Officially one month into my stay in Costa Rica, I could make an extensive list of new experiences and things that I have had to adjust to while living here, exciting things of course, but still many! One of the biggest things has been living with a host family. In the beginning, it felt to me like it added on to the stress of studying abroad, but luckily, this feeling did not last long. Pretty soon I realized that there is time to build those relationships, and even better, I have found that I can turn to my host mom and roommates to relieve that stress.
My host mom’s name is Ligia. She has hosted international students for 18 years. Although Ligia is busy most days taking care of her two grandsons, she does a lot to make us feel welcome. In addition, her cooking is absolutely amazing. My roommates and I look forward to each meal at home every day. We have been busy with classes during the week and excursions for the majority of weekends so far, so we have not gotten to spend too much time together, but the highlight of my time so far with my host family has been going to La Feria de Zapote. This is a huge market with absolutely any kind of fruit or vegetable that you could hope for, and many other things such as empanadas and even pet fish.
I have two host brothers, Alejandro and Luis-Fernando. I was excited to have brothers because I do not have any of my own and have secretly always wanted a brother. They are somewhat busy so we only see each other in passing most of the time, but they have been helpful with giving us advice about a number of things in Costa Rica.
My host mom also has a daughter named Laura, but she does not live here. My real sister back home’s name is actually Laura, too! Laura has two sons, Julian and Daniel, who are 8 and 1, respectively. They don’t live here either, but they come here during the day. I was very happy to have kids as a part of my host family! Julian is learning English in school so he practices with us, and we even practice our Spanish with him.
My roommates are both from the U.S. and their names are Kestra and Albania. I don’t think I could make it through some days without them. Kestra always provides a laugh and Albania always some good advice.
In our kitchen there is a letter from one of Ligia’s previous students thanking her for her wonderful experience here. I read it the first week we were here and honestly I felt a little nervous that I would not build the same relationship with the family to be able to write such a thoughtful note, but after just one month I can say that this will happen without a problem.