SAN JOSE. I stayed in San Jose for the weekend, so I thought I’d give a couple snapshots of what life’s been like here. This is what my walk home looks like – I live just around the corner. Living in San Jose is difficult at times, but I’m enjoying my classes, the people I’m with, and our weekend trips. I can’t believe it’s been a month! I know May will be here before I know it. It’s so easy to fall into the routines of day-to-day schedules, but I want to appreciate living here as much as I can.
FIN DE SEMANA. I’ve been wanting to go to the fruit market for a few weeks, but we’ve always been gone on the weekends. I finally got to go Saturday with a few friends from school. There were so many tropical fruits, and some fruits and vegetables I had never heard of. We loaded up on healthy snacks for the week, and the four of us pitched in for salad ingredients, which we put together at a friends house. That fresh salad and fruit was one of my favorite meals I’ve had here, and it was nice to use the kitchen and make our own food.
Later, we got manicures AND pedicures for just $11. I could definitely get used to that. After walking around a little more and browsing at the mall, we saw a political rally for the upcoming presidential election– a bunch of people waved red and yellow flags for the PAC party, and the cars in the busy intersection honked like crazy. Since it was so congested, we didn’t want to get a taxi right there. We some how managed to cross like eight lanes, one at a time, and snag a taxi at a red light down the street. Getting around is definitely an adventure.
LA UNIVERSIDAD. I am studying abroad, so obviously I spend a lot of time at Universidad Veritas (or as one of my professors calls it, “hipster central”). As a design school, it has a distinct culture, and we are reminded that the artistic, upper-class ticos attending the school aren’t completely representative of Costa Rica’s population. But so far, I’ve mostly made friends with Americans, anyway. It’s hard to connect with locals when we’re in different classes and everyone tends to stick to their own groups. I love the school though. My classes aren’t demanding, which is a nice change, and they’re interesting. I start Intermediate Spanish tomorrow, which is an intensive, month-long class. Not looking forward to four hours of it every day, but it should help with my communication.
TICO TIME. It’s a common expression here, referring to Costa Rica’s polychronic culture. More than excessive waiting or tardiness, I’ve been enjoying a slower pace of life. In January, my earliest class was at one, and I only had one evening class Mondays and Wednesdays. Sometimes I find myself feeling guilty for all these lazy mornings or unproductive afternoons. I’ve tried to find different groups or activities to fill my schedule – like a yoga class, volunteering, a church group – but none of those worked out this week. I’ll still try to do things and plan trips, but sometimes a short to-do list is okay too. It’s nice to get away from the hectic pace I have back home.
HOMESICKNESS? It comes in little moments, usually when I’m at home without much to do. I’m never totally homesick, but I’ll miss certain foods, various comforts/conveniences, and of course, people. There’s specific people, but I also miss the general sense of community I have in San Diego and Redlands. Being on my own and without that community has forced me to be more independent. It’s similar to going away to college for the first time, and it’s a huge opportunity for growth. I’ve loved getting to know people here, and being in a new environment forces me to overcome fears and doubts. I’ve at least gotten a little more confident in speaking Spanish and in navigational skills. We’ll see how the next three months go from here.
Written by Miranda Brown, Social Media Journalist