EWH Summer 2011 - Central America Blog
So let's start with last night:
I made it on the plane *thankfully* but left my rainjacket in my dad's car! The flight went well and I met a local of Costa Rica who was sitting two seats away from me (the middle seat between was empty). He gave me some good pointers and places to visit.
In baggage claim I ran into two other girls who just so happened to be on the same exact flight as me! I didn't even notice!
We got to the language school and split up to our homestays. I am staying in a house not far from the ALE Language School with 6 other girls from this program and two other people who are volunteering here in Costa Rica. Everyone is extremely nice! My "house mom" is very nice but only speaks spanish! This just gives me more opportunity to brush up on my spanish. I found out this morning that one of the girls staying here is actually my partner for the second month! She knows alot of spanish and I have experience with electrical circuits so we match :)

Breakfast was served at 6:30 am, where I met everyone staying in the house. I met Julie, our house mom's daughter, who would be showing us how to get to school today and which bus to take. The bus took 45 minutes to get to school (we had to be there by 8:00 am) and we made it right at 8:10am. I wasn't able to see the beauty of Costa Rica when I arrived last night but this morning, it was wonderful. Hills, Mountains, Volcanoes just beautiful. The buses get pretty crowded but I rode the public transport for my internship at home so it was no big deal. One thing I did find out at breakfast was the addresses here are "non-existent'. When you think of addresses in the US you think of "133040 something something lane" but here, there aren't really numbers and the addresses are more like " 50 yards east of the Shell gas station, 4 house on the left". That was interesting! So the address to my homestay resembles that format.
At school, we had our orientation and introduction to all of the 25 students participating in the Central America Program. Everyone seems pretty cool and it looks like it's going to be a great group. We were then explained the warnings, dangers, and stereotypes of Costa Rica by Gladys, our Spanish instructor/coordinator. I remember reading the warnings and having Robin explain everything but it didn't hit me until she explained how we are not to carry our backpacks on our back, and how easily people steal on the buses and everything. She recommended ways to travel safely I would have not thought of myself and I can say I can be very cautious at times. It is very different from back home but it's just another adaptation for me :)
I joined a group of us for lunch at a restaurant nearby the school and got to know a little bit about some of the other participants. I didn't eat myself because the anti-malaria medicine that I'm currently taking kinda throws my system off for a little bit with each dose. Before we left, we were explained the rules. THIS IS NOT A VACATION (I never thought it was but I just wanted to make sure that was clear)! We have to be on-time, everyday, ready to work. We have quizzes and homework and if we aren't doing well on them, we will be kicked out of the program immediately. Our task is to learn as much as we can now while we are here because we will be working on machines imperative to the lives of others. Not a joking matter at all! I definitely want to do my absolute best and not slack off while I'm here. I know it's going to be difficult but well worth it. In our Spanish classes, no matter the level of Spanish, it will only be taught in Spanish. If we are late for class or from coming back from lunch, .....let's just say don't do it. Every Friday (except tomorrow) we will be in a host hospital getting use to the environment and testing our Spanish skills. Today, we organized our kits (mine and my partners) and labeled all the parts we will be using in Spanish to get use to the "lingo".
I'm pretty sure culture shock will hit me soon but I'm relieved to be around such a great group of people. My roommates and homestay-mates are very much in the same boat but are supportive :). The staff seems all really helpful and serious at the same time.

We had a chance to walk around and go to the mall before we went home (we got out of school very early). It's different but not bad :). $1.00 USD is equivalent to 500 colones. I had to get my currency exchanged today because the bus costs 250 colones to get to school and same to get back home. Lunch here can be bought easily for $5.00 USD but the group of girls I am staying with talked about maybe buying groceries to pack lunch every so often to save our money.
This Saturday, we are all going on a rafting trip together and I'm very very excited! First time ever!!! Yes, there will be plenty of pictures to share :). I still have to go to the store tomorrow to pick up some last minute things, such as the rainjacket I left in Dallas and a Spanish-English Dictionary. Plus, I need to pick up shoes for rafting that can easily dry and be used for everyday use. There's a Walmart very close by to my homestay so that is no problema. I was also able to find a church nearby that I could attend on Sundays, but I may watch my pastor preach his services online while I'm here. I haven't truly decided yet but we'll see. That's all for now! Or it just might be that I'm exhausted from today :/

Yay for Dais Uno!

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