Hola! We´ve been welcomed with open arms and enfolded into our homestay families. We found our families on the other side of the airport glass, greeting us with big waves and smiles. We are living on a hillside of family relations and extended families, each with their own lovely homes. Clean, graceful residences with cool tiled floors and open air living. My Spanish is very poor, so everything I have goes into the mix to communicate. French, hand gestures and pointing. Toured the Spanish learning institute yesterday. Some surprises included palatial grounds set atop a steep hillside, mutiple small classrooms for learning Spanish, 5 students per instructor, a lot to appreciate about this teaching model, and a strong tradition of care and attention to each students experience to where they feel confident and independent moving about the country.
Today we were lucky to travel from Alajuela on a small tour bus via a stop by a third generation coffee plantation up to the edge of the active, read steaming but no lava, Volcan Poas, with clear weather to see the crater. Much here to compare to our volcanos and rain forests in the northwest. The La Paz Waterfall Garden and Preserve invites more than one visit.
I am especially struck by how friendly and receptive people are to my attempts to communicate. I credit my ability to understand the gist of what is being spoken to me to their willingness to speak slowly, repeat often, and to the beautiful hand gestures and facial expressions that are part of our communication.