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Costa Rica Update #1: La Primera Semana

Posted by kevinwolz on May 23, 2011

¡Ya hace una semana que llegué a Costa Rica! ¡Cómo vuela el tiempo! He visto y hecho tantas cosas que no sé dónde debo empezar. En realidad, no puedo escribir algo fluido porque mi mente está pensando en tantas cosas ahora…por lo tanto, usaré balas.

  • En la semana pasada, tuvimos la orientación. Consistía de algunos talleres de seguridad, cultura, diastres naturales, salud, etc. También caminamos por las ciudades pimarias en la área (Cartago y Heredia).
  • Ayer fuimos al volcán más cercano de nuestra escuela, se llama Volcán Poás. El volcán está activo y vimos humo saliendo del cratér. También era mi primera vez en un parque nacional aquí y me encantó estar rodeado por la selva.
  • Esta mañana empezaron las clases. Tengo dos clases y ya me gusta mucho los dos. La primera es Ecología Tropical y la otra es Música de America Latina (para traerme atrás a la música). Ambas clases tienen partes afuera de la aula…giras de lugares cercanos con la naturlaleza y viajes a clubes con música en vivo.
  • Nuestra escuela es tan linda y está solamente diez minutos de mi casa por pie. Todas de los porfesores son muy simpaticos también. De verdad, hay dos tipos de estudiantes en el Instituto: El primero tipo siempre habla español para mejorarlo, quiere aprender de la cultura tica, y quiere ver todo de Costa Rica. El segudo tipo siempre quiere hablar en inglés, siempre se queja sobre los Ticos, y solamente quiere ir a las playas. Me gusta mejor el primero tipo. Ya han separado los dos grupos, más o menos. La mayoridad del tiempo, paso tiempo con los siete estudiantes de U de I porque hablan el mejor español (aún que no nos conocemos antes de llegar aquí).
  • La comida es tan rica y fresca. El desayuno siempre consiste de fruta fresca, pan o arroz, y huevos o frijoles. El almuezo y la cena son muy similar y consisten de alguna combinación de arroz, frijoles, alguna vegetale, un pedazo pequeño de carne (a veces), ensalda, y un refresco de fruta fresca. Esta combinación de comida se llama “casado” y es la firma de Costa Rica.
  • De verdad, estoy en un mundo diferente con las plantas aquí. Ya he sacado tantos fotos y buscado tantos nombres. Pero hay muchas más especies en Costa Rica que en los Estados y será muy dificil para aprender aún un poco.
  • Mi español es mucho mejor que pensaba que sería. Hablo español TODO el día. Mi mamá tica no habla ningún inglés y no lo permite en la escuela. Estoy mejorando poco a poco…
  • En la frontera agricultura, ya he visto mucho…especialmente muchas fincas (monocultivos) de café. También he visto campos de tomates, chiles, y chayote.
  • Aún que no estoy corriendo ahora (porque todavia me duele mucho el talón), me he levantado casi cada mañana para hacer ejercicios de piernas y torso. Ésta es una meta grande del verano y ya puedo sentir los resultados.

———————————————–

It’s already been a week since I arrived in Costa Rica! How time flies! I have seen and done so many things that I don’t even know where to start. I probably can’t even write something coherent because my mind is all over the place right now…therefore, I’ll just use bullets.

  • Last week, we had orientation. This consisted of some workshops on security, culture, natural disasters, health, etc. We also walked through the primary cities in the area (Cartago & Heredia).
  • Yesterday we went to see the closest volcano to our school, called Poás Volcano. The volcano is active, and we saw smoke leaving the crater. This was also my first time in a national park here, and I loved being surrounding by the forest.
  • Classes started this morning. I have two classes, and I already like them both a lot. The first class is Tropical Ecology, and the other is Latin American Music (to bring me back to music). Both classes have components outside the classroom…tours of nearby natural places and trips to clubs with live music.
  • Our school is so beautiful and only a ten-minute walk from my house. All of the professors there are so nice as well. There are really two types of students at the Institute: The first kind always speaks Spanish in order to improve it, wants to learn about tico culture, and wants to see everything in Costa Rica. The second type always wants to speak English, always complains about the Ticos, and only wants to travel to the beaches. I like the first type better. The two groups have already more or less segregated from each other. Most of the time, I hang out with the seven students from U of I because they speak the best Spanish (even though we didn’t know each other before arriving here).
  • The food is so tasty and fresh. Breakfast always consists of fresh fruit, bread or rice, and eggs or beans. Lunch and dinner are very similar and consist of some combination of rice, beans, some vegetable, a small piece of meat (sometimes), salad, and a fresh fruit drink. This combination of food is called “casado” and the signature of Costa Rica.
  • I’m really in a different world with the plants here. I have already taken so many pictures and looked up so many names. But there are so many more species in Costa Rica than in the States that it’s going to be difficult to learn even a few.
  • My Spanish is much better than I thought it would be. I speak Spanish ALL day. My host mom doesn’t speak any English, and the school doesn’t allow it. I’m improving little by little…
  • On the agriculture front, I have already seen a lot…especially many coffee farms (monocultures). I have also seen fields of tomatoes, peppers, and chayote (a type of squash).
  • Even though I’m not running now (because my heel still really hurts), I have been getting up almost every morning to do leg strength and core. This is a big goal for the summer, and I can already feel the results.

Fotos/Pictures

Homestay & School

Flowers in the School’s Garden

Cartago, Heredia, Volcán Poás

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One Response to “Costa Rica Update #1: La Primera Semana”

  1. Joan said

    Kevin, I so enjoyed all the pictures, especially of al the flowers and vegetables. BEAUTIFUL flowers!! I also am interested in architecture of different cultures.
    Now you have to take pictures of the animals, etc. in the area. My ADT
    salesman was just here (he’s a friend of my niece & nephew, too) and he said they visited Costa Rica and loved it. They also did the thing thru the treetops and said you must do it! How many students are there from UofI? I thought all were from UofI but are there students from other colleges, too? Love, GB

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