Sweet Home Santo Domingo

Sydney Perlotto
April 15, 2014

Since returning from EARTH, I have been back living with my host family for two weeks and it is wonderful. While my experience at EARTH was truly unique, it is great to get to eat a home-cooked meal, take a hot shower, and be able to take the bus to downtown San Jose again. Everyone has been enjoying getting to spend some quality family time.

In the two weeks that I have been home, I have been able to participate in several traditional Costa Rican activities with my Mama Tica. For one, Costa Rica finally has a new President! I once again went with my Mama Tica to vote at the nearby school, but there was a much smaller voter turnout than last time. This is partially due to the fact that the winning party was expected to win by a landslide. It was interesting to get to talk to her about politics and to hear her expectations for the new presidency.

Additionally, last Friday was family day for IES students and our host families. We all gathered at one house for a delicious Costa Rican lunch and game time. There was so much delicious food! My favorite part of the festivities was when we learned how to make traditional corn and cheese tortillas. My Mama Tica is a chef for a living, so she was the one who taught us. Making a perfectly round tortilla by hand is hard work, but it pays off. The general consensus of our taste buds was that they tasted like grits in tortilla form. Being from Georgia, I definitely love the taste of grits and I loved the tortillas too.

Finally, Friday also marked the beginning of Semana Santa, or Holy Week here in Costa Rica. The majority of Costa Rica is Catholic, and Semana Santa is a week of parades and vacationing before Easter Sunday because everyone has off school or work. The local church in our town put on a parade around town Friday night, and I was able to help my Mama Tica decorate the front of our house as part of the parade. Apparently there will be parades almost every night, but I, like many others, will be leaving Wednesday to go on vacation in La Fortuna. More on my adventures there later!

Hasta luego,


Santo Domingo has a great view; you can see the mountains and San Jose in the distance. Everyone was happy to have time to spend with their host families - we are all getting attached! One of the pretty flowers attached to our decoration for Semana Santa. Santo Domingo might be a small town, but the lights and stars are pretty at night. My Mama Tica and her friend standing proudly by their masterpiece. We had fun hand-making tortillas. My finished tortilla that tasted exactly like grits!

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Sydney Perlotto

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hello! My name is Sydney Perlotto, and I am a junior at the University of Maryland, College Park majoring in Global Social Change and Development and minoring in Latin American Studies and International Development and Conflict Management. I am originally from Atlanta, GA but came to UMD because of its proximity to DC (and snow!). You can often find me volunteering around campus, baking tasty treats, or just generally frolicking! After traveling to Chile for a short term study abroad my sophomore year, I have definitely caught the travel bug and hope one day backpack throughout Latin America. Costa Rica is bound to be an adventure of language, culture, and biodiversity - and I have my waterproof hiking boots at the ready!</span></p>

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