same time.  I am guessing that soon this will seem like home with the exception of familiar faces being in the same isle at City Market or at a nearby table at Steamworks. There are a number of city parks close to our  “casa verde”  that will have to serve our recreational needs.  The weather here is surprisingly cool.  Hidden in the clouds, a dormant volcano looms.  A quick walk around the block to begin getting my bearings within our new neighborhood is both exciting and scary.  Loneliness comes to mind as I walk around and see nothing that is familiar.  No cell blackberry or  iphone to communicate with.  Very different from the past of  always being connected and feeling somewhat “in control”.  You could not find me if you wanted, nor could I begin to tell you exactly where I was.  I am beginning to realize how connected to the world I once was.  Where is my cell phone?  Where is my computer?  I want my mommy!

1-8-10   A call from the cable/internet company yesterday afternoon raised spirits since our ability to communicate with friends and family as well as tie up loose ends back home are challenging at best.  The excitement that our cable guy brought us was short lived when I looked outside to see that he was driving an older model Mercedes Benz. The fact that he did not have a ladder strapped to his roof made me suspect of his visit because all of the cable/internet providers that I had seen came from the numerous arial lines that clutter the skies.  A half hour later and  32,000 colones  ($55) fewer, our savior was gone.  His last words as he walked out the door were that we should get a call from the installer in a few days. There is a good chance that we will be writing about this for possibly weeks to come since our schedules do not allow us to sit at home to wait for “the call.”

In the meantime, we have completed three days of orientation. There are approx. 40 other new students, with a total of over 100 students here at any given time.  The kids program is big as well, with one class per grade and the classes consist of approx. 20 kids each.   In orientation, we have covered everything from cultural customs to washing of produce.  Several hours were dedicated to safety and security.  As with most big cities, San Jose has its share of crime.  Moving from point A to point B requires a heightened sense of awareness.  Pick pockets, scam artists, and the needy are just around the corner.  Our home is protected by two barred gates, an independent secondary lock, and a deadbolted front door. Fortunately all four locks utilize the same key which cuts down on the time to enter and exit the jail ……I mean house.  And we really do feel extra safe!

1-11-10 School begins tomorrow.  We are looking forward to not only getting into some kind of routine, but learning the language.  The kids began their classes today.  Never gave any thought to ever going to school with our kids.  Luke brought it to my attention that we have not been in school  in 20 years.  Boy do we feel old!

1-11-10- Yay!  School started today and we are on our way.  How humbling it is and yes, taxing on our brains to be in this situation.  And now, we have lots of homework to do as well.  Classes seem excellent, organized into categories of language, grammar, and phonics.  All presented in espanol, with a few english words thrown in to keep us from drowning!    That’s all for now.  We’ll post more photos with explanations on facebook, so please look there as well.

Emailis always a great way to get in touch with us: Our mailing address here at school until May is:

Mike & Kerry Tichi,   Instituto de Lengua Espanola, Apartado 100-2350, San Jose, Costa Rica, America Central (This is only for letters and very small parcels.  No UPS or FEDEX)

Donations for our Ministry: Starting 2010, we are officially being “sent” by our home church First Presbyterian Church of Durango.  We will be working alongside of Living Water 4 Roatan.  Please make checks payable to:  First Presbyterian Church of Durango and put our names or Care4Communities in the memo land.  Send to :  1159 E. 3rd Avenue, Durango, CO 81301.

God bless you for reading this far and joining us on this journey!  We couldn’t do this without you.  Please let us know what’s new with you!

17 replies
  1. sandy campbell
    sandy campbell says:

    Was so happy to hear from you and wanted to pass along my very best thoughts — and prayers.
    Almost two years ago, we were in San Jose and were fortunate enough to spend Palm Sunday at a park within walking distance of our hotel. The park (which featured a display of the weaponry discarded when Costa Rica abolished its military) was delightful, with many families, kites flying in the breeze, kids sliding down a big hill on cardboard boxes, horseback rides, vendors — a beautiful day and an experience we won’t forget.

