Orientation in Monteverde!
Hello! I’ve been in Costa Rica for about four days and it is definitely one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen! It is so green and there are beautiful flowers everywhere!! When we were flying over the country, we could see volcanoes and the beautiful beaches. The water is also very, very blue! ¡Que hermosa!
The first night, we stayed at the Hotel Bougainvillea. It is known for its amazing gardens and plant life. Each student was assigned a room with 2-3 other students. It was a great way to meet everyone! Most of the students arrived in the morning or afternoon so by dinner time, almost every one was there. We ate dinner in true pura vida style because it lasted over three hours! We were served three courses and each were very delicious. I think the hotel was trying to provide us with food that we would typically eat in America because I had ravioli for my first Costa Rican meal! It was still better than any ravioli I had in the US. The next morning we met up with the rest of the students who arrived late in the night and began our first day of orientation. We ate breakfast at the hotel which consisted of gallo pinto (rice and beans) which is a very common breakfast here. It was delicious! Afterwards, we met our resident directors who will be with us for the rest of orientation and spent some time going over the in’s and out’s of Costa Rica. Around 2, we left for Monteverde which was a four hour bus ride up into the mountains.
There are no words that can appropriately describe Monteverde because it is absolutely beautiful! There is a view of the gulf in some parts and many different plant species. We are taking an intensive Spanish course at the Insituto de Monteverde and other orientation classes. We also have latin dance classes which are very fun but very tiring! It’s like a zumba class but a million times harder! Also at the institute there are so many dogs running around. They are pets of the workers here and they are always coming in and out of our classroom to visit. They are probably one of my favorite parts of orientation so far! Tomorrow we have a night tour of Monteverde where we can see the animals that come out at night. I’m excited but also a little nervous so I’m definitely bringing bug spray! On Friday we have a tour through another forest in the morning. It’s also one of the girls 21st birthdays so we are going to Santa Elena to celebrate. We went there last night and it was a lot of fun! There are many places to dance so we all practiced our Merengue and Salsa!
While in Monteverde, we stay with families. It was hard at first to get used to living in another family’s home but they are very welcoming for the most part. It’s definitely awkward at times when I can’t understand everything my host mom is saying because she talks very fast. In my family there is a girl who’s about my age and can speak a little English so when I can’t understand what’s going on she can explain it to me much slower. She also has a newborn baby and he is adorable! The grandmother lives with us at well and she is very sweet. On Saturday, we get to make a typical Costa Rican dessert with our host mothers and then present them to the rest of the program. I’m very excited to see what we make and what the other students make as well.
As for the food here, it’s very, very good but very rich. They also eat all the time! Luckily we do a lot of walking so I’m hungry often but I feel bad when I can’t finish my dinner because there is enough food on my plate to feed an army! All of my meals so far in Monteverde have consisted of rice and beans, and sometimes with meat or vegetables mixed in. Like I said, it’s very good but very rich!
Getting accustomed to life in Costa Rica is definitely a challenge and I know that I have a long semester ahead of me. The people here are very nice and willing to help anyone who needs it. I’m excited to get to Heredia because I hear the lifestyle there is very different than the lifestyle in Monteverde. Right now I’m taking it day by day and looking forward to the adventures that lie ahead!