It is 11:30 on Sunday night in San Jose. I arrived here Friday afternoon, and it has been an eventful couple of days! The first day we arrived, we had our orientation at 4:00. We just discussed some basics – safety, health concerns, etc. There are seven of us in the program in San Jose all together. Our resident director, Francy, took the group out to dinner on Friday night, then we went back to the Hotel Balmoral. A few of us listened to live music in the hotel bar after dinner, then were about to go to bed when we heard the sound of drums on the street. We went out to see what was going on, and there was a group of Ticos in costume, playing drums and dancing on the sidewalk. Good way to start our time here!
Yesterday, Saturday, Francy took us on a tour of San Jose. They give directions and describe locations for here by using landmarks, so she pointed out many of the important city landmarks we will need to know. We watched a few street performers, and we ate lunch at the Gran Hotel. We took a tour of the Teatro Nacional as well. In one of the parks we visited, there is a group called Hoopnosis that hula hoops every Saturday, and anyone is welcome to join. In December, they are going to break the world record for number of people hula hooping. They’re already in contact with the Guinness Book of World Records, so hopefully I’ll be able to go try and break the record too!
Today started with a visit to the Irazu Volcano. It was cloudy, so we could not see too much. We then went out to lunch, which was delicious. I had my first cup of Costa Rican coffee! In the afternoon, we met up with our host families. I am in a house with another girl in my program, Melissa. We are staying with a father (Jose), a mother (Mercedes), and their 9-year-old daughter Raquel. We have not met Jose yet, but Mercedes and Raquel are wonderful! Raquel speaks English very well, and Mercedes only speaks Spanish. They have been hosting students for four years. After tomorrow, Melissa and I will only be allowed to speak Spanish. Raquel will speak to us in English, and we will have to respond in Spanish in order to help each other learn. They have two dogs and two turtles as well. We ate dinner and then had a dance party with Raquel. She is a lot of fun and full of energy! After that, we spent the evening setting up our rooms! It’s nice to be getting settled in. 🙂