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Mi vida en Costa Rica: la primera semana

I don’t think I can adequately express how this past week has been–in either language.

Overwhelming. Divertido. Unpredictable. Alegre. Motivating. Vergüenza. Awkward. Adventurero. Beautiful. Lindo. Treasured. Simpático. Rewardimageing. Apasionado. Humbling. Real.

This past week has been real. I spent my first few days in Sa
n José shocked that I’m here. Everything was as real as real gets when I enrolled in class last Monday. I’m not a tourist (well, not completely). I’m a student. At the Universidad of Costa Rica.

Monday was also the day:

  • I thought the world was going to end.
  • I believed I would be okkay.
  • I walked around San José extremely overwhelmed.
  • I laughed with classmates as another Costa Rican student joked with us and we didn’t understand.
  • I realized my entire life in San José is in español.
  • I wanted to just hop on a plane and go home.
  • I felt at home here.

I’ve thought a lot about those who come to the United States, for various reasons, whose first language is not English. Although I have a taste, I cannot imagine how overwhelmed they may feel. In my experiences, I have not seen them welcomed into the country and supported while they do their best to survive.

Costarricenses have definitely welcomed us with open arms. Prior to coming here, I had been told how friendly the people are. This couldn’t be more true. Even with a language barrier, people have done so much to help us in any way we need.

I am extremely grateful for my host family. They are wonderful people who are extremely patient with me day in and day out. My second morning here, It took me almost an hour to work up the energy and motivation to get out of bed and jump in to the day. Spending every moment of the day immersed in another language is exhausting. It is so difficult. But, it is also rewarding. In one week, I have seen improvements in my communication (which is the area for me that needs the most improvement), along with my vocabulary and written language.image Other aspects of my host family have been extremely rich as well. We have all our meals together (which is yet another opportunity to speak and hear spanish) and have our lunches sent to school with us. I live with one other student from KU, Allison, who will be here until the end of June. I enjoy the family dynamics and my Papá Tica usually spends time every evening patiently talking with me As each day goes by, I notice our conversations go a little deeper in content and my language comes out a little more fluid. As someone who likes to talk, there are times that are difficult. If I can’t say it in español, I can’t say it at all. I struggled in the beginning because my conversations went from being rather complex and detailed to very surface-level and simple. image Those of us from Kansas and some of our classmates traveled to Manuel Antonio this past weekend. It was nice to spend a lot of time with friends and see the beauty of Costa Rica outside of the city. During this trip, I realized when there is a need for spanish, I’m able to make it work and communicate. We had a few bumps in the road, which were all worked out, but I further grew in my confience of navigating the world. image Las montañas outside our hostel. image image La playa de Manuel Antonio. image All I wanted was to climb this rock and get a picture. And the daily downpour begins midway. image image Fam Din! image The National Park was really beautiful. I love nature.

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We saw many monos y bebés!

image image Can you spot the cangrejo?image These were some of the biggest palm trees I have ever seen. image Our iguana friend also wanted some sun at Las Gemalas. image We always find the best places to eat with great food and smoothies too! image I absolutely do not like spiders. But this big guy was pretty cool. He was almost the size of my hand. image San José at night. Returning home.

This week I have learned a lot. I’ve grown each day. I am so extremely thankful I’m here and excited for the rest of the summer!

¡Bienvenidos a Costa Rica!

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As most already know, I arrived safely in San José, Costa Rica! My flight was rather enjoyable and I’m somewhat in shock that I’m here for the next two and a half months!

One of the first things I saw upon my arrival was the landscape. It’s so beautiful! Pictures are worth a thousand words, but reality is much sweeter!

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I have been pretty uneasy about my spanish abilities, and as a good friend and mentor, Mauricio, reminded me several weeks ago–“You don’t have to be confident, you just have to be competent.” I’ve reminded myself of these words often. I navigated through immigration and customs with ease in Spanish, and I’m feeling rather proud. It was also cool to find a sign with my name on it!

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Later last night, Eva arrived! We had such a blast exploring the city today. San José is divides into two parts–old town and new town. We’re staying in old town. There are so many museums and things to see!

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The last photo is of the Italian Embassy-which is where many of my friends are now!

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Food was one of the most difficult parts of of our day. Our meals cost about $3 each. Once we began looking for food, we couldn’t find anywhere other than pastry shops or markets with raw meat. By the time we arrived here, I was soo hungry. The way my day fell into place yesterday, I missed all meals.

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After ordering, in español :), we waited until our food was lowered down to where we were. It was pretty cool and maximized their space for seating.

There is artwork, graffiti, and paintings all over. I enjoyed how colorful everything is.

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This says Arte=Libertad, or Art=Freedom

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We stopped at the Universidad Político to enjoy the view.

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It’s amazing how varied the scenery is.

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We thoroughly enjoyed the day, with all 9 miles of exploration! The sun rises at 5am and sets at 5pm, which is an adjustment! I’m sure I will rise again with the sun!  Hasta mañana!