    We pray for your weeks ahead and will look forward to hearing of your adventures and triumphs.

  2. cherie
    cherie says:

    Dear Mike, Kerry, Levi, Luke and Lily ~

    It is so exciting to read your e-mails and almost FEEL what you’re experiencing!

    I really wish I could help monetarily but money’s really tight now. (Especially since I had a run-in with a sign post . . . AND a curb which both bent and broke a chunk out of my wheel. Anyway, it’s a good thing I have insurance, but the deductible has really set me back!)

    Dad and I will continue to keep each and every one of you in our prayers and we wish you the best.

    God is with you always!



  3. Jim and Barbara Edmanson
    Jim and Barbara Edmanson says:

    Hi Tichis,

    We are envious. You are warm!

    We did not get to see Roatan from our cruise ship as we sailed by on our way to the Panama Canal. Guess we were waaaay out to sea. But we were thinking of you and hope that this will be an adventure that you will always cherish.
    Thanks for keeping us in the loop…
    Jim and Barbara Edmanson

  4. Theresa Imbach
    Theresa Imbach says:

    Hola Tichis,
    Yay for new adventures!! I am so happy that y’all are on your way. I know that God’s timing is always perfect and that you will arrive in Roatan, right on time :). I am praying for you all and look forward to future updates. I will go and find you on Facebook so I can stalk, uh, follow you there.
    God sized blessing to you all.
    p.s. Chris printed your donor letters/tax receipts today. We should have them addressed and out to your supporters next week.

  5. Kelly Behn
    Kelly Behn says:

    Hello to my favorite family,,
    It was so nice to get the update and laugh at your experiences so far…I remember being so freaked out when Jude and I were in San Jose,,, what a city??? I was cracking up at your letter, remembering how bad I wanted my “Mommy” too…. You guys will be fine.. Remember when you ride the bus to sit in the front (if you can find room next to all the chickens) and if you ever have to hitch-hike anywhere,,, the ambulance driver will always pick you up ( even if it is an emergency!!!! ) haha…
    We all miss you already.. Durango won’t be the same until you guys get back here… Everyone is asking about you and wondering how you are making out… Don’t worry… I will spread the word, you know me….
    Love you lots,

  6. Bill Hoffman
    Bill Hoffman says:

    I was able to accessyour site for the first time today. Here in Durango it is still rather cold (0-10 F at night, 30-40 during the day) so I’ll bet things are not that cool there. It sounds as if you’re already making the adjustment to the new culture; how long will you be at language school before the second stage of your work begins?

    • Bill Hoffman
      Bill Hoffman says:

      I’m still trying to figure out how to get this thing to you; I need the help of a small child!

    • Kerry
      Kerry says:

      Hey Bill! Good to hear from you. We are here for 14 weeks of language school. We arrive Roatan May 8! Most missionaries are here for a full year! Many are a part of IMB, a Southern Baptist group you may have heard of. Interesting meeting all of the different folks here and what they’ll be doing, etc. There are some missionaries here who have been out on the field, even for a yr. or so, and have come to get a handle on the language. So, we are feeling good about our decision to come here and really are learning so much more besides Spanish (culture, scripture, patience, adjustment, reliance on God, etc. etc)! While we won’t be exactly fluent when we leave, we will be prepared to at least be able to interact with the villagers and start forming relationships. When do you go back?

