Today was Day one of my trip to Costa Rica with a group from my graduate program at Fontbonne University. Three graduate students in the Early Intervention in Deaf Education program (one of whom is a native of Costa Rica), another SLP graduate student, a professor in Deaf Education, and I are here in Costa Rica for a week filled with activities designed to spread awareness of childhood hearing loss and listening and spoken language options for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
After beginning our day with an early morning flight, we arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica around noon and were greeted by Andrea (the Fontbonne Deaf Ed. graduate student in our group who is originally from CR) and whisked away to a delicious lunch of “Comida Tipica” (typically Costa Rican food). The food, while typical of Costa Rica, was anything but boring! We feasted on rice, beans, and many other dishes, all served on giant banana leaves, while surrounded by Costa Rica’s beautiful mountains and colorful flowers. After we had stuffed ourselves full of Costa Rican delicacies, we dropped our luggage off at Andrea’s house. To call it a house, though, is truly an understatement. Both Andrea’s father and brother are architects, and it certainly shows in the incredible details and beautiful design of their house. After a quick tour and settling in, we headed out again to downtown San Jose. Fortunately for us, we are here in Costa Rica during the week of the biannual art fair. Downtown San Jose was packed with artists of every kind – storytellers, musicians, jugglers, as well as artisans selling their crafts in rows and rows of tents that seemed to stretch on forever. We had a fantastic time wandering around and soaking in all of the Costa Rican culture. Words cannot describe it. I wish I could wrap up the scene and send it to you in a package – the beautiful colors of the foliage, the smell of cotton candy, ice cream, and pina coladas filling the air, the sounds of flamenco guitars and birds cawing the in trees, the colors of the beaded jewelry and mosaic tiles – it was magnificent!
Tomorrow’s schedule includes an observation at Kinder Papillon, meeting with local Lion’s Club members, performing hearing/vision/speech/laguage/cognition screenings at a local preschool (kind of the equivalent of Head Start in the USA), and, of course, soaking in more of the beautiful Costa Rican scenery and culture.
Stay tuned to Cochlear Implant Online for updates from my trip. For now, I’ll leave you with some fun facts about Costa Rica:
Streets in CR do not have names (Main St., Sunset Blvd., etc.). Instead, directions are given in “[number] of meters [in which direction] past [landmark]” — no relying on GPS here!
Everywhere we drove today, I noticed car dealerships, auto body shops, auto parts stores, billboards for oil changes, etc. Why the car-mania? It’s because Costa Rica does not have any domestic auto manufacturers. All cars are imported and thus, very expensive. Therefore, there’s a big industry in keeping the car you have running for a long, long time!
Instead of being called a “grade” or “year” or “graduating class,” each group of graduating seniors is called a “generacion” (generation).
That’s all for now. Pictures to follow once I return to my regular computer and not my tiny travel netbook. Stay tuned!!!