My New Home
I have been with my host family for the rest of my time here for five days. They are really nice. I don’t have to worry about getting too much food, she lets me serve myself but always offers more or something different in case I want it. I have two brothers and one sister here. Plus a seemingly never ending stream of cousins and aunts. The middle brother is married and lives down the street the oldest and the 19 year old daughter live at home. Most of the immediate family have some English but not very strong, some of the extended family have very good English, I ended up spending fifteen minutes talking in English about my major with a cousin I had just met yesterday because he talked to me in English and I fell back into it. The lack of English is good though, I think, it forces me to explain concepts I don’t know the word for in Spanish rather than simply ask for the word. The have all been welcoming and helpful, talking too me, explaining things. The first two days my host mom took me to the campus and came to pick me up to make sure I found my way. The buses here are rather complicated.
The program coordinators talked to us about culture shock this week…I don’t think my culture shock will be all American vs Costa Rican ideas and life styles. Most of mine is big city shock. Heredia with its many “suburbs” is far bigger than any city or town I have ever lived in. All the house are fenced and gated due to high incidence of robberies, I have four different keys! There is one bus that passes my house, still not sure what its schedule is, I just know it comes by at 8:03 and then some other times too. There is another down the street that comes more often. To come home from downtown and campus I have two options, the one that passes my house but only comes about once an hour or the one that I get off four blocks away. If I take any of the other buses to my suburb, San Rafael, I get incredibly lost. It happened yesterday on my way home. I didn’t take the Terrazzo bus that passes my house or the generic Heredia-San Rafael bus. I managed to find my way home by walking towards the church until I found a street I recognized. My first great city adventure. Here’s to hoping it is my only strange bus adventure!
The suburbs are really nice though. They have a very community feel and lots of little shops run out of the front of houses as well as some larger stores. I know how to get home from the church, the bus stop, the police station, and the sports park. I went there this morning. Got in my first run since I left home. It would be on the strange day that it rained in the morning though. There were lots of people out running the track and lots on there way to school or work on my way too and back. I am slowing starting to know the people closest to us that my host mom is friends with and feel quite safe walking my street even early in the morning and later at night.
That’s it for now, the last day of orientation is about to start and I have to catch my bus into central Heredia. Monday classes begin…wish me luck!