In the center of Heredia, in Costa Rica's central valley

¡Hola de Costa Rica! It’s hard to believe that we’ve already been in beautiful Heredia for a week and a half — this trip is flying by!

Our time here is off to a fabulous start. The people are really friendly, the food amazing, and our classes interesting. We are living with host families here, and mine is really welcoming and helpful! My host mother, or “Mama Tica,” treats me like one of her own and even gave me a welcome gift when I first arrived.

Costa Rica is a really laid-back place. There are a few phrases that people use all the time to express this go-with-the-flow Costa Rican mentality:

Our host university, La Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, in Heredia

1)   “Pura Vida” — “Life is good”… You can say it whenever you want. If someone asks you how you are, you can say, “Pura vida.” It’s like saying you have no complaints, no worries.

2)   “Cero estrés” — “No stress”… As the ticos say, there’s no reason to worry in Costa Rica because everything’s going to go well.

3)   “Tranquilo” — basically “Be calm,” or “Don’t worry”…. Ticos use this ALL the time. If you ask for water, bump into someone and apologize, arrive late to class, you will promptly be told “Tranquilo.”

Basically, the motto of Costa Rica is “No worries, be happy,” which is pretty easy to abide by.

The cathedral in my town of San Rafael. We are living with host families in quaint towns, and in the middle of mine is this grand, beautiful church.

¡Hasta luego!