I have been in Costa Rica for one week. I arrived here on Sunday around mid-day and saw my first wildlife right away, just after arriving on the UWC Costa Rica campus. It was so exciting! My first wildlife spotting, a large iguana, I just knew I was going to be seeing a lot of wildlife. And I was right! But, so far that “a lot of wildlife” has been insects. And not a ton of beautiful butterflies or colorful beetles, but swarming winged ants and a zillion other types of ants too. But I have been told, “you get used to them” by many, many people. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed, and I hope you will too! But I thought this guy was pretty cool looking!
My first week here was split between new staff orientation and finding a place to live. The new staff is diverse, as I know the whole campus will be. There are seven staff (from the USA, Colombia, Canada, Germany) and one volunteer (from Belgium, who has started her own blog if you are curious, I found it very interesting.) Though, like me, these men and women have left a bit of themselves in many places, these are their passport countries.
During this week I stayed in one of the residence halls on campus which really did help make the transition easier. In the mornings we had the staff orientation, where we learned about academics, co-curricular and residential life. One of the most interesting things I learned during new staff orientation is that the campus of 168 students represents more than 60 countries!
I went out to look for apartments on Monday and Tuesday, by Tuesday evening I had decided on a place to rent. On Wednesday I had signed the lease, and Friday evening I was all moved in. The college does a great job helping with the move. They provide all the necessary household items on a loan basis during the contract. So, on Thursday and Friday they moved all of these items into my 1-bedroom apartment and I spent Saturday cleaning and unpacking. I still have quite a few “little” things I need to help organize my things, but it is coming together nicely. My new place has a backyard covered patio and is about 50 yards from the school gates.
During the last week we also had many evening gatherings to celebrate the upcoming school year, to get to know the new staff and so forth. The first night I arrived in the country we went out for pizza, it was delicious! And the place is only half a block from my apartment! On Tuesday I was invited to join a “traje fiesta” (like a potluck—bring something to share for food and your own drinks) for all the people living on campus. There are staff who live on campus connected to each of the residence halls and also volunteers, other staff and people like me who were still apartment hunting. That was fun, I met lots of staff and their families that I hadn’t met yet. The following night all the new staff had dinner at the new Academic Director’s house. Thursday we had a lovely meal of very popular Costa Rican cuisine (ceviche and chifrijo) at the College Director’s house. And Friday, we had another traje fiesta on campus for all staff who were interested.
Sorry, for the long post, but I feel like so much has happened I don’t want to forget anything. But I will leave you with some photos from my first Costa Rican tourism. Sunday the new staff took a trip to Poas Volcano. The area is in a cloud forest and has two crater lakes one has constant steaming action. I will leave you with these pictures of the trip.