Today was the first full day that we spent at the institute. I couldn’t believe it until I thought back to all our jam-packed days where we have been so busy traveling around the city between the University of Costa Rica and other healthcare sites we have visited. That’s when I realized, we hadn’t had a single full day just in one place! Despite this, the day was anything but boring.
In the morning we talked about our next transition, which will be to a more rural location in Costa Rica, and how we can prepare for our time there. To me it seems too soon to be leaving San José, but there’s no choice but to look forward to the new environment and the opportunities that it will afford us. We will be doing hospital rotations and activities within the community, which should be extremely interesting, although right now it seems a little nerve-wracking!
Luckily, there was a nice event planned today… we had a Fiesta de las Frutas! The staff at the institute prepared a beautiful array of local fruits for us to try. Remarkably, they are all in season, which is a rare treat for those of us who live so far north in the Americas.
Among my favorite fruits to eat were the momones, which are on the small green fruit behind the plate of pineapples.
A few people have asked me what my favorite thing I have eaten so far in Costa Rica has been, so I guess it should probably address that. I would have to say that everything that my host mom cooks has been delicious, and most other meals (we eat lunch in San Pedro most days) have been excellent as well. My host mom has asked me a few times what I normally eat at home, and if my diet is very different. So far, it is basically the same, eating a lot of rice and beans, and getting vegetables and fruit whenever possible. That said I can really taste the difference in the food that is from the country as opposed to imported meat and fruit which are commonly eaten in the USA. My host mother explained how to make a few of her classic dishes, which I can’t wait to try when I get home! What is my least favorite Costa Rican food? I know I share this sentiment with my classmates. It is… “American food”! Appropriated dishes have probably been the only things that I wasn’t completely thrilled to try.
After a huge plate of fruit at the Fiesta de las Frutas, we were able to sit around and talk as a group, which I really needed. It’s during this time of the trip when some of us are a little homesick or anxious about the upcoming shift in host families, location, and daily structure. Finally feeling confident about using the busses and navigating in the neighborhood of the university and my homestay, it is bittersweet to think about our next move! It will be hard to leave my host mom where I am so comfortable to go to an unfamiliar family once again.
That said, my host mom told me that she actually has a sister who lives in the town that we are traveling to next! It reminds me that our networks are only expanding as we travel around, and that I am so lucky to be surrounded by great people.