Sunday, October 5, 2014

Adios Samara

It's official. I am a TEFL certified English teacher! It honestly may have been the fastest 4 weeks of my life. I felt like I blinked and it was over. Well as the saying goes, time flies when you're having fun and I enjoyed every minute of my TEFL certification course. Not only did I genuinely love the lessons, but I couldn't have asked for better teachers and classmates.
So a few fun things happened this week since it was our last week of the course. Our last night of lessons was Thursday night and afterwards one of our classes threw us a little party. They made Costa Rican picadillo which is easily the tastiest thing I've had since being here. Picadillo is green papaya, minced and cooked with ground beef, onions, garlic and other spices and served on a corn tortilla. I never knew papaya could taste so savory; it was a nice surprise. It was nice to spend some time with our students outside of our structured classroom environment, and we really felt the love from our students that night. They thanked us for the services we provide because since Samara is such a touristy place, English is necessary to find work here; however most of the people who live here can't afford classes so they feel very fortunate to have us TEFL teachers that give free classes during our training. It really put the importance of teaching English into perspective and helped validate that coming here was the right thing to do.
Our students who threw us the party
Friday night we went to class a little earlier than normal in order to take our final exam and turn in our portfolios. The teachers graded our tests and portfolios during our long lunch break when we celebrated being done with sandwiches and beer on the beach. Afterwards, we went back and got our final grades and TEFL certificates. Later that night, we had a graduation celebration with the teachers at TEFL, other classmates and some of our students at a local bar in town (which TEFL's owner's husband just so happens to own). We drank some champagne and toasted to a stellar four weeks at Costa Rica TEFL. It was definitely a bittersweet moment for me because although I'm relieved to be done and excited to begin my TEFL career, I've really grown comfortable here in Samara and come to love this little beach town and all the people I've met here. 
So, what's next? Well, of my seven classmates, five have decided to spend the next month in a beach house in a town a little further down the Nicoyan peninsula. Some of them will look for work and/or take Spanish classes while they're there, but they're mostly planning on relaxing on the beach for a month. While I don't think I can afford to stay for the whole month, I'm planning on joining them for a few days next week on my way to the central valley of Costa Rica (San Jose area) where I will start job hunting. I've already got a handful of connections and interviews set up for when I get there, so I'm really hoping that one of those pan out. Fingers crossed!
Tomorrow we're leaving so it's time to start the packing process... the worst part of traveling in my opinion.  However, yesterday I spent nearly the whole day outside on the beach, slack-lining, swimming, and trying to soak up my last moments here in Samara. Also, by some miracle it didn't rain at all day! That's a first since I've been here. It must be mother nature rewarding us after all of our hard work these past four weeks. 
There's a lot of sad and nerve wrecking things coming up, saying goodbye to my friends and the little beach town I've come to love in order to go to a new, bigger city where I don't know anyone to start my next chapter! I know it will be worth it, but it's a little unsettling for the time being. But at moments like these, I like to think of one of my favorite quotes, "In order to cross an ocean, you must lose sight of the shore"

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