Culture Class: Weaving!

Last Wednesday, group B boarded the public bus to go to San Jose for the afternoon to spend some time at a fair trade artisan shop to learn how to weave pot holders.

This happened to by my first time in San Jose, so I was excited to see what the city had to offer. From Heredia by public bus, the ride is anywhere from 20-30 minutes. There is a train that also takes you into the city that is not only cheaper, but quicker. Compared to Heredia, San Jose is more modern and obviously larger population-wise since its the city’s capital. With more people, there is more trash, interesting smells, and more visible homelessness/poverty.

After a 20-minute walk, our group arrived at Chietón Morén Museo y Mercadito de Artesanías. Based on an informational card I grabbed before leaving, this particular shop “is an initiative of 200 craftsmen and craftswomen of Costa Rican indigenous territories. Here they show and sell their crafts and they tell you how they produce them.”

For the size of the shop which is decently sized, there is a lot of handicrafts to choose from if a tourist is in search of a particular and authentic souvenir. I thought the prices seemed fair and not at all overpriced. If you ever find yourself in San Jose, I would definitely check them out. Their website can be found here.

Group B headed to the back of the shop where some tables were set up. For the next couple of hours, we peacefully wove our potholders using a cross method. Our instructor discussed how the plant leaves that serve as the material are harvested and died. To be honest, I cannot provide a lot of insight as my brain was fried from class earlier in the day. I will say, I found this craft to be extremely therapeutic and fun. Besides the very center of the potholder, I wove everything else. Each person was given the center portion to start off.

My finished potholder!

After weaving, everyone was served a traditional meal of pork, cheesy potatoes, and leaves to put in a corn tortillas. Delicious!

Once everyone finished eating and weaving, the afternoon ended in free time. I went with a group that rode the train back to Heredia.

To finish off my evening, I went to intercambio. Intercambio is a weekly optional get-together of Tico students and exchange students at my university. Thus far, the program has been running for two weeks and I have gone both times. Basically, we play games and speak in Spanish/English to help one another out on our language skills. It just so happens that after intercambio finished, there was a dance class. I went to said dance class for an hour and had fun, but spent most of the evening not knowing what I was doing. That’s what happens when you switch from the “girl” part to the “boy” part. You have no idea what your feet or hands should be doing!

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

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