July is wintertime in Costa Rica. And by wintertime, I mean it’s 75 degrees outside…
I arrived at 11 PM and found a person standing with my name on a sign, right outside the airport. I could get used to seeing that. I sat in the van (my chariot) with the driver, while we waited for another girl to arrive, and we talked about dancing, food, music and sports. What else do you need? He was extremely nice and is officially my first Costa Rican friend.
We drove through Heredia to Santa Barbara where I met Isabel, my host mother. She is a sweet, tiny little lady, barely reaching my shoulder and is in her late 40’s. She only speaks Spanish. Hence my survival skills are coming out to play. As well as a lot of hand motions. Survival of the fittest is one thing but survival of the fluent is a whole other story. I am on the second floor in a bedroom that contains one window, a twin sized bed and a small armoir. In the bedroom next to mine is Tatiana, their 25 year old daughter. She only speaks Spanish. That’s my cue to start digging out my English to Spanish dictionary.
I went to bed at midnight only to learn a couple hours later that my alarm clock has been replaced with a rooster. A rooster who considers it his personal duty to wake me and the entire city at 4:30 in the morning. I went back to sleep and woke up at 5:30 AM to find that the sun was shining as bright as could be and everyone in the house was already awake. I was the late bird…no worm for me.
I walked to my school, passing miniscule houses of every color, a beautiful church and a tiny bazaar. In my class, there are about 15 students, ranging from teenagers to older volunteers in their 40’s (sorry mom, I meant matured, not old!). I am the only person from the United States while the rest are from Germany and England. We took a grammer test (it’s summer and I’m taking a test…see anything wrong with this picture?) and then continued with our Spanish lessons from 8 AM until noon.
I walked back home to have lunch, which consisted of gallo pinto (rice and beans) along with some chicken and fried plantains for dessert (if you’re not jealous of me right now, you’ve obviously never tried fried plantains). I helped Isabel with chores around the house, such as hanging up the clothes to dry, sweeping the floors and washing the dishes before going back to the school for tropical fruit lessons.
My Spanish surprised me a little bit in the sense that I wasn’t as horrible as I had expected myself to be. 6 years of grammer lessons and no actual practice leads a person to question their capability. I may not be able to carry on a conversation about politics, but definetely about the weather. “Sí, está nublado, pero es muy caliente también…”