To me, the homestead experience is what you make it. If you want to bond with your family, spend time with them after dinner. I think that spending time sitting with your host family also allows you to practice your Spanish and really learn a lot about what it is like to live in Costa Rica.
I really am grateful for my host family here. It really is so fortunate that so many families here have opened up their homes to allow international students to live with them. I think that it is admirable because not only do these families open up their homes to students that they have never met, but they open up their homes to students that are learning their language. Of course the language barrier has been a challenge at times, but I really think it really demonstrates how even without all the words, you can create a strong relationship with someone.
To be honest, I was pretty nervous about living with a host family at first. Before I came to Costa Rica I had students tell me that host families have rules, and that you don’t have a lot of independence. From my experience, this is not true at all. My host family has been so welcoming and has wanted to created a a great experience for me.
Last Sunday, I spent the day bonding with my host family. We went to a lagoon at a park in Aleluja. This lagoon had so many beautiful tall trees around it, and many picnic tables. There were so many families there having celebrations, like birthday parties and baby showers. I saw kids playing soccer, couples, taking naps under the shade of the trees, and dogs running around the field. Everywhere I looked there were people enjoying the nice weather and the quality times with their family, friends, and pets!
My host dad planned the day. We walked through the forest, took photos together, and looked at the fish in the lagoon. We walked around we decided to get some coconut desserts and peanuts as a snack. After, we went to a small coffee shop that overlooked mountains, and just enjoyed our time together. I think the car ride was one of the most memorable parts because we listened to traditional Costa Rican music, and I listened to my family joyfully sing to the tune of a Marimba.