MY FIRST 24 HOURS IN COSTA RICA (Part Two: Settling In)

I had no idea what to expect when I arrived.


Originally, I was intent on staying in my own apartment. I thought staying with a host family would make it challenging to have privacy or complete independence. I also tend to feel out of place when I travel because being a picky eater can be seen as disrespectful. Ultimately, though, it made more financial sense to be a home guest than to venture out for myself.


I was happy to find my host family waiting readily for me when my driver dropped me off. The house was located in a small town and it couldn't have been more opposite from where I live in the States...which was GREAT.


Living in the home were a 10-month old baby, her mother, and both of her grandparents. That familial culture isn't something I'm used to seeing, but it felt like I became part of it instantaneously. My hosts had given my room a brand new coat of paint and set it up with clean towels and an oscillating fan. They asked me what I liked to eat, and prepared me a warm quesadilla with ham and fresh eggs from the chickens in the family barn. They told me I was more than welcome to help myself to snacks and juices in the kitchen, and made sure I felt comfortable using the bathroom as I pleased.


Something else I wasn't used to: a tree full of monkeys in the back yard!


MONKEYS. IN THE BACK YARD.



gif

I was so shocked; I heard them before I saw them and thought the sound was coming from some kind of wolf. A dog, even, maybe. But the family told me it was normal to see monkeys walking around casually, just the same as it was normal for geckos to crawl about the walls inside the house! I think I kept it together alright, but I was scared completely sh*tless, I mean who sees a lizard slithering around their room and doesn't react?!


There were two dogs (forreal this time), which seemed to be a trend at many of the houses in town. I'd seen dozens of dogs around. All of them were free to roam about the neighborhood as they pleased, and none of them ever bothered anyone! It made the idea of leashes seem completely futile. Inhumane almost.


It got dark pretty early, but the family decided to visit the local supermarket.


We walked...to the store...at night...and were completely safe.


I would NEVER attempt to do anything like that back home.


I caught myself being a bit unfriendly. People we passed greeted me with hellos and how-are-yous but I didn't reply because I was so used to having to ignore anyone who tries to approach me in those kinds of environments.


My suitcases eventually arrived as promised, but I was so tired I didn't even think about unpacking.


I tucked myself in for the night readying myself to take on the day ahead: my first day of school!