Living In Costa Rica – Teaching English, Pouring Rain and San Jose.. I’m gainfully employed! You’re reading the blog of a real-life English teacher living her life in Costa Rica. Boom!
Everyday Life In Costa Rica
Tyrone and I have been in San Jose for almost 4 weeks, and during that time I’ve been working for English2Go… They’re a company offering English classes to business professionals. I officially have 5 groups of students (ranging from beginner to intermediate), and I travel to 3 different organisations throughout San Jose.
So far it’s been great!
My opinion may start to change though… Morning classes have begun, which means I teach a class at 07h00 from Tuesday to Friday in the town of Tibas. I have to be up at 05h00 every morning so I can catch the 06h00 bus into town, before I catch the 06h30 bus to Tibas. I then have a short walk to the office. Life in Costa Rica may get a bit more challenging.Just another bus I need to catch… A little walk to my class in Tibas
Catching Buses And Getting Lost
On an average day, I have to catch 4 buses to and from classes. On a busy day, I catch around 6 buses. With the amount of buses I catch, you would think I would have this shit nailed… You’d be wrong. Without fail, I will catch the wrong bus somewhere along the line. That will usually result in a 40 min walk guided by Google Maps.
It’s like the bus companies are trying to confuse you on purpose. Try going online to find a route map, or some sort of schedule… No seriously, go try! It just doesn’t exist.
Basically I identify the bus I need by colour. Yellow bus takes me home, Purple bus takes me to Tibas, Red bus takes me to Heredia and so on. And just when you think you have it nailed, you’ll take the Purple bus to Tibas and you’ll land up in a great neighbourhood about 30min away from where you need to be.
Let’s just say that the life in Costa Rica involves walking… A LOT!
And trying to recognize landmarks is impossible. In downtown San Jose, every street looks the same. There is always a McDonalds on the corner. You will undoubtedly find a pharmacy, shoe store, clothing store and vegetable shop on every street. I once got lost for an hour, and after walking aimlessly, I realised that I was back at the same place I had started.
It’s a fun little challenge I get to have with myself everyday… The “Where Will I Land Up Today” challenge.At least there are some beautiful buildings like this one – the post office in San Jose! This house is opposite the zoo… A little run down, but I loved it!
Just Another Downpour
If getting lost for hours isn’t fun enough, it’s now the rainy season which means that we get torrential rain every day.
The first thing I bought in San Jose was an umbrella.
Sure enough come 13h00, the heavens will open. Now imagine all that walking I have to do, but imagine me wet while I do it. One evening, at 18h00, I was walking home from class. It was pouring – like buckets! And a truck came driving by. I kid you not, I was covered in water from about my waist down. Laptop, pants, shoes… everything was soaked. And I still had a good 20 min walk to go!Dodge the umbrellas, or lose an eye!
But on a serious note, I’m really enjoying my life in Costa Rica.
Don’t tell Tyrone, but we have a cute guy at a shop about 100m from where we’re staying. He can speak a bit of English and every time I pop in for my chocolate fix, he helps me try to speak Spanish. I love that man! Everyone is so friendly here. I really just love the vibe of the country. Tyrone and I are also slowly making friends… In fact, we’re heading to a cheese festival this weekend with a few fellow English teachers.
My four months experience in Costa Rica
Life is not bad, not bad at all!
So we’ve been living in Costa Rica for 4 months… So far so good! Here’s a bit of an overview of our time so far!
Living in a Brothel:
I joke – kind of… Since our first night at Vista Linda Apartments, we’ve heard some really strange sounds at night. A lot of heavy breathing, and moaning. All guests are 65+ year old Americans/Canadians, and I’m currently the only female that actually gets to stay the whole night…
I assumed this place was a brothel, and our friendly landlord was a down to earth pimp. Naturally.
Our neighbourhood could be described as – friendly with a bit of edge. You don’t feel quite safe at night (I tend to do a little power walk from the bus stop to our front door) and I’m pretty sure the dead-end outside our apartment is the local weed-smoking corner, when taxi drivers aren’t pulling over to piss in the veld.
On the other hand, the neighbours are so friendly and helpful. Everyone walks the streets and it feels like a great community.
Calle Blancos – it’s not pretty but it’s been home for 3 months.
We’ll be moving to an apartment in San Pedro at the end of the month. It’s in a great location with the Mall of San Pedro a 10min walk away, and great restaurants, cafes and shops just down the road.
The best thing about living in Costa Rica?
My Job. Seriously! I work six days a week, which sounds crazy but if you consider the hours I work, it’s a dream. I have morning classes from 07h00 – 09h00 and afternoon classes from 16h00-18h00. Most days I’m totally free from 11h00-15h00. I get to have afternoon naps, and read my books all day. Heaven I tell you.
I’ve recently been promoted, and I now manage 6 other teachers along with juggling my teaching schedule. It’s great getting to interact with other teachers, and I really feel like I’m part of a team.
Since I work with business professionals, I really have the freedom to structure my classes as I like (within reason, and provided I cover the necessary work). It’s bliss not answering to anyone. I’m loving the balance of team work and freedom.
Day-to-Day Living In Costa Rica:
I’d be lying if I said living in Costa Rica was all sunshine and roses. I had coffee with a friend who’s traveled the world teaching English, and she put it perfectly – “daily life is daily life, no matter where you are”. I wake up, go to work, come home, eat, sleep and repeat.
Daily life is daily life, no matter where you are.
Tyrone and I are working hard at not running out of money. It’s expensive here, and my job doesn’t exactly pay a lot. As a freelancer, Tyrone relies on his clients paying on time etc… We’re really living from hand to mouth, and we’re often dipping into our savings. As soon as any financial problems pop up, I have a mini meltdown. We’ve had some very open and honest (often heated) conversations about money. There is always that little bit of financial pressure resting on our shoulders.
Getting Out There
Me and my wife have also had to make the conscious decision to see more of Costa Rica. It’s a tiny country, there’s really no excuse not explore it. But we get so caught up in work, and the comfort of our little apartment. We get tired, we get lazy, and the next thing we know a month goes past and we haven’t done anything. So, from here on out we will be doing a little adventure at least once a week. Big or small, it doesn’t matter as long as we get out and do something.
It’s also important to reflect on what we have done. I tend to get a bit negative sometimes, but we’ve actually had some amazing times from museum visits, beach trips, late night bus rides and dodgy “Soda” meals.
Life so far… Life so far…So it’s not easy, but nothing worth doing ever is!