Our second week on this amazing journey is coming to a close! We left our hotel in Heredia on Saturday morning and began the five hour bus ride to the beautiful Samara, here on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Our bus ride entailed gorgeous countryside views and stops for exotic Costa Rican fruit, mamón chinos. When we arrived in Samara we were greeted by Lindsay, the group coordinator at Intercultura. She showed us around the campus and the lovely little town of Samara. We stopped for lunch at a beachside restaurant and were told with whom and where we would be staying for the next week. When we got back to the Intercultura campus we were greeted by our new “Mama Tica’s” (Tica is local slang for ‘Costa Rican’). It was a little nerve wracking, but mostly exciting, to begin such a new and unique experience.
Saturday night consisted of getting acquainted with our new surroundings and families. We were looking forward to another day of relaxation and seeing what else Samara had to offer. On Sunday, we woke up in our new homes and enjoyed delightful breakfasts with our mama ticas and siblings. After that we biked to the playa and swam in the exceptionally warm water and jumped in the waves! Later that day we got a taste of the local culture by attending a soccer, or ‘fútbol’ game in the town center and checking out the various street vendors. When we went back to our homes that night we were all filled with anticipation to see what would come from these next five days of Spanish class!
After a short oral exam Monday morning we were placed into classes according to our level of Spanish and we met our new teachers and classmates. As the days passed we grew more comfortable with our new homes and families and a routine began to fall into place. After school our days were filled with going to the beach, biking around town, attending classes held by Intercultura, such as Zumba, yoga, Latin dance or cooking class, and various leadership activities with the ARCC group.
An exceptional experience was on Tuesday afternoon when Lindsay took us on a beautiful hike to two spots with a great view of the Pacific Ocean and a hidden beach. We raced hermit crabs on the beach and watched as the sun began to set. The next day, on Wednesday night, some of us played in a soccer game against the Intercultura staff. We may have lost 13-3 but it was still an amazing experience (We guess that Costa Rica didn’t make it to the World Cup Finals for nothing…).
Our group has already bonded and grown so much and it is only going to get better from here. We are looking forward to our next stop at San Miguel, only a few hours south of here, where we will help conserve the turtles! Communication with the locals will be much easier with our new and improved Spanish.
Off onto our next adventure!