McCanns in Honduras

Let the nations be glad & sing for joy!

El Registro Civil

Above: The civil registry, or big government building in downtown San Jose.

After 5 visits, hours of waiting, and lots of bad Spanish, we finally have Ellie’s official Costa Rica birth certificate. One interesting thing about it is that all children here have two last names, and so Ellie’s official name is Nancy Eliot McCann Wall (Wall is Lindsey’s maiden name.) We’re going to the US Embassy tomorrow, and we’re hoping this little name difference won’t be a problem.

One interesting anecdote, 2 of our 5 visits to the office resulted in us being turned down at the front door. The first was because we arrived at 3:15, and the office closes at 3 (turns out official business hours here are 7-3, instead of 9-5 in the states.) The second time, the president of China was in town for some business, so they closed down this huge government building and all the offices in it. Go figure.

All that to say, Step One is down in getting Ellie’s paper work to leave the county is completed (Costa Rican birth certificate), Step Two (US Passport) starts tomorrow at the US Embassy, while Step Three (permission to take a Costa Rican minor out of the country) starts some time next week.


November 25, 2008 Posted by | Ellie, Our Costa Rica Life, San Jose | 1 Comment

Dia de Independencia

Above: A parade Sunday night in our neighborhood. We thought is was a cool picture of all the lights from the faroles (lanterns).

This weekend Costa Rica (and most of the other countries in Central America) celebrated their independence from Spain. The official independence day is Monday, but there were lots of celebrations Sunday night as well.

Back on September 14, 1821, a group of Central American leaders met in Guatemala City (then the capital of the Republic of Central America) to decide if they wanted to declare independence from Spain. As they were meeting, people waited outside all through the night hoping for their independence. They waiting holding faroles (or lanterns), and so every year in Costa Rica, on the eve of Independence Day, everyone gathers with homemade falores at 6 pm to sing the national anthem and march around the neighborhoods.

We had so much fun at the parade Sunday night, that we decided to head downtown on Monday for more parades and festivities. The parades are all school children dancing, performing, playing drums and xylophones, and waving flags.

Above: The parade marching through downtown.

As always, it was great to see some more Costa Rican culture and enjoy a nice day off.

September 16, 2008 Posted by | Costa Rica Culture, San Jose | Leave a comment

Quite a Mouthful

Lucy and her bud Will hanging out on some teeth.

Above: Lucy and her bud Will hanging out on some teeth.

Last week, during our vacation from school, we took a trip with some school friends to the Children’s Muesem in San Jose. Lucy and Will, her best friend in Costa Rica, had a blast exploring all sorts of toys and exhibits. One room that was quite a hit was this one, the mouth room. As you can tell they liked sitting on the teeth, though the giant toothbrush with a smiley face kind of put Lucy on edge.

In other news, we’ve just completed our first week of our second (and final!) trimester at Spanish school. This trimester promises to be more challenging than the last with tougher classes, longer assignments, and grammar lessons that seem to get harder by the hour! We both really like our teachers and classmates, and we’re excited about how much Spanish we’ll be able to speak (theoretically) in 4 months.

September 7, 2008 Posted by | Language School, Lucy, Our Blog, Our Costa Rica Life, San Jose, Spanish Language | 3 Comments

Two Down…

Above: Lucy and Sean feeding the ducks and pigeons in Parque la Paz.

…one trimester to go. Yesterday we finished our first full trimester at language school and our second Spanish course since we’ve been here in Costa Rica. Though we’re moving up, it is amazing that the more Spanish we learn, the more we realize how far we are from fluency. Classes have been great and we seem to communicate better ever day, but we are in the midst of an uphill climb with much more ahead than behind.

August 14, 2008 Posted by | Family, Lucy, Our Costa Rica Life, San Jose, Spanish Language | Leave a comment

Spanish Phrase: Sin Agua

Translation: Without Water (seen ag-wa)

Every once in a while, about ever few weeks or so, we loose water in our home. It is not a big deal, it only goes off for a few hours, and usually by the time we go to bed, the water has been turned back on.

We thought this was the case Thursday morning when the water shut off around 9 AM, so we didn’t think anything of it. Unfortunately, is was a big deal, as we still have yet to have water restored, at 6 o’clock Sunday night.

Some guy with a backhoe was working outside Thursday morning when he struck a water line and cut off water for over 400,000 homes in San Jose for over three days.

We’ve been all over looking for water, putting out buckets for rain, and even joining 50 other Tico’s chasing down a water truck, as you can see in the above picture.

Today around 12 a water truck parked on our street (the picture is taken from our front porch) and we all lined up with jugs, bottles, pitchers, trash cans, coke bottles, Tupperware, whatever would hold water. We got about 25 liters and used it to flush our toilet, do some dishes, and give Lucy a bath.

