Tico Time

Trip Start May 21, 2010
Trip End Aug 06, 2010

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Sunday, May 23, 2010

The bus ride to Puntarenas was fascinating. Everything was so green I was in awe the entire ride there. I felt like I was in another world let alone another country.Luckily I took a motion sickness pill before getting on the bus because I am certain I would have puked if I hadn't taken it. The roads were so uneven with potholes everywhere, and at times, they wound around mountains. There are about 25 kids here, and everyone was completely silent the hour ride to Puntarenas. Some were sleeping, but I think the rest were shocked at how beautiful Costa Rica is. Once I got to Puntarenas, my host mom, host dad, and one little boy came to pick me up. The boy was Josue (pronounced Ho-SWAY), he is 6. As we drove down the road, I saw one house that stood out to me. Not because of the black barred gate at the front, they all had those. It didn't stand out because of the bright yellow and orange paint job, most houses were painted with brilliant colors; It was the number of people sitting, talking, playing. I immediately felt nervous because I realized that my host dad pulled up right in front of this house. I thought, "Oh no. This cannot be my house. My family has 2 kids, a mom, and 2 grandparents. That's it." I was overwhelmed by the number of names I had to memorize, and also by having to speak and comprehend only Spanish: no English is spoken at my house. That day I found out that my host family owns this house. My mom has a sister, 5 children, and 6 grandchildren. Her sister and children own the next 2 houses down on the street, and everyone comes to our house daily to talk, eat, and spend time together. At first I was a little upset that there was so much action at my house, I was looking forward to a relaxing summer. But now, only 2 days later, I am sitting on my balcony, listening to all the children scream and play, and to Danny tease his brother-in-law Leo for his big ears, and I am so happy that this is my family.

The kids in my house are probably the best part of the program so far. Josue, my favorite, helps me so much with my Spanish.He is the goof ball of the family. It is much easier to talk to the children because our vocabulary is a better match than that of the adults, and also because they speak slower. Genesis, who is 7 or 8,and Josue are the two who live in my house. Also there is Sofia who is slowly moving up the ranks to be my new favorite. She is 5 and is so adorable I want to take her back to the states with me. Today, when I returned from my school orientation, my family was having a birthday party outside. (of course! With so many people there is bound to be a birthday at least once a month!) Sofia came running up to me yelling "Katia! Katia!" and she gave me a big hug. At that point I felt like I was already part of the family. I went up to my host mom and told her I was going to the beach with my USAC friends. She told me to be very careful.

Next weekend, Danny, the eldest of abuelas 5 kids, is taking me out dancing.  I am very excited but also nervous because I don't know how to do any Latin dances. He said he will teach me, and also teach me how to drink cerveza. And after I drink 2 beers, I will be asking for tequila, according to Danny. Well I can tell you right now that won't happen. Lol.

Abuelas 5 children  are Danny, Patricia, Nancy, Juan Jose, and Genesis's and Josue's mom, whose name I know to be, mama. Ha ha! I have yet to hear anyone call her anything but la madre de Genesis y Josue. The grandkids are Diego, who is 14 or 15 I think, Valeria around 12, Genesis, Josue, Andres who is 6 i think, Sofia, and baby Adela, who's 1st birthday is next weekend.( yes, another birthday party!)

On Saturday, I asked my mom if she would help me buy a bike, and that night, Danny fixed up an old bike for me. I was so grateful that my family is so caring and always trying to help me. Yesterday morning I went on a bike ride around Puntarenas. I still don't know the area too well though, so I kept passing by the house just to make sure it was still there and I didn't get lost. Here in Puntarenas there are no street signs, and no numbers on the houses. As of yesterday, I didn't know my families last name, so I figured getting lost in Puntarenas would not be good for me.
Last night it rained harder than I've ever seen before. Josue, Genesis, Sofia and I went on my balcony and played karaoke singing songs, dancing, and taking fake pictures with Josues munecos, his action figures. I didn't know any of the Spanish songs they know, but luckily the kids know Hannah Montana so I got away with singing "The Best of Both Worlds." Then I played Pitbull's "I know you want me" from my computer, and Genesis and Sofia danced around my focas or flashlights. They are obsessed with my headlamps and flashlights. Josue even hinted to me that I may not be able to take home everything because I won't have room, and that I might need to leave the focas here in Puntarenas.

I love living with the Villalobos family. There is always action, and there is always someone to talk to. And at the same time, if I go upstairs to my room, or onto the balcony from my room, I am always given my space.  Sometimes the ninos peak their heads in my room to see what Im up to, but besides that, I am left alone if I want.Tonight after I got home from the beach and bar, I had a delicious meal of rice, papas pure (mashed potatos), chicken and beef with a to-die-for sauce. I had a really good conversation with Danny, he is easy to talk to, and showed him pictures of my first cerveza, Imperial, the beer of Costa Rica. Today in Puntarena's soccer stadium there was a huge fight between someone from San Jose and I think a Colombian. Danny and I watched the news on TV covering the story and we laughed for a long time about it. Now it is 7:45 PM and I am sitting on my balcony enjoying the amazing weather we have right now. During the day it is unbearably hot, but every evening so far has brought the most pleasurable weather I have ever experienced. It's perfectly breezy and it smells so fresh because the rain ended only a few hours ago.

Diego just fixed my internet tonight so I now have internet at the house. He also downloaded some new music for me! He is really great on computers. Up until now, I haven't talked to him much. I really like Diego, and he speaks a little English too from school so I told him that we could practice English together if he wants!

Although hearing screams from downstairs is not out of the norm, they were becoming excessive, so I decided to step out onto my balcony tonight to check what all the noise was about. Everyone was running around outside like chickens who just got their heads chopped off! Then I heard Diego tell Patricia that there was a huge rata inside that crawled up onto the roof! Wait a sec! I'm on the balcony, on the roof!! "UNA RATA?!!" I screamed and ran inside. That left everyone laughing for a while! Tonight I am very happy because already, my Spanish is improving, and I am able to more easily talk to my family. The weather is amazing, and I am making more friends everyday, both ticos (that is what Costa Ricans call themselves) and Americans from USAC. I can't wait to write again in a few days! Hasta Luego!
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