My first day in Costa Rica was a wonderful beginning. I surprisingly had not given much thought to what I expected when I arrived in Heredia. I imagined a city like place with stores lining the streets, some flowers surrounding houses, the sound of the Spanish language, and of course some coffee. The reality I received on the other hand when I explored my first day here was quite surprising.
Heredia is much more than a place to shop and practice your Spanish. I was however like I expected woken up with a wonderful cup of coffee brewed by my host family. This coffee was not brewed the typical American way at all by my host father, instead I got to observe him use an object to almost sift the coffee into a pot. This discovery was just my first for the day and perhaps was foreshadowing about how the rest of the day was gong to go. La Universidad Latina also had its Costa Rican touch with the campus being a mix of indoor and outdoor. I am not sure why I did not expect this aspect, I think I am just used to the Pittsburgh weather and not tropical.
Downtown Heredia showed me the culture of the people. Already seeing from my host family that people from this part of Costa Rica are friendly, I now saw the Sunday importance in the Costa Rican culture. Downtown was not crowded except near parks and churches which would just illustrate their religious and family values they have in place. Most stores were shut down. It was a nice way to see the downtown area because people were not blocking my views but also I feel as though I did not get the full atmosphere of the crowded streets. The market however was still crowded as it was open till 12 and was reminded me of a farmer’s market except much much larger. Here I could see fathers and sons walking through and families shopping sharing their day off together, nothing like what a Sunday looks like in the United States.
The bus that drove us from downtown to lunch provided us with beautiful views of the country itself and it’s mountains. I could not name half of the food that was served to me at lunch but I can promise it was delicious and the dessert just put it over the top. My experience at the resturant I believe is best captured with pictures. As an American and not frequent traveler, I have ne. Overall, I was in awe of what I witnessed today. If Costa Rica has half the soul that Heredia does than I cannot wait to see more of the country espcially what lies in the mountains.