A Week-In-The-Life of Taylor and Rachel: Spanish Classes in Costa Rica

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About 6 months ago, Taylor and Rachel made the decision to leave their big, important corporate jobs in sunny San Francisco and travel for 6-12 months through Central and South America and Europe. They set some loose goals to learn Spanish, play guitar, and give thought to life’s most important questions. For example: Who shot JR? White or wheat? And do these pants make me look fat? Please enjoy this week-in-the-life of Taylor and Rachel in their third week of Spanish classes in Costa Rica.

See also: How to Become Fluent in Spanish (and Other Languages)

This post was originally published in 2010. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content. 

Domingo (Sunday)

Start of week 3! Week 2 of Spanish classes went much faster than week 1, mainly because we have to use our brains now.

We took a school field trip to the top of an old Volcano today. Volcan Irazu. It was huge and amazing and there were cute little animals that wanted your food and money. I’m pretty sure one of them hit on Rachel, but it’s cool, because he was so cute.

The second half of our class field trip was unfortunately canceled due to the fact that our wonderful guide, Luis, got the worst migraine of all time and had to go home to sleep immediately. Poor guy.

Lunes (Monday)

Today’s homestay breakfast consisted of arroz and frijoles (rice and beans) and a few miscellaneous items. It was delicious. But so you know, this meal was very similar to the meals we’ve had at least twice a day for the past two weeks, and almost definitely for tonight’s dinner and every subsequent breakfast and dinner. People love rice and beans here. It’s more than a staple food…it’s THE official food of Costa Rica.

Fees Fees Fees. Found out that trying to take money via bank and ATM card causes Wells Fargo to charge me a 3% fee. That’s expensive. Jerks. I’ll chalk that up to stupid tax, and try to use my new Capital One no hassle card to take money out, hopefully, that’ll save some cash over the long run.

Martes (Tuesday)

You miss some of the creature comforts when traveling for this long on a budget. Por ejemplo: When pooing, please don’t put toilet paper in the toilet…it clogs the drains. Muy malo. Place in garbage basket. Yes, it sounds weird, but just do it. It’s going to be pretty sweet when I get back to America and visit a friend’s house and forget what country I’m in causing me to fill up his bathroom garbage can with little surprises.

See also: Differences between Living in Peru and USA (video)

Rachel and I had Spanish classes together today because her teacher was sick. Turns out, it’s fun to be in class with someone else…who knew?

We also finished the 2nd half of the Volcano/Sightseeing tour with Luis. We went to some fancy church ruins, saw a pretty waterfall, and visited a church in Cartago that you will read about in a few paragraphs.

Miercoles (Wednesday)

Get used to stinking when traveling. Not only should you only be taking minimal clothing, but you’ll probably have to wear said clothing multiple times before doing laundry. Foot powder is your only friend in Central America. Seriously. Because you stink.

Last night, Rachel worked for hours translating a yoga class into Spanish. She did this because the nice hippie gentleman that is in charge of the class was going to “sweat out” his Yellow Fever (you’ll see). She even went as far as to pick lame yoga music like Enya. In addition to this, she made me practice with her…in front of the homestay house…in the dark…by headlamp. Headlamp.

All of that work and stress and today, who showed up? Only English speaking people. Not only did no Spanish people show up, but the usual yoga room was closed so we had to use a nice, dirty patio. Awesome.

Wednesday was also cool because the people of Orosi were gathering for a protest/Q&A session to discuss having water meters installed at their homes. Currently they pay a flat rate of around $8/month whether they use one gallon or 10,000 gallons.  You can only imagine why they wouldn’t want meters installed. It was very intense. Interesting fact: I have officially been to more town protests in Costa Rica than I was in the United States.

Jueves (Thursday)

Rachel and I went to the spring-fed baths this morning and swam around. The water was warm, but not too warm. We just splashed around for about 1.5 hours enjoying the nice, sunny morning we had to ourselves.

I read my first book in Spanish classes today. To be fair, it was a version of Pinocchio for three year old children. It was hard. This version of Pinocchio was way more bad-ass than America’s version though because of the number of sharks….ie: two sharks. Also, Geppetto was a cyborg.

My First Book in Spanish Classes

Viernes (Friday)

I didn’t feel all that great this morning. On Tuesday, a local hippie (town yoga teacher) that I’ve run into a few times chatted me up after shaking my hand. 20 minutes later, I found out that Rachel was talking to him earlier and he thought he might have Yellow Fever since he was up throwing up and sweating like crazy the night before. So…I probably have Yellow Fever.

For those of you that don’t know, Yellow Fever is the disease that makes you look like a Simpson’s character. I’m pretty excited about it.

Otherwise, today was just a low key day of studying Spanish and talking to our family.

Sabado (Saturday)

Upon further discussion with Rachel, I don’t have Yellow Fever and thus, will not look like a Simpsons character. She was also pretty amazed that I couldn’t tell the difference between a simple headache and scratchy throat, and Yellow Fever.

Today, we took it easy. Tomorrow, we are participating in a walk from Orosi to Cartago (about 14kms up hill both ways…in the snow). People all over Costa Rica (and beyond) walk to Cartago on a religious pilgrimage on this day each year.

In the coming weeks, Taylor and Rachel are headed to Nosara to hang out at the beach for a month before heading down to South America. They’ll be working on their Spanish, yoga, and learning to surf a little. Keep an eye on their whereabouts at Leave of Travel. Adios!

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