Sep 30, 2007
My first days in Costa Rica!
So first of all, I have wireless internet in my house. How cool is that? En Costa Rica, they say, que chiva! to mean how cool! So this top pic here is the first thing I saw when I arrived in Costa Rica. PURA VIDA is the motto of CR, meaning pure life! What a great motto to live by, huh? Anyways, so even though I got no sleep whatsoever during my trip to Costa (one, because I had to sit in the center seat and the guy sitting next to me was ALL in my grill, two, because the airport was freezing and didn't have any comfortable seats, and three, I was still on Cali time!), I nonetheless arrived in San Jose alert and excited as ever. After we collected our bags and passed through the customs, the ISA people were there waiting for us. I immediately noticed that one of the guy directors was really cute! In fact, just by observing the Costa Ricans (Ticos) at the airport, I could tell that most of the men were very good looking (the ladies as well). You could undertand how excited the other girls and I were :) So there are about 40 students total in my program, most of whom are chicas and either from the midwest or east coast. (Jamie, Rach and I are the only west coasters). Everyone seems so nice and friendly! I already know that I'm going to make some really good friends here. AND I'm not the worst spanish speaker either. ha.
Okay, about mi familia! Oh first of all, my roomie is named Randi and she's from Pittsburg. She's really nice but doesn't talk much. I keep telling her that she needs to at least TRY to speak in spanish, no matter how stupid she thinks she sounds. B/c that's what I've been doing! So the father is a waiter at a restaurant, which is a really good profession here in CR apparently, and he was born in Portugal. He met la senora while they were working on a cruise ship and they decided to move to Costa Rica because the cost of living is SO cheap. Plus, they love the weather and everything else in this country.
By the way, the flora and fauna was the first thing I noticed walking to my new house. This gorgeous red flower is one of the many BEAUTIFUL flowers you will typically encounter all over this country, even growing next to a pile of trash.
The weather needs some getting used to (it was raining cats and dogs when I arrived, and it was too hot and humid to even wear a jacket!), but even though I've only seen a small section of the country, I already love it! Anyhoots, los senores have a 12 year old daughter named Tiare, AND, this is so freakin exciting, la mama is pregnant with her second daughter! It's due in December, so I'll definitely get to be here to experience all the preparations and actual phenomenon of having a second baby sister! and I looove mi mama nueva already. She's only 31 years old, which is very young compared to most of the moms, so she's totally down to earth and understands the needs and desires of us chicas. We don't have a curfew, which is VERY strange for most Tican families, she respects our privacy, gives us suggestions on all the poppin places to drink and party, and loves cooking anything and everything, according to what our preferences are. (and you know me, I'm probably difficult to cook for, since I don't eat meat nor milk products. But actually, there IS quite a lot of variety for me). By the way, the food is AWESOME. Tonight we had the typical CR dish, a casada, which consists of rice, beans, fresh veggies and meat (fish for me). I really think I might get fat living here...especially since I'm fed at least 3 huge meals a day! Anyways, even though la mama is young, I could tell she's a great mom and she's been treating us like her own ever since we first met her! She loves being a housewife, cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry and spending time with her family. AND she chooses to only speak to us in spanish, even though she knows english, because she knows how essential it is to our learning process. Her first impression of me was pretty entertaining. Just from the photo of me that she had previously received, she said with my beautiful hair and all, she thought I was going to be big trouble for her! Partying always, bringing home lots of boys, etc.. I responded saying it was only partly true, haha. But she did say that after she met me and got to know me, she could tell that I was a sweet and good-hearted girl. That made me happy :)
They also have a cute little dog named Camila. She makes me miss Cassie so much!
Okay now I'd like to mention that the house is freakin GRANDE. 2 stories, 9 BR, 4 bath, and there's this really cute outside (but with a roof) patio area where there's a big TV, making it the perfect spot for chilling out and reading. I have my own room, and even though it's super tiny, consisting of a simple twin, a desk and a few drawers, I do have my own bathroom! So i can walk around my room as naked as I please ;)
There are 3 other students living in the house as well. One is from Guatemala, Anival, and the other 2 are CR, both named Danny. I just met the guy from Guatemala tonight. He's studying architecture and attends the same school as me. He's going to take us to this one club tomorrow, which is only open mondays for some reason. I'm so excited to experience how the Ticans get down!
So this morning we had our ISA orientation, where we received all the necessary info for having the most fulfilled experience here as possible. But of course they also went over the many dangers and safety precautions for living in such a huge metropolitan city. One interesting thing I learned was that abortion and morning after pills are illegal here! but not to worry parents, haha. We also received info on all the excursions we will be going on, volunteer opportunities, and other extra curricular activities that are available for us (such as free dance lessons, cooking classes, sports, etc).
And here is my school for the next 3 months. Look how cute and colorful it is.
And then tomorrow morning, we will be given our spanish placement exam to see what level of proficiency we are at, and we'll also get to determine our class schedules. I'd like to be placed in intermediate, at least, so I need to study a little right now. So until next time, buenas!