The morning of Host Family Day, I waited by the guard house with an overstuffed daypack and a head full of conversational phrases I had admittedly memorized the night before. My family arrived promptly at 9am and greeted me with a kiss on the cheek and a warm embrace. Feeling less nervous then I had moments ago, I loaded my stuff in the car and we headed into town. Just minutes into conversation, I realized I would only be needing about two of the things I had packed as we would be spending the morning doing art!

Every Saturday morning, my host mom does crafts with a women’s group at a local church. While there, I helped finish a crocheting project and also learned how to do some basic crocheting! I also got to converse with various women who are passionate about art as well as excited about empowering other women to pursue their own love for art. Around lunch time, we headed home and I helped my family prepare lunch. After indulging in lots of delicious food, my family and I looked through photos albums, made tortillas, drank chorreado (typical Costa Rican coffee) and got to exchange many fascinating stories.

Dinner time rolled around quicker than I expected that day, and I packed my things up only wishing I had more time. However, I quickly realized as I arrived back at the Center that Host Family Day not only gave me insight into Costa Rican life, but also created many more friendly faces in town, at the supermarket, at Zumba, and on my morning runs. It’s given me the chance to reach out and have coffee with my host mom or watch an Alajuela soccer game with my host dad. Above all, it’s made the town of Atenas feel even more like home.

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