Costa Rica Part II: Quepos, Cartago, y muchos pensamientos andando en bús

More freewriting from my phone. I can’t believe I only have 11 days left here. I’m anxious to get back to the United States and start working more hardcore on preparing to move to California, but I will also be really sad to leave.

I find myself in a predicament now. I miss my home country, but as soon as I go back, I’ll miss Costa Rica. I still can’t quite believe that I’m here. That I made it and have already spent almost three weeks abroad completely of my own volition, to spend time with loved ones, make new friends, and see new places. It’s been wonderful.

Already, we talk of the next time. I hope that time comes soon.


Day 7

It’s raining super hard.

No cockroaches for a while.

I finished a notebook. :)

Fun fact, cockroaches undergo incomplete metamorphosis. They don’t have a grub stage. Which I appreciate. I hate grubs, and cockroaches are gross enough.

I injured something I thought was a cockroach but was actually something probably harmless. I think it eats ants and stuff. I let it live. I knew it was probably in pain because I smashed it, but I couldn’t bring myself to kill it. It slowly wandered around for a while. I found it dead under my bed the next morning. It looked like some kind of isopod (same family as saw bugs and roly-polies. A cute little bug. I feel bad for hurting it. :’((

Day 8

I couldn’t sleep until like 4am. So I woke up late.

I spent a long time working up the nerve to bestow G and R’s grandkids’ birthday presents. I was afraid it would be kind of lame of me to give them something I would enjoy…since I’m obsessed with writing.and K was excited about the quality of notebooks. He looked at it for a long time and showed people. It made me happy.

Day 9

We’re goin’ to the beach! Quepos in the Puntarenas province.

In San Rafael, the buildings are close together, the roads narrow and uneven and often dirty, there are gates everywhere on everything and a lot of signs have been bleached by the sun. Where I come from, this betrays a poor, often dangerous area, and I think that freaked me out the first time I was here.

But it’s not that way. There are different rules, different ways of thinking and different societal priorities and availability of resources. Perhaps that’s why I thought Costa Rica looked eerily like the United States. It’s very westernized in some ways, but it’s very much its own country and things looked similar, but perhaps more in a convergent evolution kind of deal.

I keep randomly thinking that I hope I get into the AAU illustration program, but then I remember that I already have.

The beach in Quepos is so hot and humid omg.

There’s a show here called “Caso Cerrado.” (Case Closed). It’s super dramatic. Like Judge Judy except probably more dramatic. Latin American TV is interesting. It has vibes of Japanese variety shows.

Somebody just buzzed by on one of those things you see in the mall or airport.

I fell asleep in a hammock and woke up and the sun had already set. Dang.

G offered me a pastilla de miel (honey pill). It tastes like a cough drop.

I have gathered that “chuncha” means “thing.” I’m probably wrong.

G y R have still been telling people about my robot brain, about how es como máchina and they’ve been trying to find ways to quitar la máchina. I fell asleep in the hammock and I think they counted that as a victory.

Day 10

We slept outside because it was so hot. I slept in spurts. It started thundering in the middle of the night, but it never all out rained, though I was concerned. There were a bunch of black ants freaking out over a dead avejón (kind of like a junebug), and some made it onto my inflatable mattress. Something bit my hand a few times in the night. Bugs don’t leave me alone. R says, “Sara es tan dulce por los bichos.”

It’s 6am and I am awake. Not sure what to think of this.

We were about to enter the beach when they asked me if I had brought my passport. Apparently, I need it? Maybe I wasn’t paying attention earlier? I guess the park needs my passport so they can charge me more for being a foreigner.

R’s brother asks for directions for everything.

Saw a big red dragonfly. :)

Went to Manuel Antonio Parque Nacional. Saw sloths and capuchins and crabs and hermit crabs and iguanas, sat in the sea and got a little sunburnt.

Eating on the beach was prohibited, of which I was informed the moment someone deposited a bunch of chips into my hands. I ate them as quickly as I could. I’m a foreigner, I should behave myself.

