Friday, July 29, 2011

Hasta Luego, Nosara!

We leave Nosara tomorrow morning. Our bags are almost packed, internet service is shut off, we have been saying difficult goodbyes all week, and due to the excitement and anxiety of returning home I have become a homeopathic pill popper in an effort to sleep at night. Amidst many other emotions today, I find I am experiencing a feeling of loss for all the blog postings I never wrote.

Several were half formed ideas that I never could develop past a few notes or the first paragraph. Like the one on Nosara fashion, inspired by a friend's blogpost, on her thriftstore finds and the fashionista teachers at her son's school. My posting was to be some combination of bemoaning my shortage of clothes here and the lack of opportunities for fashion, along with a photo montage of Nosara’s most fashionable women – by far the teachers and staff at Sadie’s school.

Then there was the “Person on the Street” interview blog, where I recorded what various Nosarans love about living in Nosara, coupled with a picture. Unfortunately my interviews never made it past the first day when I was inspired by the idea, and so rather than post pictures of only Del Mar parents and children who were at swimming class that day, the blog was left unwritten. Naturally later I lost all my notes.

I also had a book blog in mind. I have diligently kept track of all the books I have read since we’ve been here and had in mind some mini reviews as well as various statistics: the total number read (57), how the total breaks down into a weekly average (somewhere around 1.2 a week), some sort of analysis of that weekly average (more or less than I expected? Well, less actually), how many I really loved, how many I cannot recall reading at all, how many were total trash and how many were “literature,” and a list of those I tried to read but couldn’t bring myself to finish (one about the whale songs that was at the house and originally included a CD, essays about Tori Amos and her creative process, a book about the life history of ants - despite the fact that it was written by Edward O. Wilson, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s first autobiography – some 500 pages covering about 20 years of his life).

Jungle Zumba certainly deserved a posting (thanks to everyone who came to class!). As did the evolution of !Que Rico! Helado (the business has changed hands and will live on in Nosara!).

I had a "life in a small town" blog in mind. So different for adults and children alike than our city experience, in both positive and negative ways. A week ago our Pathfinder took its last breath and we were forced to abandon it for a rental Yaris. Now, our last week in town we are denied the small pleasure of waving to everyone when we drive around - the locals don't look twice at the Yaris not expecting they would know anyone driving a rental.

Of course there were certainly a few adventures I didn’t get a chance to describe. Like how Ian, Sadie and I were all riding one quad and tried to ford an unfordable river and quickly sank. Or how at the going away party we were so nicely thrown which included a very exciting Greased Pig Contest (wherein the shaved and greased pig was released among a throng of excited male contestants, only to stand stock still with a relaxed expression on its face. Finally one guy bent down and gave the pig a hug, thereby winning the contest).

And naturally, there were all those end-of-year postings I was to write. Full of profound analyses of what we have learned about ourselves during our sabbatical year, wonderfully articulated goals for the future, clever and witty musings on what we will miss (monkeys! teeth cleaning and two filled cavities in under an hour for $100!) and not miss (flying ants! strange unidentifiable rashes!), and heartfelt and poignant tributes to special people and places. All, of course, perfectly matched with fabulous photos.

But alas, we leave tomorrow and no time left to blog. All there is time for now is to say thank you to Nosara for an incredible, fabulous, wonderful, amazing year. We will miss everyone and everything very much!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Gracias, Del Mar Academy!

(Del Mar Academy Graduation Day)

Sadie has attended lots of terrific schools in her relatively short school career, but last week was the first time I've cried during end-of-year parent/teacher conferences. That's how much I love Del Mar Academy and how sad I am to leave it. Because yes, it is not just Sadie who is leaving the school, it is the entire family.

One of the great joys of this sabbatical has been the opportunity for Ian and I to get involved in Sadie's school. As I've mentioned before, we joined lots of committees, helped out whenever and wherever we could, and generally hung around the school quite a bit. It gave structure to our lives here, it allowed us to better understand who Sadie is and what in the heck she does all day, and it provided us a wonderful community to be a part of. (As a plus, Del Mar is also a beautiful place to spend time).

The Del Mar community is filled with amazing and wonderful people. The kids and the parents are fabulous and the teachers and staff are incredible. During our final parent/teacher conference, I choked up as I tried to tell Sadie's teacher how much we appreciated the fact that the teachers and staff at the school are so committed, engaged, inspired, supportive and creative.

I didn't understand what Montessori was a year ago and though I often joked about not having any idea what it is the kids do all day and whether or not they were actually learning anything, the truth is I was so impressed by the school's belief in and commitment to the Montessori method that I was easily converted. I still don't understand it, really, but I do know that Sadie learned and grew in myriad ways this past year, and loved every minute of it.

(Aerial art we created on World Environment Day)

(Planting trees at Guiones Beach)

(Culture Day)

(Nosara Manta Ray Swim Team)

(Yoga class)

(Field Day)

(Del Mar farm)

So, I'd like to thank Del Mar Academy. Thank you for providing a place where our entire family could learn, play, laugh, work hard and love every minute of it. Thank you to the other wonderful kids and their families, to all the stellar teachers (particularly Ms. Sarah, Ms. Maria Jose and Ms. Vicky), and to the amazing staff. Thank you to the other parents who work so hard to make the school the special place that it is. Thank you to everyone for welcoming us with open minds and open hearts.

(a good portion of the Del Mar student body and parents at a birthday party)

As I sit here in Guiones at a local cafe writing this post, I find myself getting teary eyed again. A bit embarrassing perhaps, but really, how lucky am I to find myself crying about leaving my daughter's school?

Thank you, Del Mar Academy, from Caitlin, Ian and Sadie!