Walking into this experience, I was kind of expecting the small city of Heredia to be similar to that of a small village I visited in Mexico. In one way I was right, but I was also very wrong. Heredia has such a unique feel to it, it’s indescribable. Some of the buildings and how the streets were set up reminded me of La Rosa, however, Heredia is much more modern and updated. Although there are modern places to go, like the mall across from the Latin University that was not unlike an American mall, there were also some buildings that were not as updated, which is more so what I was expecting.
Throughout the walking tour I was also comparing the city to Pittsburgh, considering that’s the main city I’m most familiar with. We did happen to see a “mini ‘Cathy'”, which was a nice little surprise for our group. I got the same “hustle and bustle” vibe from walking on the streets in Heredia as I do in Oakland, which I was surprised about. Although there were similarities, it was still much different than an American city. It seemed more hectic and less organized, but the people there seemed to know exactly what they were doing and they stayed calm.
Although the actual set up of Heredia had bits and pieces that were similar to some of my previous experiences, there was no way of preparing myself for the culture of the ticos. You can definitely see how laid back they are about everything, and as someone who always has to have an organized plan, it was difficult to imagine. But just from the little that I have experienced so far, Costa Ricans have their own lifestyle, separate from the world, and I find it absolutely fascinating and inspiring. My host mother has told us that as long as you do everything with love and stay positive, everything will be wonderful. Her spirit shows proof of that especially considering all that she’s been through. Experiencing different cultures opens your mind to so many new things and I’m excited to keep experiencing all that Costa Rica has to offer.