Pura Vida, a slogan very fitting of Costa Rica, is a lifestyle I experienced during my first day in Costa Rica. All throughout the pre-departure meetings, I heard how the food was fresh, the people were pleasant, and the lifestyle was more relaxed. Overall, I would say Costa Rica has met my expectations and continued to impress me. In my first night at my homestay, both my host mom and host dad were very friendly and excited to meet us. My biggest surprise is that they only speak Spanish. I expected to speak Spanish and limited English in my home, but my family has little to no knowledge of English. At first I was worried, but I know this will be an exciting challenge. During this first night, our host mom made us a delicious meal with fresh fruit juice and avocados grown from her backyard. My roommate and I were able to form a nice conversation with our family, and we were delighted when they gave us many new fruits to try. I experienced the hospitality of the Ticos which I had heard so much about.
This morning we woke up early for breakfast which included many fresh fruits and fresh squeezed orange juice. I am very impressed by my host mom who always has food ready when we walk in the kitchen. She takes great pride in her meal, her family, and her house. I expected these characteristics and am thankful for her generosity in return. Also this morning, our host dad showed us earrings that he makes and let us each take a pair. My family is very open and giving, and they provide a great first impression of the Ticos. During our walking tour of Heredia, I experienced more of their lifestyle. As we walked around, most of the shops were closed since it was Sunday. When we walked around the park, people were outside relaxing and enjoying the day. Time went very quickly during the day as I never needed to check my phone to see if I was going to be somewhere on time, and I never had to worry about being late.
Finally, we ended our day with a lunch, which included more fresh juices, and a Spanish lesson. From this first day I realized that understanding my host family will be my greatest struggle, but it will also be the biggest accomplishment as I learn and remember the language. I know learning Spanish from the Ticos will be a great experience because they’re so kind and willing to help. Also, I like how Heredia is small, so we have the ability to walk everywhere, but it was more urban than I expected. I’m glad I came to the country with background knowledge from our pre-departure meetings, so I knew how to react and respond to my host family. Overall, Costa Rica as a country has met my expectations, and the people have exceeded them.