Puntarenas is actually heaven. It’s so hard to believe I’m really here. I thought three weeks would go slowly, but sadly the first weekend is almost here.

Spanish class has been fantástico! I feel like I’m really getting better, but communicating with my host family, who literally speaks no English, is still difficult. I have class from 8-11:15, go home for lunch, then more class from 1-2. Afterwards, I usually go to the beach, come back for dance class at 5, throw my sweaty smelly body into the ocean, and then go home for dinner. Dance class is so much fun, and since we have it on the balcony of USAC’s building, we get to watch the sun set whilst we salsa, which is always breathtaking. Another one of my favorite parts so far has been the stars at night. I probably haven’t seen a lot of these stars before, especially in College Park, Maryland, and the night sky is just gorgeous here.

My host family is wonderful. We’ve been working on a puzzle I brought for them the whole time, and it has proven to be much more difficult than I had intended. Even though their lives aren’t that different from mine, I’ve really enjoyed how they live much more simply, but just as blissfully. It seems that they live this way by choice, but I notice that it is also a cultural way of life, and although most homes are sufficient and beautiful, they are small. But really, it’s all I need. Although very few people here speak English, there’s a surprising amount of American culture here- music, celebrities, movies (in Spanish though). Another thing- I love the food! Rice, beans, and chicken are a staple meal, but the fish, fruit, and vegetables are so delicious.

This weekend is Fin de Año! Since it’s our only weekend to really travel where we want, I think we’ll go to Montezuma and Tortuga Island in hopes of doing as many activities and seeing as many turtles as possible. By the way, fellow University of Maryland students, there is no better place to look for terrapin paraphernalia than Costa Rica…

Sometimes I think I could stay here forever. But it’s a weird mix- I have Facebook, a phone, and email. I know I have to have those things for safety reasons, but it’s making it hard to really enjoy every moment here. Then again, maybe all this feeling weird is just because I haven’t slept since before finals week… Since I do have Facebook, though, it’s tempting to check it. I’m trying to avoid talking to people if I don’t have to and really immerse myself in Puntarenas. Sometimes I feel like I never want to leave, but since I’ve been in contact with people from home, I think how excited I am to come back. It’s easy to relax at the beach though :).Today, when I was feeling especially restless, I tried to focus on each of my senses. I stared out at the gorgeous waters and even further to the mountains, back to land at the palm trees and at my feet in the sand. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, smelling the salt air and my entirely unsanitary self. I felt the hot sun on my skin and the breeze to cool me off, and I grabbed a handful of warm sand. The more I do this, the better I feel.

I think it’s time I go to the beach…