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July 6, 2021

By Nina, Raine, Layla, and Bella

 

Travel & Nature

¡Hola from Nina! On the first night of our program, we stayed in a nice hostel in San Jose — and we even got to shower! Loud monkeys woke us up at six in the morning, and then we were off to Monteverde by eight o’clock. The three-hour bus trip felt like a Disneyland ride, as we drove along a ridge overlooking views of beautiful green trees and mountains. We even saw some monkeys and coatis (kind of like raccoons)! In Monteverde, we wake up every morning at six (early but so worth it) to take advantage of the most beautiful and clear time of the day. The weather is perfect — with a small breeze but still humid. We all get to eat breakfast on the top balcony where we are overlooking this stunning view. It seriously feels like I’m living in a movie. By the afternoon, it gets more foggy and humid, but it’s still cool because we’re literally walking through clouds. We haven’t explored much beyond our hotel area because we’re in quarantine for a couple of days, but we’ve seen some monkeys, cool birds, LOTS of ants carrying leaves, and centipedes bigger than our hands. Anyways, I can’t wait for more adventures in the next three weeks in this paradise home!

People

¡Hola! My name is Raine and I am currently on the AMIGOS Monteverde y Costa Atlántica trip in Costa Rica! We’ve only just begun, but even in the first four days, we have made many genuine connections with other volunteers, staff, and some members of the community. Shortly after arriving in San Jose, we were assigned roommates — and a complete stranger that we had to share rooms with became the only one we could take our masks off around. Despite my initial anxiety to share a room with someone I’ve barely spoken to, all of that quickly faded when we got to talking. Although we arguably should have been sleeping, that first night allowed us to bond. After that, we spent most of our time with our roommates for COVID-19 safety protocol. We were also assigned a “mini-pod” that consisted of four other people. In this group, we must keep our masks on, but we’re allowed to be close together. This means that all of the activities so far have been spent with these people. In my pod, there are kids from all around the United States, from the Bay Area to New York. There are 15 volunteers from around the US in our group, and even though we haven’t spent too much time with people outside of our pods, everyone is extremely kind and welcoming. It’s so easy to get along with everyone, especially because we all chose to be here. The types of people who choose to do AMIGOS are similar in a sense, but it is also interesting to learn about everyone’s different backgrounds and what makes each person unique. Aside from the other volunteers, the staff are also very kind and accommodating. They’re always happy to help and do their best to support you. Even in the first four days, with the added obstacle of pods, we have created a caring and supportive community. Without our phones, we are able to make real and genuine connections with others, and friendships that I hope to continue to strengthen after the program. The people we have met so far, from the other volunteers, the staff, and the wonderful Spanish teachers, have made this AMIGOS experience extremely positive and fun. We’re still in the beginning, but I can’t wait to continue to bond and work with these people and reach out to the communities when it is safe to do so.

Food

¡Hola from Layla! We’ve never even seen most typical Costa Rican dishes before, so there are a lot of opportunities to try new delicious foods and so many tropical fruits that we don’t get in the States. It took my roommates and I way too long to figure out how to open a granadilla fruit, but it was delicious and so sweet once we learned. Another amazing Costa Rican dish is gallo pinto, rice and black beans — SO good, and included in almost every meal. The food is an amazing part of the experience, and I am so glad I got the opportunity to join AMIGOS this year and experience a new culture.

Language

¡Hola from Bella! On our second day in Monte Verde, we started Spanish class at the local school with a professor named Jenny. In class, we practice speaking with common phrases and learning verbs that will help us in real-life conversations. We even learned slang! “Mae” means “dude” or “bro,” and “tuanis” means cool. We are practicing daily conversations, so that we will be ready when we encounter real-world situations, like buying something at a store in Costa Rica! ¡Hasta luego!

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