SAN JOSÉ, COSTA RICA
Hola!!!! I know this post has been a long time coming since I’ve been in Costa Rica for about two and a half weeks (time FLIES!) but better late than never, right? For those of you who don’t already know, I am spending this semester in San José, Costa Rica teaching in an elementary school!!
I truly cannot believe I have already been here for a couple of weeks and have begun to get into a routine. Even though I have traveled quite a bit and even have a semester abroad in another Spanish-speaking country under my belt, I must admit that my day of travel from Connecticut to Houston and then to San José was a very anxious one. All summer I had been getting questions about my internship, host family, and how I was feeling about going abroad again but to be honest, I didn’t really know. It seemed so far away at the time that, though I was incredibly excited about this amazing opportunity, I hadn’t really given it much more thought than “I’m going.” It wasn’t even until the week before I left that I even realized that this time abroad would be so different: I would be a teacher rather than a student and I didn’t know one person.
My flight left just around 7am so after a sleepless, a little drama with overweight luggage at the airport (sorry dad, you know I’m a bit of a diva!), and saying goodbye to everyone I love, I happily passed out on both of my flights. Once I arrived at the airport in San José, there was a van from my school waiting for me and the other students in my program, as promised. Just like when I arrived in Spain, it wasn’t until I was driving through the city that I realized HOLY %@#! I’m in Costa Rica! I got dropped off at my home stay, where I was greeted by Rosalba, my mama tica. Tico is basically a term of endearment for people from Costa Rica and one thing I have noticed so far is that Ticos are some of the nicest people I have ever met. Rosalba is such a sweetheart and since I won’t be getting other roommates for a couple weeks (they are part of the 12 week program and I’m here for 16 weeks), she basically showers me with love and compliments. This is great for the old self esteem. Most evenings at dinner we sit and talk for hours- she loooooooves to talk- while I eat the mountain of (vegan) food she piles onto my plate. The first night I met Rosalba’s daughter, Camila, who also is a mama tica!
Since I was the first one there, Rosalba basically told me it was first come, first serve so I got a nice bedroom with a full size bed, a desk, and a HUGE closet (thank God). I spent the first night organizing my life and getting acquainted. My mama tica kept asking me if I liked my room and the house; she’s very sweet and does everything possible to make sure I’m happy. I love this woman already! A few days after meeting her, I gave her the host gift a brought. As most people know, Endicott is kind of a family thing: my mom is an alum, and now Casey and I are both gulls. We all have matching Alex & Ani bracelets with the school crest so we thought that would be the perfect gift since Rosalba is basically my family now. She nearly cried and literally stop talking about the gift for a week; I guess you’d call that a success.
Luckily, my house is incredibly close to Universidad Veritas, the school that my program is affiliated with, so it’s just a few minutes walking though I do have to cross the “highway” (don’t worry mom and dad, it’s not a highway like you’re surely thinking). Our first two days were a lot of fun! We went on a Britt Cafe coffee tour which was hilarious and enjoyable, even though we all know I hate coffee.
A few of us ended up going out to this bar called Mundo Loco where I discovered for the first time chileguaro, a Costa Rican drink made of a liquor called cacique guaro, lime, and hot sauce. It basically tastes like you’re drinking Tabasco sauce and I’m 100% obsessed with it, in all its weirdness. The next day was orientation for all of the international students (aka us Americans) so we had a day at Veritas getting the whole spiel and also there were these dancing dudes in costumes? It was a lot of fun and I began meeting a bunch of people from all over the United States!
A bunch of American students at Veritas and I discovered a Tuesday night ladies night at a local club, Hoxton, and have been having a blast! We also play soccer a few days a week at the local park, and sometimes a couple Ticos will join in. A few friends and I tried out a free self defense class, which is essentially taekwondo and is super fun! I’ve walked through the artesanias (art markets) a bunch of times already, drooling over the little knick knacks I want to buy, and our advisor Lisa also took us on a tour of downtown one day. It’s safe to say I’m truly enjoying myself here in my new home. Pura Vida!!!!