And that's the kind of person my host mom María Eugenia Camacho (or Mariu for short) is...super-friendly, loving, funny, and great. She's been hosting spanish students in her home for many years, and delights in keeping up with them via Facebook. She's friends with the garbagemen, with the bus driver, with all the neighbors, with the vendors at the farmers market, with the people from the language institute, with wealthy people, with poor people, and with pretty much anyone she meets. Here she is talking with her brother-in-law at the farmer's market, who happens to be a Sociology professor at the University of Costa Rica.
"No one leaves my house without learning to make tortillas" she told me one morning, and then helped me gain that new life skill.
She's an awesome cook, and gives me fun new fruit to try, like these water apples.
She grows a beautiful garden that has trees of mango, avocado, orange, lemon
She also gives me the newspaper to read each day to improve my Spanish, and talks to me slowly and clearly so I can understand, just like she kindly talks to her 2-year old grandson.
His parents live about 5 minutes from us, and he takes care of them as well as several adult children and his grandchildren also. Here's a photo of some of the family gathered together to watch bullfighting on New Year's Eve.
Here he is buying us ceviche (raw fish in lime juice) from a street vendor at the beach.
"We had children young" he told me "and being a father was really difficult for me. I didn't have any money, needed to work all the time, and lacked experience in how to be a father, so I didn't enjoy it much. But now, being a father to my grandson Santi (whose mother is a single-mom) gives me great happiness" he told me as we were on a long trip. A few minutes later when we got stuck in a traffic jam, he used the opportunity to tickle his little grandson.
And when we saw a toy chicken for sale at a shop near the farmer's market, they purchased it for their grandson Santi who loves the Champion Chickens he sees on TV. Here's a sweet little video of them stopping by Santi's house (just around the corner from ours) to give him the chicken.
I'm feeling very blessed to have the opportunity to live with such an awesome family!