My typical day in Heredia Costa Rica

It always starts around 4 am with the roosters crowing and street traffic picking up. By 5 it is light and I can’t sleep anyway, so I get up and get ready for the day, check email, etc.If I’m feeling brave I go ahead and take my nice cold shower.   Breakfast is at 7 – we have different things for breakfast, but always filling and good. Today it was fresh cut-up pineapple with bananas, yogurt, cereal, toast, fresh juice and coffee. We leave the house at 7:45 for the drive to CPI (our Spanish school) where class begins promptly at 8. There are 4 students in my class and our teacher Marcella is excellent. We spend the first few minutes discussing what we have been doing (in Spanish of course). Between the “interesting” events and our limited Spanish, this is always a hilarious exchange. Here is a story worth telling. On Wednesday night a large group of students went out to dinner together which was very fun, but took a long time. By the time we returned to our “Tico” houses, it was nearly midnight. One of the students, “Tony” had 3 keys to get into his house.  For some reason though, he needed 5 keys to get in and everyone in the house was asleep.  He knocked and called out several times, but no one opened the door.  Finally, he decided just to sleep on the chair in the courtyard.  Actually he didn’t get much sleep because it was chilly and he had no jacket and there were a lot of mosquitos. All he had was his umbrella that he used to cover as much of his body as possible.  After several restless, uncomfortable hours, at 5 am the door opened and his “Tica Mama” came out to get the newspaper.  She saw a body under and umbrella and screamed.  This woke Tony up and he screamed.  He then explained to her what had happened and she was quite apologetic.  He finally got to come inside for two hours of sleep in his bed.  When he got to class he was very tired and covered with mosquito welts.  When he told this story, it was much more hilarious because of his broken Spanish and our teacher and all of us were trying to comprehend what happened – the teacher made him explain over and over because she didn’t believe what she was hearing.  Finally she said, “Que incredible”.

We spend 4 hours in Spanish class, with a 20 minute break at 10 am  where we are served fresh fruit and some sort of bread which is usually very tasty.  At 12 morning classes are complete and we walk to a nearby “soda” (fast-food Costa Rican style).  I always get the “casado”  (plate of the day) which cost $4.60 and includes your choice of chicken, pork or meat, rice, black beans, platanos and avocado salad.  It’s always more than I can eat.  The meat is stewed with a lot of spices and is very tender and picante.  Then we walk back to our casa – about 2 miles, uphill – great way to work off that lunch!  Usually in the afternoons it rains, so we are inside doing our homework, or relaxing.  It’s dark by 5:00 p.m  Dinner is served at 6.  Last night our “Mama Tica” made sauteed fish with lots of garlic and sour orange, platanos maduros (fried ripe plantains – wonderful!), and a large salad.  Dessert is not typically served except for special occasions.  We enjoy sitting around the table talking about our day (again, in Spanish, which has its comical moments!), relaxing or watching TV (also in Spanish of course) – I especially like trying to figure out the news programs.  Then off to bed!  For me, a great day!!

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