Today’s the third day we’ve been in the village. There is so much to do, see, and eat when in a different country! When we first arrived, the local  community members of all ages greeted us with welcoming hugs and from there we were assigned to our host families. Some of us had more than eight siblings whereas others had none. I live with my Abuela (grandma), Abuelo (grandpa), and their dog. Although having a smaller family is a more comfortable setting and we have people constantly passing through it does get pretty quiet in the house sometimes. My Abuela doesn’t speak any English so there’s a lot of pointing and gesturing required for us to communicate with each other and it has actually become a fun little game!

A lot of us seem to be having dreams in Spanish or go in and out of Spanglish when conversing. I guess learning a new language becomes a totally new experience when you are immersed in the culture because you have to use your Spanish every day whether you’re greeting people passing by, talking to your family, or trying to communicate with the community members assisting us with our service project. Our service project is by far one of the most physically demanding jobs I’ve ever had to do. We are digging around the community and inserting water pipes and if we work hard it’s usually done around lunch time.

Courtesy of Walking Tree Travel Blog

Experiencing the cuisine has been one of the most exciting parts of this trip. The mystery of what will be for breakfast and questioning the contents of your colorful omelette has almost become routine. There are many different types of fruit drinks, all with their own distinct sweetness and the milk here is fresh and so much richer than the watery kind we have at home. Lots of the meals include rice and/or beans so here I’ve attached a recipe to one of the most popular dishes courtesy my Abuela. I haven’t tried out this recipe for Gallo Pinto yet myself and the measurements are a little off so if yours doesn’t turn out as delicious as you had hoped, do not fret for I will perfect it myself when I get home.

Gallo Pinto


1 cuchara de aceite

3 rodajas de cebolla

1 diente de ajo

2.5 tazas de arroz (cocinado el dia anterior)

2.5 tazas de frijoles negros cocinado

.5 cuchara de la salsa Lizano


Ponga aceite en un sartén un poco caliente, agregue cebolla y ajo, sofría todo junto, luego ponga el arroz, los frijoles y la salsa, mezcle todo y dejar a fuego lento, moviendo ocasionalmente hasta  cuando los sabores se combinen y espolvorear el culantro picado finalmente. ¡Sirva y disfrute!

In English

You need:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 slices of onion

1 clove of garlic

2.5 bowls of rice (cooked the day before)

2.5 bowls of cooked black beans

.5 tablespoon of salsa Lizano


Put the vegetable oil in a pot over low heat, add the sliced onion and diced gloves of garlic, stir it all together, then add the rice, beans, and salsa, mix everything over medium heat, let simmer and stir periodically, sprinkle chopped cilantro last. Serve and enjoy!