La Vida en Santa Marta

Published: October 10th 2012
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Well, I’m not sure if I can consider myself a “Tica” yet, but I’ve gotten used to living in San Jose! Technically I live in Santa Marta, a small neighborhood outside of the big city. It is a little challenging to get around the city because there are no street signs and no house numbers! I don’t know how people give directions, but an example would be “300 metros norte, la tercera casa a la izquierda” (300 meters north, the third house on the left). A compass would definitely have been a good investment.

I’m in the intermediate class at CRLA (Costa Rican Language Academy) and there are five other students with me. All of them are from the OTS group so I know them well. Our professor’s name is Gabriel and he is a great teacher. Today, we had our first assignment – a 10 minute presentation in Spanish. Aye Carumba! It wasn’t that bad. We have an essay due Thursday, and then it’s the weekend! I am so excited that we have three day weekends here. It gives a lot more flexibility to travel, etc. Tomorrow I think I am going to sign up for a cooking they have after school. We have to attend three “cultural” events during our time at the school, and cooking counts as one of them. It is nice to have a regular routine, going to school each day, etc. I rented a locker to keep my things in which is really nice, because I would rather not carry so much since I walk to and from school! I think I will end up walking most days. Definitely in the morning. Ryan, who lives near me, took the bus this morning and he said it rook a half hour. The walk is about the same, only about 3 kilometers. The bus is really cheap though, 210 colones, which is about 40 cents. The bus is much more crowded around 5:00pm when everyone gets off of work. Yesterday it took us an hour and fifteen minutes to get home! So depending on what time I leave school I will walk or take the bus.

Carolina, the German girl who is also staying with the Parilla family, is really nice. We rarely speak English to each other so we can practice our Spanish, but it is nice to have another “gringa” nearby. She finished her university education in Germany and is just travelling around Central and Latin America. She has family in Bolivia and Peru, and I think Costa Rica is just a stopping point along the way.

I’m not sure if anyone in my host family speaks any English, but I think I have been speaking Spanish about 80% of the time. It’s a great way to learn a language. I think they say once you start dreaming in Spanish, you have got it down pretty well.

I still haven’t gotten used to the fact that it gets dark around 5:00pm here. I think that’s why I have been going to bed so early! Makes me tired. But I have been getting more sleep than usual which is nice. After dinner here, we clean up, and most everyone goes to their rooms, and watches TV, etc. I’ve been told no matter the socioeconomic status of a Costa Rican family, they will have a TV. I would consider my family middle class, or upper middle class. Their TV is definitely nicer than ours. And they have like three. Although, it is interesting to notice the differences in what a family invests in their home. Like here, matching the wall color with the baseboards, or color coordinating a room, or buying furniture with the same would is not very important. I think there are three clocks in the kitchen here, one with a golf ball that says “Hole in One”, another with bunnies on it, and a third with a religious quote. Go figure.

We are starting to plan for this weekend already. The school offers package deals for tours, etc. around popular places in Costa Rica. They also sell really cheap bus tickets which is great. I think the plan for this weekend is to go to the beach, which I am SOOOOOOO excited for. There has been talk of Manuel Antonio, the national park, which is supposed to be beautiful. I would prefer to go to the Pacific because we are planning on going to the Caribbean for our midterm break.

I am missing home a little more here, I think because we are out of the “jungle” and in the city. But I am really enjoying my time here so far. Everyone in the OTS group is so used to being with each other all the time, I think we are missing each other too. Although, it is nice to have a break from some people…..just kidding I get along with everyone really well J

Well, that’s all for now folks. Te amo mucho familia!


10th October 2012

Hola Mija!
Great to hear about CRLA. The weekend sounds fun, too. I bet your Spanish will be so good after this! XOXO
10th October 2012

bonita tica
Hola Kelsey, so great to hear from you. It sounds like you are w/a nice family. I agree talking Spanish to children is much easier, you feel more at ease. I used to talk to the children on the beach when we were in mexico. I think I spoke pretty well but had a hard time translating their answers. We are fine here...waiting for a little sprinkle but I don't think so, it's been beautiful in the 70's...a little morning clouds. Your Dad & Hailey are coming for dinner Thurs. so they can watch the "vice debate" hope you can see it too. Holly & Joel are coming for the wkend. They probably won't get to see your folks but probably Maria. Sorry we can't mail you a few more clothes...have you found anything you like yet? Buy something & we'll deposit in your acct.if you need it. It's horrible if you don't have enough clothes...something you shouldn't have to deal with. We miss you but are jelous of what your will be fluent by the time your home. Mucho amor, su abuelos xoxo

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