Posted by Jacquelyn at 3:03 pm  Costa Rica
Jul 272015

Today was my first day of orientation at Maximo Nivel, and it started at 8a.  I took the bus to school for the first time today with some help from a host mom.  The bus cost 270 colones (native money) which I think roughly equates to 50 cents in the US.  There are no signs to tell you where to stand and people just hop on and off the bus because the doors never close.  When I arrived for orientation we went over the basic safety tips for living abroad and also some basic rules for my project site.  After that, we went on a walking tour of the sites surrounding Maximo Nivel.  There I was able to meet some of the people I conversed with via email prior to the trip.  Everyone was very welcoming and almost all of us had something in common i.e. birthplace, undergraduate majors, future interests etc.  As we explored the perimeter of Maximo and some of San Pedro we discovered lots of food places, supermercados and banks.  At the end of the tour our guide gave us free reign to revisit the places he recently showed us.  My fellow California’s and I decided to get some lunch (almuerzo) and exchange our money at the bank of Costa Rica for some colones.  For lunch I went to a place called Tico’s hamburgesas which sells hamburgers and more.  I figured that I didn’t come all the way to CR just to eat a hamburger so I ordered a chicken empanada.  Ordering this meal was an experience within its self, the hostess immediately spouted off in Spanish which I expected.  What I didn’t expect was to have such a hard time ordering a simple empanada.  I thought I would walk in and say “hola, puedo tener un empanada con agua por favor” and be done hahah yeah right.  The hostess wanted to know if I wanted a regular empanada which I thought I ordered, but apperantly empanadas are more complicated than I thought.  I kept trying to tell her to slow down, but nothing seemed to work.  Needless to say, I think I do not like “un empanada regular” smh I will just order a hamburger next time.  So after I received my food I went back to Maximo to eat and take my Spanish diagnostic test.  This test went as expected, and I performed just as I expected intermediate 1.  Not too low but not super high, I was satisfied with my scores nonetheless.  Not immediately following the test, I met with my Spanish instructor.  To my surprise she looked more like me than anyone else I had encountered thus far.  She was brown skinned just like myself which made me very happy seeing as though being the only dark skinned person within 5 kilometers can get a little intimidating.  My instructor was very nice, but determined to make me speak Spanish.  We had an hour lesson which completely pulled every Spanish word out of my brain.  At the end of the lesson she gave me some homework and reassurance about my Spanish speaking level.  Overall, today went very well and after my Spanish lesson Arcy (host mom) picked me up to bring me home.



Until next time,




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