On Saturday morning my friends and I departed for Volcán Poas. On the way there we made lots of English-speaking friends. At first we were disappointed to stand out, but decided it was okay so long as we were answering questions rather than asking them
. We met a German girl who is in Costa Rica to teach German to children. We also met a British guy our age who is "just traveling". It's amazing how many young people I've met who have the freedom to simply travel as they please. While most of these people have been from Germany, Japan, Belgium, or somewhere in Europe, I've also met several Americans who are doing a gap year. Of course I've also met many international students, especially at the Costa Rican Language Academy. These students come from around the same areas, but seem to have more experience traveling.
At the volcano we lucked out in being able to see inside the crater. Usually it's not clear enough for this to happen. During our hike we took lots of pictures and enjoyed fauna characteristic of higher altitudes. The crater lake was also gorgeous!
After a long day we headed back to San Jose for dinner with our respective host families.
Life in San Jose has made me realize how painfully obvious it is that I'm American. Despite improvements in my Spanish and my ability to navigate the city, I never fool anyone. Whenever I speak in Spanish to a local, they reply in English. I realize that Ticos like practicing their English and making visitors feel welcome, but it can be frustrating. After Medical Spanish on Friday my friends and I went to el mercado artesanos. I was pleased to discover it lived up to my expectations. I was overwhelmed with the variety of souvenirs and their low prices. I bought several things for myself and plan on returning to bring gifts home.