Following a several hour nap, my host family brought me to a birthday party for their daughter and I felt rather welcomed for only knowing them half a day. Only after a short while at the party interacting with the family, home didn’t seem so far away. The next day I met fellow volunteers and students, Anni and Beverly, for an afternoon of ziplining through the jungle. It was awesome to take part in one of the things I wanted to do in Costa Rica so soon.
When classes started at the Language School, I was very impressed by their facilities and the professionalism of their instructors. They never made me feel uncomfortable or unintelligent no matter how badly I butchered their native language. Even though I was only at the school for a quick five days, my Spanish dramatically improved, and I had a lot of fun learning. I almost wish I had more time at the school and with my host family. I feel very lucky to have stayed with the Barley-Zuniga’s; they made me feel more like a family member then a quick guest.
I was very excited to arrive in San Ramon and begin my project. After my final class at the school, Marianella picked up the girls and I. We also met Moss, a fellow volunteer just arriving.
The hour and a half van ride flew by as we all told jokes the entire time. When we arrived at the house I was pleasantly surprised to see how nice it was. Everyone in the house clicked instantly and there was great chemistry between us that continued for the duration of my uVolunteer experience. It also didn’t hurt that we were all exceptional dancers and demonstrated it that first Saturday at Night Fever.
My first day at the Jose Joaquin Salas Perez School consisted of singing songs in English with the first graders. At first I didn’t understand how my dreadful singing voice could aid the students in any way, but over time lessons changed and became more of what I had previously anticipated. I also realized that just the students hearing English spoken by a native tongue was truly instrumental in their progress. The teacher I worked with, Ronald, really made learning fun for the students. I will always remember the enthusiasm and positive attitude he brought with him to each class.
My time teaching English at the school made for a lot of great memories, but I can’t forget about the weekend trips to some of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
Volc’n Arenal at La Fortuna, Tamarindo, Santa Teresa, Manuel Antonio, and Puerto Viejo were the idyllic backdrops for R n’ R after a week of volunteering. It never got old knowing that while I was on the beach soaking up the sun, everyone back home was all snowed in. The mountain air of San Ramon was always a cool comforting reminder we had returned home after a weekend of fun.
Even though it is my time to return home to the states, I know I will always carry Pura Vida with me wherever I may go. My experience wouldn’t have been the same without Andres and Marianella from uVolunteer, who were always a phone call away if we ever needed anything. I have made lifetime friends from all over the world in my fellow uVolunteers. I will miss running into the smiling faces of my students every time I hit the streets of San Ramon and Dona Isabel’s amazing cooking and warm heart. Thanks to everyone involved in my uVolunteer experience for a lifetime of memories in only 8 short weeks.