For this reason, I'm pretty nervous about packing my bags for Costa Rica. I leave on Friday, and have told myself I'll be packed before tomorrow is over, so I have time to remember this, that, and the other most obvious thing that should have gone in my bag before anything else! We'll see how that goes, since I've still got exactly 12 things on my grocery list for tomorrow, and many things to Xerox or prepare before they can go in. But the good news is, I wiiiiilll still have Thursday and Friday if needed.
Remembering things is also one of the reasons for this blog. If all goes well I will be taking a photo class in San José and will have memories that way, but details about them are likely to go sailing away not 34 hours after the fact. So I'll record them here, whenever possible, hopefully using the fact that other people might be reading this (my apologies on the poor writing, if you are!) as an incentive to keep it current.
Just as a reminder (or information session, for those ears I haven't quite yacked off about this), I am going to San José, capital of Costa Rica, to study abroad from March until early, early July. I will be attending Veritas University, a private school somewhat downtown, by way of a private study-abroad program, and living for one month in a private home, the other 3 in dorms privately owned by my program. Since I'm a Spanish major, I'll be taking many Spanish classes there, the exact ones contingent on how well I place in the language exam, and hopefully, as I said above, also one photography class. Suppooooosedly we will be having the chance to go cool places as a program, visiting things that might include a cloud forest, a beach, a volcano, a rainforest, a cave, a small Carribbean town, or a coffee plantation. They all sound good, but we've not yet been told which we'll get to do, so I hope I have the appropriate vaccinations, gear, and carrying-things!! (I'm sure I can buy whatever in San José. It's about half the size of St. Louis, but getting closer and closer to completely engulfing the capitals of the 3 neighboring provinces as well.)
More facts about the trip are that:
-I've been reading a few guidebooks, but none so diligently as I now wish I had.
- I also looked up Costa Rica on Wikipedia a few weeks ago, as a quick resource to find out the president (Oscar Arias, if you were wondering), and read that the country's name translates as the Coast of Rice. I'm so glad I know that.
-I've been practicing my Spanish, both by looking over a phrasebook-type-thing, and by going on walks with a friend of my mom's who grew up in Ecuador and is being super nice and patient to hold Spanish conversations with me. (Gracias, Linda!)
-I did not place as highly as I should have on the written portion of the practice test, which was administered online and which I was not allowed to finish due to procedure confusion. This means I'll probably be put into a class, for the first "intensive language month" crash-course, that I've already taken in Colorado.
-My friend and future roommate Anna will be coming to visit me my third week there, along with her brother. I worry that I won't know enough about the city yet to be a good guide, but I'm certain we'll have a lot of fun anyway.
- Half the time I will be there will be dry season, half, wet. This is the distinction Ticos (what Costa Ricans call themselves) make between parts of the year, since the daytime temperature ranges only from about 23ºC to 28ºC year-round. This translates as mid-70s to mid-80s in Fahrenheit, though at night, we're told, it can get down to 60 or 65º F. Of course elevation plays a role, as well. Cloud forests will be cooler than this, and the coastal areas much warmer.
- The aaaaaactual translation of Costa Rica is Rich Coast. I do hope you knew that.
Okay, well that's it for my first blog-post. I didn't include much of my emotions there, but they range from absolute terror/anxiety to extreme excitement that this might be the best semester/trimester ever! I'll keep you posted on how it turns out, aaaaas it turns out, and I'll possibly even make one more post before I leave. ...Cause I feel like I've forgotten something.