  7. jenni riberdy
    jenni riberdy says:

    love, love, love hearing about it. congrats to you all for making it this far and know that you have lots of love coming your way from the states, colorado in particular!! avey is in kindergarten at the bilingual school and i’m struggling to learn how to be polite to the other parents… let alone surviving in a new country. good for you!! i can imagine how life behind locks feels (when i lived in dc) but know that you will soon be loving life in a beautiful and appreciative village. can’t wait to hear more… love, jenni and family

  8. Bill Postler
    Bill Postler says:

    Mike and Kerry,
    Thanks for the pictures and great updates. It helps us to really visualize your new setting. I can feel your excitement and your anxieties. I trust the former will continue to grow as the adventure continues and the latter will diminish as you become more comfortable in your new surroundings. Among our other prayers we’ll pray that the internet connection is made quickly so that you can stay connected to all of us back here in the states. (I’m sure that’s one of the little things that become rather complicated when you’re in a strange place and trying to communicate in a new language.)
    I don’t know that you would have heard that David & Anna Marie Bishop’s granddaughter, Maddy Milner, was killed this past week in a skiing accident. She was 14 and a freshman at Bayfield High. There was a wonderful memorial service yesterday with virtually the entire high school present. A reminder that life is both precious and fragile. Love, Bill & Jan Postler

  9. will berger
    will berger says:

    hey this is will i was just wanting to say hi to levi luke andof course lily, good luck in school hope u are having fun down there. u are well missed up here by alot of people HAVE FUN!!!!!

    sincerely, will berger

  10. Jude Behn
    Jude Behn says:

    Hello from the mainland 48.

    I remember our first night in San Jose over 10 years ago in the fall of ’93 we departed the plan into a very different world. I’m not sure what we expected but our naivete must have been extremely obvious. My language skills at the time consisted of Hola and Si. Try finding a hotel with that. The streets were scary and unfamiliar as you described. I feel for you and the insecurity that comes from your situation but I know your skills and preparation will help you all jump these hurtles. You are all courageous and we wish you well.

    Our strength and love to you.

  11. Gordon Greve
    Gordon Greve says:

    Se habla espanol? I took a tutored course in spanish which was only for 1 hr a week. At the end of that 1 hr I always had a headache from concentrating so hard. Hope your course treats you more kindly.

    Vaya con Dios,


  12. Dio Cifuni
    Dio Cifuni says:

    Hola y felicitaciones en tu nuevo pais!
    thanks for the update on all of your beginning adventures! I am so envious of your opportunity to be able to change courses at this stage in your life and follow a dream that many would consider a nitemare! From reading your blog it remonds me when my family first stepped foot in Argentina, new sounds, smells, people, pollution and not a place you would expect to call home coming from lil ol durango! This is just the beginning of all the crazy encounters you will find in a foreign country. expect the unexpected! I look forward to possibly making the trip down there some time soon, your spanish is going to be better than mine i bet… keep me posted on the soccer gear deal, we are fortunate to have Kate wanting to help us out!
    sorry i missed the last couple of gatherings before you all left, work is defenitly not a good excuse but glad you understand the lifestyle we deal with.
    keep the blogs coming, i know many other friends and family enjoy hearing about you new encounters.
    cheers tish,
    big hugs and lots of prayers to the family!

  13. Patt Yeager Emmett
    Patt Yeager Emmett says:

    Kerry – que dichosa sos! (seria mas facil escribir con acentos.) Ojala que aprendas el “voceo” como una verdadera tica.

    Am greatly enjoying following your story – my last visit to Ticolandia was several years ago, a far cry from what it was like my first trip in 1967. Hopefully you will have the opportunity to visit some of the villages more in tune with the life you will live on Roatan. Have thought of you often this past week, wondering about Turrialba, and if it is showering the City at all.

    Prayers are with you all and your endeavors.
    (Patt at Andy’s Photography)

  14. Libby Culver
    Libby Culver says:

    Wow! Thanks so much for taking the time to keep us updated. I will be living vicariously through your experiences. I love that you’re going to school with the kids and you can all help each other. It’s not often that a whole family is all moving in the same direction of purpose!
    You’re going to get lots of people who wish they were somewhere warm and tropical. It’s actually a beautiful day here (about 40 degrees), but the streets are still icy and treacherous in some places.
    I love how you write, Kerry! This is going to be great for all of us!

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