So this is my first ever blog... Be patient with me hopefully I will get better :)
Goodbye England, Hola Costa Rica:
Finally after months of confusion and waiting, the day had arrived, were me and Penny would pack our life into a tiny (23kg) suitcase to our new home for the next 10 months. Due to the changes and holdups we were pretty much arriving with a lucky dip to our accommodation, project and lifestyle.
Due to this I was just happy with the fact I had Penny to hold my hand all the way there lol. Saying goodbye to the family was so hard and emotional as it was, but leaving my pets was 20x harder.
So boarding passes at the ready.... Deep breath... Here we go!!
The flight from London to Miami was probably the hardest as the first flight delayed and made us have to run like mad, panicking as the gate was just about to close.
10 hours on a flight with Penny stressing about the turbulence.. Argghhhh headphone in!!
A couple of beers later she was loving the bouncing plane lol. To me the flight didn't take that long as I think I slept most of the way and having 2 seats to myself was so comfy. However our bad luck didn't seem to fail us and after a emotional journey it slapped us straight back in the face. When we arrived to pick up our luggage up and declare it at customs, it was no where to be seen!! Penny stood there so peacefully hoping that 2 very distinctive English suitcases would just happen to come passed as I ran around the caracole frantically thinking that I would never see my GHD's again. Luckily for us there was 7 people off our flight that had the same issue so the baggage control manager cared a bit more and advised us to get on our next flight and ask at the San Jose airport if they still did not show.
Due to the stress and the fact that I had advised Penny earlier that morning that 40% of baggage that is lost on a flight never gets found, the final flight was silent, for us anyway. When stepping off the third and final plane the humidity hit us, all I kept thinking was thank god I didn't pack a mirror in my hand luggage lol. The luggage still wasn't with us although the receptionist for American Airlines had told us that the luggage was not lost, it was just left in London and smiled! WHAT?? 2 days without any clothes! Shoot me now.
When we had had our passports checked 60 billion times we now had to find a man of some description that would have our names wrote on a board, I felt a bit like I was in a movie to be honest. Antoine, a fellow volunteer from France, who has been living in Costa Rica for 6 months started asking us allsorts of questions about our flight and what we would be doing for the next couple of days, I honestly think his first impression was that I was been rude as my brain didn't even function to answer him. When we exited the airport a family was stood waiting for Penny and I was told to follow Antoine to a taxi, I think this for us was the worst part as we had been informed that we would live together in a flat.
I think it was around 11pm (6am in England) when I finally arrived to my new home and my nervous started kicking in as I opened the front door. There stood my host mother, Flory a wonderful Costa Rican lady and gave me a huge hug and spoke to me in Spanish and broken English. Also there was another volunteer that had been living in her house for the passed 6 weeks and would be here with me for the next 10 months, Salome, a lovely Swiss girl that automatically put me at ease. After that everything is a blarrr as I got to my bedroom and passed out Zzzzzz!
The Morning After the Night Before:
So... No time for jetlag to kick in, a tour of San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica in which I would spend the next 10 months living and working in. My first thought was of San Jose was that it would be full of wild animals, bugs and lots of trees, how you would picture a typical city in a rainforest. I was shocked when it was just like a smaller, run down version of Leeds, and a few gorgeous palm trees stuck here and there. A trip to the ACI (a non profit organisation) office to meet and greet all the lovely staff that will be guiding us during our stay. A few hours later, head filled with so much information on health, safety, places, classes & projects. I was ready for bed. The next week as pretty much the same as the first, meeting and Spanish classes at the office and trips in and out of the centre on my own getting used to the public transport system.
A Cocktail of Emotions:
So its been 2 weeks since me and Penny arrived in Costa Rica and although she lives 2 hours away from me we have managed to keep in touch and help each other through homesickness. All the volunteers we have met along the way that have been here 6 weeks have said the first 2 weeks are the hardest, due to culture shock, missing families, learning the language and trying to settle in the new life as a Tica. (Not so easy for me with pale complexion, blonde hair and blue eyes) My host family are amazing and have treat me like a part of the family, which has been a big help. I am finally getting used to the uneven pavements and after tripping and falling about 8 times I take a lot more precautions when I walk. The early mornings and early nights are becoming the normal to me, due to the robberies at night, you take a taxi home after dark! Me and my skin still aren't liking the humidity but hopefully that will come in time. The weekends have so far been jam packed and I have seen Costa Rica for the beauty it really is outside of the capital. Amazing beaches, gorgeous views, giant animals, friendly people and not to mention the best cocktails I have ever tasted.
Today was my first day at my project with a lovely Italian volunteer Francesca at a children's shelter named Holgar Sol. It is in quite a deprived area of the central valley and when arriving I was quite sad at the massive difference in which I felt I was entering a completely different country. When arriving the kids were immediately happy to make some new friends and cuddled grabbed and asked so many questions. We was shown around and told that we would be looking after the babies first. I have never been one to be the best with anything from 3 and under however I am looking forward to learning, helping, improving and to help put a smile on children's faces.
Watch this space..
Hasta Luego xx