Aero: Kathryn Zawisa – Costa Rica 2014 – My Expectations

Aero: Kathryn Zawisa - Costa Rica 2014 - My Expectations

Aero: Kathryn Zawisa – Costa Rica 2014 – My Expectations

Aero: Kathryn Zawisa – Costa Rica 2014 – My Expectations

To be able to write my expectations of what traveling abroad to Costa Rica will be like is difficult for me. I signed up for the trip solely on the fact that it was a Spanish-speaking country and that’s it. Before I talked to anyone about the trip I had no idea what the climate, people, country or anything was like. Most of my knowledge of the country will probably be gained from a National Geographic book on Costa Rica that I may or may not read on the plane and I’m fine with that. I like to be thrown into new situations, to experience things with fresh eyes and not have third party opinions about every single detail.

Even though I’ve had years and years of practice with Spanish, I know I’m going to be nervous talking to native speakers. It’s definitely going to be a challenge I’m going to have to overcome but I’m sure by the end of these two weeks I’ll be more confident in myself and what I’ve learned.

Another thing I’m nervous about is directions and getting around Alajuela. Ask anyone, I have no sense or direction or distance and the fact that I can’t use my phone GPS makes me not even want to think about the situations I could be getting myself in. I just have to keep telling myself “Hakuna Matata” and hope I’m with someone who knows where they are going at all times!

Living with a host family will definitely be better than living at luxury hotel for two weeks. Like I said before, I’m going to Costa Rica to get the full cultural experience, not to live in a hotel that I could find in the U.S. Getting a feel for the family dynamics and the different routines in the household seems like the more wholesome experience I’m looking for. I was surprised and kind of nervous at first when I found out that I was living alone with the host family. After I thought about it, I realized it was going to be another challenge that I could have fun with…bring it on! I’m fortunate enough to have my own room and bathroom in this house because if I didn’t I’d always feel like I’d be screwing with a routine they may have had before me. Luckily, for my mom’s sake, I also have Wi-Fi at the house. Even though she can go over a week without hearing from me at school, she said it’s totally different when I’m in another country and she needs to hear from me often…Okkaayyy mom, fine! My friends from school and home are also glad I have Wi-Fi so I’ll be able to upload pictures throughout the trip.

I’ve heard a lot about the biodiversity the country has which is probably going to be my favorite part. I’ve never been off the east coast in the U.S., so being able to see the volcanoes, cloud, rain and dry forests along with the tropical beaches is going to be awesome! My camera is going to be constantly flashing to capture the experience and bring it back home with me.

Luckily, college has expanded my pallet and I am very open to tasting new foods. I’ve heard, from family friends who traveled to Costa Rica this past November, that rice and beans are consumed a lot and my digestive system may get a little funky, but at least I know to say “Dondé está el baño,” so no worries, right?

I’m lucky enough to already know two families that live in Costa Rica around the same area that we’ll be staying. I am even luckier to have met and shown one of the families around the area two weeks ago. Speaking to them in Spanish and English settled my nerves a bit and made me realize that I don’t have to be perfect and to just take my time when necessary. Hopefully during my free time I‘ll be able to see their familiar faces and they can take their turn and show me around their country.

In summation, bring on the warmth, new experiences, challenges and unforgettable memories.

Let’s do this thing!

– Kathryn Zawisa

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