G likes to take pictures of me sleeping. He’s a huge perpetual tease. He should make a collage or something…

Missed the sunset again because I was sleeping in the hammock. For like three hours…but at least I wasn’t the only one sleepin. Three of the others hung out and napped. It was pretty fun. Though, without fail, G got a gross sleeping picture of me.

I burnt my shoulders on the beach. I’m not sure why I thought bringing SPF 50 was a good idea. It’s like plastic. So intense it doesn’t absorb and it rubs off like weak silly putty. Luckily, my face didn’t burn. It gets pink enough because it looks practically transparent here. And my face skin gets really sad for a long time when it burns.

I’m in Costa Rica with my adopted Costa Rican family talking Spanish in the background, listening to Japanese music, and writing/editing in English. What is my life? Besides colorful and confused?

I think it’s silly little wall lizards that make kissy chirpy sounds at night in the walls. In the house in Heredia, I thought it was a neighbor’s late-night parrot or something, but there are lots of lizards here in Quepos, and I’m always hearing the chirping from near where they are hiding.

This evening, I’m extremely tired and I’m unnerved because I don’t think I should be this exhausted. Perhaps it’s just the last few days I’ve spent without much of a chance to stop socializing and retreat unashamed into my head.

Day 11

A weird night got even weirder. R fell ill and had to go to the hospital. I was moved inside, while everyone else prepared the house to leave in the morning. Nobody slept all night, except me. I slept for a few hours.

The next morning I waited around for a long time. There are a bunch of magpies outside flirting and feeding their babies, and chirping lizards in the walls.

An iguana has come to hang out. I want to give it food, but I’m being plagued by bugs as it is. I don’t need other animals wanting food from me.

I’m going to R’s brother’s house in Heredia because R and G are at the hospital. I was really stuck in my head today, unable to understand or speak much. For a long time, I was too timid to ask how R was doing. I felt like a little kid, or like I had regressed to the first time I was here. It was extremely frustrating.

I stayed at their house for an hour or so, after which R and G’s son picked me up and brought me home. G was sleeping. R was still at the hospital, but doing better. I talked with people for a while. When G woke up, we talked for a long time, which was much needed. I finally got out of my head talking to him and his daughter-in-law.

Day 12

I slept in so much longer than I wanted. Now there are lots of people here and it’s 11:30am and I just sat up. R’s already back home, which was a surprise to me. She’s still not 100%, but she seems to be herself again. She’s sleeping right now.

I should just get my computer because I’m internetting up a storm on my phone…but I don’t want to.

I started drawing and next thing I knew, one of the grandkids was sitting, drawing next to me. We drew pictures together for a long time.

Day 13

I’m leaving for Cartago today, on invitation by A, one of the students renting space in G and R’s home. I’m going to return on Monday. I think it will be better for R to relax if I’m not around.

I’m feeling more confident now around the house, after G and I talked for a long time, that I was like family, so I could go ahead and do whatever, make myself at home without worrying about stepping on toes. So far it’s been good.

G is listening to 70’s love songs. He likes romantic music.

The roads are narrow and bumpy and filled with cars, yet buses go with little trouble.

Sitting on the bus, I’m kind of aware of the fact that I’m white. Sharp nose, light hair, light, rosey skin tone, blue eyes. People don’t stare or anything, but I’m aware I’m tall and of a different color palette, and definitely not invisible on the street.

Nobody wants to practice English. They all say better for me to keep practicing Spanish. *sigh* You’re missing your chance, guyz.

It takes a very chill kind of person to just go and travel and feel at home anywhere. I am not such a person. I like things to make sense, I like things to be familiar, I like to be able to communicate with ease. I don’t like to feel small and afraid and lost and dependent and stuck in my own mind.

Yet I travel, I study, I work. Because I want to learn. I want to grow. And I refuse to grow stagnant.

And as I learn new things, I become comfortable in them, in being with new people, in speaking a different language, in learning about different places. The process of large-scale exploring, even, I’m becoming more familiar with.

And as I lay here in an unfamiliar bed in a bedroom in a place I have never been before. I find I feel safe.

