Week 2: Fotos, Foodstuffs, Fútbol…and a Volcano!

Sunset over the Parque Central in Heredia Central

¡Saludos, greetings, and welcome, friend! Week two here in Heredia has been filled with just as much wonder and adventure as week one!

This past Monday after class, Pranav and I took a walking tour of the Heredia Central area to discover more of the city, and take photos of this amazing place we live. An amazing sunset and dinner with the family capped the day off nicely.

One of the many beautiful neighborhoods of Heredia

Tuesday morning, our Spanish professor gave us our midterm exam (the time scale to earn a semester-worth of credit in a month here is insane!)—but I’m definitely learning a lot. That afternoon found me on the fútbol field with SOL friends for a friendly 5 v. 5 scrimmage. A group of Tico students showed up about an hour-and-a-half in, and we had ourselves a miniature world cup.

Yard of a garden paradise
Lunch on a banana leaf

This Wednesday was one of my favorite days we’ve had so far. After class, we traveled to the Alejuela province to meet the Arayas family and learn to cook typical, traditional, and popular Costa Rican dishes in an open-air kitchen. Their yard was magnificently beautiful—and the food was amazing! We made gallo pinto, pico de gallo, empanadas de plátano, tortillas de maíz y queso, and prestiños—very delicious. That night, I went to with four other SOL students to celebrate the birthday of a friend of a friend (not a repetition typo) in Heredia Central. It was a really neat opportunity to interact with some more local students and practice conversational Spanish.

Animal refuge outside Heredia

Thursday was my huge day of the week. After morning class and lunch, we went to an animal refuge outside the city to play with the perritos and gatitos (and their adult versions) there and clean the cages. That afternoon found me in my history of cinema class ‘with locals’—which actually has seven SOL students and four Ticos, haha. The professor for that class is the same one who taught the theater class (the one that existed last week). He remembered me…unfortunately; he also asked me if I remembered what the homework assignments for this class (that I’ve never been in) are. I didn’t. We got things reconciled and watched a black and white movie from England with Spanish subtitles easier to understand than the mumbled English audio. Next, in Communication and Semiotics we had the nice little surprise of a completely new professor—no idea why. He’s quite entertaining and talks wildly with his hands as he meanders through the room demonstrating communication concepts. Class total for Thursday: 8½ hours—pretty sure I fell asleep at like 9:30.

Friday I went to the fútbol field again; but, this time to play Ultimate Frisbee. About two hours in, a group of Ticos showed up for some intermingled-team fútbol—and they weren’t playing games. I think my team won, but who knows? It was a fun time…

Wonders of the cloud forest
The Poas crater! It’s a long way down

…that my legs and glutes very much remembered Saturday morning. (I’m gonna have a lower body of steel after this trip). This was our day at the Poas volcano national park and cloud forest. One of the most amazing places I’ve ever been, and my first time at an active volcano (the cars park facing downhill in case of a need to evacuate). The whole place looked like something out of a fantasy movie—plants with leaves bigger than your body, fog and mist slowly sweeping across everything, the smell of sulfur in the air, and meandering trails through the overgrowth—totally amazing. The fog even cleared out for just a minute; long enough for us to get a peek at the crater itself! After visiting a shop for strawberries and local cheese, we took time to visit a hummingbird garden and celebrate a birthday with songs and strawberry smoothies before heading back down into our homes here in the central valley.

A view of San Jose

Today, here I am writing this blog for you (amidst going to San Jose to explore with Pranav). It was a marvelous day for our walking and photo tour—and I got to see some new areas of the beautiful city.

Another fantastic week to be sure. My heart—and camera memory card—are full. I’m so blessed to be studying and discovering new things in this beautiful part of the world. Thanks for reading and being part of this adventure with me. Until next week, ¡Chao y pura vida!

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