I’ve only been in Costa Rica for 3 days, but I’m already having the time of my life! Since my last post: my Spanish has drastically improved, I’ve made several new friends in my SOL group, I’ve bought some things with colones (Costa Rican currency), I’ve tried new foods, and I’ve even been “lost” for the first time!
I woke up at 5am on Sunday to the sound of roosters crowing, but the view from the window right next to my bed is so beautiful that I didn’t mind. Mama tica made Princessa and I a huge breakfast of scrambled eggs, gallo pinto, avocado, toast, cantaloupe, bananas, papaya, and coffee to drink. After breakfast, Princessa and I went with mama tica to get food for Mati (my host family’s dog). After that, mama tica took us to a Catholic cathedral (the only cathedral in Santo Domingo) to look inside. When we left the cathedral, mama tica took us for helado (ice cream) at a place called Pops (I’ve seen a total of 5 Pops in Costa Rica so far) and then to the park across the street where we sat on a bench, ate our helado, and enjoyed the weather. The helado from Pops was really good! I got lime, orange, and mango. Mango was my favorite! Also, the park was very peaceful. Princessa and I practiced our Spanish with mama tica and each other while we rode with her around Heredia. After our outing, mama tica took us to our SOL orientation. We played a name game, a game like “Never have I ever…”, and another game kind of like musical chairs, but it was called “Pajaro, Novio, Caballo” (Bird, Boyfriend, Horse). Our assistant director brought us tea which was really good! After taking a tea break, we went over all of the SOL rules, regulations, and helpful information. Mama tica picked us up after the orientation and took us back to la casa. Princessa and I immediately started practicing our Spanish with each other. We had pre-packaged food for dinner because mama ticas don’t cook on Sundays, but it was still really good! We had pizza, creamed asparagus, and cake. After dinner, Princessa and I practiced a little more Spanish then talked a lot in English. We stayed up a little too late talking, but we have a lot in common! I’m really glad we’re roommates!
Monday was the first day of classes at ULatina! In the morning, the roosters woke us up at 5am again. I’m starting to get used to it though! Princessa and I went downstairs for breakfast after getting ready. We had ham, cheese, and gallo pinto sandwiches, fruit, and coffee for breakfast. Princessa and I walked with two other girls in the SOL program who live next to us, Carly and Allison, to school. We met the rest of the SOL students at ULatina at 8am and toured the campus. After the tour, we had an orientation for the academic part of the program. I had my Spanish class first with 4 other girls. My Spanish teacher is so nice and helpful! I also really like all of the girls in my class! After Spanish, all of the SOL students met in the open-air cafeteria overlooking the soccer field and mountains in the distance. It’s an absolutely breathtaking view! Our directors gave us some more helpful information, our ULatina student ID cards, and some SOL discount cards for local stores and services. I had soccer class after the meeting with two other SOL students, one of which is also in my Spanish class! Soccer class seems like it might be challenging simply because my teacher speaks really quickly, and it’s hard for me to follow, but it’s understandable because there are only 4 students from the United Stated in the class, and the rest are ticos (Costa Ricans). Soccer class ran an hour past when I thought it would, so Princessa walked back with Carly and Allison. I walked with Angelina, the girl in both my Spanish and my soccer class, and we had a misunderstanding that we lived in the same neighborhood but we actually don’t, and I didn’t know how to get back to my house from her house. Her mama tica was very helpful though. She called my mama tica and told her what happened, and my mama tica, Princessa, Carly, and Allison picked me up. It was a little scary because I thought mama tica might be worried about or mad at me, but she wasn’t! She was very sympathetic, and made me feel better about the whole situation! Mama tica took us all to the mall. We exchanged dollars for colones and did some shopping. I got some school supplies and a temporary phone to use in Costa Rica so I can text and call mama tica. We all decided to stop at a juice bar called Mandarina. I got a pineapple, mango, and kiwi smoothie. It was SO good! After that, we all walked back across the street to ULatina and sat at a table in a small garden next to the soccer field. We talked some in Spanish and some in English. We also met the “school dog” named Oso (Bear). He is a big white dog with one blue eye and one brown. Oso has apparently been hanging around the school for a long time and sometimes sits in on classes! After a while, we walked back to our houses together. When Princessa and I got back, mama tica’s aunt was in the living room talking with her. We sat down with them and talked in Spanish for a while. We had dinner with mama tica and her aunt and then went with mama tica to San Jose to take her aunt home. It was a decent distance away, but there were so many new things to see! San Jose is a very big city and very busy! I can’t wait to go back and explore! When we got back to la casa, we went to bed!
Today was my second day of school. In the morning, we had toast, gallo pinto, fruit, and coffee for breakfast. We met Carly and Allison outside again and walked to school. When we got there, we went straight to our classes. My Spanish class went really well! We spoke in Spanish the whole time, and I understood almost everything! I’m surprised but so excited that I’m learning so much so quickly! During the break in the middle of my Spanish class, I went to Mandarina again in the the cafeteria of ULatina with 3 of the girls in my class. I got a strawberry, banana, mango, and pineapple smoothie. It was really good! We finished the second part of the class, then I walked back to la casa with Princessa, Carly, and Allison. Princessa and I did our homework at the dining room table. After that, we went upstairs to relax for a while, and mama tica and Andres made dinner for a different group of SOL students leaving tomorrow. Mama tica left dinner on the table for us. We watched Mati while she was gone and had dinner. We had rice, salad, dulce de tres leches (three milk cake), and jugo de cas (cas juice). After dinner, we went back upstairs to our room and relaxed for the rest of the night. It was a really good day today!
I’m having the most amazing time in Costa Rica so far! I can’t even put into words how wonderful it is here! I feel like I’m dreaming! Tomorrow I have the tour of Heredia, and I’m planning to go out with a few other girls in our SOL group tomorrow night! It should be another great day!