Water is supposed to come on tonight, we’ll keep you posted…

July 6, 2008 Posted by | Nature, Our Blog, Our Costa Rica Life, San Jose | 2 Comments

English as a Second Language

Above: A view of San Jose from the hills north of Alajuela. (The picture has nothing to do with the classes, its just pretty!)

Over the past two months here in San Jose, we have been volunteering at a local community center teaching English to Costa Ricans with a desire to learn. The students have been great and they all speak much more English than we speak Spanish.

The classes meet every Wednesday night for two hours, with a 20 minute break for coffee, singing, and a bible message. We have been alternating teaching the same class, intermediate English. Usually Lindsey goes for the first hour, Sean brings Lucy for the break, and then the girls go home and Sean teaches the second hour. Though we have taught certain themes and subjects, by far the favorite thing for the students is to talk, talk, and talk. Unlike us, who interact with Spanish speakers constantly throughout the week, most of our students only speak English on Wednesday nights.

We have really enjoyed our time teaching, it has been great to make some friends in the neighborhood, practice our Spanish, and learn more about a ministry we hope to implement in Honduras.

June 19, 2008 Posted by | Costa Rica, ESL, Ministry, Photography, San Jose | 1 Comment

San Jose Zoo

Above: Lindsey and Lucy in front of the jaguar exhibit.

A while back, we headed out the check out the zoo in San Jose. We arrived early (read first ones there, we punctual gringos) and had the zoo to ourselves for a while. We checked out the monkeys, iguanas, sloth, birds, lions, cats, toucans, parrots, peacocks, snakes, turtles, alligators, and too much more to name. Our favorites were the monkeys, which we made a point to see twice. It was great fun to check out new animals and have such close interaction with the nature of our new country.

Above: Sean and Lucy checking out the monkeys.

April 22, 2008 Posted by | Lucy, Nature, Our Costa Rica Life, San Jose | Leave a comment

Downtown San Jose

 Above: Downtown San Jose from the National Museum.

Last week we went to the National Museum to see the butterfly exhibit, and from the courtyard we had this view of San Jose.  The black netting in the bottom of the picture is the roof of the butterfly house.  You can see the Costa Rica flag flying in the foreground, and the buildings downtown on the right.  The mountains in the background are the same ones we see from our house.

Downtown San Jose is an interesting place, there are always people everywhere walking on pedestrian roads and shopping.  There are lots of tourist filling the numerous squares and parks and shopping in the markets.   The are multiple bus stops, so there are always lines waiting for buses.  The idea of urban renewal hasn’t quite caught on here, so there are lots of run down areas and old building throughout downtown. 

All in all it is a cool place, a cheap bus ride to go hang out, but not a place we would want to live.

March 28, 2008 Posted by | San Jose | Leave a comment


Above: I saw this out our back porch this morning and had to take a picture. It is a guy on a ladder presumably doing some repair work, while wearing a backpack and a motorcycle helmet.

As you may have noticed from earlier pictures, there are a lot of electrical/cable/phone wires running all over San Jose. As of today, there are no less than 11 wires running into our apartment.

Ironically enough, more wires doesn’t mean better service. In the past week we have lost our internet twice and had our power go out numerous times. The power has always come back on within an hour, so it has never been much of a problem.

We did strike up a conversation a few weeks ago with some guys putting new wires into our house, which they said was for a faster phone line, and what we found out is that they don’t take down the old lines, but rather just leave them there.

So who knows how long motorcycle helmet-guy was working on the wires, and who knows if he was even working on the right wires!

But as all missionaries say when adjusting to a new culture, “It’s not wrong, it’s just different!”

March 6, 2008 Posted by | Costa Rica Culture, San Jose | Leave a comment


Above: This the street leading from our house to the main road, Calle Principle.

After 2 weeks in San Jose, one of the biggest differences has been walking everywhere we go. We walk to school, to the store, to church, to the ATM, to the bread store, etc. And walking here is no easy thing, there are pot holes, crummy sidewalks, and usually trash stacked up next to the street. Strollers here are an adventure!

One place we’ve really enjoyed is the park that is only a block away. On a typical day, Lucy gets up around 6, we eat eggs, rice, and tortilla’s for breakfast, and she goes down around 8. After her nap, we usually head to one of the afore mentioned stores, and/or go visit the park.

Our park here (Parque Sauces) doesn’t have a play ground but Lucy still loves it. She likes to walk around and play in the grass, sometimes we bring her ball and kick it around, and there are always dogs or other kids for her to watch.

February 25, 2008 Posted by | Our Costa Rica Life, San Jose | Leave a comment