There are so many things that are different here. It is seriously like a whole different world. I didnt think I would struggle with the language as bad as I am right now. A lot of the people talk extremely fast and slur words together. And Costa Rica has its own kind of spanish too. There are words and expressions that people use here that are brand new to me! One thing that people say here a lot is Pura Vida. Pura Vida can pretty much mean anything down here! You can ask somebody "How are you?" and they will say Pure Vida! or one time I was teaching a lesson and asked, "how do you feel?" and the sister said "Well I feel pura vida..." and I had no idea how to take that. I guess its a good thing though! haha They also say Tuanis or supertuanis which means cool. OH also! Remember that finger snapping thing I did in middle school that you hated? Everybody does that here! If something cool happens they will yell OOSH TUANIS and start snapping their fingers together! Its so funny! The Costa Ricans are called Ticos. Usually when you want to say something is small you add -ito to the end, but sometimes people here add -tico to the end and it means the same thing! Its so confusing... Im sure there are still a lot more weird things about the language here that I have to learn.
Honestly, its so hard not being able to effectively communicate with the people here. I feel like Iike I have a lot to offer the people here, but am so limited with the language. Everybody I talk to is so shocked that I have only been here for a week because of how good my spanish is, but I feel like its so terrible. All of the members of my ward on Sunday commented on how great my spanish is, but I couldn´t understand their compliments and my companion had to translate for me... its annoying, but I know that with time I will get better. I just need patience. and help from God. lots of help. haha
My first day I went on an exchange with an elder named Elder Saalvadra from Columbia and Elder Shumway. We went to an area called Tres Rios and let me say.. I was not expecting to EVER see an area that was that poor. The houses were super small and had metal roofs and were falling apart. That area was in the rainforst and it started raining super hard and we were walking through really thick mud all day.
The people here are super poor for the most part, but are really humble and nice. One thing that is both good and bad is that pretty much everybody offers you food or a drink when you visit them. I have had some pretty strange things, but for the most part I´ve liked it all! Except for last night... I went to this members house to teach a lesson, and her house was suuuuppper messy. She made dinner for us that night and served it to my companion and me on dirty plates and cups. She gave us some weird hot drink that she had sitting in a dirty crock pot and served it to us in cups that had old, crsuty, dirty, rotten food chunks in it. It was so gross. Last night I was pretty sick, and I think it was because of that... I feel a little better now, but hopefully I´ll be totally good by tomorrow!
My trainers name is Elder Xicará. He is from Guatemala and he is super nice! He speaks a little bit of english. Thats nice because he can translate some words that I don´t know.
I have time to share one quick story. The first night I was out teaching with Elder Saalvadra and Shumway we went to a progressing investigators house. We taught a little lesson about baptism and it went pretty well. The investigators main concern was that she didn´t have a strong desire to get baptized because the spirit hadn´t told her that she needed to be. At the end of the lesson, Elder Shumway offered the prayer. It was short, choppy and in broken spanish. But when we looked up after the prayer, she was crying. She said that the prayer was so powerful, and she had gained a strong testimony of the gift of tongues and believed that the spirit touched her heart. It was a really cool experience!
Today I went to San Jose and went shopping for some things while I was waiting for some immigration stuff to get processed. San Jose is crazy! there are so many massive buildings and so many people! The drivers are crazy there! All of the restaurants are huge there too! I found a two story Taco Bell, so that was pretty much the hilight of my day! haha I also found a store that sold cheap fake watches... so obviously I bought three!
I don´t have time to write anymore, but I hope all is well with you all!
Can´t wait to hear from you next week!