andevries' Travel Journals

andevries

 
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  • 27 years old
  • From Pennsylvania, United States
  • Currently in South Carolina, United States

Costa Rica Adventures

I am studying abroad in Costa Rica doing an Intensive Spanish Language Program and living with a host family. This journal serves to keep others informed about my experience as well as to remain a record of my adventure for future reference or reflection.

Al Final

Costa Rica San Jose, Costa Rica  |  Dec 14, 2010
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 Adios Costa Rica, Hello USA. 

Greetings everyone for the last time from here in Costa Rica. My last day of class is this Thursday, and I fly back home on Saturday afternoon. I’ve begun my packing process, just about finished up everything I needed to for school, and am undoubtedly looking forward to returning home.

However, before talking more about my return, I will sum up for you my last few weeks here. To start, our special Thanksgiving meal was very interesting. What I was yearning for most was pumpkin pie, which they did indeed have, and the food was good, but just not the same. We went to a very  nice restaurant with a beautiful, open view of all of San Jose, the capital city.

The weekend after Thanksgiving, two of my roommates and I, along with our adorable little host daughter, we went to El Museo de Los Niños (The Children’s Museum). It’s almost like walking into a dollhouse. It was very cute and creative. After this we went to another cooking show that my host dad was doing, and I excitingly answered one of his questions correctly (all in spanish of course) and won a prize.

That same weekend, with our host family, we went to a Coca-Cola tree lighting ceremony in San Jose. It was a well-populated event and the tree was huge. I thoroughly enjoyed the fireworks as well. I’ve actually gotten quite accustomed to hearing fireworks just about every night here. I guess there’s lots of Navidad celebrating going on. On our way back from the tree lighting we all squeezed into a taxi, and by far, it was the funniest, most-adventurous and interesting taxi ride I’ve ever experienced.  I think you’ll understand a little bit more why through my pictures.

Something I found interesting and you probably will too is that Narnia 3 actually came out in theaters here in Costa Rica before it did in the U.S., and in English. Actually, it’s strange, but practically all of the movies in the theaters here are in English with Spanish subtitles. Can you imagine if every time you went to a movie theater the movie was in Spanish with English subtitles? So with my roommates, I went to go see it in 3D, before it was even released in the states, and for much cheaper too. It was sweet!

Last Friday, we had a talent show at my school for all the international students. My class, consisting of 5 girls, did something in order to receive some extra credit. We sang and danced to “Rodolfo El Reno” (aka Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer). It was hilarious, but so much fun. Overall, the talent show was great. Afterwards, they announced the winners of a photo contest the international office put together, which I had submitted about 45 photos for. They showed some of the top nominees in each category. There were 4 categories in total, and I believe I had the most pictures shown of anyone, which was cool. There was a prize for 1st and 2nd place in each category. 1st place received an Universidad Veritas sweatshirt (that’s the school name) and 2nd place received an Universidad Veritas mug. I won 2nd place in the night-life category with a picture from our Thanksgiving dinner celebration. I had wanted a sweatshirt, but simply receiving a souvenir from the school at all was exciting.

On Saturday evening, with our host family, we went to “La festival de la Luz” (the festival of the light) which occurs annually in December. It was basically a very long parade with marching bands, floats, cheerleading squads, and more. It was amazing! I was very impressed with it, especially the marching bands.

On Sunday, we had a special dinner and mini Christmas celebration with our host family consisting of a secret santa (or amigo secreto) gift-exchange. I received a nice big mug that says “Pura Vida Costa Rica” on it. “Pura Vida” is a very common expression in all of Costa Rica with several different meanings. The most popular use of it is in response to “How are you?....Pura Vida”. It translates literally as “pure life” and basically means that you are enjoying life and doing well. I also got two drink mix packets, one being my favorite drink I’ve tasted here, called Resbaladera. The best way to describe the flavor is “Christmas” because it’s very cinnamon-like. I’m excited to make it for my family when I return home.

I will surely miss my host family, especially Monserrath, my host family’s daughter. I am incredibly thankful that I was placed with them, for I strongly believe that they are the best host family here in Costa Rica. They have had a huge impact on making my experience here in Costa Rica enjoyable. I have especially enjoyed our fun outings with then, delicious food, and memorable dinner conversations. My Spanish is not perfect, but it has improved a lot, and I hope to continue practicing and studying it despite not having more Spanish classes. It will be tougher, since I will not be surrounded by it everywhere I go, but I am determined not to forget all that I have learned while here. Going back to GCC Jan. 2nd for intersession will be an interesting switch, especially with my crazy math-filled semester up ahead. It will be quite different than my semester here, but I am excited to return, especially to see all my friends again. Just thinking about coming home so soon, makes me super excited. I can’t wait to see my family again and spend the holidays with them. Also, now that I have accomplished all of my Christmas shopping I can’t wait to give out my gifts. Just two more days of classes including a quiz and final presentation, then one free day, and off I go. Adios Costa Rica, hello USA.

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