I am currently in Lindsey´s house, she is another student on the trip and is also my neighbor. Our families are related, so they leave their doors open and drift in and out of each other´s homes (I´m not sure if these are apostrophes because this keyboard is different), sharing food and drinks and talking. It´s a very simple, beautifully open environment, very tight-knit and relaxed. Children live with their parents until they are married and start their own families, and still they don´t seem to go far. Here, where Lindsey and I are staying, nearly everyone is related and lives within walking distance. How different from the United States where families move far away and children distance themselves from their parents - not all the time, but frequently. Being here is nostalgic somehow - I want the closeness for myself. The air, the slow time.
I don´t have enough time to update because Maria, my host mother, is cooking dinner for me, and then I plan to go out for my birthday. We celebrated today at Odi´s house (a lovely home with a pool and spectacular view of the mountains and valleys, you will see pictures soon) - she is one of the directors of the program - there was a piñata and tres leches cake and everyone sang to me. Also, this morning, everyone in our area came in and wished me a happy birthday. I received a beautiful necklace and earrings from them and many hugs with a kiss on the cheek. They all remembered my birthday and are so thoughtful! Before the party a woman came and talked to us about Walmart in Central America and in Costa Rica. I took many notes but don´t have time to go into detail.
We did many other things yesterday - last night we went to a dance club on the outskirts of Atenas, me and a few other people, where we danced and celebrated my 21st. There was a wrap-around terrace and a wonderful view. We also went to a local fiesta in Plansillos where there were many locals and delicious food and dancing as well as a bull show. I spent a good ten minutes this morning trying to communicate the word bull to my family because I could not remember how to say it!
Overall things are lovely, but it was definitely hard to adjust at first. More later...so much to share! I wish I had more time and energy.