I am slowly but surely falling in love with this country. Up until this point I have had two weeks to get acclimated and learn the area of Heredia and San Jose. The program I am in that works in affiliation with the colleges has a group of ladies that have been nothing but great. They gave us tours of the cities and even made us sit through (a rather dull) lecture on what to do incase of earthquakes. Point being they equip you with the knowledge to surive in a foreign city. The people here are very friendly, the only negative is that the men here are very open about their admiration and especially if you are in a group with blonde or very pale girls, you get a good amount of cat calls. As for myself I’m rather brown skinned and have dark hair so I don’t stand out so much, unless I open my mouth to talk ; then its a given I’m American. All my classes are in Spanish, this is a bit unnerving for me. Not only will I be the wierd foreign kid on campus who’s is lost, but I won’t understand any of what my teacher is saying! This is a fear yes but not too big of one, there are lots of tutors on campus to help me, and I have a long weekend to study (or go to the beach), and I don’t have to worry about a job. This leaves me with plenty of time to dedicate myself to learning spanish. I am so excited to be here not only am I learning Spanish but mentally and physically it has been an uplifting experience. I wake up early everyday out of habit and feel energized for the day, I’m going to take a belly dancing class and a yoga class! I’m eating different varieties of foods and learning different customs. Yesterday my friends and I went alone to San Jose, which is like a 20 min bus ride from Heredia (costs about 80 cents) and spent the day exploring stores and went to a mercado artisan, which is like a hand made arts and jewelry bazzar…Amazing! Of course it was necessary to barter before buying anything, once I get ahold of Spanish I will be able to get better deals I’m positive. I told myself that I am buying a hammack as soon as that might be 🙂 Tomorrow I embark on another aspect of my study abroad experience, and I can’t wait! I was getting restless !
Since my last entry a lot has occurred! Costa Rica is a remarkable country, one where you can stumble upon lush paths that end in beautiful waterfalls or go out to a discotec and dance Meringue with a local Tico (the name Costa Ricans prefer to call themselves). I wrote last on the first night I arrived in Costa Rica, an overwhelming situation for several reasons, one I had chosen to stay at a separate hotel from my orientation group isolating myself further 😦 and secondly because I have a lacking knowledge in Spanish. Well so far this past week has been wonderful. The day after I arrived in Costa Rica I got a taxi to the hotel and ate breakfast with about the 35 other individuals studying this semester in San Hose with me. The IfSA staff in charge of helping us with everything consists of three very kind and enthusiastic women. These women help us register for classes, apply for our visas, and do everything they can to assist us in immersing into Costa Rican life. The day after my arrival we got on a bus and drove five hours to a town in the north west part of Costa Rica called Monteverde. It was a pleasant small town with a slow pace of life and a town centered around ecological tourism, with an abundance of environmental preserves. Over the past 5 or so days we were placed with host families and would walk to orientation and Spanish classes held at the Monteverde Institute ( right next door to the fabrica de conqueso aka a cheese factory that sells amazing ice cream)…. Today I moved into my permanent host family’s house, the mom is really pretty and super nice, the dad is laid back and the kids: Claudia is 12 and reminds me of my sister and the boy Alan is 14 and going to be a little heart breaker. Their house is very nice; it has a fountain in the front and 3 maybe 4 bathrooms! I am very excited to be here, and the beauty of the country and openness of the people is firing me up, school starts next week and even though I’m nervous about the classes being in all Spanish, the language is coming slowly but surely. Daunting at first but this experience is everything I have been looking forward to! Over the past week there were only fleeting longings for familiar home surroundings, friends, and family. Being here is giving me something priceless, more than independence its insight, insight into the world with a broadened perspective, and most importantly insight into who you are and who you want to be! 🙂
So I’m beginning my blog with the same attitude that I have toward this trip. I am jumping in head first, with excitement and a bit of nervous anticipation. I currently am sitting in the Phoenix International Airport, awaiting to board my plane to Costa Rica. The whole week leading up to my departure as been a rollercoaster of emotions. I would like to consider myself a fairly independent person, with a burning desire to soak in everything the world has to offer me, but even for me this is a leap.
I arrived in Costa Rica around 7:30 this evening. I will be completely honest, this has been one of the scariest things I have ever done. For the first night everyone was to meet at this hotel for an orientation dinner. Well my flight got in too late for me to attend, plus I might add the hotel that they recommended was priced at around$90-$100 bucks. The hotel is plush, very nice. But the way I figure it I’m in Costa Rica I have a travel guide book and I know I have alot more options. I found a hotel for $65 and they picked me up at the hotel for free. Walking through customs in a foreign country all by yourself looking for a guy with a sign with your name on it is : UNNERVING. But the hotel is owned by a family and the brother that picked me up couldn’t have been nicer, and patient with my horrible spanish! We practiced spanish and he pretended to let me help him with his English…. There is this nice lady here too who is teaching at the university i will be at. she is from the states and gave me her number and showed me where to catch a taxi in the morning..But I am alone cuz the orientation hotel is kinda across town and I felt kinda dumb showing up after they had their opening dinner and no one was left there but I’m not the kinda person who needs any overpriced bonding time for one night. Tom. we leave for Monteverede.. its this school that is like in the backyard of a national park so we have like a week there to get oriented… This is probably the scariest thing i have ever done. The ppl here are really nice, kinda laugh at my horrible spanish but they help too and its dark so I haven’t seen much of the landscape but the city is ..cool, haa it is kinda compact w/ more narrow streets but there is like a taco bell and mcdonalds (yuck) but at the same time there are all these street vendors with fresh fruit and stuff.. well anyway I am goin to shower my nerves are frayed, but im happy to be here. The only thing that worries me is the language, I miss being able to speak fluently but I’m pretty confident I will pick it up fast 🙂