Welcome to the …

Welcome to the happiest country on earth.

This is certainly a way to be greeted as I step off the airplane and enter San Jose. Today has been filled with ups, downs, laughs, and lots of anxiety.

Seeing as I got 20 minutes of sleep before departure, I was able to sleep throughout almost the entire plane ride to both Miami and then Costa Rica. The morning began in tears as I realized I was actually leaving, saying goodbye to the people I loved the most after only seeing them for a short 4 days. But their positive attitudes helped me get through the rest of the day. When I arrived to Costa Rica and was greeted by one of the Sol directors,the sadness quickly suppressed itself. She told me that we were waiting for 4 other students and so we carried my over 100 lbs of luggage (hey I’m here for three months so back off 🙂 ) to a cafe where I could wait with Internet and air conditioning.

Once there I suddenly realized I hadn’t had much food today or my cup of morning coffee. I didn’t know how long I would be waiting for the others and wanted to be cheery when everyone arrived so I made my first purchase: iced coffee and water.

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I didn’t quite know what 2000 colons meant, but at this point I didn’t care. Thankfully, I figured out the correct conversion and it was less than $4 US.

The hour moved on and slowly my future solmates arrived. In the mix was a college graduate, a college senior, and two college juniors. Once we were all accounted for we loaded the car and began our journey to meet our host families. Everyone had varying levels of Spanish, which was relieving. However, I realized soon after meeting my host mom, Bernardita, there was going to be a huge language barrier between us (until I learned espanol). I sat mesmerized in the car as the driver and Bernardita talked, everything going completely over my head.

Nevertheless, once I got to Bernardita’s house, I instantly fell in love with where I was. I felt so calm and connected with the earth and nature. It was incredibly pretty and her house was so nice. This afternoon and day consisted of Manuel, Bernardita’s children’s father, and Bernardita teaching me spanish. We had so many broken conversations, constantly laughing at each other for how little we could actually understand. But yet, it still felt homey. They were so nice and welcoming and kept telling me I would pick it up really soon.

She cooked us a delicious lunch consisting of rice, carrots, beans, potatoes, and avocado (you know I’m always happy when avocado is included), coffee, and fried platano.While she took a nap,I was able to settle into my room, organize all my belongings, put up pictures, and even have multiple run ins with this huge beetle that I can’t get rid of (not trying to have a repeat of my first year at camp where a beetle crawled on my face while I was sleeping :/). And most importantly, their gato, or cat, Muchino and I have become BFFS ( I know, I know – I am not a cat person either, but he is really cute).

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Anyways – the rest of the day was me being confused what I was supposed to  do. My roommate has still not arrived and I didn’t want know whether Bernardita wanted to hang or wanted her space. After finishing my room and she woke up from her nap, we hung out for before dinner trying to teach me more spanish and get to know each other. I can repeat the phrases decentl but then easily forget it. Hopefully, once class begins – I’ll get better.

For now, wrapping up day 1 these are the questions that linger on my mind.

1. What am I supposed to do in the house? Yes, I know I am supposed to hang out with my host mom, but it gets to the point where its really awkward because neither one of us can conversate in the other’s language. It’s a lot of me asking her to repeat or smiling and saying I know what she is talking about even when I don’t. Yet, I think she thinks I’m funny, so that’s always good.

2. What am I supposed to do at night? We “went” to bed before 8pm tonight and while I am exhausted, I don’t know if I can do that every night. Although, we all know it could be super beneficial for me.

3. How is this program going to be run?  Do I go out? Do I hang with people after school?

I am trying to stay calm, smile, and know that in a week or two everything will be all settled (and stop thinking about this beetle).

Finally, some of you may wonder why I decide to go on these trips by myself. I do contemplate the same thing from time to time. And then I am remined: it’s about pushing myself to be the best I can, stepping outside of my comfort zone, and growing more and more comfortable with myself. If you don’t believe me, check out the blurb from Elite Daily.

“Self-Worth:

(This includes the ability to say “no.”) Self-confidence is one of the hardest, yet most rewarding characteristics you can acquire. No one has the right to make you feel inferior — especially not yourself.
The more time you spend alone — I don’t just mean isolated in your bedroom binge-watching Netlfix or practicing your contour makeup application — actually doing things, the more comfortable you will get with yourself. When we constantly surround ourselves with other people, we take on their emotions, opinions and voices.
Every now and then, a woman must slow down, check in with herself and let her mind simmer. The more time we spend alone, the more we will be able to appreciate our own company.
It is a long, winding road to discovering yourself and becoming totally comfortable with who you are, especially during your twenties, but it is a road well worth walking.”

Adios for now; off to a Volcano tomorrow and meeting the rest of the session one students.

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