Unfortunately I don´t have as much time to update now as I´d like since we only have a short break before we go to the theater in San José for a flamenco show (not Latin American but Spanish, still exciting), so I´ll share with you what I can manage and add more later on.
I am flabbergasted that it´s already Friday. This week flew by, and I´m really dreading the return to Asheville. Not to sound too dismal or anything, but really, I´m falling in love with this place more and more and don´t know when I´ll be able to return. Like I said, it finds its way into your blood. I know back in my apartment I´ll feel homesick for my Costa Rican family.
Speaking of those sentiments, I´ve noticed that I´m making certain homey associations with things here (not well articulated), like when my mom here washes my clothes, I recognize the smell of the detergent, and it makes me feel a kind of indescribable familiarity, a warmth. Sitting on the porch drinking coffee in the late afternoon produces the same feelings. I think this place, Atenas specifically, has the ability to feel like home much more quickly than others. Contrasted with San Jose, its crowded streets and ugly buildings. I found some nice things to buy from the artisans there when we visited, like a beautifully colored, hand-stitched bag and a bird painting, but the city itself was too fast-paced and grimey for my liking. I will say, though, that the theater we´re going to later is really quite beautful and ornate. It reminds me of some of the places I´ve visited in Europe as far as the detail inside and the artwork. Very aged and intricate.
Last night I rode a ´´moto´´ (ATV?) with my host sister and her friend after playing volleyball with them (apparently a very popular sport here). I spent about 15 minutes trying to decipher what she was asking me to do. We rode it around the block a few times, up and down some steep hills where the view of the darkening sky and surrounding lights on the mountains was breathtaking. I love the wind in my hair (that sounds so lame) - but really, what a rush. Afterwards I decided not to go out and instead went to bed earlier than usual, around 10:30. Oh! I forgot to mention. My host sister Victoria´s friend, whose name I can´t remember, ignored me most of the night and was actually a little rude - just FYI I definitely haven´t experienced any rudeness here other than this one instance. Anyway, he was trying to tell me to move back on the ATV so that three people could fit, but I didn´t understand some of the words he was using. He just raised his voice and looked at me like I was a complete idiot. Now I know how minorities, how Spanish-speakers feel in places like the U.S. when people in public look at them like they´re idiots and only speak slower and louder when they don´t understand something. Very strange to be in that kind of situation, on the other side. I already hated it when people did that sort of thing, now especially after experiencing it firsthand.
I walked home with Victoria and another friend of hers who lives across the street and speaks a little English. They speak rapidly, so sometimes it´s hard to communicate, but I was able to help her understand some English expressions (for example, she asked me about ´´What goes around comes around´´), which was cool. I think they plan to ride horses on Saturday, and I´m hoping I can join them. Something sort of funny they said: they commented on how all the people in Atenas are beautiful, like them. I´ll admit there are a lot of attractive people here, but I found it interesting that they made such a comment so openly. I mean, they are pretty, and you know I think in general the people here are more open about acknowledging things like that. They tell it like it is (hmm, not saying everyone here is beautiful, but you get the idea).
Earlier today we had our last class (I´ll actually really miss it! First Spanish class where I felt comfortable, like I was learning quite a bit. Again, probably a result of the environment here, and perhaps the leaders of the program) and then spoke with a female lawyer here...so cool to see women in power like that...
I would provide more details and also mention the tsunami/earthquake deal, but, shocker, it appears I have run out of time. Hasta luego...
Oh! P.S. Wonderful outdoor market this morning with lots of fruits and vegetables. Best mango I ever had. I bought an orchid for my mom here since her birthday is tomorrow.