Within the next few days Copey de Dota really grew on me, and everyone else.  At first I was quite nervous to stay with my host family. I was really concerned about my lack of Spanish.  But Diana and Cindy were very willing to try to talk with me even though communication was challenging. My host family was very sweet. The work days continued like the first one. Every morning I woke up no later than 7:30 and ate breakfast with my host mom, at which we always tried to have conversations about church or animals or San Diego or Costa Rica. My host mom prepared my breakfast and lunch and I walked with Haywood to the school to either dig or lay cement.

All the days were filled with lots of hard work, sweat, dirt, music and laughter. Digging was hard, but mixing cement was even harder, and it seemed to last forever. We had to mix the dirt with cement and then add water. Each batch took about a half hour to an hour. By the time lunch rolled around I was starving and so eager to eat whatever delicious meal my host mom had made for me. We all sampled each others food to see what it all tasted like, then it was back to work. The days were long but the time seemed to pass so quickly.

Costa Rica 2011 Pioneer – Service Project from Walking Tree Travel on Vimeo.

Each day after working we would all go to the store to get snacks. Then I would walk back to my house and check in with my host Mom, and then we went to play soccer in the field. Everyone in Copey watches and or plays soccer. Probably one of the most memorable experiences will be the day we got all the kids to come play with us in the field. It was pouring rain just as we were about to start the game, but that didn’t stop us. The game was so intense and yet it was so fun. People were slipping in the mud and everyone was freezing but it was a blast. I wore flip flops and I had to take off my shoes and run around barefoot to play soccer. Before the trip I  had never played a game of soccer.

Nights in Copey were very calm. I would get home around 6 or so after soccer and dinner would be ready. Generally the parents ate dinner together and then Diana, Cindy and I ate when they were done. After dinner we would just watch t.v., which was either soccer or American sitcoms. Everyone went to bed very early in Copey. The whole family was in bed by 9 at the very latest.

Photo Courtesy of Walking Tree Blog

The longer I stayed in Copey the more I realized how similar Costa Rican’s are to me. My host sisters and I had so much in common. I realized that if I moved to Costa Rica my life wouldn’t be that different, it would just include a lot more Spanish. The main things that I observed in Copey that were different is that their life style is much more centered around the weather then in San Diego, or any other place in the United  States. The people in Costa Rica know that it rains in the afternoons, and that not much can get done in the rain, so they all wake up very early and get all their chores and busy work done. Then the afternoons are spent relaxing or doing light work. Whereas in the States if it snows in the morning we just get out a snow mobile and go to work. It also seems that people in Copey were very friendly, more so than where I live. And people in Copey enjoy their life, for them it is clearly about quality. read more →

Day 3, Wednesday

The first day was all air travel. I arrived in Denver at 7pm and the next plane to Costa Rica was at 11:50 pm. So we all just got to know each other. There are 11 of us on the trip all from different places in the United States. We got to San Jose, Costa Rica at about 5 am on Monday morning. We drove to Alajuela and waited for our rooms to be ready and just crashed. We played a few name games that day to get to know each other and then we went out to lunch. After lunch we went to exchange American dollars for colones. Our money has the same value as theirs but for 1000 colones it is 2 dollars. So the amounts are just different and the conversions are confusing. We also walked around the town and got to know it and experience some Costa Rican culture. That was probably the longest day of my life.

On Tuesday we drove up to Copey de Dota, our homestay village, which is about 2 and a half hours away from Alajuela. We stopped in the town next to it which is the end of the paved roads, and then we met our guide and drive all the way to Copey de Dota which is about 15 minutes from the town. We are way up in the mountains and it is so beautiful. It rains here everyday in the afternoon. We started on our project yesterday. We are working at a school and we have to move dirt rocks and grass and lay down cement for a play ground. It is very hard to do in this hot humid weather, but it is very fun.

Today we continued working on the project. Last night we got assigned to our host families. My family is two girls, on 14 and one 18, and a Madre y Padre. They are all very nice to me.  We all had to report back to the school again this morning at 8 to get back to work. Tonight we might play futbol.

I would like to know more about the culture and the people of Costa Rica, which means I NEED to know more Spanish. In Costa Rica I have noticed that they eat a lot more. The meals are all much larger and they mostly eat beans, rice and fried bananas. Also the people seem to be more lively and happy with the little that they have. Something that I noticed that I really like is that they are obsessed with local, organic food. They buy all their food from local places or grow it themselves. They are similar to us in that they like the same things. My host sister is in to all the same music and tv that I like. As far as what to remember, I want to remember everything and everyone. read more →

Before the trip…

I did not get to blog before the trip because I don’t have internet access at my house, but I am now in Costa Rica. I decided to sign up for this trip because I have always wanted to travel. Since I was little I have been making lists of all the places I want to go and this opportunity presented itself so of course I wanted to give it a try. I have not always wanted to go to Costa Rica, but last year I was talking with a friend of mine who had gone on a trip similar to this one and it sounded amazing so I looked in to it. I was most nervous about leaving my family. I have never been away from them for more than 5 days at a time, so 10 days is quite a lot. I was also nervous about being alone, I was worried I wouldn’t make friends and that my host family wouldn’t like me. I had hoped to have a greater understanding of the Costa Rican culture and to be able to speak Spanish better. read more →