Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

From the Kattenbergs

Written by Nico & Lia Kattenberg
Greetings from Nico and Lia Kattenberg in Costa Rica.

One trimester has gone by and we are thankful for the break. We had a good semester in which we learned a lot of Spanish. When we came to Costa Rica, all we could say was hi, bye and a few other phrases. Now, we are pleased to say that we are able to hold a conversation in Spanish, or maybe more correctly in Spanglish (a mix of English and Spanish). We speak Tarzan Spanish with bits and pieces of Spanish and a lot of gestures and sounds. Yo Nico, ella Lia, eso carro, etc. While this is not the best Spanish, it is effective because we make ourselves understood, mind you, much to the amusement of the Ticos. Actually, we are able to do better than that.

I had more Spanish than Lia did. In the beginning I was able to understand a lot more than she did, as well as speak more. However, she has caught on very quickly and can do very well in Spanish. On several occasions she has been told that her Spanish is better than mine, much to my dismay. For the next trimester Lia has been placed in intermediate medium and I in intermediate high. By the end of next tri we should both reach the advance level.

We are living on the outskirts of San Jose in the area called Desamparados in a tiny apartment on the side of a house. Basically, we are living on our own, but with a family. In this way we are getting the best of both worlds. We are able to practice our Spanish quite a bit with the neighbours, and at the same time have a place to ourselves to hibernate in. Our neighbours are very nice and do a lot of things for us. Another advantage of living in a Tico neighborhood is that we get invited to special events, like anniversaries and birthdays. It helps us to adapt to the culture. We have not had too many problems with adapting yet. Sometimes it does get frustrating when you have to think in order to speak. Of course, the advantage is that you do not say dumb things. Still, you do say many dumb things by using the wrong word. There are many funny and embarrassing stories that can be told in regard to this area.

In terms of our schooling, people have described the setting as going to school in a garden. It is really quite pretty. Lots of plants and trees. For the rest, the classes are good. The Language school is very well known for its quality. It is one of the best if not the best school in all of North, Central and South America. We have made some friends at this school. There are some great people that attend here.

We are attending a little English church. We looked around for a church, but could not find one that we felt comfortable in. All the services here are so loud and charismatic, so this little conservative church was perfect for us. The church at this point is non-denominational and people have been very kind to us. The people at this church need leadership and several of the students of the school have served here. Lia and I have also helped out in several ways. Occasionally I do some teaching there. I believe that this will help in preparing me for the mission field.

We will be in Canada until August 31 which was made possible by receiving free tickets. This will be a nice break for us--time away to spend with family and friends. Lia's dad, Rev. Kuijt is quite ill. He has fibrosis of the lungs, which means that he is slowly losing the ability to pick up oxygen. He is on oxygen 24 hours a day. This, of course, is something that is always on our minds. We ask for continual prayers for him that God will heal him. We know that God is the Great Physician and that He is able to heal. We struggle sometimes with praying in faith and yet giving everything over to God's will.

Please continue to remember us in your prayers. We are looking forward to moving on to Guatemala and getting on with life. We are in a transition stage now.

Until next time.
Yours in Christ,
Nico and Lia Kattenberg

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