Thursday, December 13, 2007

April 26, 2007 - Getting used to things

Rick and I are getting used to some things here that initially struck us as pretty different :D.

In no particular order, here are a few:

1) different kinds of butterflies (that don´t sit still for their portraits)

2) dogs that don´t chase cars

3) very colorful houses - it is not unusual to see one house painted pink, blue, and yellow, right next to one painted mustard, turquoise, and green. It is a feast for the eyes!

4) giant dust devils - I wrote about one of these in a previous post; there have been several more since then.

5) coffee! It is common to have a ¨cafecito¨ here any time between 3 and 6. This is usually coffee with a bit of bread or sandwich - just something to tide you over until dinner (often at 8 or 9). And guess what? None of it is decaf! On our first trip, we asked for some decaf coffee after dinner in a restaurant - talk about your strange looks! Fortunately, it was obvious that we were visiting, so we all got a good laugh over it (they called it the juice of socks).

6) no telephone -yikes! Our house doesn´t have one. We arrange to meet people by dropping by their house, or we see them in the store or in the street. If something comes up, oh well... Just the other day, we saw Teresita in the super mercado, and arranged to drop by that night for dinner. We met Susan at the school and arranged to go into Cartago (by bus) with her tomorrow. We saw her today, and she isn´t feeling well - so if she isn´t at the bus stop, we will go without her (no hay problema!). We did just now arrange with our landlady to use her phone for emergency contacts, so I feel a bit better about that. I also now have a phone card so I can call and actually *hear* family voices in the USA - it has been about a *month*!

7) no car! Before I left the states, I walked from my house to the grocery store - it took me 20 minutes. Here, it is less than 5 minutes - since moving into the house, we have gone every day. It is a 15 minute walk to Susan's house near the edge of town (Orosi is long and narrow). If necessary, you can get your groceries delivered - one couple did this when they bought a lot, and the groceries beat them home.

8) washing dishes in cold water (by hand!)

9) not squishing every single insect

10) suntanned arms

11) using the metric system (ok, I'm not really good at it yet, and I forget about it a *lot*)

12) greeting total strangers in the street - It is fabulous just walking around here (all over Costa Rica - every where we have been so far). People sit out in their front yards, and say "adios" or "buenas" as you walk by. Sometimes you have a short conversation, starting with "how are you?" One time, I went into one store while Rick went to the bank and into another store. I was looking for him, and someone we had met while house-hunting said "how are you? your husband is in the store" (etc) " Qué Bonita!

13) smiling all day long - how can you not, when everyone says good morning, and asks how you are? When the sun is warm, and the breeze is fresh?

14) waking up with the sun (my family is now in shock - take a moment )

15) taking buses with confidence

16) tossing TP in the garbage instead of the toilet

17) bare lightbulbs throughout the house; pencil marks left on the walls and doors (from construction or fix-its); beautiful wood used for doors, but then left unstained and unvarnished.

18) ungrounded wiring - the greatest impact is not using the computer where it is convenient. You have to plug it into the one plug that is grounded, which is often not near a table.

19) using internet cafés (and not calling them ¨cafés¨ since this implies you are leaving to get coffee somewhere else). I have spent about 2 hours per week on average on the internet (including email time). I suspect this will increase, now that I am done with school.

20) folk art - this is everywhere! It is often a painting of a Tico house in the country.

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