For those who do not want to read my scattered and descriptive post below I have provided you with a summary: I love my host family (mom, dad, 2 brothers and Allison (11) my best friend), the food is great and doesn’t give me a stomachache, I am taking 5.5 hours of Spanish class at a school called the CPI for 4 weeks before I start to volunteer at the elementary school, I am speaking and understanding a lot, over the next 4 weeks I will be taking little trips around Costa Rica, tours around Monteverde, and some dance classes in the area, there are crazy bugs here (a lot in my room!), and although I miss my family and friends terribly I am so so so so so happy here. And so excited for this journey. I already feel at home here and I am looking forward to becoming a TICO (or at least attempting) over the next 5 months.
Well, I’m here. And its real. And there is absolutely no turning back. As scary as that thought is, its beautiful. I got in to San Jose around 7:30 Saturday night. After a mini panic attack at the baggage claim I grabbed my 2 50 lb bags and found my way to the airport exit. My host dad was waiting for me with a big smile. Prior to my arrival my program director informed me that he was a big guy with a big smile and of course she was right. Although he isn’t huge, just round in the tummy : ) So we drove 3 hours from San Jose to Monteverde. The last 20 minutes were an adventure because the main road to Monteverde is not paved and has so many potholes I felt like I was offroading. Somehow I was able to communicate with my host dad throughout the ride! I really surprised myself since I haven’t taken Spanish for about almost 4 years. I met my host mom and the eldest son Leslie very quickly before going to bed. I thought about unpacking but was so overwhelmed that I decided to just sleep. I woke up around 7:30 and had breakfast with my mother and sister, Allison. I had some down time to unpack (and find huge bugs/ spiders in my room) and try to relax before heading to an annual bike race that is famous in Monteverde. I’m still unsure of the origin, but I think many people come to Monteverde to race and raise money for the town. We took a 30 minute walk to the finish line and waited for the boys (Leslie, Leslie jr, Sebastian) to finish the race. Sebastian (15 yrs old) is a national champion and is on a racing team. He travels all over Costa Rica to race and I guess he is very good! After the race ended we walked back home. I had some lunch, hung out, and took a nap for about an hour before dinner. And by the way, the food is amazing. Rice, beans, meat, tortillas, veggies, and fruit are staples. I have never felt better with the food. I’ve been here 5 days and have yet to get a stomachache, which I could really get used to because it is definitely not the case at home. We celebrated Leslie juniors birthday in the evening with the entire family. My host mother has 8 brothers and sisters so people are always visiting (which is great because I get to meet new people and practice my Spanish every day!) I spent most of the evening playing with las ninas. Allison likes to paint nails and she has a mini salon in her room so I volunteered to be her secretary because I have no nails. I re-wrote some of her notes and ended up coloring hearts and flowers for them by the end of the night. They started writing out orders for my drawings because they liked them so much! I love Allison! We are already very close and it has only been 5 days. Leslie junior just turned 18 and I haven’t had a chance to really get to known him because he is never here. My other host brother Sebastian is extremely smart. He loves speaking to me in English. Both Allison and Sebastian practice their English and I speak to them in Spanish. It is a wonderful experience for the three of us. After dinner and birthday cake I went to bed. Walked 10 minutes to my school (CPI) for 5.5 hours of class. My morning class has 2 students (myself included) and my afternoon class is a one-on-one conversation course for an hour and a half. I absolutely love the teacher because we are very similar. We spend most of our time talking about the educational system and the problems with young children who are lacking parental support. Its wonderful to have more intelligent conversations because it challenges and expands my vocabulary. I am able to use a phone and internet at the CPI and meet many American students, adults, and families. Many people come to the CPI for 1 or 2 weeks to practice Spanish because the school also provides guided tours and things to do. For example, I am going to take a dance class tomorrow night. The school provides information about restaurants and other places to go (I found out about a yoga studio that is close and offers classes each evening!) I even went on a night tour in the mountains and saw huge spiders, insects, and some weird animals that I had never heard of before. When I come home in the evenings (if I’m not at event) Sebastian helps me with my homework. Well really he tries to speak to me in English, his mom yells at him, I tell him I can do it myself, and then he corrects my mistakes when I finish. It’s a wonderful way to learn but also gives me an opportunity to get to know him. I think the family likes me. I absolutely love them and am looking forward to the time we will spend together (and trust me 5 months is a lonnnng time). This weekend I think I am going to stay at home. The CPI offers awesome trips to Arenal and some beaches which I am definitely going to take advantage of over the next 4 weeks but the boys are all going to Sebastian’s bike race and so my host mom y Allison y yo have planned a girls weekend! Well we haven’t planned it. But we joked about it. Ok well that’s all for now.