Monday June 16th, 2008
Writing from Ana Beatriz's Home in San Joaquin
Hamid, the school director was waiting for me at the airport, so everything went smoothly on my arrival in Costa Rica. After a brief tour of San Joaquin, he dropped me off at my host family's house. The house is located on one of the two main thoroughfares of San Joaquin, easily within walking distance of the language institute. At the house was Moma Rosa, her son Roy, and his senora. At first I thought it was her daughter but I later found out that she only has two kids, one of which lives in a different town. She said there was no hot water in the shower, now, but there would be in the morning, or at least that's what I gathered. Remember, the homestay families do not know any English; suffice to say, our conversations are limited and slow...but that's the whole idea behind the immersion program. My teacher doesn't speak English either. After unpacking and after the rain stopped, I walked around the city. The old part of San Joaquin is really nice, and some of the houses are pretty amazing, even by American standards, but unfortunately, these homes do not need homestay students. I stopped by the internet cafe, which is only 300 colones per hour (about 60 cents), briefly, and then bought some items at the super market, namely extra food in case I get hungry, a washcloth, soap, shampoo, anti-perspirent, etc. Basically, all the things I forgot to pack; I guess I didn't think they were that important. =)

As Costa Rica's timezone is two hours from Florida's, I was exhausted and went to bed relatively early. In the morning (this morning), Mama Rosa made rice, beans, tortillas, eggs, and tea. I feel a bit bad that she does all the cooking and I simply sit down, eat, and then get up and leave. I may try to help out but I don't know if she would find that offensive or not. I guess I should just consider it part of the homestay service, but I feel bad nonetheless. Anyway...after breakfast, I spent about 5 minutes trying to get the hot water working in the shower, but to no avail. I should have asked Mama Rosa but I was naked and too lazy to get dressed again, so I just jumped in. It really wasn't that bad, and afterwards felt very refreshed, even more so than with a hot shower. It's the during-the-shower part that's not so fun. I guess I didn't fully understand the conversation about the hot water. Oh, well...

My first day at the language school went well. Marienella is my teacher and Elena is the accountant/secretary. Along with Hamid, we four were the only ones at the institute today. More students are coming later this week. After talking with Hamid and asking about my likes and dislikes of living with Mama Rosa (my only dislike was the noise from the street), he mentioned a homestay that may suit me better. I took the offer. The new homestay with Mama Ana Beatriz is a lot better. Mostly, it is much quieter, but it also has television, a computer with internet, my own bathroom, and overall just feels more homey. Did I mention internet? Her daughter, Jime, is about three years old, and her husband, Les, I have not met yet. My first day at school was very good. Hamid, Marienella, and Elena are extremely nice. Hamid took me to lunch today at Amistad ($3 for a dish of meat, squash, rice, beans, salad, and a drink) and drove me to Sharon Lobo's house in Birri de Santa Barbara. Sharon is a good friend of Debra' and since she is leaving soon for two months, I wanted to visit before she left. She married a tico, lives in a beautiful house, and has five kids that she home schools. She definitely loves Costa Rica, but as is usual, every place has its drawbacks. Theft is common and she's had thieves poison her dogs and try to break in her house even while she was at home. Crazy! When Debbie and my Dad arrive in September, I'm sure I'll be seeing a lot more of Sharon and her family.

Anyway, so far so good. I had a brief spell of loneliness and doubt that this trip was a good idea. Not being able to communicate with the family, feeling a bit like an intruder in someone else's house, etc. However, after going to class, meeting Ana Beatriz and Sharon, and everyone's generosity and hospitality, that all passed. I feel fine, and now I wonder if it was computer withdrawal that was inflicting me. I'm beginning to wonder if having a computer is a good thing or a bad thing? =)
Add a comment:
[HTML and Links are not allowed]
Monday June 16th, 2008

B says:

Man it sounds like you got it easy now!

Wednesday June 18th, 2008

Carrie says:

Enjoyed the commentary, maybe you could return the favor by teaching your host some simple English words.

Tuesday June 24th, 2008

Ali Karrels says:

Very cool first 2 days! I remember my first days in Turkmenistan were crazy, so I imagine its something similar. I agree with Carrie, I am sure they will enjoy learning some English from you as you learn Spanish from them. Have a wonderful time and cant wait to read more updates.