June 9 , 2013
After a morning at the beach, where I walked and walked and climbed and walked some more, we cleaned up and then loaded up to head for our second homestay. From the beginning, this one felt different. I wasn’t that nervous either time, but there is a little bit of anxiety as you wonder about your family, their house, their perceptions of you, and so forth. My first family was warm and open from the minute they picked me up at CPI. I miss them!
My second family feels different. I took transportation provided by CPI to their house, as there wasn’t transportation available to them. A niece of the mother met me here and showed me my room, and then my second tico mom arrived home about 2 hours later. She is very nice. The feeling here is more – formal maybe? My tica Hermana arrived home a while later. She is nice, and I hoped she spoke English since I think she is a university student, but so far it doesn’t appear she does. Oh, my new tico mama and sister are TINY. Especially the sister—maybe 4’9? I feel like a giant in this casa!
My first dinner in my new house was by food delivery—two pieces of fried chicken. I also had pickled under-ripe banana slices. The texture was more like a potato. Strange, but I ate it and the piece of jalapeno that was in with it.
June 10, 2013
San Joaquin de Flores
The area of Heredia we are staying in is called San Joaquin de Flores. It's mostly houses, small yards if there a yard, and assorted businesses, schools, and the main Catholic Church.
I have my own bathroom in this house, which is fairly rare in Costa Rica as most houses only have one bathroom. However, I do not have hot water, which is common. So, I will be getting used to fast and cold showers over the next two weeks.
I was out of the house a couple hours before our meeting time this morning. My tico mother was walking to the bus stop, so I walked with her to try and get an idea of the layout here. I think found my way back to the house—just to be sure I could, and then proceeded to walk myself lost. I thought I was keeping a good mental picture of my path, but I think I must have slipped off into dreamland at some point, as I realized I was very disoriented. It was a gray day, so the orientation of the sun was not any help, but by using my phone compass, I made my way back to San Joaquin. When I asked where the church was (our meeting place), it turns out I had made my way to within 2 blocks of it. I think I walked about 6 miles total.
This is an urban area, so I saw streets of houses, small businesses, schools, etcetera. The roads are very busy. It’s a far cry from the tranquility of Montverde but is interesting nonetheless. People are very friendly on the street. I saw the cutest old couple (80s?) walking together while both holding on to a cane.
Once I got “unlost” and met up with our group, we took a tour of the area, which was ground I had mostly covered already. We then headed to la escuela with time to do homework before lunch and the afternoon of Spanish classes. As this is a less touristy area than Monteverde, their seems to be more restaurants geared to the locales vs. tourists. It will be interesting to try them out during lunch time this week and next.
Tomorrow morning, we are meeting early to go to Cartago. We are visiting a historic basilica that is very important to Costa Rica. I hope there are great photo ops! Hasta luego.
View from the beach looking up the hill. So green!
More beach and the big rock I climbed barefoot) in the background.