Christina and I are translation students from the University of Ottawa finishing up our final credit by completing a translation internship. It doesn’t have to be abroad, but we chose to sit in an office in Costa Rica instead of Ottawa. We’re here for three months (only 2 weeks left!) and work Monday to Friday and travel around on weekends.
For anyone (probably just my mom) who’s curious about what we get up to during weekdays when we’re not surfing or exploring waterfalls, here’s a little breakdown of our life here.
We are interns at a translation agency that translates texts in a wide variety of languages and subject matter. Our office is a strange little bungalow that has a kickass backyard and mango tree with a gorgeous view of the mountains.
We live in the city of San Jose, which is in the central valley of Costa Rica and about 2 hours from the coast on either side. Our house is in the San Pedro area, which is where the University of Costa Rica is located (a gorgeous campus inside of a rainforest). We have a 40-minute train commute to Sabana Oeste, which is where our work is (there’s not much to do there). The train is ridiculous—it could take an entire blog post all on its own. It’s incredibly loud, slow, and busy. The city got rid of their train system awhile back, and then recently reintroduced it again so people aren’t used to it anymore and regularly crash into it as it passes by.
We live in a giant, chaotic house with 12 people. Almost all of them are French, except for two Costa Ricans, which means that at all times the house is buzzing with three different languages. The house is all linoleum and wood ceilings, it’s pretty cool. Unfortunately, there’s almost never any hot water left and fridge space is minimal. Rent is only $250 a month though, so we deal. The house is close to Calle Amargura, a lively street full of bars and restaurants and students skipping class. We also live close to Mall San Pedro, which is less like a mall and more like an overflowing collection of things you will never need. There are 4 claustrophobic floors of tiny clothing stores that sell skimpy, ridiculously overpriced clothes and in the centre of all the stores are strange booths that sell everything under the sun, including costume jewellery, phone cases, and comic books.
Our neighbourhood is relatively safe, despite a flasher that passed through a few weeks ago. We have a little security guard that sits in a booth at the end of the street whose job apparently is to guard us from said flasher, but instead is usually just on his iPhone. Every house has an intense gate/fence system and bars on the windows, and even barbed wire. At first it seemed like an eyesore, but it turns out they’re pretty necessary because theft is pretty common in the city and the police are few and far between.
We arrived to Costa Rica at the beginning of May, which is right when the rainy season started (terrible timing). Costa Rica has two seasons: the dry season (summer) and the rainy season (winter). The rainy season is kind of cool because every day it is beautiful and sunny and hot until about noon when, out of nowhere, the clouds gather and it pours and thunders. The coast is a little different though, and the weather is a lot more unpredictable. Some days it can be absolutely gorgeous and sunny all day, and others rain and shine off and on. We have somehow managed to get slight tans (or in my case, burn repeatedly) but for some reason, even when it’s scorching hot and sunny the locals still wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. Our first few days here we stood out so much with our optimistic shorts and tank tops.
So that pretty much sums up our little home away from home!
In other news…TGIF