“Hola!” This was the first Spanish word that was spoken to me as I disembarked the plane. I couldn’t wait to feel, touch, see taste, and experience the culture of Costa Rica during my language immersion program and learn about what we would come to know as “Pura Vida”– or pure life.
The moment we stepped from the sterile environment of the airport we were immediately immersed into the vibrant Costa Rican lifestyle. The local cab drivers waved their arms as they competed to carry our luggage. But we felt like VIPs as we met our personal guide and boarded our private chariot that was our magic carpet to adventure and learning. That first night we were welcomed with an amazing dinner of rice and beans (gallo pinto), plantains, slow roasted pork and the freshest fruit I have ever tasted. As one of my companions put it -“this tastes so good it should be artificial” which became a running joke for the week. “Jaam Jaam” (YumYum) as we liked to say.
Our “tico”, or local, told us that night during our scrumptious meal what adventures awaited us. We had all come to this place with our own intentions for the trip, but never in our wildest dreams did we expect to experience such life changing events and meet people who would become like family in such a short time.
All things were made a reality in time. Everyday we were surrounded by lush vegetation, warm ocean breezes and the sweet aroma of sugar and fruit. The promises of horseback riding on a beach, surfing lessons, snorkeling, language classes, waterfalls, zip-lining and mud baths, just to name a few, all came true in the days to come. It would be easy for me to relive our adventures day by day, but I would rather leave it to your imagination and let curiosity get the better of you. I think one of my new family members said it best when they said “It’s a trip of a lifetime”- I could not agree more! The hospitality of Costa Rica and the warmth of its people will live in my heart for the rest of my life.