Pura Vida!

So far I’ve learned two things about Costa Rica: Pura Vida and healthy living. They are both found throughout the country and have wonderful, educational aspects about them. Pura Vida is the lifestyle here. Literally translated, it means pure life, and the mindset here is very much reflected in this saying. People here always say things like “calm down” and “slow down” because they want to enjoy life. For example, I got to my first class with locals and found the room was locked. I waited for about 10 minutes (I was warned that Ticos {Costa Ricans} tend to be late) and not even the professor was there. At the time, I had no way of contacting my director, so I went to find a worker who could help me figure out what was wrong. After finding an office, they told me the class was closed and helped me find a different class to take. When all was said and done, everything turned out fine, so there was no need to stress. Pura Vida. Go with the flow! It’s something I need to learn, and it’s party of why this country is one of the happiest in the world.

The Iguanas turn orange to signal they are ready to mate!

In addition, most of the Ticos here live very healthy lives. Many grown their own gardens and we eat fresh fruit and vegetables at every meal. This weekend, I went to an ecolodge with our program and got to experience what permaculture is. We went three days without internet and limited lighting, and it was wonderful in many ways. The people living there live completely off the land. There is a respect for the animals and natural plants that the area grows.

Mamon Chino and Star Fruit!

However, some of the aspects were a little harder to adapt to. Living in the middle of the rainforest means there will be a lot of different animals. Some of them were really cool, like lizards, geckos, and toads. Others were not so great, like the cockroaches and spiders. While they were not my favorite thing in the world, it was interesting learning how they all interacted. The spiders were great because they eat many of the mosquitoes and flies. The toads in the cockroaches and biting ants. I also learned that when you step on a cockroach, the eggs stick to your shoe and you spread their eggs everywhere you step. So next time you see a cockroach resist the urge to squish it!

The Natural Mud Bath at Punta Mona
The Natural Mud Bath at Punta Mona

Overall, this first week has been an amazing experience. Not only have I learned so much already about life here, but also I have learned more about myself in the process. My host family and my Mama Tica are wonderful and are always willing to help. All my Solmates (students in my program) have been extremely supportive and wonderful to get to know. We all went on a tour of downtown Heredia and learned about much of the history and culture here. We even had the opportunity to see a native dance by some wonderful young people. It has only been a week, but I already love this place and the people here to share this experience with me.

The Beach on Punta Mona
The Beach on Punta Mona


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