So this trip is definitely the coolest thing that has ever happened to me and I've only been here for about 12 hours.
Yesterday. I was afraid I wouldn't make friends because it felt like everyone already knew each other during the orientation...but from the minute I got to the gate at Metro, I met three other people who were going on the trip and we've all gotten along really well. I sat next to Lusa on the way down to Dallas and I was around a few other people on the trip, and by the time we hit Dallas, we had a group of about 15 people on our flight to Costa Rica. We all ate at Chili's at the airport during our layover and got to know each other.
I've always wanted to go to Texas, and obviously we were only there for a few hours and couldn't leave the airport, but at least the Dallas airport goes along with every Texas stereotype I've ever known. The crazy cowboy souvenir shops, the little kids and huge dudes in cowboy hats, the southern accents. It was pretty sweet.
The flight to Costa Rica took four hours, on top of the three we'd already spent flying to Dallas. We landed in San Jose at 10:00, and I couldn't really see much but it looked like we were flying over the water...but it really looked like nothing, it was way different from flying over anything in the U.S. at night. Barely any lights. We were all bouncing off the wall, though, so the second we touched down we started squealing...yeah, mature, I know.
We met our course coordinator, Brooke, at the airport and these guys loaded all of our luggage onto one white pickup truck...the luggage was piled higher than the car and it looked absolutely hilarious, like there was no way it would stay in the car on the freeway. It was only a few minutes to the INCAE campus, and we got our cabin assignments and they dropped us off near the cabins...so we all started wandering to our houses in the dark. I had to take off my fleece right away. It was pretty much midnight, and it was still so hot I was sweating in a short-sleeved shirt.
So we found out pretty quickly that Alajuela has a moderately bad ant problem. Amanda and Kristen left their luggage by our place while they looked for their cabin...bad idea, since there are apparently giant anthills all over the place that we couldn't see in the dark. The ants crawled up their suitcases, up their pant legs and into their cabin when they brought the luggage in...so their house is carpeted with dead ants. They came over awhile later to warn us, and once we started noticing the ants, we saw the sidewalks swarming with bugs in the dark...pretty disgusting. Janelle suggested bug spraying our beds, but we settled for just spraying under the main door.
We walked around to a few of the other houses late last night to say hi - and we definitely got the best house. Most people are living two to a cabin and share a bathroom, and their houses are pretty small and a little dingy. Our house looks like it could be on the Real World.
There are six girls in it, and we each have our own bedroom and our own bathroom - which we definitely weren't expecting. It's nicer than my room at school. We were told we'd have roommates and that there'd be eight girls to a house, so I was thinking it'd be like a house in the middle of nowhere with, like, concrete floors and four little bedrooms. Not at all. My room is upstairs, and I have my own little private stairs up to my room. The bathroom is tiled with a glass shower, and they provided soap and towels for us.
The whole house has really high ceilings and a lot of natural light. It has tile floors, a huge living room area in the middle, a fridge/freezer and a tiny kitchen space. When we walked in last night, there were Oreos ("galletas de chocolate con crema sabor y vainilla") and Ritz crackers provided for all of us, and Cokes and water in the fridge. Everyone else from the different cabins keeps dropping in and saying hi, especially since we have one of the biggest houses. Seriously...I'm thinking about transferring here.
This morning. We had to be down on campus at 7:30 for breakfast...I almost missed it, I slept in until 7:20. Way to start off well. We're a little wary about eating the food down here, especially drinking the water and eating raw fruits/vegetables, but the staff has said it's safe to drink the water and have ice on campus. I'm still only drinking bottled water, but I tried guava this morning and it was awesome. We had a rice-and-beans dish that I can't remember the name of, but I really should since I claim to know Spanish...and fruit that was absolutely amazing, pineapple and papaya and mango. I'm speaking a little Spanish but I feel like the biggest fool, like I don't know anything. I'm getting a few stares because I'm the only blonde girl on this trip, let alone probably in all of Alajuela.
We took a tour of campus after breakfast, and it's absolutely gorgeous.
We're taking a tour of downtown San Jose and Escazu this afternoon, which is where all the nightlife is. It's about a half hour away. We had a brief intro to our class this morning, but all we've really done is lay out, eat Costa Rican food and get to know each other. Rough life.