Aero: Brittany Gleason – Costa Rica 2014 – Family Life

Aero: Brittany Gleason - Costa Rica 2014 - Family Life

Aero: Brittany Gleason – Costa Rica 2014 – Family Life

Aero: Brittany Gleason – Costa Rica 2014 – Family Life

Brittany Gleason

Brittany Gleason

My housing situation in Costa Rica was wonderful, my host family treated me as if I was a daughter and they had known me forever.  I lived with a woman named Mayra who lived one block from the school with her son Paulo and his daughter Maria.  Paulo and Maria lived upstairs but they were downstairs with Mayra helping her and spending time with us all the time.  I realized that in Costa Rica family is everything, all of the families are so close and they all help each other out.  Mayra had her daughters and her niece over often.  They even had a key to our house so that they could come whenever they wanted.

Mayra is a seamstress, and she sells Tupperware so she was home most of the time taking care of the house, cooking and cleaning.  She loved to cook and always managed to feed us even when we weren’t hungry.   I noticed that she loved to cook because she felt like she was making everyone happy by giving him or her food.  Every time we had the other girls over for a few minutes between activities she would always give them snacks too.  For meals my roommate, Kelsey, and I would always eat alone in the dining room and Mayra would wait until Paulo and Maria got home.  We could never understand why they didn’t eat with us but we got used to it.

Paulo was a mechanic and worked on cars.  Instead of going to a car garage the cars would come to our house.  He would fix them on the side of the road and had all of the tools in his workroom next to our bedroom.  This was interesting because it meant that he could be home more often rather than at work all day.  His daughter, Maria, was there on school break because she usually lives with her mom a couple hours away.  Since Paulo worked at home she helped him by giving him the tools he needed.  Several times we would come home on a break in the middle of the day and Maria would be out helping her dad.  I thought it was really cool that all of the families were so close.


Costa Rica 2014 Photo Gallery

My family did not know any English so the first day I was picked up at the airport it was a little awkward because the communication was difficult.  When we arrived at the house, Kelsey and I went out and sat at the kitchen table with Paulo and our dictionaries and we tried to talk to him.  We talk about an hour or so and Mayra gave us snacks.  Throughout the two weeks it became a lot easier to communicate.  My Spanish was coming back from high school, and I was learning more each day.  At night after dinner for fun the family would sit on the sidewalk in lawn chairs and talk.  Kelsey and I would go outside and we would talk to them.  They really enjoyed learning about the differences between the U.S. and how they live.

Mayra was always very sweet to us; she really did treat us just like her daughters.  I was always very appreciative of all that she had done for us.  She did our laundry every few days, which helped because then we didn’t have to pack many clothes, and she was constantly talking to us asking us how we liked our day.  When she found out that we were going to the beach we came home and she had laid out new beach towels on our beds as souvenirs.  Mine had a beautiful blue butterfly on it and said “Pura Vida.”  I loved it, and took it to the beach.  She also let us borrow sombreros because Kelsey and I have light complexions so our head and faces wouldn’t get burnt.  Another day Mayra gave us cute butterfly loofas for the shower.  She was always so thoughtful.  Even though I gave her beeswax ornaments, and honey from home I wanted to do something else.  When I went to the supermarket I bought her flowers and she loved them.  Then a week later Kelsey bought her strawberries from the market.  She was always giving hugs and giving me reasons not to go home.

Paulo was also constantly helping us; he drove us to the places we needed to go when we met the other families.  He was one of the funniest guys I have ever met.  When he was around we all had sore stomachs from laughing so much.   Our last day together was my favorite; Paulo took everyone up to his future home in Vera Blanca.  It was beautiful and it wasn’t even finished.  Mayra made us all a picnic lunch and then we all danced and laughed.  We created memories that will last a lifetime.  I added Paulo and Mayra’s daughter Carolina on Facebook so that I could keep in touch.  Mayra kept telling me that one-day I will return to visit again, and I am determined to do just that.

Learn More: Study abroad with Modern Languages @ FLCC: Costa Rica!

– Brittany Gleason

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