Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Vegan, A Schnauzer, and a Class Schedule

A lot has changed since I last posted. I’ve completed more orientation stuff and got to see a nature park with both Caymans and sloths alike. Honestly, I didn’t even know that Caymans existed before that tour. Apparently, they are little crocodiles, which Costa Rica also has. Did you know that the sloth must be pretty evolved because not only is it pretty safe from predators without having to run or hide too much, but it also doesn’t have to exert much energy to find food? That’s what our tour guide said, anyways. Makes sense to me. 

Afterwards we took a short bus ride to the Institute of San Joaquin de Flores, my school for the next month and a half. We didn’t have to wait very long before our Mama Ticas (our Costa Rican host moms) picked us up. Even though my host mom, Carmen, had a sign with my name on it, I recognized her immediately as I had accepted a friend request on Facebook the day before and had been creeping. 

My host family is super nice. And would you believe what she said when we got in the car?

“Rachel, ¿usted es vegana?/Rachel, you’re vegan?”
“¡Mi hija también!/My daughter is too!”

Talk about both a sigh of relief and a moment of excitement. Naturally, I haven’t had any real food problems as the food here is both delicious and vegan. I’m talking rice with beans and/or avocado, soup with chickpeas, green plantains (the kind that aren’t sweet yet), and yucca. I told Carmen yesterday that I love yucca, but have no idea how to prepare it. She said I’d learn. 

The family is made up of the father, Marcos, the mother, Carmen, and their two children, Katherine (16) and Juan Pablo (14). I still haven’t met their son, but I’m sure I will soon. 

The family also has a little 6 month of old miniature schnauzer named Yummy (pronounced Yoomy). She is so cute. She loves to be held like a baby and the whole family, even Marcos, talks to her in the cutesy voice reserved for babies and small animals. We took her for a walk twice yesterday and by 8:30 at night, and after lots of trotting, sniffing, and barking at other neighborhood dogs, she was zonked out on the couch. 

Today, was another day of orientation stuff. We learned some about culture shock, though it wasn’t really anything new, and got our class schedules. I will be taking an Advanced Grammar class and a Cultural History of Central America class. I’m excited for both. I will be in class in the afternoon with my earlier class starting at 1:30 and ending at 5 Tuesdays and Thursdays, and my later class starting at 2 and ending 5:40 on Mondays and Wednesdays.  No Friday classes. There is also a twenty minute break in the middle of those classes for water, fresh fruit (think watermelon, papaya, mango, and pineapple), and coffee. 

I just woke up from an afternoon siesta and am pretty thirsty, so I think I’ll leave it at that for now. Besos from Costa Rica.

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