I have always been a relatively messy person. Most mornings, I was late for the bus because I was not allowed to leave the house until my room was clean. In college, I took full advantage of the lack of parental supervision and lived at my messiest capacity. I strive to be more organized but my cleaning kicks quickly end when a busy week consumes my energy. However, all this has to change now that I am living with my San Jose host family.

During our ISA orientation, we had to write down our goals for our time in Costa Rica. Of course I had the stereotypical goal of becoming fluent in Spanish (slightly harder than I expected) but I also added a personal development goal. I wanted to become a clean and organized person this summer, impressing my host family with a spotless bedroom each day.

I kept on par with my goal for about 10 days, then I became lazy. After coming home for lunch one day, my Mama Tica led me to my room and stood in the middle of it, pointing at my clothes lying on the floor. Trying to hide my blushed cheeks, I exclaimed “Lo siento” as I hurriedly picked up my clothes, neatly placed my shoes in my closet, and organized the school work on my desk. Luckily, my Mama Tica did not seem angry with me, rather was just showing me how she preferred that I kept my room in her house.

I believe living with a host family is another way to immerse yourself in the culture of whatever place you choose to study. Although the cleaning incident was embarrassing, the perks of having a host family are endless. Every morning, our Mama Tica asks to check our Spanish homework at breakfast. Each week our laundry is done, smelling extremely fresh and the food options are healthy and authentic. Now, I just have to keep my room clean so I am able to have a pleasant relationship with my Mama Tica.

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