We are all done with day 1 activities here in Costa Rica! After walking around Heredia, I can say it is a very nice, up to date city. Coming in, I tried to have as little expectations as possible and just enjoy my time here. I was aware that Costa Rica is not like many other Latin American countries, so even though I didn’t expect much, I knew we would be in a fairly nice area with up to date buildings and streets.
The first thing I noticed while walking from my home to the Universidad Latina was all the restaurants around that we also have. We passed a McDonald’s, Subway, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and many more familiar places. There were a couple points it almost seemed like we were still in the United States with all the familiar places. Once we were approaching the Universidad, I saw the mall from across the street which looked very nice. After going in for a little, I would not be able to tell you a major difference from any other mall. All these places we passed reminded me of walking through a nice city in the United States, but there was also a great view of the gorgeous nature in Costa Rica, like the mountains off in the distance in the picture I took. In other words, the city was as nice as any other city I’ve been in, but it was also surrounded by all the beauty in Costa Rica.
Once we met up at the Universidad and started the tour of the rest of the city, I started to see some of the Costa Rican charm. The mercado we walked through was really cool, almost like out of a movie. There were a bunch of fruit vendors off to the side, then we walked through a part with a bunch of fish, and it just seemed like a small-town market that you would picture in the middle of the city. The parks were also gorgeous, and even though it was Sunday and many things were closed, we could still see the pulperías and how they would work when they are open, which seem like a very cool place to go and eat.
In terms of living with a host family and speaking Spanish, all of that seems to be going great as well. I am staying in a gorgeous house with a very large family that has been great helping us with our Spanish. There is one daughter that speaks English, but most of the time we are fine speaking in Spanish. Everyone in the family is very encouraging in helping us learn the language, and we haven’t had many troubles with communication. It’s great finally getting to put all the years I have studied Spanish in use, and the family is very pleased with how well we have been able to communicate with one another. I did have some expectations coming in to the homestays, and I would say it has been much easier to understand everyone than I expected. Also, we have only been here for a day, but the food is great. Even an ordinary piece of fruit from home tastes so much better here. Also, the gallo pinto we had for breakfast was so much better than I expected it to be. All in all, it’s been a great first day and I am excited for the next 13!