All of our students arrived safe and sound AND with all their luggage. Most of them came in on Thursday, while one was delayed a day because of the snow and ice storm up north. The students met their Tica moms, and by all reports, they were fed and housed well and seem to enjoy their new "digs."
Yesterday the group had orientation to the program and San Jose, took a written and a spoken Spanish placement test, and then walked to a local restaurant for lunch. Many of us had the casada (which means married) for lunch, a local tradition of rice and black beans with chicken, fish, or beef, fried plantains, and salad--sort of the "blue plate special" of Costa Rica These were delicious and inexpensive (around $3). Linda's assistant, Stefani, then took us downtown by bus and showed us around. Downtown SJ is very busy--a combination of modern stores in a pedestrian area and very old, beautiful buildings--all sandwiched between several large and lovely parks (parques). We had a good time people-watching, and, of course, being watched. One student even heard someone call out "field trip" when we passed. We were a little obvious, I suppose.
When we returned to Mesoamerica, Linda threw a birthday party for Charley (who turns 20 today). We sang "Feliz Cumpleanos" and had home-baked chocolate and lemon cakes and ice cream. The Tica moms came back to pick up their "kids," and the students were busy making plans for shopping and nightly activities. I've posted a few pictures of the day's events; however, I did not take any pictures of downtown. We'll get some of those posted later.
Today I'm meeting several students for lunch and to decide what they want to do for the day. Tomorrow is our first field trip to Cartago, Orosi, and the Volcan Irazu--then back to Meso for a Superbowl party.
Adios por ahora. Students will be posting their thoughts and pictures on this site as well, so stay tuned.