One of the biggest aspects of Costa Rica that stand out to me are the trees. Theyhere are seriously cool, (is that what Pitt Business wanted me to get out of this trip)? They are so majestic; American trees just don’t come close.
I guess I’ve soaked in more about Costa Rica than just their trees. I open with trees because they are a good metaphor for everything else that I have absorbed throughout this trip.
The trunk: Costa Rican communities and people. I thought that ‘Ticos lived totally different lives than those like me that live in Northern PA. I assumed that the climate and the geographical location would make them different. In reality, ‘Ticos are just like me! For example, I saw a recreational bike group meeting in Parque Central in Heredia. I wasn’t expected to see that for some reason! The more time that I spend with my host family, the more I see that our lives don’t vary as drastically as I presumed that they would. I think the biggest difference is that they wake up to a view of the mountains, and I… don’t.
Compared to other Latin American countries that I’ve been to, the Heredia locals have generally not tried to take advantage of me as an American tourist. I appreciate how passionate most Tico’s are about their home, and how they make a big effort to give me the best Costa Rican experience possible.
The branches: Costa Rican street shops. I think my favorite part of the Costa Rican street side stores is that if a woman is particularly good at cooking, she can open her own restaurant on the side of the road and call it “Diana’s Soda.” I think this reinforces the strong sense of community in Costa Rica, that is definitely more present here than it is in the States.
The leaves: Costa Rican scenery. I consider the landscape to be the leaves because it is the first thing that people think of when they hear “Costa Rica.” Costa Rica is VAST! When I saw pictures of Costa Rica, I thought it looked too good to be true. I was wrong! As I kick off my stay in Monteverde, I am excited to see more of the best that Costa Rica has to offer.