Saturday, January 9, 2010

First full day in Costa Rica

(The formatting on my blog posts, including this one, may be terrible.  It is hard for me to predict from this internet cafe how it will appear.  Especially this one, since I had to convert it three times to move it from where I wrote it to where I will be posting it)

I made it to Costa Rica safely. I took a round about way, but I am in Orosí for orientation. Orosí is about an hour and a half outside of San Jose in the mountains.

I am writing this blog post in my room in my host family's house, though I will not be able to upload it until I find an internet café. The meeting place we will be using in town has wi-fi, so hopefully I will be able to stay in contact.

I left for Costa Rica on January 7th. I flew from Logan to Washington, DC, then to Dallas/Ft. Worth. In Dallas a bunch of the volunteers met with a former volunteer. Then the 19 of us who met in Dallas boarded our plane to Costa Rica.

We were supposed to arrive in Costa Rica at 8:30 that night. The plane ride had a few hiccups which left us in Managua, Nicaragua for our first night in Costa Rica.

First problem was a malfunctioning smoke detector in the rear bathroom on the plane. This caused us to leave an hour late or so. The rest of the ride in the air went fine until the plane tried to land. We were literally right above the ground but the captain felt that the winds were too high to land, so we started climbing again.

Then we flew to Managua, Nicaragua with the idea of refueling and trying the landing again. Unfortunately, before we could try to return one of the pilots had to stop flying because of federal law. This meant that the entire 757 of people had to stay the night in Managua, Nicaragua until the next morning.

American Airlines put us up in the Best Western across the street from the airport. The next morning we woke up and flew back to San José, landing on Friday the 8th at 10:50 or so. This threw off our plans for the first day in San José.

The rest of that first day, we spent doing what we had on the schedule that we could still fit in. First, we went to a private hospital in San José for a talk on health in Costa Rica, which was quite interesting.

Then we went to the US Embassy and received a number of talks from staff there, all about various aspects of living in Costa Rica. From security to politics and economics, the talks were generally interesting. The tough part was how tired we were, but it was definitely worth it.

The security situation sounded very scary when the security officers were telling us what we should do, but I hope that I will be able to keep myself safe using my experience in Quito, Ecuador. Quito has a worse reputation than anywhere in Costa Rica. Bad luck can still happen, but if I take care I can reduce the chances of bad luck happening to me.

Then we drove to Orosí, where we went through yet more talks. This charla was led by the woman who is partnering with WorldTeach for our home stays and our education. We will be taking Spanish classes at her school, which should be interesting. We had to fill out a form saying how good our Spanish was. I have no idea if I filled it out correctly.

I will write another post tomorrow about my host family, I feel like this post is plenty long enough as is.

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