WOW! What a beautiful country! As we were flying into San Jose, all I could think was “Wow, everything looks so green and lush!” I wanted to take a picture but I didn’t want to look that touristy… I regret that mistake but will be sure to snap a few photos when we fly to Panama in a few weeks.
Getting through customs at the airport was really a simple experience but I was so glad that I flew in with people in the program! It was nice to have the comfort of some familiarity. After customs, we found our bags- they had been taken off of the carousel for us- and then went to exchange some US dollars for Costa Rican colones. I am still not sure of the monetary system and plan on working that out ASAP. It’s so confusing to have multiple bills that suggest that I am carrying around multiple millions. I am sure that’s not the case! 😉
After gathering with those of us who had flown in at similar times, we piled our luggage on the roof of and in a yellow bus and then all climbed in. Soon after, it started raining, as it does every afternoon in the rainy season. It’s a little difficult to see in this photo but it’s a picture of the drainage systems that are along the roads. Most of them are wide open ditches that are literally right next to the road. I would be terrified of slipping right into one if I was the driver!
We got to my house and I was greeted by my host mom and dad as well as my host sister and her boyfriend. My mom gave me a delicious lunch of homemade chicken soup and a bowl of rice along with a fruit juice. I’m still unsure of exactly what the juice was but it was green and very sweet and had chunks of whatever the fruit was inside. My father and mother and I then chatted for awhile and I showed them the photo album I brought. They loved seeing my friends and family and enjoyed the pictures of me as a child. They were also super patient with my broken Spanish. My father told me that they’ve had students stay with them who were fluent and others who knew nothing but little by little, they improved greatly. I am so excited to be able to become much more proficient at the language!
Yesterday primarily consisted of unpacking and organizing along with sleeping. I slept SO much. I woke up this morning feeling refreshed and much better than I had the night before. Following breakfast, my father and I went to the farmers market or “la fairia”. It was incredible and significantly dwarfed any other farmers market I’d ever been to! So many colors of different fresh fruits and veggies! I even learned about some new fruits! I don’t know what they were in English but they were quite delicious!
It was also at the farmers market that I really saw that I stick out like a sore thumb. I am used to it back home because of my height but here, it is that plus the fact that I have blonde hair and blue eyes. Something to adjust to… 🙂
The rest of the day consisted of finishing up some homework and then walking to ICADS, my school, with Lily (another student here) and her host mother. At ICADS, all of the Pitzer students (and those affiliated with our program) finally got to meet Isa, our program director! She is fantastic and is so enthusiastic about the program. I am so excited to work with her. From the school, we walked to a nearby Italian restaurant and had a delicious lunch and an informal introduction and orientation. It was so great to see all of the other people from Pitzer and commiserate over our lack of ability to speak Spanish! Isa reminded us that it all comes in time and our families are used to it! What great people….
My room in the house is cozy and has a great view.
I also got to play with our dog, Bela, for a little while today. I accidentally lost her for a minute which was terrifying but we soon found her. I felt so badly… what a terrible first impression. My father told me not to worry about it- she runs off sometimes! The pictures below are of our front porch where we drink coffee together in the afternoons and chat, and a picture of the area where Bela lives when I am not losing her outside… 😉
My first 24 hours in the country have been phenomenal. I am so glad that I came here and I am so lucky to be surrounded by such patient people! Tomorrow is our first day of classes and I could not be more ready to learn! I am so excited to continue to work on my Spanish and learn about the culture. In just two weeks we drive to Nicaragua and I can’t wait to see how much my Spanish improves by then.
Until next time! 🙂