Photo by Allison Liu
The day after we arrived, we had to wake up early to meet at the ICDS office. On my first day in Costa Rica, I was already running late (as they call it tico time)! Soon after I’ve arrived, we were on our way to our orientation site, where we will being staying for 2 days. The place where we stayed used to be a seminary and it was absolutely beautiful. There was a big open field that over looked the city that was also surrounded by tall trees and beautiful flowers.
On our first day of orientation when went over introductions, academic policy, safety, homestays, and Costa Rica in general. Introductions was especially fun. We played an icebreaker to help us remember each of our names by saying something funny that happened to us. I said I chipped my tooth from drinking a Snapple bottle. Clumsy me. We also practiced how to greet each other the Costa Rican way, which is to hug and cheek to cheek with one kissing sound. We also practiced getting close and comfortable with each other because in Costa Rica there is no privacy. People like to stand close to you even when you are waiting in line for the ATM. So we played a game where someone says “forehead to forehead”, “elbow to ear,” etc.
Later that night, we learned Latin dancing and that was super fun. Some of us ended the the night with a game of HORSE at the basketball court. One thing that came of a shock to me was that we weren’t going to have warm showers while we are in Costa Rica. The shower at the seminary was super cold! And that there would be a lot of creatures crawling around. Annie found a ginormous dead spider on her pillow before she went to sleep. It was hysterical.
The next morning we hiked in the Tapantí National Park and got to swim in the river. We also got to jump off some rocks. It was my first time and it was exhilarating. Later we stopped by in Orsi Valley where we visited a church built in the colonial time. There was a grave yard that was built next to the church only for people that lived a holy and honorable life. We also stopped by a local market in the city of Cartago. Some of us bought berries for the trip back and I bought a Costa Rican slushy, which consists of 3 types of milk and cherry flavor juice.
Overall, my orientation weekend was great. I learned the Costa Rican culture, danced, jumped off a rock, hiked, ate delicious food, and made new friends from this trip.