By Katie P., Guestblogger from Coronado, Costa Rica Independent Teen program
My last weekend I decided to spend in Coronado with some other students and of course, my host family. On Sunday, my full final day, I returned to my host home in the afternoon after visiting Volcano Irazu. My host mom and her daughter were sitting at the back patio and I greeted them and started petting the family dog, Lucy. Her daughter excitedly rose out of her chair and said to me, “Mira!” (Look!) This young women in her 30s, in her skirt and designer shoes started bouncing all around the patio getting the dog to chaotically lunge at her feet. Then my host mom stands up and I join in until the dog is so tired and a dizzy that she slurped up some water and collapse to the ground, panting.
For my last dinner my host mom made me my favorite Costa Rican dish: Picadillo, platanos fritos con queso, arros, frijoles negros, tortas, ensalada y fresco. On my last night I couldn’t help but think back on all my time here at my host home with these generous people. My host mother always took at least an hour to cook healthy, balanced meals and was always making sure I was satisfied. Back home, I hardly ever eat home cooked meals so this had been such a treat! I loved to help her cook, even though the only thing I knew going into the process was how to make a salad. Every dinner would include rice and black beans, a salad, and then a few different meats, vegetables, and cheeses each night. Every breakfast she served me a bowl of fruit, and then pancakes, cereal, ham and cheese biscuits, or eggs every morning. I made sure I wrote down the recipe of my favorite meals. She helped me remember the names of all the different fruits I had tried, my favorite being, Mamon Chino.
Monday morning we awoke at 7 am to eat our last meal together. We watched an animated Spanish film and played one last game of Spanish Scrabble. This was a tradition that had started since night one, and even though my Spanish had improved in the last month, I still found this game very difficult. Every time I drew a blank I would turn my letter-holder to my host mom and she would immediately pick out some strange Spanish word that would be worth 30 points. And then of course she would attempt to explain the meaning to me!
Ten minutes before my airport cab was to arrive she came out of her room and handed me a little gift wrapped in tissue paper. I so appreciate everything this woman did for me during my stay in Costa Rica. I open the gift to find a hand painted Costa Rican knick-knack, a penholder to put on my desk and to remind me of this amazing place. I realized when I opened the gift that it had already broken but just a dab of super glue would fix it. I said nothing except for thank yous and we exchange our final gratitude with hugs and of course, a kiss on the cheek. The Taxi driver beeped his horn at 9:55AM.
Staring out the window, I feel mixed emotions about returning home. I miss my family and friends and my habitual American lifestyle, but Costa Rica has been so incredible and eye opening to me. I feel so ambivalent to leave this sweet generosity of my host family, this quaint town of Coronado, this frenzied scuttle of San Jose, and the serenity and harmony of the entire Nation. When I get home I want to write my host mother a letter of Gracias and send her pictures of her family and myself and of my family too. I want to email my Tico friend and convince him to get a facebook, hahaha.
I know I will never forget my month in Costa Rica and I cannot wait to return. There are still so many national parks, volcanoes, beaches, and towns that I have not seen and so many interesting people that I have not met. We arrive at the airport and the Taxista helps to unload my suitcase, and as I lug on my backpack I peak one more look at the contiguous blue mountains. I start through the swinging doors and mutter to the Costa Rican wind, ‘Hasta Luego’ as I know it is not a final goodbye.
Click for more information on AmeriSpan's Independent Teen program in Coronado, Costa Rica.