Thursday, March 31, 2011


Readjusting to Costa Rican Culture

It's been 17 years since I've been here. I'm amazed how quickly I'm readjusting to the culture. I am remembering what I loved about it, and what I didn't. That is the beauty of any place, though, as both make it what it is. There is much to love...
*just how much family is integrated into every daily task, activity, and aspect of life. Family is not just a part of their lives, it is their lives (more on this to come).
*how hot and humid it is here. We are constantly sweating, but not doing anything. No wonder they siesta often!
*How FUN it is to speak Spanish! I absolutely love hearing and understanding another language around me.
*how lush and beautiful the landscape is everywhere we turn. Even in the dirtiest parts of town, there is vegetation that makes it look beautiful.
*that the women work with such great pride and care for their households. If they work full time, the other women in their family take care of their house for them, and in return, they help support them financially. Their houses are cleaned every day and are spotless, no matter how big or small their space -- immaculate! And really, they have to be, or else the bugs take over!
*how DANGEROUS the drivers are in Latin America! Seriously, if we don't get hit crossing a street it will be a miracle - they are RECKLESS and drive FAST, and my younger boys don't quite get how careful they have to be.
*How LOVELY and WARM the women are in this country! They have such welcoming arms and quickly endear themselves by hugging, kissing, serving, and saying such kind things. Friendliness is more the rule than the exception. Even my shy ones are totally taken with some of these kind women.
*how comfortable women are with their body image. They are truly OK with how they are, and laugh when they describe themselves as a little "gorda" (which means fat). It's just an adjective to them.
*that it really bothers me that the men who sit on the benches or on their front porches feel totally free to say whatever they want when a woman walks by, including my daughter! (ahem!) Luckily, she can't understand them.
*about the food. The beans and rice, the coffee, the fresh fruit juices, the tropical fruit, and the way they show how much they care about you through the meals they provide.
*that garbage is everywhere. I'm always shocked to see people just throw their trash on the ground. Their rivers in town are littered with garbage.
*how the women love little trinkets for their houses.
*that their mode of advertising involves a car with a giant speaker on it driving around town announcing things.
*people take time to sit, converse, and enjoy the journey of life. Life is slower, and people are very connected.
*that they have less space in their houses, yet more room in their hearts. They constantly have people over, eat together, and share small spaces. They truly don't mind being in close quarters -- people sleep on the floor without a thought, and they invite people over for cafe and galletas (cookies or wafers) on a regular basis. Hospitality is a part of their daily life.

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