It is amazing how fast time goes by when you live in the moment! Our group is two thirds of the way done with our time in Costa Rica and we only have two more weeks of classes (including finals)! During the past two weeks we have spent a lot of time with our host families, as last weekend our field trip was a day trip. Just as back in the United States, each family in Costa Rica is different in their own ways; not every Costa Rican family lives their lives in the exact same way, although there are some customs that seem to occur in all families. Many of us have a lot of extended family that lives nearby; my tita and tito (Endearing terms for Grandma and Grandpa, similar to gram and gramps) live about 12 houses down, and I have a lot of other family that lives on the other side of town. It is also common for families to spend free time relaxing at home with each other. The lifestyle here is not as hectic and go-go-go as in the United States. The people in Costa Rica, or “Ticos,” refer to their lifestyle as “Pura Vida” which translates as “pure life.” This phrase is often used as a greeting, “hola, pura vida’’ or said in response to the question of “how are you?” There are a lot of phrases like this, and uses of words, that are not necessarily “textbook” but that we have learned during our time here.
Last Saturday we went on a one-day trip to a biology research station that belongs to Costa Rica University in Punta Morales. While there we were able to talk with a woman who is part of a group of women that raise and harvest oysters. We learned about the process of raising and harvesting oysters and how the group first began almost ten years ago. Then, we had the opportunity to go out into the gulf of Nicoya on a boat before touring mangroves. In the gulf, we saw many pelicans, a turtle, and many local fishers in their boats. We learned about the fishing business and regulations in the gulf, and the effects on the environment. To end the boat trip, we went through mangroves and talked about the important environmental impacts of these areas.
Tomorrow we leave bright and early for a seven-day trip to the Guanacaste province in northern Costa Rica and Nicaragua. We are all very excited for the adventure that awaits us and the opportunity to learn about another new country through first-hand experience.
Until next time, Pura Vida!