Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Costa Rica!

        Wow it's been a while! I have officially been in Costa Rica a little over a week now and I haven't blogged about it once! I am very sorry for the delayed response, but I don't have a convenient way to get internet. The home I am living at does not have internet so I either have to go to an internet cafe or blog during my lunch at school, which I don't always have time for. There is so much to say about my life here already!! I flew in the evening of the 1st and was immediately placed in my new home. 
        I am living with a wonderful family. There is Ana, her sister Rosie, Rosie's husband Randall, and Rosie and Randall's two kids Andrea and Andres. Ana is the mama of the house for sure. She cooks and cleans everyday (and is fantastic cook might I add, see the tamales above). Rosie runs a little sewing shop above the house and Ana and her son Andres sometimes help her during the day. Randall is a mechanic and Andrea is an English tutor. Andrea and Randall both leave pretty early in the morning. That is one big adjustment I have had here is that everyone rises and sleeps super early. My family goes to sleep everyday around 8, although the kids stay awake later sometimes. Then everyone gets up at 5 or sometimes 4:30! It's crazy!
        When I arrived, Ana showed my room, and I have posted pictures above so you can see what it looks like. I am sorry ahead of time that the pictures are not nicer quality, but I haven't been using my nice camera much lately because I am afraid it will get stolen and it is less convenient to carry. I will try to use it more in the future. I am loving my dolphin and sea creature themed bathroom, the pictures on the fabric are really realistic! The rest of my room is equally exciting, lots of silky material and bows. My room was my first exposure to Central American style haha. At first I thought I could only take cold showers in the morning and it was quite a shock.  But I learned to fiddle with it and have found it gets warm if you barely turn it on, solid pressure or temperature? That is the big question. Also, the toilets are different here. You can't flush toilet paper. You have to put used toilet paper in a little trash can next to the toilet. I did not know that at first... woops. 
          The rest of the house is quite interesting. I will try to take pictures and post them later as well. It is a big green house on the corner near a karaoke bar. I live in an area called Curridibat which is really close to San Jose. The house is almost like a warehouse in someways. The ceiling is super high and some parts of the house the windows have no glass. There are lots of little added on rooms and areas. I am growing to love it, but it is quite different than most houses I have ever seen. 
        Every morning when I get up, Ana has a little plate of fruit for me with coffee. The fruit can vary, and I have tried quite a few new ones! In my school we had a fruit day where we tried a whole bunch of fruit that only grows in tropical areas and learned the names of them. It was really fun! Ana often serves me pineapple, mango, mandarin, watermelon, apple, and this fruit called mamon de chino. It is a kind of fruit that was originally grew in China, but now grows here as a fruit crop. It is a small, red, round fruit with a whole bunch of little pokey spines sticking out of it. Once you break open this read outer-shell, you reach the middle fruit part. Inside is a white, jelly-like, circular fruit with a brown pit. The fruit tastes a little coconutty and sweet and fruity. It is my new favorite fruit!! I hope they sell them in the US because man oh man are they good. After my fruit plate Ana usually gives me something more protein heavy. Sometimes it is the traditional Costa Rican dish, gallo pinto, which is a dish made with rice, black beans, and spices all cooked together. It is also super good and Ana is going to teach me how to make it. Sometimes she serves me little pancakes with syrup instead that are round and puffy, or mini ham sandwiches with ketchup and mustard haha. I eat lunch at school and either buy something near by, or buy groceries and make it for myself the morning before. I recently bought sandwich materials. Their packaged turkey meat is a little weird, but I am getting used to it. They also have these great plastic packages with a little opening of pre-mixed mustard and mayo. The package is really conveniently made and perfect for lunches. I also sometimes eat plantain chips, nuts, or granola bars with my sandwiches. For dinner we have many different things at home, but the general trend is rice, beans, some kind of meat, and veggies. The veggies range from fried plantains, potatoes, squashes, broccoli, peas, onions, and other veggies I don't really know the names of haha. Sometimes we have pasta with red sauce and meat, but mostly it is meat, rice, beans, and different salads made from cabbage, or squash, or tomato. I am loving the food here, although it is a bit heavy in starch. 
         I go to school from 8 to 4 or 5 everyday at the little ICADS building with other study abroad students. From 8 to 12 we have Spanish class, and all of the students are broken up into classes based on their Spanish level, so there are 3-5 students per class. It is really wonderful and I am trying so hard to learn as much as I can. I can understand most everyone if they don't talk too quickly or use idioms or phrases I don't know. My speaking skills are coming along, but that is definitely the hardest part. There is so much new vocabulary and so many words and phrases and uses unique to Costa Rica I am trying to learn. The other part of the day we study other subjects having to do with environmental issues, health issues, social issues, economic issues, and political issues. I have learned a lot about Costa Rican history and politics and am excited to delve into more of the social issues.
         Hopefully I can update more soon!! Lots to talk about still. Until next time! Or as the Ticos say, Pura Vida!  

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