First off, please do not be fooled by the blog title, my Spanish-speaking abilities are absolutely horrendous. Probably should have reviewed Spanish for Dummies prior to coming here.
I am very happy to say that I safely arrived in Costa Rica with my big sister on Sunday with no problems. We did have to take a connection though so we had tons of time to snap some beautiful pics from the airplane and some not-so beautiful ones at the airport! Note to anybody reading this, DELTA Airplanes do not accommodate people above 5’5 (Just kidding, but they might as well do people like me and my legs a favour and make this a law).
I am staying here with a kind host family where my mother goes by the name Lily. Our house is the only one in the neighbourhood with no gate…talk about positive thinking! The lifestyle here is very different and pretty much every meal consists of beans. Breakfast= Gallo Pinto (beans and rice mixed), lunch and dinner= rice with a side of beans. So basically to sum it up my diet consists of beans, beans, and some more beans. Oh and did I mention I eat a lot of beans? But as a vegetarian it’s just the food I need to stay alive, so I’m all for it. As for the house, I will post pics later on with the permission of the host family, but I’ll provide you with some visuals for now. There’s a mini garden beside the toilet in the bathroom, which has me convinced that a worm is going to jump out at me one of these days and my mother here is a painter and produces the most stunning works of art that are displayed throughout the house.
Lot’s has happened since I arrived just two days ago, so I guess the best way is to start from scratch. I’ll do this in chronological order so that you can scroll down to day 2 if you really aren’t interested in day one for whatever reason. Sit tight and get ready for the most detailed essay of your life.
Monday, April 30th
This is the wonderful day that marks the beginning of my 6 am wake-up calls. Costa Ricans have a tendency to wake up at 5 am every morning and many of them leave for work as early as 6 am :O. Makes me feel like such a slug for having a daily ritual back in Canada during summers to roll out of bed at 4pm.
Back to my day, so I woke up so early because breakfast is served by my host family at 7 am every morning and I had to attend an orientation at the Maximo Nivel headquarters at 8 am.
After being taught how to teach English, I was escorted by a Maximo Nivel rep named Mario to my placement, which is about a 1 hour bus ride away in a very poor town called Carpio. To get there I have to take two buses plus walk 12 blocks up a pedestrian only trail (talk about *walking a thousand miles just to be with you* sort of situation).
The location is at a local church that is currently being reconstructed by some lovely fellows (wink, wink 😉 ). By the time I got there everyone had already gone home but I’ll be heading there Wednesday to take on this challenge of teaching English to Spanish-speaking children who don’t speak any English.
I decided to roam around San Pedro (a smaller city that borders San Jose) on my own to make some city discoveries. My key discovery was British-inspired cupcakes in Costa Rica!!! I found this adorable little bakery called Sweet Sensations that is owned by a young English woman from England, now living in Costa Rica. The design of everything inside the mini cafe/bakery screamed British Invasion. The cupcake selection ranged from fudge-filled to flavoured cheesecake ones that had real cheesecake inside. For those of you who are relentlessly wondering, I did ask her if she’d heard about the recent British boyband craze in Canada and America. Her answer was NO…and she barely had any knowledge of who One Direction even is. Goes to show how behind Costa Ricans are in pop culture! This sweetspot is definitely one of my faves in the city thus far and will be one of my go-to hangouts. Let’s collectively take a moment to pray for my thighs at this time.
When I returned back home, my wonderful roomie from Calgary, who has been in Costa Rica since January (Yes that means 4 MONTHS!!!), took me out to a few popular nightlife destinations. Sorry readers, that’s just about all the info you’re going to get on the night.
Oh, and another interesting point about Costa Rica…NO ADDRESSES. What I mean by this is that the local Walmart is not located at 534 Silada Street; rather its address is referred to as its distance relative to the closest noticeable landmark (ex. 100 meters east of San Pedro gas station and two houses to the left). This is the address that is written on the mailing addresses if for example you wanted to write a letter to Walmart…weird huh? So why am I telling you this? Well, basically last night we had quite a bit of trouble trying to find my sister’s house, since the taxi didn’t know where it was and well…neither did she. I’ll leave that story for another time -_-
Tuesday, May 1st
In Costa Rica, this day is a holiday. Costa Rica is known for its 203912389 holidays. What this means is that I had the day off (a day off before I even started…SWEET). I decided to celebrate this glorious holiday by sleeping in until 12 pm and then going on a stroll around downtown San Jose, which is basically the pedestrian walkway area I was talking about earlier. On this street you can finds tons of shops and restaurants with great food, plus tons of McDonald’s (I don’t consider McDonald’s to be with the restaurant category since it’s not food that should be legal in my eyes…sorry McD’s). You can also get many unique finds such as wood-carved souvenirs and these jelly-like-iced desserts that look like freezies except more squishy. They are a local fave here.
Unfortunately, however, the weather decided to do a 180 on us and started pouring rain. I should seriously get used to this since it’s rainy season here in Costa Rica right now, which is simply another way of saying weather bipolarism is highly on trend.
At dinner I finally had a chance to speak to another Costa Rican staying in the household that is studying at a local university here. Actually, I wouldn’t exactly call it talking since he speaks no English, and I speak no Spanish…it was more like a game of Shrades for Dummies: Foreign Edition. I did manage to learn he is from Guanacaste, which is a city on the coast of Costa Rica that has all of the luxe resorts and many of the country’s best beaches. I also learned he is studying architecture, which is quite swell. I tried to tell him I’m studying business but the only way I could get him to understand is through doing the *put money into your pocket* hand notion. I’ll tell you more about this mysterious fellow as I continue digging and improving my Spanish.
Note to self: I have to stop saying Mucho Bueno (a lot good) in the place of Muy Bueno (very good)…working on it -_-
Wednesday is my first day on the job, and boy am I excited to meet these kids. I hope I have satisfied all your Costa Rican knowledge cravings and feel free to post a comment if you’d like to know more. Tis all for now. Ciao.
Be Healthy, Be Happy, Be Chic.
xx Neda xx