Heredia at last....

Trip Start Jan 25, 2009
Trip End Jun 2009

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Heredia,
Wednesday, February 4, 2009

  I arrived on Sunday to Heredia, Costa Rica, where I will be for the next 4 and a half months.  I will be studying at La Universidad nacional (UNA).  It's located around 20 minutes or so outside of San Jose (the capital).  There are three big bus companies that travel between the two cities, so I can go to San Jose any time I want.

 It was fairly hot the first day I arrived.   I met my house mother there Rita Hernandez.  She is 71 years old and is retired.    Judging from the dates of the pictures I received from the program about the house, she has been housing students for at least two years.  
She has four children: 2 sons and 2 daughters.  I think the youngest (Johanna) is in her mid to late 30s.   Johanna also met me in at the university to help collect my things with Dona Rita.
  Johanna works in another city 4 hours away, she's a professor of English.  But, of course, I talked to her in Spanish the whole time J   She stayed with Dona Rita over the break.
Note: "Dona" is supposed to have a tilde (that squiggly line over top) on the N, but TravelPod doesn't compute special characters.   It's pronounced like "donya," and it's a name of respect given to older women.
We drove to Hotel Bougainvillea to get my big suitcase.   We had Pizza Hut for lunch (Dona Rita had not prepared anything because she did not know if we would have eaten lunch before we'd arrived).   They didn't ask me what I wanted on it.  Being a plain cheese pizza lover my whole life (with the occasional toppings) it was definitely the most I'd ever eaten on a pizza.  It had pepperoni, mushrooms, sausage and green peppers.  It wasn't too bad (I ate 3 slices because I was very hungry), but I probably wouldn't eat it again, lol.
I spent the next few hours unpacking.   I have my own room and my own bathroom.   Woot!  The only disappointment was that I have to throw the toilet paper in the trash can here too, ha ha.
The city of Heredia reminds me a lot of Merida, Mexico when I was there back in high school on a school trip.   The buildings are colorful and small in stature.  I think I was once told that the tallest building in CR is like 4 stories high.   Also, the houses are fairly pretty and have gated garages.  In my house, the inside is very beautiful and spacious.
On the second day in Heredia, we went on a tour of the university.  It's fairly small, so it will not be hard to navigate around.  Classes meet once a week for 3 hours (and I've been told they rarely last the whole time).  I'm still working on my class schedule.  Classes start on Monday, February 9th.
By the way, overall, in my houses, I've eaten very healthy food.  I have fruit for at least two of my three meals.   Breakfast varies and usually consists of type of food and fruit; I've had cereal, toast, eggs and fruit.  For drinks during breakfast, I have had tea and juice.  Lunch and dinner vary as well, but I have had; pasta salad, rice, beans, chips, and meat.    Again, only healthy foods really.
As for the weather, it's hot during the day, especially the afternoon (shorts and tee-shirt weather).   But it definitely cools down during the evening and nighttime.  At night if I go out, I wear jeans and a light jacket.
Also, slightly crazy, I haven't seen a rainbow in years.   The last time I remember seeing one is when I was in elementary school.   I'm sure I've seen them since then, but I can't remember.   In the 10 days I've been in CR, I have seen 2: one in Monteverde and one in Heredia.
Also, there are a lot of small dogs here.   Like toy poodles, dachshunds, etc.  And especially, I have seen the Chihuahua.  Most host family in Monteverde and a cream-colored one and in Heredia we have a brown one, named Ori (he'll be leaving soon though, he's Johanna's dog and she lives 4 hours away from here).  And in general I've seen a lot around.
Also, something else I have randomly noticed, the napkins here are small and thin.  I haven't seen anything like Bounty and Brawn napkins or paper towels in the houses.
**Pictures to come soon**
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