Ocean College

From the Blog

¡Hola Jacó!

Date: 10.01.2023
Author: Sophia
Position: Jacó, Costa Rica
Etmal: 7078 NM
Ship: Pelican of London


The floor isn’t moving!

I woke up this morning with the realisation that I wasn’t in my bunk and nothing was moving beneath me. Well, nothing but Annbritt in the lower bunk of our bunk bed. It is somewhat weird to be back on land after three months on a moving ship.

You can actually take a shower that is more than getting wet, covering yourself in soap and rinsing everything off again. You can actually lay in your bed, arms and legs spread to all sides. And, most importantly, you actually have a normal sleep rhythm. This is only possible at sea when you have one of the daytime watches.

Since we don’t have to stand watches, however, we all got a good sleep last night. If, of course, you didn’t stay up until 3:00 in the morning, which, for some reason, some people did.


Hello there, Jacó!

After a bus ride to Jacó, a medium sized city on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, we moved into our new hostel. We were welcomed to our home for the next week, followed by a fantastic lunch with traditional Costa Rican food. My definite favourite so far here is fried bananas.

Also quite common is rice with beans, and for dessert there is usually fresh pineapple, papaya and watermelon. Fresh fruit is one of the things that everyone likes about the tropical places we have been to so far.

After lunch we had our first lesson at the Spanish school. It is just about a five minute walk from our hostel. The teaching and learning there is a good bit different from what most of us are used to from home:

Usually when you are learning a foreign language, you always use translations into your native language. Whereas here the teachers only speak to us in Spanish. This has the advantage that we hear it all the time and are starting to understand words from the context. This method is great to improve your comprehension skills.

Apart from that, we are split into groups of about five or six people. This makes the lessons a lot more relaxed and personal. Lastly and most importantly, there is a pool at the school. Here you can hang your feet into the water during break. Some use it to play “float the croc” and hope that your shoe is on the other side of the water when the lesson starts again.


First uses of newly found Spanish skills

Peer, Ellen and I were walking through Jacó because the two of them wanted to get supplies from the supermarket when we found a local fruit shop that had lots of interesting fruits and vegetables. Most of them we were already familiar with, but some were also completely new and unknown to us.

We were determined to buy something, however, we forgot to bring a bag. Consequently, we decided to come back again later. All of us being complete beginners in Spanish, I asked the cashier in English when they closed. She replied in Spanish if I meant the opening hours and surprisingly, I actually understood her. I told her yes and was informed that the shop would close at “siete”, which is Spanish for seven. We left triumphantly and returned later to buy a watermelon and avocado, onion and garlic to make guacamole for our pre-dinner meal.


No Spanish – No Food

It was also this meal that saved Peer and me from starving because we spent all of dinner recording Peer’s podcast (for more information, see yesterday’s daily report). We tried a couple times. The first recording was half an hour long so we shortened it to about ten minutes. We had a lot of fun, but we were very hungry in the end.

To sort out our food problem, we went to the hostel’s kitchen and asked if we could have some of the leftovers that our group hadn’t eaten, in English. Unfortunately, the very nice cook didn’t understand us, also not when we started making gestures that made us feel mildly stupid. In the end, Peer got out his phone and just used Google translate. Maybe it’s not the right thing to use for your Spanish homework, but it sure can be practical in real life.

This makes me think of how privileged we are to have such advanced technology, how we use it daily and that we don’t even think about it. 100 years ago, Peer and I might have not gotten any food that the extremely kind lady gave us once she had understood what we wanted. Thank you for that special meal!

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