I stepped into the shower this morning, and was pleasantly surprised when the water was warm. After ten days in Costa Rica, I’ve started to adjust to a lot of things: speaking Spanish, rainy afternoons, and throwing used toilet paper in the trash. It is strange how fast the transition from nearly everything being new to normal has happened, although I still double take every once in a while. For example, I was watching TV and the actors’ mouths were making English words, but it was dubbed over in Spanish, and it took me a minute to figure out why it looked so strange.
My first full weekend was busy. We went out to some bars Friday night, toured a coffee plantation Saturday, and spent Sunday at Jacó—a beach on the pacific coast. The coffee tour was interesting, it was the first time I got outside of San José and had the opportunity to see some of Costa Rica’s countryside, which was a nice change from the city.
Jacó was the highlight of the weekend. Jacó is about a two hour bus ride west and south of San José. It’s a resort town, but surprisingly the beach there was nearly empty. We swam in the ocean, explored the farther regions of the beach where the forest reached the sand, and ate fresh fruit on the beach.
Speaking of fresh fruit, I love the food here. I’ve been eating a lot of rice, black beans, and fruit. It’s simple, but makes me feel good throughout the day. My food vocabulary has expanded significantly—it’s strange how some of the Spanish sounding names of fruit (in English) aren’t actually the correct names. For example: a banana is usually called a banano (though banana works), avocado is aguacate, and guava is guayaba.
The class environment at Máximo Nivel is also very different. My class has only three students, so the entire four hours of class is a small group discussion. It can be exhausting, but I love it. We have the freedom to ask questions any time during class, and our instructor will often set aside class time to discuss different cultural topics or learn some practical vocabulary. We start off every class by talking about what we did the day before, or how our weekend was. It’s a great combination of challenge and support.