It’s summertime. Time to relax, time to read, and time to travel! I can’t wait! I chose to go to Costa Rica with my Spanish teacher and six other girls from my class to strengthen my Spanish fluency and dialect. I was able to immerse myself in a new country, family, and cultural experience.
After finally arriving in Costa Rica, I met my host family, Jose and Rosa. They lived in a quaint, simple home on the outskirts of San Juan. Jose was a medical supply salesman, and Rosa was a baker. They lived with their two sons in their twenties, and the extended family lived nearby and visited us daily. I felt the love and support that this family shared. Their culture was outgoing, loving, supportive and spiritually grounded. The family was supportive of our Spanish, and since they could only speak Spanish, I practiced with them all the time.
While there, I attended school four hours a day, Monday through Friday, with my school group. My teacher Vanessa was from Chile. It was remarkable to be able to communicate daily with everyone in a different language and even be able to pick out different Spanish accents. I walked to school with my roommate, Megan, daily. It was about a twenty-minute walk, and every morning the neighbor’s rooster woke us up.
I was pleased to discover that the food in Costa Rica was delicious. I had packed a small suitcase with American snacks and shoes because I was terrified of the food I might have to eat. I didn’t eat any of my American food. I really enjoyed some foods, and then learned that others I really didn’t like. I loved guanabana jelly that we put on our toast in the morning, but I did not like arroz con leche, rice and milk, a warm, thick dessert. I especially didn’t like cilantro. It was used in gallo pinto, the Costa Rican custom breakfast, and it’s hard to face cilantro so early in the morning.
The Costa Rican countryside was beautiful. Every day after class we traveled to new, exciting, and different places. We went to a huge butterfly farm and a coffee factory. We traveled to one of the oldest zip lines and rode through the forest, soaring above the gorgeous plants, trees, wildlife, and streams. One weekend, our group traveled to Monteverde, a mountain in the clouds. It was a two-hour trip up a mountain, and half the way was on a dirt road that was really bumpy. On the way we saw the lush green countryside and thousands of trees. Once there we went on a super-high suspension bridge and to a hummingbird sanctuary. The hummingbirds flew right up next to you! We even climbed down a mountainside on a tiny, steep trail into a huge waterfall.
Costa Rica was truly a once in a lifetime experience for me. I hope I can go back and stay with my host family again to visit them, explore even more of the country, and continue my Spanish.
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