When you arrive you are filled with joy! Your host family welcomes you with open arms. The house is different from what you are used to but beautiful. You will be given a lot of directions, to which you will reply “sí”, “gracias”, and “está bien” although you only understood about twenty-five percent of what was said. You begin to think about how nice everything is and how receptive your family is, and you start to feel a little at ease. You feel a little bit like you’re home.
Wait! Before you get comfortable let me fill you in on some things that I discovered the hard way. Número uno, do not flush your toilet paper. I didn’t find out until the third day and I don’t want you to be the unlucky student who causes a flood in the house. Fortunately, I didn’t cause any problems with the plumbing but I don’t think you should take any unnecessary risks. Now, go ask your host mom how to work the shower again. She told you the first time and you were filled with excitement so you simply said “sí, yo entiendo”. No, you don’t understand and unless you want a cold first shower like mine you will ask her to explain it one more time. The showers can be tricky and they differ in each house but be sure you understand how yours works. Trust me, it will make a world of difference.
Lastly, drink plenty of water. Costa Rica is hot and humid. I understood that I was in a hot and humid place but I did not adjust my water intake accordingly and became dehydrated. I would suggest drinking a glass of water with every meal and carrying a water bottle with you throughout the day. This will help prevent dehydration and your Tica mom will appreciate all of her gringos maintaining their health. My host mother was very helpful and she acted in the same manner that my mother would have. I appreciate her help but I am working to avoid another situation like that. Enjoy your first few days with a little exploration.
Until next time. Pura Vida!