Staff appreciation: Ambassadors really know how to let loose!

22 05 2011

Before we ever signed official contracts or sold just about everything we own to move to Costa Rica, we sat in a hotel room with 6 strangers and had an awkward, but eye opening “orientation” session to prepare us for what the teacher community of Country Day would be like.  As the images of classrooms, smiling children, band leaders, and staff housing flashed across the projector, I remember wondering if the pictures did any of these things justice.  Then, I saw a picture of the staff appreciation party from the previous year.  A man was dressed up as Paul Stanley from Kiss in full makeup, and another woman was in hot pink spandex and poofy hair.  They had their backs together and played air guitar with full gusto.  Paul had his mouth open as if he was singing at the top of his lungs… Needless to say, the picture stood out among typical classroom and apartment shots.  The person presenting mentioned, in passing, that this was a photo of the staff appreciation party, and that usually everyone went all out for it.  He explained, “This particular party was a ‘Rock Star’ theme.” and with that he casually said, “Next Slide.” He continued his presentation, but that image was burned into my brain, and most certainly stood out as something I could look forward to.

10 Months later… we were preparing for said staff party.  Miguel and I both struggled with how to dress for a Caribbean themed party at the U.S. Ambassador’s house.  They don’t teach you these things in school.  Would it be totally blasé to show up in a bathing suit?  What about these flip-flops?  Would the Ambassador approve?  After making conservative clothing choices (given our range of options), we headed to a friends house before the party and made double sure everyone else was dressed similarly to us.

The Pre-Party Party

We had a couple of drinks made by the pirate hostess (our outfits would obviously not be faux paux).  We all piled into Tedd’s car and headed for the Ambassador’s house.

The entrance gates have always been a pretty significant landmark in Escazu.  Mainly because it is heavily fortified, and you can never see through to what separates the U.S. Ambassador’s house from the normal world.  So, after presenting our identification and signing in, we were left to marvel at the wonders that lay beyond.

Tedd and the security guard. We were on "the list"

The ambassador's house.

We entered the Ambassador’s house and were promptly greeted by a receiving line.  The line consisted of The Ambassador and her husband (yes we assumed the ambassador was a man as well… lesson learned), the director of the school and his wife (Greg and Melissa),  and about four other people whom I was too nervous to remember their names.  The receiving line went by in a blur of awkwardness.  I couldn’t help but think as I grasped everyone’s politely offered hand in my own sweaty paw, “Thank God for Greg and Melissa!”  If not for their familiar faces, I would have been entirely overwhelmed by the whole procession.

After fumbling our way through the entry way, we entered the back yard of the house.  Immediately, we were greeted by all of the wonderful women from the Parent’s Association, the master planners of the party.  We were offered door prizes, and ushered to the tables and dance floor area.

Lasagna and salad... so delicious.

Dancing like an idiot, my favorite pass time

We were served a wonderful dinner and partook in an obscene amount of dancing.  Later on, we were surprised with Caribbean dancers and an exciting drum line.   The dancers wore amazing feather headdresses and colorfully revealing underwear.  Overall, it was an amazing night, and I left the party feeling an amazing amount of appreciation and camaraderie from our community.  We are lucky to be part of a great school community.  I just hope they won’t be showing my picture to the next group of incoming teachers.

-V

She wasn't too thrilled with her job.

I think I'm snapping and dancing here... smooth

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