Saludos de Heredia, Costa Rica. I have officially been here for almost two weeks now, and it’s even better than I imagined. I arrived on Saturday, June 23rd after a flight cancellation, changes for both flights, and only running on about two hours of sleep. Sure, I was completely exhausted but the key, according to the Ticos, is to drink mucho café. Also, for those of you who do not know, I am going to be a senior at the University of Evansville in the fall. I am a double major in Spanish and International Studies, so I am lucky enough to be on my second study abroad experience. However, this one is completely different than the first.
For example, it is my first time living with a host family and believe me, it’s a wide gap between basically living in a boarding school and living with someone you do not know at all. My host mom is referred to as Mamatica and I live with her, two of her daughters, two other SOL students, and another university student from Costa Rica. It is a little crazy to say the least. Meanwhile, I am currently taking a three-week literature course that keeps me drowning in work when I’m not going on excursions.
So far, this first week was crazy and it started on day one. After dealing with flight problems, I finally arrived a mi casa and met my Mamatica and her cleaning lady. I was only able to set my bags on my bed and then we were off to a fiesta with no nap or changing clothes. We went to a neighborhood in San Jose where she grew up at, and I met a lot of her friends. It was a lot more relaxing than I expected a fiesta to be, but it was just because I was with an older crowd. I also met her oldest daughter and her two-year-old grandson that day, and he’s my new best friend here in CR haha!
Since I arrived on a Saturday, we went on our first excursion the next day to a place called Canopy. All twenty-eight girls in my program were shown our routes to walk to school, and then we left on the very hilly and curvy bus trip. We spent the morning on about eight different zip lines and swinging across the rain forest. Before we left, we ate lunch from home and tried various snacks that are popular here, which my favorite are Elotitos. I definitely slept well that night.
The next morning, classes began but we stayed busy with a scavenger hunt in order to familiarize ourselves with the campus and to learn how to exchange currency at the bank near campus. Later that night, we also decided to go have a girl’s night in Heredia and hang out. On Tuesday the 26th, a smaller group of us walked to another Mamatica’s home to have a cooking session. While there, we learned how to cook food like gallo pinto, chimichurri, tortillas, café and more. It was a lot of fun, but I learned yet again that I am not a connoisseur in the kitchen and that is okay! It also poured that afternoon, like it does practically every day in this country, and I took my first solo trip home.
On Wednesday, it was a bit more relaxing since most of the country was watching the World Cup game between Costa Rica and Switzerland. Laikyn, Maggie, and I went to Starbucks to work on class stuff and to the mall to get toiletries. Thursday, however, was much busier since we went to downtown Heredia for the afternoon. First, we were given colones, the currency here, and were told to go find and buy certain fruits in the supermercado, which we ended up eating later after our city tour. Some fruits were great, and some I will never attempt to try again. However, it was super fun! As for Friday, it was a bit more relaxing. I had class, came back and rested at home, and then went with the girls to the circus that was in town from Portugal. The people who know me are probably thinking there’s no way since I have such a big fear of clowns, but the payasos (clowns) are nothing like in the U.S. I really enjoyed having such a relaxing and lighthearted evening before the next trip, which you can read about in my next post!
Lastly, for those who are wondering how you can study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country with an amazing program, look into SOL Education Abroad! There is no way I would have been able afford it without such amazing support. Thankfully, I was one of the winners of a SOL scholarship this summer, so it has made this whole endeavor a lot less stressful. This way, I get to enjoy the normal craziness of studying abroad!
Until next time!