Wow! I don’t even know where to begin! In the past 10 days, I moved to a different country with a different language, moved in with a family with whom I’d never spoken to before, spent lots of time with a group of people I’ve never been with, was sent into a new city without a map, started going to a brand new school, visited an organically run coffee plant, spent the weekend in a hostel in Manuel Antonio, experienced my first Costa Rican futbol games, and figured out how to take a hot shower without getting shocked with electricity. I could not be more excited about my experience thus far and things could not be going more perfectly. Because I’ve done so many things in the short time I’ve been here, I am not going to go into vast detail about each. That said, if you have any questions or want to know more, please comment below and I’ll do my best to answer you in my next post! 🙂
Last week was our first week of school. We (the group on the Pitzer program) met all of the other students who also attend ICADS and they could not be more fantastic people. I am so thrilled! Our days at school consist of 2 classes: intensive Spanish in the morning from 8am-12pm with a short coffee break and then lunch from 12pm-1pm. From 1:15pm-5pm, we have our combined economics/sociology class that examines Costa Rica through a historical, environmentalist, sociological, critical and thoughtful microscope. Really cool stuff. The afternoon professors split us into teams on one of the first days and sent us on a scavenger hunt in San Jose (two towns over from Curidabat where we live and go to school). San Jose was really interesting, though I’m glad that we don’t live right in the city.
This is a picture of downtown San Jose.
This is a picture of the front of our school, ICADS. More pictures to come on this beautiful place!
The above picture was taken just before we departed on Friday morning for our coffee plantation field trip. It was such a beautiful drive up into the mountains. I really cannot get over how green and lush all of the vegetation is.
Driving up into the mountains.
The first stop was to look at the way the organic coffee is grown- under shady trees (mostly) and surrounded by natural vegetation. Chickens also roam around underneath!
This is a picture of some of the coffee plants, the other surrounding trees and the new drying shelters that allow the owners to dry the coffee beans even when it’s raining.
Close to ripe coffee fruits, right off the plant.
After visiting this portion, we went further up into the mountain to do some field work testing soil quality and to eat a delicious lunch.
The whole group!
Presenting the findings. In the afternoons up in the mountains, fog rolls in and is accompanied by rain.
One of my favorite pictures yet.
Throughout the day, we were able to essentially follow the life cycle of an organically grown Costa Rican coffee bean and see how it gets developed over time. This was really an incredible day and I may do a separate post at a later time explaining the different steps. Let me tell you, the coffee we tasted at the local coffee store was deeeelicious!!
This weekend, all 22 of us ventured out of town to Manuel Antonio, a beach town on the coast. After a late night at the local bar watching Costa Rica beat the US in futbol (woo!), we all met up at 5:15 am to catch a bus to take us 3 hours away to catch another bus to take us to our hostel. This weekend was incredible. We spent so much time in the ocean, both at the public beach and the private beach in the national park. AND. We saw sloths!!! Trip=complete. We also had some monkey and raccoon encounters which were not quite as cool as they were trying to steal our things on the beach. Makes for a good story! 🙂
The beautiful view from the hostel.
The public beach.
One of THREE sloth sightings.
The private beach in the national park. No caption necessary.
I cannot believe how quickly the time is passing; it’s like trying to hold water in your hand. This upcoming week, we have a field trip lined up, plans to head to San Pedro (between Curidabat and San Jose) on Friday night, and on Sunday morning, we start our 6 day field trip to Nicaragua. I am both excited and nervous for what is ahead but as I told my mom earlier, “I am going to enjoy it all- the good and the bad- because it is all part of the once in a lifetime experience.”
Happy Tuesday (or Wednesday, depending on where you are!)! 🙂