The title says it all. I arrived home from London over four months ago, and yet I’m still set in the ways of the UK. About 90% of the time, I look right-left-right when crossing the road, and can only do it the American way if I remind myself to do it. This is just one of the many things that has stuck with me since I’ve left London. The other things that have stuck with me are the memories of the food, experiences, and friendships of my time abroad. I’ll never forget what it was like to travel to a foreign country and experience life as a Londoner. Living in London gave me more confidence and allowed me to explore the person that I am, and since coming back, I have become a much more independent person, and I’m grateful for my opportunities of travel and study.
Now that I am back home, I have noticed about how convenient everything is here. Of course there is cell and network service in Costa Rica, but I didn’t have a phone there so it is amazing how convenient everything is here. Not only that, but I wasn’t scared for my life when I was driving. The road laws here are very much enforced here and not so much there. Apart from seeing my friends and family, I am not too excited to be back. I still had so much more to see and experience before I came back. However, I can hopefully come back and see all that I missed and see people that I have met in Costa Rica.
Since my time here in Costa Rica is winding down and coming to an end I am trying to spend as much time as I can seeing more of San Jose. This week I visited the precolonial gold museum and the national stadium. Luckily, there just happened to be an international track competition that was free. I also visited the national art museum that is in the old national airport for Costa Rica, which was really cool and worth seeing itself.
This week I went with a few friends to Panama. The process of crossing the boarder into Panama was very tedious. I did not have a flight itinerary that they would except so I had to run around the boarder shops to try and get internet to enter Panama. However, I got it resolved and we stayed in a Hostel along a river in Bocas del Torro. We went on a dolphin and sloth tour and we also went snorkeling.That was a great experience and I got to see a glimpse of what Panama has to offer.
This week I said goodbye to a lot of my friends who did the 5-week program. We all went to a near by Salsa club, where there was a live band and amazing dancers. All of the dancers there must go every week because they all seem professional. Also, I went rafting with two other friends. That was also an amazing experience. I was able to see a lot of wildlife like sloths and exotic birds. It was a beautiful experience. pacuare 09-08-2014 508 IMAG2200
This week my program traveled to some hot springs. I pictured the hot springs being natural but they were in a resort. Though the hot springs were man made, the water was heated naturally by a nearby volcano, Irazu. After that we traveled to a different city where I zip lined on the longest zip line in Latin America. I also went on a Tarzan Swing, which is basically bungee jumping, but instead of bouncing back up you swing out. This has definitely been my favorite part of studying abroad so far. 1909635_734336283291253_4153859993275878029_n 1622344_835870566425432_4956753192089253974_o
This week I took a bus up to an active volcano to see it, though there was too much fog to see really anything. Though on the way down from the volcano we stopped at the oldest church in Costa Rica, which was absolutely beautiful. I learned that the next week was one of Costa Rica’s most popular homages where people walk from their houses all over the country to pay homage to an image of the Virgin Mary that is inside the church. IMAG2238 1909616_10202536604795622_8839250089752961820_n
This past week my program went to several coastal towns along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. One of my favorite experiences this week was all of the wildlife that I saw. After sun down, one of the nights, my program took a bus to a remote beach to watch turtles lay eggs. I was so close to the turtles and was able to watch them dig a nest and bury an egg. Also, during one of pit stops I was able to see some toucans and macaws. IMAG2130 IMAG2162
Throughout the first week I had my orientation for my university and had my first week of classes. I also had an orientation for my program where I got to know everyone who I will be spending the next 7 week with. I also spent a lot of time walking around, getting lost, and exploring downtown San Jose. Luckily my home stay is within walking distance of downtown San Jose so I have had time to tour downtown after class and make it back home for dinner in time. Through my guided tour I learned that San Jose does not have many tall buildings due to frequent earthquakes and there are not many old buildings because San Jose has only been the capital for a little over 100 years because the buildings in the old capital were demolished in an earthquake. My program also toured a coffee plantation and learned how lucrative coffee is for Costa Rica.
Arriving in Costa Rica was surreal. I exited the airport with taxi and bus drivers yelling out different programs and people’s names for rides. I of course could not find my program so I walked around the airport searching for a telephone. Finally, I was able to call my onsite coordinator and I sat a talked with people in my program waiting for more students to arrive before being taken to my home stay.When I finally arrived home I sat and talked with my host mom and a house mate for about 3 hours about ourselves and getting to know each other. I took a tour of the house and then went to bed really early from flying all day. IMAG2430 IMAG2317