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The Internship

          It’s time to tell you all about what I do on Mondays.  Whitworth encourages us to do an internship related to our majors during our time at the CRC.  In my case, I receive credit for my Spanish major by working at Musmanni Panadería (Masmanni homepage, Spanish only.).  Panadería” means bakery in Spanish, but Musmanni is different than we might understand in the U.S. because they receive the dough already made and then have to ferment, decorate, and bake it.  We make everything from cinnamon rolls to French bread, empanadas to the Musmanni equivalent of a pizza bagel bite.  In addition, Musmanni offers queque, cakes baked and decorated here.  

                The idea of an internship every Monday is usually a point of confusion in Costa Rica, since the word we use for internship, pasantía, is often in reference to a year after studying where one gains experience in what they studied the preceding years.  A better translation of pasantía in English might be “apprenticeship,” because it is much less about the required credit hours and more about the application of learned knowledge.  Regardless, the unpaid assistance around the bakery is received quite warmly, and I’ve felt that I’ve been able to be an asset rather than a burden to my coworkers.  

                The bakery is exactly the kind of internship I was hoping for.  In addition to preparing bread, I chose this internship because of the opportunities to speak purely Spanish throughout the day.  Thankfully, I’ve learned how to work with bread, but have also learned an immense amount of slang and am now able to keep up with the rhythm of Costa Rican Spanish.  

                Here’s a picture of me suited up for a nine-hour day working with pan.  I work from 7:00-4:00, but receive two 15 minute breaks where we drink café and rest up.  Also, the employees receive an optional 30 minute unpaid lunch break, which my boss Mauricio encourages me to take since I’m unpaid anyways.  

The picture below shows the back area where I spend the majority of my time.  This is where all the fun happens. Sprinkles, ajonjoli,  pizza sauce, fruta congelada—you name it, we prepare it.  In the mornings, I often work here with Carlos, a nicaragüense jokester who currently lives and works in Costa Rica.  Once the morning shift is over, Luis (pictured below) replaces Carlos for the night shift.  Luis is 24, about to be a father, and is my language buddy.  My interest in Spanish and his in English lead to some funny and puzzling talks as we try to translate slang phrases and other dichos for each other.

I'm very blessed by this internship, but don’t let the positivity fool you! I’m working hard and by the end of the day I’m dead tired both physically (who would have thought bread would be physically demanding) and mentally (a second language will do that to you).  

Well, thanks again for reading these notes, I appreciate it!  This Saturday we leave for eight days in Nicaragua, which is different than Costa Rica in many ways. I’m sure I’ll have a lot to write afterwards. Que Dios les bendiga, God bless.

-Austin Vander Wel