I'm feeling full from the two Ukranian dumplings I just ate. The weather is great. It was great last night too. Skies were grey and cloudy, wind blew, even thunder sounded (once), and the palm trees swayed back and forth. Gorgeous! It took me back in time to another place and I told my husband who was pushing the stroller next to me, "I want to go back to Costa Rica so bad!" When I was 19 years old I got it into my head that I was going to go and work in Costa Rica. It was a bit strange because I didn't know anyone there, nor was there anything in particular that I wanted to see there. I had traveled a lot (de mi propia cuenta) before that time and I had the travel bug. I was itching to leave my boring life in the Bay Area of California. It really wasn't that boring, but young people are never satisfied. I mean, people in general are never satisfied. I flew to San Jose, stayed in a hostel, met a girl at church, moved in with her, found a job teaching English to little kids, hated it, quit, and traveled around the country looking for an exotic job at a beach resort or something like that. All the men gave me greedy looks and the managers were slimy so I went back to San Jose and moved back in with my friend, Zuhayla. We had some good times together. She was practical, I was ditzy and naive. A perfect match. I met one of her good friends and fell in love. You know, that kind of young love that you think is real and could be if you really tried to make it work. Well, it didn't work, and I returned to the US resolute to serve an LDS mission. Costa Rica knocked the ditziness right out of me. I wanted something real, substantial, worthwhile, rewarding, and self-sacrificing. But the whole point of my post was to express the draw Costa Rica has on me. I haven't been to any other country south of the US border except Mexico. Not real Mexico mind you. I guess you could call it it's own little place. Tijuana. But anyway, Costa Rica is pulling on me. The life in the streets. The chaos, the interaction, the smells, the moisture, the attitudes, the loudness of the ladies, the spunkiness of the mothers, the bravado of the men, the tastes, the language. So many things. I remember I took a road trip with this friend of mine to Guanacaste, the hottest part of the country up on the Pacific coast. We stayed in Brasilito. It was so hot and the mosquitos were so thick I barely slept. But it didn't matter, I had no kids at the time. Sleep only becomes precious when you are a mother. We walked one day to the next beach over, Playa Conchal. To describe it would seem cliche. All those words they use to describe your dream beach destination. My vocabulary isn't extensive enough to outdo those descriptions. But what I really remember was the contrast between Brasilito and Conchal. Both beaches were great. But in Brasilito there was a community of native Ticos (Costa Ricans) living in shabby houses. The kids ran around shirtless. I wondered if and where they went to school. There weren't that many structures around. There was one little shop where you could buy a few food items but nothing substantial enough to feed a family with unless you were going to feed them gummy candies and soda pop for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The sand was light brown, the structures were brown, the people were brown, everything was brown. I liked the feeling there. The freedom. The price of the water. In Conchal everything turned white. The sand and the people. There was a resort that was built about 1000 feet inland, just inside the trees, that was full of slow moving westerners. White people, turned pink from laying out too much. They were all lounging about in their paradisiacal swimming pools. They would bob over to the poolside bar and order their mind numbing cocktails and look around and be relaxed. We tried to buy some water there, but the price was crazy! Of course, I could afford it, but I wasn't willing to waste my money on water when I could buy it in Brasilito for much less. So I walked back and did. That was my very first glimpse of a luxurious lifestyle. I'd never seen such behavior in my life. Even growing up in a well to do area of California, I'd never seen such contrast. Anyway, I remember thinking about how it would be fun to live in Brasilito with my kids someday and have them run around shirtless all day. Of course, it wasn't a sure thing that I would ever get married or have kids at that time. But my life has moved forward and I do indeed have kids and a husband. If we moved to Brasilito they could be free, not worry about traffic, and I wouldn't have to do laundry very much because they could wear the same pair of shorts every day. We could eat fruit all day and every day. I guess the mosquitos would be the problem. And in my free time I could teach the local urchins to read in English and Spanish in exchange for some home made Gallo Pinto, my most favorite food in the whole wide world!
Cuando tenga mi casita, when someday I have my house
cana dulce y buen amor, cana dulce and good love
una vida noble y buena, una vida noble y buena, a noble and good life, a noble and good life
pasare sin un rencor. I will pass without a grudge
The above is a Costa Rican song that my Tican friend taught me. We sang it together back in 2008. You can check it out on YouTube if you want. Just type in Cana Dulce and it will come up.