Picture this if you will. (No really, please. Still no camera (ergh) and feel that now I must be more descriptive with things in written form...) Getting up at 4 o clock in the morning, chugging down a glass of orange juice with your aforementioned host mother, and running out of the house to meet your friend who is to be at your gate at precisely 4:07. Who makes meetings specifically seven minutes after the hour? Yes, LeeAnn does.
Last weekend, I spent my first night in my host site. I'm not going to lie, I didn't even leave the house. I know there is much to explore and learn about, the school, the church, the well, really that's about it. But there was so much to learn about in the backyard alone, I'm getting ahead of myself though. Let's travel then back to that morning.
I woke up at midnight and every ten minutes after that, except of course between 3 and four, hence the chugging. I grabbed my bag and went around the corner to meet my friends traveling with me. Then there was much waiting. We got on the bus here in Orosi, standing with our luggage for the 45 minute ride up a mountain, and went into Cartago. We wandered around for a few minutes and went to the bus stop in Cartago bound for Turriabla. Here we moved up to seats and under the bus storage. Pure comfort. Though when the bus filled up there was a man a bit too liberal with the cologne standing right next to me which made it necessary to breathe a bit less. You win some, you lose some.
At Turriabla and waited in the bus station grande, a really nice one where you could eat and sit and what not, and so we did. They also have a cappuccino machine where one actaully pulls shots instead of pushing a button. Che Rico. A little while later we were approached by a shorter, older, mustached man wearing a leather cowboy hat asking if we spoke Spanish. He had kind eyes. I knew instantly. This was my year long host father. He spoke to us for a while, about you know, rain and buses, most of which I did not understand. We offered him a seat, he declined and said he was going to go walk for a bit and he left. He would come in periodically to check that I hadn't gotten lost I think. He would talk for a minute or two, the cows aren't producing much milk yet, there were mudslides just last night and then as abruptly as he had come, he would head off in the other direction, always with some sort of instruction to my friends, "Don't let her wander off." He must have known I was a wanderer of sorts somehow... As my friends met him, there were descriptors like, "he's adorable", "precious" and "what a bad ass". Wait, A Bad Ass? "I love his belt." What? When he checked in again I saw it, a black and white snake skin belt and buckle. "I bet he killed that snake." Probably, actually. There will be snakes. However, I should better knowing that this soft spoken host father can not only kill snakes, but he may also make awesome accessories out of them. Sweet. Finally it was time to wait get on the bus. We stood next to each other awkwardly with nothing really to say, but without the same terror that there has been (for me, at least). When we were getting on the bus I held a bag of his groceries while he put my suitcase up which I admit, was heavy. Then I just sat with this white and pink striped bag in my lap. I didn't know what it was but it was cold... Then my friend got on the bus since she is in a nearby town and my host father's eyes just lit up. I'd like to think it was because she speaks more Spanish than me and he was excited to have some way to communicate, but it may have been cause she's really pretty.
So we rode on the bus for a while and go off somewhere in the middle of the mountain at a road and a bus stop in the rain. I was quickly ushered into a jeep of sorts and we turned around to go up the mountain. I hate to say but I was told not to wear my seatbelt and as I know nothing of this nature of travel, I followed suit. So we drove up the road a little bit and another gentleman get's picked up. Three men in the car and I know one, but the beauty of the environment, even in the rain, overwhelms me, and I just look around in a stupor. So we drive up the mountain a bit. I think people were talking to me or they were only talking to each other, but the green, and the banana trees, and the fields that run nearly perpendicular to the road, and the occasional house painted in a bright teal or vibrant pink overtook my senses. This was my street, paved or no, this was my street. At a certain point the driver tells me Alto Varas, we are at my site. Sweet.
A minute or two later we stop and I think it must be time to get out. Instead, my host father comes around to the front seat and takes the bag of cold cans from me, then pats my shoulder to indicate that I should stay in the car. He runs off to somewhere. I do not know where, nor do I ask. In a few minutes he came back up to the driver's side of the car and passes through a bag for me. It's a cabbage. The car starts and we continue up the mountain. I no longer know any of the men in the car with me, but I have a cabbage and all is good.
We drive for a bit more, I am trying to memorize landmarks for distance on the days when I will be walking down this hill (mountain). Then the driver points out the school and the church, this is pretty much all of the town. Really. We come to a driveway that goes up higher in the mountain. This pink house overlooking the town will be my home for the next year. I'm pretty much blown away. The guy from the back seat takes my bag inside, turns out he's my host brother. I kiss my host mother on the cheek. She is exactly how I would have imagined her to be after meeting my host father. Shorter, stout, but strong and able. I deliver the cabbage. She makes a salad. All is good.
I talked to my host mother while I ate some rice and beans. I say very little but there is laughter. My host sisters claim to be crazy. I went into the back yard and I wandered out toward the bodega (barn). I walked to the right in the mud (my host father said I had to get a pair of mud boots so I could learn how to milk cows) and took a few steps. There are baskets made out of sticks hanging over head with flowering plants, there is much mud. There is also a precipice. Ha ha, a few steps back and a look to the right. Why, there's a baby cow. Huh, I hadn't seen that coming. Though I suppose I should have. I guess that's all I have time to write for now, though there is much I want to share. Keep looking right, there are always new things to see.