Costa Rica: week 2

For our second Spanish Language class, our professors decided to add a little ‘spice’ to the curriculum. Instead of sitting in our classes; all 15 of the students and our professors got together to cook a Costa Rican lunch.  Too many cooks in the kitchen would be an understatement for that afternoon, but it was fun nonetheless. We made chicken fajitas as well as salad, beans, rice, fresh juice, and dessert. We spent the morning splitting up tasks, learning the Spanish words for the foods we were preparing, and being shushed by our professors when we spoke to each other in English. They had explained to us that it was to be a Spanish speaking morning and the quiet in between tasks was actually sort of nice. The best part came when we had all finished our dishes and got to enjoy our meal. The spread was awesome and everyone enjoyed our lunch even more knowing that we had each played a part in creating it. Definitely a good way to spend our class time!

It’s hard to believe that our second week in San Jose, Costa Rica has come to an end.  While it seems as if we just arrived yesterday, I also feel at home in a sense, as the streets I walk have become familiar routes, the bed I sleep in is provided by a caring, willing host mother, and the fourteen other students I spend each day with have become a family to me.  The past two weeks have brought about major changes in culture and routine, yet it has been more simple and exciting to adjust than I predicted.  Our second week in Costa Rica was filled with interesting classes each morning, followed by trips in the afternoon.  We strayed from our normal daily routines this past weekend when we went on a three day excursion to the Monte Verde Cloud Forest and enjoyed free time and relentless beauty at a breathtaking hotel.  Some of us rode horses as others chose to go zip lining and soar above the dense Costa Rican forests.  We walked around and explored the places around the hotel, and the Costa Rican coffee was absolutely amazing, along with the freshly squeezed juice that you find everywhere you go.  The weekend that we spent in Monte Verde was rejuvenating and super awesome.  Now we are all looking forward to our next excursion!  So far, we couldn’t be happier with our first two weeks here, and can only imagine what the rest of our time here in Costa Rica will entail!

Today was another amazing and eventful day in Costa Rica for the Elon Gap Semester students. This weekend we are on an excursion to Monteverde. We started the day off by going on a guided tour of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. I learned so much in this two hour tour from the various plant species to different types of bird species. We had the chance to see the national bird of Costa Rica, the Quetzal, which can be quite rare during the rainy season. After the cloud forest, a portion of the students went horseback riding. This was my highlight of the weekend so far. We had an awesome Tico guide who took us on an adventure through the Monteverde forests. We ended the horseback riding overlooking a beautiful view of the sun setting in the distance behind a range of mountains. Today was another tremendous experience, I am looking forward to having more brilliant days like this one in Costa Rica.

They are everywhere and they’ve been here since we arrived in Costa Rica. I just didn’t notice them quite as much. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. They’re just there. It all culminated on Sunday the 4th, coming back from Monteverde. I had noticed a little more of them walking from the bus stop than when I left for the weekend but thought, wow, there’s a motivated family. When I got home, I saw that thhey invaded my house too to the extreme delight of the 4.5 and 7 year old whose family I live with while here in Costa Rica. Of course I’m not talking about anything bad, otherwise it would have been on the news and the readers of this blog would have heard about it a long time ago. I’m talking about Christmas decorations. It’s festive and fun but it feels a little early. Like much of Latin America, Costa Rica is also a predominantly Catholic country so Christmas is the season. The timing makes sense though since neither Halloween or Thanksgiving is celebrated in Costa Rica (even though that doesn’t stop Walmart from having costumes in the aisles as you walk through here in San Jose). Had I known it would have started so early I would have brought my copy of Elf and added Mariah Carey’s holiday album to my ipod. I wonder what black friday will be like here?


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