We are now a week and a half into our stay at La Mariposa. We are here for a total of four weeks, the longest stay at a single place for our entire trip.
We are awoken a few times before the alarm clock goes off at 6:45 by the roosters, guinea fowl, and parakeets (who then set off the dogs). Believe it or not, I have found this to be much more pleasant than the buzz of the alarm anyway. I actually have been waking up refreshed instead of groggy, although this might have more to do with going to bed by 9 or 10 most nights. Anyway, after a quick shower powered by the solar powered panels on the roof, it’s on to breakfast at 7:15. I have never been a big breakfast person, but here I eagerly anticipate the fresh seasonal fruit (usually locally grown bananas, cantaloupe, papaya, watermelon, and pineapple) with various toppings, but the fruit is so good, I prefer it plain. The hot breakfast is different nearly everyday, but so far my favorite is the scrambled eggs (fresh from the hen house), with seasoned tomatoes and beans.
Class begins at 8:00. Two hours of conversation, a break, and then 2 hours of grammar with another teacher. All the classes are held outdoors or in open classrooms. Since the weather has been perfect, it doesn’t get better than that (unless you happen to be sitting next to the plant that on occasion produces the most foul smelling odor). We were shocked yesterday (our first day of week two), to find that our conversation class with our new teacher was 100% en español. I guess that means we are improving, but by the time it was over Jeff was mute and my head was about to explode.
After a satisfying lunch, we have several options: participate in the afternoon activity (anything from lectures/discussions, day trips, cooking classes, etc.), study our Spanish, explore the town and nearby towns, chill out in a hammock and read/nap, or walk around the garden and hang out with the monkeys, pigs, turtles, birds, and dogs (I finally can tell all seven of them apart!). The staff is incredible, the guests/students are all super nice with awesome stories to share. We often hang out on the terrace and have a beer before dinner. Then it’s usually off to bed fairly early to start the process again.