My apologies for the Spanglish, I’m slowly (but surely) transitioning to Spanish posts but I want all of my English speaking readers to understand too! Maybe for the next post I can do 2 versions, 1 English and 1 Spanish.
We spent Friday and Saturday (days 6 and 7 of our trip) with hour host families for el año nuevo! We were able to sleep in a little on Saturday after a long day of rafting on Friday. When we woke up, as always, Mama Tica asked “¿Cómo amanecío?” which doesn’t really have a direct translation in English, but roughly means “How did you sleep?” The verb amanecer literally means for the day to start, for it to become dawn outside. And we slept “muy bien” como siempre.
New Year’s Eve was a quiet day at home. I stayed at the house and talked with Mama Tica while Kylie went out with some other students. We took a walk into Heredia and back, greeting friends and neighbors with ¡Feliz año! on the way. Afterwards, I worked on finishing my essays for graduate school. It was difficult to put myself back in the mindset of due-dates and deadlines. It was even more difficult to realize that these deadlines are fast approaching while my mind is faraway from graduate school, in Costa Rica. Nevertheless, I am confident that I will meet all of the deadlines, y no es un problema.
We went to la casa de la hija de Mama Tica where we met her daughters, son-in-law, and grandchildren. They only live about 2 minutes away. The house was still decorated for Navidad. Era bellísimo y la familia tambien. Kylie and I felt welcome at Mama Tica’s daughter’s house, the whole family greeted us with a kiss on the cheek which is customary in Costa Rica, but still much appreciated. We ate dinner at about 10:00 at night. I had steak and chicken on tortillas with chimichurri. Interestingly, the chimichurri wasn’t like the sauce I had tried before en los Estados Unidos. It was chopped tomatoes with onions and cilantro, but still delicioso!
We counted down for el año nuevo and Mama Tica literally jumped out of her seat and ran out of the room when we reached zero! We followed her outside to watch fireworks and celebrate in the street. I’ll never forget the view. We stood halfway up a steep hill overlooking downtown Heredia and San José. The lights of two cities were joined by sparks of fireworks on the mountain. The night air was cool and a couple other families in the neighborhood celebrated with drums and firecrackers. We came back inside to have “gelatina” which is jello and rum cake with caramel vanilla ice cream.
Soon we would return home, eager to get some sleep. Before we went to bed, Mama Tica told Kylie and I that we were the only students that she ever felt so close to in such a short amount of time. She is so happy we are able to communicate well with her. She drew the sign of the cross on our foreheads with her thumb, as she does most mornings before we leave the house, and off to bed we went.
El séptimo día
Sunday I slept in way too late. I woke up around 10 but I was exhausted and lounged around much longer. La familia de Mama Tica came over again. We watched Life of Pi in Spanish on the TV in the kitchen while we ate leftovers from New Year’s Eve. I spoke more English on Sunday than Saturday because the family understands English, but I was also able to ask them some questions I wouldn’t be able to ask Mama Tica about Spanish words.
I worked on a project with my partner, Nikki. We had to do a PowerPoint presentation on 2 revolutionary artists Carlos Merida (de Guatemala) y José Luis Calva (De México.) We worked a while, I ate dinner, and went to bed thinking about the list of things I have to get done in the next couple of weeks.
El octavo día
Back to class! Today we watched “Diario de Motocicleta” in class (Motorcycle Diaries.) It was about Che Guevara’s journey across South America. Afterwards we showed our presentations. I know I could’ve done a lot better, but I have a couple more projects to do and I think I know what to do differently next time to prepare.
After class we visited San José again. We went to an artisan market and bought souvenirs. It was a very large market so we spent a lot of time there. Mama Tica told us that most of the vendors probably overcharged us, but the prices were still very reasonable. After that, I bought some Aloe for my first December/January sunburn at a local grocery store.
After returning to Heredia, I finished up another graduate school and we had another great dinner with Mama Tica. It was zucchini sauteed with cheese and herbs, rice and beans of course, and cauliflower.
The first week has been relaxing at times, and adventurous at others, but I can feel my Spanish improving with every passing day. I hope to use more Spanish (in both speaking and writing) during the next two weeks. The program has been going so fast, time flies when you’re having fun!
This week we have a traditional Costa Rican cooking class, a dance class, and a night out on the town! Even though I’m not the best dancer, it sounds like a lot of fun.
¡Gracias a todos, buenas noches!