We have hit the jackpot, when Miguel Angel was recommended as the driver to take us around Costa Rica. Not only is he taking us safely up, down and around winding narrow roads in thick fog or heavy rains, but he is also a wealth of information. He has adopted me, Jose the travel bear, as his nephew and is proudly carrying me around, when we go to see interesting places.
Miguel Angel says that I am called “Chepe” here in Costa Rica. All boys called Jose, get the nickname “Chepe”. It makes me very proud when he calls me Chepe.
I sit very still in the car when Miguel Angel starts telling stories about his childhood here in Costa Rica. When he was about 8 years old he lived close to a volcano called Arenal. He remembers being in school when it suddenly got very, very dark outside. His teacher did not know what was happening and started sending the students off, telling them to go home as quickly as possible. Miguel Angel’s mother was very worried about him and his 5 brothers and sisters. They were in their home, when the ashes which the volcano spit into the air started to melt through the roof of their house. He remembers looking up at the ceiling and little black spots coming through it.
His mother took all her children and they had to leave their house and move in with their aunt. They lost everything that they had.
Can you find out what year the Arenal volcano major eruption happened last? If Miguel Angel was 8 years old then, in what year was he born in?
Miguel Angel continued telling us many stories. He is married now and has two children. One daughter, named Gisella and one son, named Miguel. As a family they are always taking into their home students from different countries. They had children from Japan, Germany, Finland, Austria, and the United States come and live with them for a school year. They become like family to them and still stay in touch long after they return to their home country. They go to Costa Rican schools here and learn to speak Spanish perfectly. They also learn about the culture and way of life by living like a local person. Gisella also took such an opportunity and went to live for one year in Germany. She can speak Spanish, English, and German fluently now. I am very impressed with Miguel Angel and his family. They live in such a small country and still are so connected, with the rest of the world… ready to meet and be friends with people from everywhere.
Wouldn’t you like to go an live with another family in another country for a school year to learn the language and everything there is to know about that country? Maybe you can think about that when you are a little older. Children who do that are usually in High School. I sure would. Maybe I will soon…
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