21 January 2011

be stubborn in your hope.

    I have been in Costa Rica for a little less than two weeks, however, it feels like I’ve been here forever!  Last week was focused on orientation and spending lost of time with my Costa Rican family.  Speaking of which, my family is awesome.  I think it would be pretty difficult to get a bad family here, though.  I have a mom, dad and sister.  My sister, Maria Fernanda is 19 and is studying to be a doctor.  My family seems to be a little quieter and less affectionate than most Latin American families, but they are still loving, helpful and funny.  My Spanish is lacking.  I am totally aware of that, but my family talks slowly to me and helps me with words I don’t know.  Mainly, they are just patient with my slow Spanish and that is a blessing.  Each day I get a little better at Spanish and each my family and I grow a little closer.
    This week is my first week of classes.  I will be here in San Jose taking classes for five weeks.  (Core Seminar over Latin American Studies two mornings a week and Spanish every afternoon.)  Then I’m off to Nicaragua for about ten days.  Classes were pretty overwhelming at first, but I am starting to get into a pattern and I’m learning how to manage all the homework.  LASP keeps us busy.  I get home at about 6:30 every night and have time to eat dinner, talk with my family for a little bit, take a shower and do homework and sometimes check my email.  We have so much homework!  At the end of the five weeks, we have a big “position paper” due.  My topic is sustainable food and I am reading Stolen Harvest by Vandana Shiva for my preliminary research.  So far, it’s very interesting.
    One of my favorite parts of the day is walking to and from Spanish class.  Since we have Core Seminar at the LASP office in the morning and Spanish class at ICADS is across town, a group of us walk there everyday.  It is always blazing hot, but a nice time to reflect about the morning and talk in English!  Plus, I’ve made some really good friends already.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my friends and I have decided to get Pops helado after Spanish class.  Pops is more than a highlight in the day, it is starting to become a necessity.  We begin anticipating Pops the night before because it is so delicious!  Another favorite part of my day is finally getting home and being greeted by my Mama.  I usually get home around 6:00 or 6:30pm. She always has dinner ready for me and we have a nice time talking together. 
    As I wrote this, I realized how nice and easy it is to be competent in speaking/writing/understanding a language.  I am also amazed at how much Spanish I have been speaking in the last week.  It feels like more than in my whole life.  At home, I only speak in Spanish.  It’s quite amazing and I’m excited to become a better Spanish speaking.

p.s. The title of this post is a quote that one of my professors, Javier, used in class one day.    I thought it would be an interesting title to this blog post because as I learn and struggle to speak Spanish better, I have hope (and faith) that I will improve and that despite the struggles, this experience will be awesome.  I hope that eventually I will feel more comfortable speaking Spanish with my Costa Rican family and that my family and I will form a close and deep relationship.

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