I have been asking myself over the past few days if I’m insane for wanting to travel with a large group of middle school kids. Then I remind myself that everything I do involves kids of one age or another. Hanging with adults is more the exception than the rule in the life of a mother of four who happens to teach middle school. Who better to chaperone a ten day trip to Costa Rica with a bunch of kids then? I thought so too, so off we go. Molly is ready!
We arrived at the airport about 4am and waited for the airline representatives to arrive. While nothing happened fast today, everything went off without a hitch. Our flights were on time, everyone had the right identification and no one got lost or sick. All in all, a perfect travel day! From door to door, our journey took about 12 hours with less than 6 of those being actual flying hours.
After not sleeping at all last night, most of the kids slept on the flight from Houston to San José. We met our tour guide, Rafa (short for Rafael) outside the airport and he gave us an introduction to our trip while driving to the hotel. The kids all did great, but we arrived exhausted at our San José hotel, The Best Western Irazú.
During the afternoon, some of the kids went swimming, but my group chose lunch at Subway and a nap over anything active. Turned out to be a good choice as the afternoon rainstorms started soon after we arrived. I was so tickled when all of my “girls” used their Spanish to order their sandwiches. I helped a lot, but they did amazingly well. They also paid their own bills and handled the exchange of Costa Rican Colones for US dollars like champs. I really love witnessing students as they use their Spanish with native speakers! I also love teaching newbies like my Molly how to exchange basic courtesies in the local language. For me, it’s important to try and use as much Spanish here as possible. It goes a long way in making cross cultural connections.
Before dinner, Rafa and I took a group of kids to the MegaSuper store to pick up some grocery items. We will be heading into remote areas tomorrow and will need to have things like bottled water and snacks.
At 7pm, our group enjoyed our first meal together at Denny’s Restaurant of all places. It’s attached to the hotel and can accommodate large groups. The kids enjoyed pancakes for dinner while the adults had mostly chicken sandwiches or wraps. Rafa promised us more authentic cuisine once we leave San José. Can’t come soon enough for me!