The first thing I noticed about Costa Rica, which also happens to be one of my favorite things about the country so far, is how friendly the Ticos are to everyone. From the moment my host parents, Patricia and Riccardo, leaned in for a hug and “un besito” before even knowing my name, I knew I was in a place with very different customs from the US. Then, when our host mom walked us to Universidad Latina in the morning, I watched her greet each and every person we passed, including some in stopped cars, as if they were all old friends. The most obvious example of Tico friendliness I noticed was when we were walking back to our home. We were a bit confused about which was the first turn we had to make, and as we stood on the corner debating which way to go, a Tica walked up to us out of the blue and asked where we were trying to go. It took a second to get over my instinctive caution of strangers, developed from growing up in the US, and tell her the name of the neighborhood where we are staying. She confidently told us to take the first turn and sent us on our way while wishing us well in our travels. That experience more than exceeded my expectation of Tico friendliness that we learned about during our predeparture meetings.
One of the things I was most excited about was trying all of the fresh Costa Rican fruits and of course the world renowned coffee. After today, I know that my excitement was certainly warranted because every piece of fruit I’ve had is more comprable to candy than food that is actually healthy. So far, my favorites were plátanos and pineapple. As for the coffee, I’m normally a person who needs some form of milk or cream to drink a cup of coffee, but this morning I had it black and enjoyed it more than any coffee I’ve ever had in the US.
Finally, I was interested to see Costa Rican sustainability in practice for the first time when I took a shower last night. Because of their concern for water conservation, the only way to get hot water is to turn the water pressure down on the knob. This way, they can make sure that water isn’t wasted when blasting from the shower head.