And thus starts my Costa Rican journey! I arrived at the San Jose airport late Sunday night, but to my dismay, my checked bag didn’t arrive with me.. I was told it got left behind at the Atlanta airport and would be delivered to my host family’s home the next day. Unfortunately, however, I did not have an exact address for my house. Not that I didn’t know where I was staying, but, as I soon discovered, most of the roads outside the city’s center are unmarked and most of the houses are unnumbered. Directions are given in relation to landmarks and all I could tell the woman at the Lost Luggage counter was that my house was the yellow one, near a blue church, to the left of the hand-made coffee shop…. We decided my host mother’s phone number would be more efficient.
Leaving that mess behind me, I walked out of the airport to see a friendly gray-haired man holding a sign with my name. My new school (ICDS) has alerted me that he would be waiting to pick me up. So, we hopped in his van and sped away. And I mean, SPED. Something I also quickly accustomed to was the recklessness of Costa Rican drivers. Even though it was raining when we left, and had been raining all day, my new friend was driving at top sped, in the center of the road, with little regard for other drivers. While this may seem dangerous to an outsider (and probably is in reality), he handled the van with the greatest of ease, never once losing control of the vehicle. As we chatted, he told me he had been a driver for many years and had lived in Costa Rica his whole life, so that was a small consolation for my nerves. He spoke no English, so I immediately had to dive back my Spanish skills headfirst. And, to my surprise, I wasn’t that bad! My Spanish came back to me much more quickly than I had expected.
We arrived safely at my new home, where my host family was up waiting for me. My new “Mom” and “brother” gave me a tour of the house, my room and private bathroom (which made me very excited). I was, and still am, a little nervous about living with a family only because I’ve lived on my own for the past four years and haven’t had to worry about adhering to the rules of a different household. Thus far, however, I’ve had no problems. My host family is extremely accommodating and is content letting me choose just how much interaction I have with them. The first week isn’t over yet, so I’m hoping things remain the same for the duration of my stay….But only time will tell!