It is such a great feeling to start to recognize different parts of a new city and ways to get around! I live in Sabanilla, which is in San José. My classes are in different parts of San José, and each day I have to travel around the city. Every Monday and Wednesday morning I need to take a bus and then walk to Hospital Clinica Biblica, which is a private hospital where classes are held for us since our program is Healthcare in Latin America. I have a class at 8am. So, before my class I meet with a couple of my classmates at 7 and we walk to the bus stop together. When we walk in, we greet the driver and already have our colonés, the currency in Costa Rica, ready to go to pay for the ride. Taking the bus is a very popular form of transportation in San José. Many people take them to work and school each day, with buses coming at some stops less than 10 minutes after each other. If you ever come to San José there is a good chance that you will take the bus!
The bus that I use in the morning takes around a half an hour to go to downtown San José, and from there we walk about 15 minutes to Hospital Clinica Biblica. There are many shops in this area, including clothing stores, restaurants, ice cream shops, nail salons, banks, and more. Also, each morning we walk past the National Theater, “Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica,” which opened its doors in 1897. It really is a breathtaking building with old architecture.
After my first couple of classes on those days, I have a class in another part of San José. So, we have to walk to another bus stop and go to Universidad de Latina. At first all of this traveling worried me a little because there seemed to be many different places, but I think it is beneficial for us. It really allows us to see more of Costa Rica, and learn how to get around ourselves. At the end of each day I walk 20 minutes back to my house. I was very excited the first time I remembered the route without any help. This is more difficult than you may think, because there are not any street signs around. Usually looking at landmarks is what allows me to know which way to go, like the big high school, or a fruit tree that we always pass. Knowing my way around is an accomplishment for me because at first it seemed so hard.
Now, I have a little more work to do with getting to the organization where I have my community work, El Centro de Atención Infantil Ardillitas Felices. This is a school and center to take care of children from newborns to 12 years old. This government funded organization allows parents to go to work and know that their children are safe and being taken care of. El Centro de Atención Infantil Ardillitas Felices is in Guatemala, San José, and to get there I need to take two buses. I hope that after a couple of times, I will feel confident in traveling there too. Thankfully, I know that the bus driver will help direct me if I ask (and yes I will have to do this in Spanish)! Oh, and one more thing about traveling around San José, the cars have the right away so make sure to look both ways more than once when crossing the street!