Costa Ricans use the term "pura vida" to describe the good life, and my first 10 days in the country have definitely been awesome.
I arrived on New Year's Eve and spent the first four days hanging out with my Costa Rican host family: watching bullfighting on TV for New Year's Eve, attending a family reunion, playing with the 2-year-old grandson, shopping at the farmers market, taking a trip to their second home near their salt-production and shrimp-growing businesses, visiting their farmer friends who live in a dirt-floor-and-corrugated-tin home in the country, and then later returning to San Jose where neighbors invited us to participate in two rosario parties where they have a religious and musical program to bless their homes for the new year (followed by a huge fiesta!).
After the first four days of fun and informal language learning, I started my Spanish language classes at the ILISA institute of languages near the University of Costa Rica. After my Tica (what Costa Ricans call themselves) mom taught me the commute, I met lots of great classmates, participated in the city tour and dance class offered by the school, and enjoyed the excellent teachers there. In the evenings, I work out at the little neighborhood gym a two-minute walk from my house, where I learn to talk smack by listening to the reactions of the gym guys to the televised soccer games.
One of the fun Spanish expressions I learned this week is "sacar el jugo", meaning to "squeeze the juice" out of something, or to get the maximum benefit you can from an experience. I'm looking forward to "saca el jugo de la vida"...squeeze the juice of out of life during my time attending Spanish school here in San Jose, Costa Rica the next two months.