Friday, May 25, 2012

El Primer Día (The First Day)

I slept for twelve hours last night, until 7:30 A.M. mountain time. I move really slowly here and I think my host thinks the same. She always takes a walk at 5 A.M. because the cars aren’t on the road at that time; no one is. I need to change many of my hesitations to really make an impression, and also, I need some Internets.

Her granddaughter Sofia watches me a lot, but I don’t know if she’s doing what babies do normally because I’m a stranger. She’s probably used to the embraces of random adults because Costa Rica is a high-contact culture, and maybe it’s weird for her to meet someone who doesn’t immediately grab her and lift her up to play. Maybe she thinks I’m unfriendly.


We went to the University of Costa Rica for the first orientation, in which the director of the program and other coordinators described the schedule, gave us tips about life in Costa Rica. One example: people don't keep personal space between them and others, or, as one of the directors put it in English, “We touch ourselves here!”

I met a lot of students at the orientation, and we’re spread out over a bunch of districts in San Jose. One guy (Brandon) said he’ll remember my name because he thought I was “Vivian Lee” when I told him my name. I told him no, but my parents did name me after the actress Vivien Leigh (although they misspelled it, which helped me avoid the curse of Vivien Leigh being crazy in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” according to my mom after she watched that movie). Que casualidad! (What a coincicdence!)

According to the program directors, we aren’t supposed to go outside after 5 P.M., don’t take the “pirate taxis,” etc… Many restrictions that make San Jose seem more like Managua, Nicaragua, haha. 

I still need to form my plan more completely for my research project, and I need to work on volunteering with the university. I have an interview with ProDUS (Project for Sustainable Urban Development), but I haven’t been able to contact them without access to the Internet… And I still don’t have a calling card or a cell phone. I'm so lazy when there are obstacles in the way :P

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