(that means 'hello friends'…to those uncultured swines out there)
before i start, blogs 12 and 13 are under canada and california, there was some confusion with the last few blogs, for some reason i don't think the email settings were working much so if you haven't read them , then they are up there for your pleasure!
Right, I'm in Costa Rica.For those who don't know where that is, imagine the piece of land that connects North America to South America and I'm slap bang in the middle.
So far, touch wood, I have had amazing luck with my luggage.I left a suitcase with Chris in LA and just took my backpacking bag with me, my laptop, and my hand luggage. And so far I have had not a single problem. I just hope it stays that way!
I arrived at San Jose airport not really having any idea what to expect.
I have visited some of the other countries in South America before; Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile and with Chile excluded, the others were relatively poor countries and the reception I had from the men there was horrible.They were all whistling, beeping horns at the white girls that would travel there and it was very uncomfortable and sometimes scary as walking along a street could be dangerous as they all believed you were some kind of rich kid.Of course in comparison, having a passport to Europe or the States is in their eyes being rich but it still made it difficult to relax.
I was almost expecting the same treatment here and that was the only part I was dreading however it became clear when I got off the plane that Costa Rica was a far more affluent Latino country then I had ever visited before.
On the plane there were tons of holiday tourists, not just students.Many families were flying into Costa Rica and were meeting up with tours reps it seemed and there were quite a few that I judged to be doing the same thing as me, or at least something similar.
I grabbed my bags and headed for the exit.I was told to look out for a guy holding a card with my name on it.There were hundreds of cards held high with peoples names on it and I looked carefully at every single one.I couldn't' see mine at all.
Still unaware of how dangerous it was to be a girl travelling on her own in Costa Rica, I really didn't want to venture outside the airport.So I stayed by the exit door waiting, searching all the name cards in vain to find mine.
There is was.
Thank GOD as I had no idea what I was going to do if it wasn't there, as I hadn't actually thought that far ahead.
Why am I here? Basically I picked up a few lessons in Spanish while I went travelling 5 or 6 years ago to South America and I loved it. To live in LA I think it is incredibly important to speak Spanish.There are so many Mexicans there, plus it looks good on a C.V (resume) and you are more likely to get employed if you have it, or so I am thus informed.
Therefore I opted to go to Costa Rica and study Spanish in a language school for one entire month.I will be here for 4 weeks studying intense Spanish for 4 days a week, 5 hours a day. I will also be staying with a Spanish family that the school sets up for you.
The school I am studying at is called CRLA; Costa Rica Language Academy.
Anyway!I approached the guy holding my name card.He had two other names on the card so I waited by the shelter until the other two students had arrived.About 25 minutes later we were all seated in Leo's (the driver) car and zooming off towards our new families. I wanted to try out my Spanish instantly and shot-gunned the front seat to talk to Leo. He was a guy around 40 years old with a warm friendly smile and laugh that tickled you when it erupted.
We got chatting (in Spanish of course!) and I found out he was an armature runner.He proceeded to show us pictures of when he run marathons in the past.He always dresses up as a Native American Indian.Very peculiar!With the head dress, all the feathers, the painted face, everything! WEIRDbut it seems that he had a lot of fans!He has travelled the world doing it and is in fact off to run three races in Europe later this year!
Well, the Brit, (student 1) was dropped off first.He didn't speak much Spanish and wasn't attending the school, by the sounds of it he just wanted to get wasted and have a good time, so I paid little attention to him, very aware of the reputation the British traveller has these days with regards to that!
Secondly the German, (student number 2) was dropped off a few minutes later and then it was my turn to get dropped off and meet my new family.
It was hard to see much as it was so late at night by the time I got dropped off but from what I could see, the country looked beautiful; tons of flowers of all sorts of colours growing everywhere, many trees; an incredibly vegetated area.
I did however notice every single house had bars in front of it and barbed wire coiled around at the top of the gates going all the way around the top of each house.That was not the most encouraging of sites however, if precautions need to made, best to do them well!
I got dropped off with Cecilia and Carlos; a married couple in their 50's, or so I'm guessing.I fell in love with them instantly.Cecilia is mother material down to the bone and Carlos was one of those merry gentle kind of souls, both very welcoming and not a single word of English was uttered.
I was shattered and was shown to my room instantly.It was a cute little room, incredibly clean. There were two single beds, a plastic fold up table by the door and a little side table separating the beds with a little lamp resting on the top.There was a white unit of shelving in one corner to hang clothes up and a couple of photos displaying the local active volcanoes hanging on the walsl; a modest, sweet, and charming little bedroom and all for me. Truly delightful, it was exactly what I hoping for.
No sooner had pulled on my pj's then I was away with the fairies.