I made it! We arrived in country on Wednesday at about noon. We have been staying at a hotel in Heredia, about an hour North of San Jose. The hotel we are staying in is pretty koosh so I am soaking up my last momments of warm showers and relatively bugless nights. The scenery is breathtaking. I have been taking pictures and hope to be able to find a way to post them soon. If all else fails, the Peace Corps has an IT guy.
So far, it feels more like a leadership conference than "The Peace Corps" but that should all change on Sunday when we move in with our host families. I will stay with the same family through training. We are sworn in for official service on September 30. I had a momment of panic yesterday when we started spending time with the in-country staff and I had to speak Spanish. I have a really good start, but it is still really hard to translate my witty and intensely complex thoughts, i.e. "Dude! Check out that purple flower thingy." or "This place is the shiz-nit!" I want to skip the "learning" part and step right into the "knowing" part. But as a wise band once said, "Life's a journey, not a destination."
So... some of you may be interested in what I am actually doing. Our schedule so far has been to have breakfast at 7am. I have gotten up at 5:30 the last two mornings to run (okay we walked this morning). There have been four of us each day. We ran the first day, but we have to do laps around the hotel because the only road is a highway and it's really not a good deal to even say "pedestrian" on a Central American highway. We can't seem to agree on how to measure grade, but it is very, very steep so a couple of laps left us pretty tired and just sore enough to know we did something. We sit in sessions all day broken only by two "cafecitas" (coffee breaks) and lunch. So it's really not so bad. The coffee is awsome and flows freely.
Today we met other volunteers that have been in country and the American Ambassador. We have also been presenting our own life stories to the group. As much as I hate to talk about myself, I went ahead and got mine out of the way yesterday. It was really a smart move, because the girl that went after me, was born in a Tai refugee camp to a father fleeing Vietnam and a mother fleeing the Khamer Rouge in Cambodia, was sponsored to come to the states by a church group when she was 8 years old, learned English, graduated high school with honors, and received her citizenship a month before she joined the Peace Corps. She was inspired to join the Peace Corps by a volunteer that she met in the refugee camp and is finally fulfilling her lifelong dream. Glad I didn't have to follow that one. So to say the least, the group has very diverse backgrounds. It's actually a pretty cool group of people, I am glad to be hanging with them and will have a hard time splitting from them on Sunday.
So, now we are on a field trip to Heredia. We are at an internet cafe a couple blocks from the University. We got our first introduction to the Costa Rican rainy season drenching, so I will go find an umbrella when I am done here. :) That's all I got for now...