I had a few frustrating moments this week, but just when I was feeling down, I was reminded of how good my life is. I was frustrated with my Spanish class because I didn’t do so great on a quiz. I was especially missing Josh a few times this week and was feeling sorry for myself because I don’t get to see him for the next four months. And on top of that I was feeling sick Thursday and Friday. However, in general, my life is the opposite of frustrating. This week I celebrated Chinese New Year with my family and their Chinese friends. That was an amazing and delightful cross-cultural experience. I got to skype with Josh for two nice, but not long enough hours. I am truly thankful for the internet. It makes being away from my loved ones so much easier. Also, the evening after I was feeling especially bad at Spanish a had a longer than usual conversation at dinner with my Tico parents. That was a blessing. My Papi is really hilarious and just the way he talks makes me laugh. Out of everyone in my family here, I am closest to my Mama and I always feel so welcomed and loved when she opens the door for me each evening as I get home from school. Another thing that made me feel a little better about my Spanish abilities was presentation day at ICADS (my Spanish school). Everyone from LASP studies Spanish at ICADS and this friday we all had to give a group presentation on an indigenous tribe in front of the entire group and professors. There are ten classes and I am towards the bottom in terms of Spanish fluency. Most people at LASP are Spanish majors, so that makes sense. Despite being not the best speaker, I felt good about my presentation and afterwards we all created dolls (muñecas) out of clay and things from the earth. It was a blast! I always enjoy doing artsy things.
This Saturday I went to the beach with my American friend Allison and her family and some other friends from LASP. We woke up at 5:30 am to catch the three hour bus ride to Manuel Antonio. I was frustrated at first that her family chose to go to a really far away beach, but it was totally worth it. Plus, Allison’s Tica family was incredibly hospitable and they chose to go to the nicest beach for our sake. Needless to say, I was humbled. We spent about 5 hours at the beach, swimming, watching monkeys, exploring the rocky parts of the shore, eating delicious sandwiches and fruit and talking both English and Spanish. Standing in the ocean, feeling the waves crash between two big rocks right in front of my face I felt like life couldn’t get better. It was definitely a cross cultural experience to travel with a Costa Rican family different than my own. Allison’s family has much different dynamics than my family, which was interesting to experience. Her family is talkative, loud, touchy, a little more messy than my family and her family is a lot bigger than mine. I think Allison has five siblings compared to my one sister. When I got home today, my Papi told me that our family is boring : ) Still, I would not trade my host family. I have really grown to love them.
Today, I got to play soccer for the first time in weeks! Allison’s family plays every Sunday in a pick up game and today I joined. I was completely exhausted within fifteen minutes, but I enjoyed every second. My friend Caleb and I were talking on the bus ride back from the beach about how awesome it is that we have been here only a month and have already done so many awesome things, gone so many places and have experienced so much of the Costa Rican culture. I am truly thankful for my host family and how wonderful they are to me. I know my experience here would not be as good if I were not living with such an awesome family.