Surviving TEFL

School is over. We have our certificates as ESL teachers thus presumably, the tools to go anywhere in the world to teach our language. The common bond shared by most of the fourteen students is that we are travelers and we want the means to pay for our passion. Guided by a staff of patient, extremely dedicated teachers-one of whom taught us Hawaiian, including to dance the hula- we have accomplished our goal.

We were an eclectic group: young and starting out, old and retired: surfers, lawyers, actresses, hair stylists, tour directors and horse trainers, just to give you an idea of our diversity. We worked together and separately to learn the structure & format used by TEFL teachers in classrooms all over the world.

Who knows why we were lured to Costa Rica? Perhaps it was the tropical weather and the beach, or maybe the possibility of romance with a handsome Tica, of which there are many. And they can dance! Skillfully and passionately they dance the salsa and meringue- dipping, twirling, sweat dripping, two bodies as one as long as the song lasts.

I stayed in Manuel Antonio for 5 days before school started. The small park and the surrounding tropical rain forest is alive with critters large and small; amazing leaf green frogs with fire engine red eyes, monkeys: spider, squirrel, and the boisterous howlers run free-as they should. Sloths hang from electrical wires under the moon light and sleep in the crooks of trees during the days while families of raccoons roam the beach raiding picnic baskets.

Each day about 3 p.m. a community of squirrel monkeys clamored across the tin roof of my room. They stayed long enough to peer into the pipes, wrestle each other over the humps, swing from the trees onto the tin, frolic and check us out- improvisational comedians working their laughing audience.
At the beach in MA, a rogue wave unexpectedly washed over me, ruining my camera and translator so the photos here were taken by my friend and fellow student, Tomi.

The school was an imposing white washed concrete building with narrow outside spiral staircases situated on a dirt road in the country, a comfortable walk or taxi ride for 1 mil colones, (about 2 dollars) from town. It was definitely not handicap accessible-but then again none of Quepos is.

My room was large, light, and thank god the bed was comfortable because I fell into it late each night, exhausted from the rigorous pace of the curriculum.

Although I did meet a handsome tica, the object of my affection was Owen, a kitten who ambushed me in route to the kitchen the first morning I was there. Owen, tawny yellow with darker yellow stripes and matching amber eyes, was 6 months old and looking for love. When I bought him food the deal was sealed; we were an item. Although he didn’t understand the wisdom of it, I did him a favor and had him neutered before I left. The last I heard, Owen was going home with professora Heidi.

Now, we’ve scattered. I’m en route to Panama to see the canal, snorkel, and hang out in a hammock under palm trees before I head back to the states. After that I’ll find a job hopefully in Peru. But, where ever I go next, estoy lista. I’m ready. More hills, more exploring. Pura vida.