Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Where the pavement ends.

Living in a small Central American town has its perks and its downfalls. One of the downfalls is seeing strange insects and animals running around our house.  Imagine the chaos that ensued when five girls watching a movie and doing homework saw a gecko run across the wall.  Cue excessive screaming and the frantic batting of brooms in an effort to shoo the gecko out of the house.  Imagine five girls standing on chairs and tables in order to avoid being crawled on (even though the gecko was on the wall), and collective screaming every time it made an appearance. Although mildly terrifying at first, it soon became an object of amusement as we reflected over experiencing new things in a foreign country.

Costa Rica is certainly charming in every way – from the seemingly never-ending mountains to the host families who treat us as their own family to the new food and culture.  I have to admit, I was a little bit apprehensive about living in a house away from downtown Ciudad Colon, where the rest of our cohort was living.  That coupled with living with people I had previously only been acquaintances with initially made me nervous as to how this trip was going to turn out.  The half mile trek through a dirt road to our bus stop to and from UPEACE every morning and afternoon seemed daunting, especially when it seems to start raining unpredictably, leaving us to walk home in the rain.

Where the pavement ends - our bus stop to and from UPEACE
Fast forward a week - After the initial culture shock of living away from the rest of our classmates, all six of us girls have started to adjust to and even appreciate the compound we live on.  The walk to the bus stop in the morning has become enjoyable, with a peak of sunshine guiding our way and some beautiful mountain scenery.  The neighbors always greet us with a cheerful “Hola!” or “Buenos dias!” and the dirt road doesn’t seem quite so long as it used to feel.

Some of the girls on the way to the bus stop overlooking the mountains.

After a slightly delayed bus ride involving some miscommunications, we all arrived at UPEACE for another day of stimulating discussion which challenges our opinions and encourages us to think deeply about each topic.  Today’s topic was whether China or India would be more preferable and successful in the long run, which led into a discussion of if we would rather live in China or India.  We discussed ideas of political freedoms, history, cultural values, and personal background.  This discussion really pushed us to look at things from different perspectives and push further into cultures we really aren’t too familiar with.  

After school today we decided if we were going to venture around down town Ciudad Colon or go back to our quiet sanctuary.  In the end, we decided to go back home and work on homework.  Once we arrived at our house, we started off the afternoon by picking fresh oranges from the orange tree in our backyard before retiring to our homes to take a siesta before another night of homework.  This place is beginning to look a lot like paradise.

Alaina, Sarah, Colleen, and Jackie walking home.

Studying together on the balcony.

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