In the beginning of February my summer vacation se acabó, and it was time to return to el colegio. Unlike my usual attitude about going back to school, which is normally accompanied by an exasperated ugh, I was very much looking forward to taking my uniform off of the shelf and heading back to el Liceo de Turrúcares. I kept myself quite busy over my summer vacation with AFS trips, traveling with other exchange students, my dad’s visit, and my volunteer work at Tortufauna (a clinic for aquatic and terrestrial turtles that is not too far from where I live), so I didn’t really realize how much I missed my Tico friends from school!
This first month has been excellent so far, and I have never been happier to be in school. My friends are seriously the BEST, and although a few of my closest friends got placed in a different section this year, I am still very happy with my group. I was actually elected the secretary of section 11-3! It’s kind of funny but at the same time it’s really cool, because it shows that my classmates consider me to be one of them, and not just that one blonde American girl who helps people with their English homework. It feels pretty good to not be an outsider!
One of the kind of funky aspects of my exchange is the fact that the Costa Rican school year is from mid-February to the end of November, so my July to June exchange includes two different school years. So in the first half of my exchange I was in decimo (tenth grade), and for these last 4 months I am in undecimo (eleventh grade), which is the final year for public schools in Costa Rica. I actually think it worked out perfectly, because I got two and half months of vacation in the middle of my exchange to travel, work, and just relax! Being back in school isn’t too grueling either, so it’s been a pretty easy transition. This year the boring old school uniform has gotten spiced up a little bit; since my undecimo classmates and I are now the big kids on campus, we get to wear shirts of a different color! The rest of the school has rather drab shirts that are roughly the color of cold porridge, which now pale in comparison (literally) with our BRIGHT GREEN shirts with a PURPLE collar and sleeve border. We look kind of like ninja turtles or the hulk…but it’s fun.