Thursday, December 24, 2015

Costa Rica (Day 1 Recap)

It’s 7:32a on Christmas eve and I’m sitting on the balcony of our two bedroom apartment looking at the houses pushed into the walls of the rainforest across the street. I can hear my neighbors chatting and I smell the breakfast they are cooking and it is making my mouth water. Some kind of meat with onions and peppers I can smell for sure and I also smell a hint of something sweet,, some type of bread biscuits or pancakes…I’m not sure. My kids are still sleeping even though we went to bed super early last night. I believe they are still recovering from the exhausting trip we had to get here. As I write this I’m contemplating what I should get up and cook for breakfast. My trip to the supermarket was not very successful due to me refusing to pay three times the amount for food that I recognize (yes 6600 colones or $12.3 for a small box of Frosted Flakes) and not totally sure what to do with the food I didn’t. The point of travel for me is immersion so I chose food I didn’t recognize but with pictures that give me some idea of what I’m supposed to do with it. I got sausage like things that look like hot dogs so I will cook them and we will eat them like hot dogs, I got “un pollo” that is the size of a cornish hen and looks like it may be already cooked but I will re-cook it (just to make sure), I got pasta because who can go wrong with pasta even if I can’t read the label. I got a couple different types of bread. Some appears sweet like with fruit centers and some not. I got leche (and had a time trying to figure out if it was whole or 2%) and juice because again it’s hard to go wrong there. I read the label to see what chemicals might be in there like I do at home and only say water, sugar, and juice so I’m satisfied. I’m not sure of the flavors however. It might be peach or apricot or some type of passion fruit. It doesn’t really matter, we’ll drink it anyway. Those 

Costa Rica has been like a coming home of sorts. Not like returning to my house in North Carolina or even like visiting my childhood home in Tennessee. It more like the feeling of completeness that I had living in Jamaica. There seems to be similarities between the two places that are inducing my sense of nostalgia. The sounds of the vast array of birds and the hustle and bustle of the people already up and going. The smells are similar too like that rich earthy smell that you get after a fast hard rain on a hot day. The yummy smells of what’s being cooked for breakfast nearby. And the views are amazing… lush green vegetation with pops a bright beautiful colors from fruits and flowering plants throughout, just like in Jamaica. 

Perhaps this feeling of contentment and feeling I’m supposed to be in the place at this time is just euphoria caused by satisfying my wanderlust, I don’t know. What I do know is that even from the very small part of the country that I have seen Costa Rica is amazing. 

There are a couple of differences between here and Jamaica that I can’t help but to notice. One is the fact that the only brown people that I have seen since we boarded the airplane in Houston are the three that I produced (and I mean brown of African descent because I realize that I am surrounded by brown people lol). The thing about Jamaica was that for once I blended in and the feeling of not being noticed, of belonging is indescribable. That’s not the case here in Costa Rica. We are definitely noticed lol but not in a negative or uncomfortable way. It is just something I noticed. Everyone here has been extremely helpful when approached and we are greeted with a barrage of “buenas” and “que tal” and “buenas tardes” as we move about the area.

Another difference is the language barrier. Apparently I chose a local vacation spot for Costa Ricans and not a touristy place at all. Besides my children and I we have encountered only four other people that spoke english, one being the guy that checked us in, the gentleman that took our order at lunch, a nice man who is here on vacation who translated for me in the supermarket, and the guy who took our pizza order last night (and his english was about as good as my spanish but we made it work). I have been forced to recall every bit of spanish I have ever learned in high school and college. You might think it is intimidating or frustrating not being able to communicate but in fact it is invigorating. There is a since of accomplishment at being able to have a conversation with someone with my limited spanish and we both walk away with an understanding. I am loving it. A true and real spanish immersion crash course. This experience has forced me to update my goals. I plan to rebook at this resort a year from now to celebrate my next birthday and when I return I WILL be able to communicate. I plan to spend this next year writing a dissertation and becoming fluent in spanish. Wish me luck with that! My kids have been ding pretty good with the language barrier. They have made friends that do not speak english but I watch them as they manage to communicate and play and have fun together. Those moments are priceless to watch. We have interacted with a lot of foreigners in our travels state side but to turn the tables and be the foreigners gives us all a better appreciation of what it’s like to be the one away from home, struggling to communicate, but loving every minute of it.

I’m gonna finish this post not with a step by step detail of what we did yesterday but with pictures instead. So enjoy! And until we speak again or I see you somewhere around the globe… Pura Vida!
View from the patio

The coconut tree across from my patio
Ocean View

Nay communicating with his new friend while his sister floats away

Our view on our walk from our apartment to the beach

JrNomad Big sister with JrNomad Baby Brother at her finger tips

My Jr Nomads tiptoeing into the ocean

More "cautious" exploration

My view as I watch my children play

another view

And another

The last one... I promise

My oldest Jr Nomad... The best mango smoothie he has ever had he said

Caught my middle Jr Nomad trying to tell me something... oops!

The baby Jr Nomad all smiles

Our first time trying ceviche and it was AMAZING!
Ummmm... YES Please! The freshest most tasty fish to date (w/ the exception of the one in Jamaica)
View from an early morning walk... just me and my girl!

A pina colada and a virgin pina colada with my oldest Jr Nomad as the other make friends in the pool

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