The decision to live with a Costa Rican family for my semester abroad was an easy choice. It required less work on my part and a chance to experience the family culture close up and personal. Up until the day I arrived to my new home, I was unaware I had another student in the same house as me. In fact, I had asked for no roommates in order to limit my English speaking in the house. When I arrived to my new home, I was quickly informed that I was going to have a roommate. I was very relieved and quite excited to find out I would be sharing this experience with someone else and that I would have company! I am thankful for Mel, a student from New York. She is a vegetarian and I had been really interested in learning more about this lifestyle along with trying new things that our host mom cooks. I am grateful to have someone to share meals, walk to school, and chat about different things with our Tico family.
Before being assigned a host family, I had to fill out a form stating my family preferences and lifestyle. I come from a family with three siblings still living at home and little cousins in and out of the house. In short, I am used to lots of noise, lots of people, and lots of craziness. And I LOVE it all! At first, finding out my host parents were older with grown and married children was difficult. I had secretly hoped for a family with younger children and a house of lots of noise.
After living in Costa Rica for a three weeks, I have grown used to changes. I live in a quiet house for the most part. Everyone in the house is polite to each other and there is hardly ever any yelling. We eat breakfast together at 7:00 a.m. sharp and dinner at 7:00 p.m. My host mom makes a variety of types of food for us, and as a foodie, I greatly appreciate this! I look forward to my plate full of fruit each morning of pineapple, bananas, strawberries, papaya, and melon. My host parents never let Mel and I help out around the house with the dishes or even taking our dishes to the sink. The first night we tried to help, they told us to leave the work up to them, “This is your vacation.” Therefore, sometimes I feel more like a guest than a family member.
I am responsible for my room and even try to keep it cleaner and organized than my room at home. After sharing a room for nineteen years of my life, I am loving having my own bedroom. Finally! However, I do miss my sister and our talks. I miss living with my parents and my siblings, but I have chosen to embrace the differences and newness. I am content in my new environment with wonderful host parents who are caring, respectful, and Christians, as well. I look forward to getting to know them better in the months ahead as my Spanish improves and life starts to fall into a routine. Life is about embracing the changes and learning from them.
Written by Megan Bowman, Social Media Journalist