Aero: Meagan Hilsdorf – Costa Rica 2014 – Family Life

Aero: Meagan Hilsdorf - Costa Rica 2014 - Family Life

Aero: Meagan Hilsdorf – Costa Rica 2014 – Family Life

Aero: Meagan Hilsdorf – Costa Rica 2014 – Family Life

Growing up in a small rural farming community I was raised in a loving family and grew up in a small tight nit community. I grew up having a sense of the importance of family, education and faith. My family is very close and even though some of us live father away we keep in contact and take time to see each other. However, my life has become busy with college, work, family and friends. Often my daily routine has become classes, labs, quick meals, homework and projects, calling home and coming home on the weekends to work and catch up with family and friends. When I’m home we have dinner together as a family but it’s normally over a quick dinner, homemade dinners are more for special occasions. Also, I have found that I spend more time talking and communication via texting or face booking friends and family. As much as I value talking one on one with others, often it’s more convenient or quick to do so electronically. In addition, I am a big planner and time organizer, which is important to be able to do well in school and manage my time.

On the contrary, my first experiences in Costa Rica with my host family it became apparent of the strong sense of the importance of family and close bonds. The first night not only was I introduced to my host mother Guiselle, but her family who all lived close by. They were are very warm and welcoming, and took me in as part of their family. I also found out how important meals are and how they bring the whole family together to talk about the day and spend time together. At first I wasn’t able to communicate very well in Spanish but they were understanding and worked with me to help me with my speaking skills, also Guiselle spoke a little English which helped as well. Also, I discovered that all the host families were very welcoming and we all became extensions of their families, it was quite touching and it was amazing how close we all became during our stay. In addition, I got a chance to experience a totally different pace of life. Instead of a tight schedule I found that there was a flow and a more relaxed pace of life that focused more on enjoying the small parts of the day. Such as enjoying meals and enjoying the car ride by chatting, instead of rushing to get to point “a to b” or specific schedules or set times. It was more of enjoying the ride and the people you are with then getting to the destination. For me it was a nice change and opened my eyes to aspects of life that I had unintentionally forgot was important.

In addition, I found that religion and faith was a large part of life. I was given a chance to go to church service with my host mother and it was nice to be welcomed and able to take part in the service. I was also able to connect with my host mother and shared experiences about going to church with family in the United States. We also got the opportunity to go to the Basilica on the Three Kings Day, which was a huge celebration and important day for the people of Costa Rica. It was quite the experience to be able to enter such a building so connected and vital to the lives of people. I was taken aback by the number of people who traveled to this sacred site to worship, seek forgiveness and healing, and to receive holy water from the spring. Also, people were more open about their religious beliefs and how connected their faith was to their daily lives with nativity scenes, Rosaries and crosses and images of Jesus from religious items to even murals on buses.

Overall, I truly enjoyed the time with my host family and being able to experience the special bonds of family life. Throughout the trip there were numerous opportunities and activities that allowed me to get a real sense of family life. From small family outings for dinner to watching TV was an opportunity to talk and bond, and make memories. Through my experiences with my host family, and the other host families, I was able to reevaluate what is important in life and was reminded that what makes you happy is the people in your life and enjoying close life long bonds.

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

– Meagan Hilsdorf

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