Day 14

I lay in bed for a long time. Not really tired, just not really ready. I’m going to be here for two more days and two more nights. I’m just generally tired. I kind of wish this was a little later after getting back from Quepos. But I suppose I’m traveling, so I should travel as much as possible. Though I dislike being away from G and R. I have only 2 weeks left in Costa Rica, and I don’t know when I’ll be able to return. That makes me sad. :(

Sitting in the living room, I casually survey the foot sizes. My feet are huge…and they look bigger in chuck taylor’s.

I’ve noticed I don’t see a lot of homeless people here. There are setups of places where people have squatted, sort of shantytown-esque, but you don’t see a lot of people just laying around on the side of the road. There’s probably more of that in the big cities like the capitol. I saw one person in Heredia. But maybe people are generally more resourceful, or having a more collectivistic culture, they help each other out more.

It’s interesting how you can see a culture’s beauty standards reflected in manakins.

Driving here in Costa Rica, you have to be quick, aggressive, and resourceful. The roads are insane. Lines are suggestions more than anything else.

Andamos en muchos buses. Practice for San Francisco.

Just passed a house with toy dinosaurs hanging all over the bars of their patio, like hanging on by themselves. It was cute. :)

There are lots of schools in Cartago.

In Costa Rica, cemeteries are very white, with tombs of white tile and flowers.

Going to Costa Rica the first time, I never would have thought I’d find family, and that 2 years later, I’d be back for another month, with intentions of coming back again and again. This time around, I can say I really do like Costa Rica.

A, T (her roommate), and I went to the lookout in Orosi this afternoon. It was really pretty.

There are yellow lines on the side of the road that mark bus stops. It makes so much sense now…

I met for the second time A’s sister and husband, and we talked for a long time. They’re language professors and are absolutely hilarious.

A’s mom is from an indigenous ancestry. A cares a lot about what happened to the indigenous peoples at the hands of Spain, and she wants to help pull their cultures and languages to the forefront of the social and lingual consciousness of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica part I : Bichos y café y mucha conversación.

As a lot of you know, I’m in Costa Rica right now! Visiting my familia tica whom I grew close with while studying abroad and the 2 years of weekly Skyping we managed to keep up. They are amazing and I blush lots because I love them so much.

My Spanish is coming back pretty quickly. I should take to writing down new words, though…that might help.

I’ve been writing random little notes on my phone—written verbal processing, I guess.

I will proceed to dump those on you with minimal revision.


Day one:

Upon arrival in Costa Rica, I had an unfortunate encounter with a toilet. An automatic toilet that didn’t flush on its own and when I clicked the manual flush, it flushed so long and with such gusto that the water just got higher and higher and I thought it was going to overflow. So I freaked the crap out and almost forgot my passport in the stall. So then I had an adrenaline kick and was super jittery for a good 15 minutes—during which I went through immigration, baggage claim, and customs.

I had a sudden overwhelming inundation of homesickness and I milled around my room hunting for my nightlight (yes I brought one of those) for an hour or so…I didn’t think I would feel this, but I think it’s mainly because I’m so worn out.

Day two:

I slept until real late and the first thing I did this morning was kill a cockroach. Then I met somebody without having brushed my teeth or made sense of my hair because everyone was hanging out in the kitchen and there is no other way to the bathroom from my room.

My Spanish is lacking this “morning.” (afternoon)

My host family were concerned the mattress was too hard for me. This afternoon, I was sitting at the table writing and I saw they were changing the mattress in their bedroom (I can see it from the table), and I suspected they were switching out mine with a softer one. When I ended up in my room again, I felt the bed, and sure enough. Ah well. It is comfortable, and softer.


Day three:

It was hard to sleep because my mind was too excitable.

I want to come to a place where I go to bed at a decent time and get up at a decent time. Maybe little by little I’m getting there…

I finally figured out the shower. It’s not like American showers.

Apparently May is cockroach breeding season. Apparently they eat fabric. I have found 3 in my room in 2 days’ time.

Today we went to my host dad’s sister’s house and we talked for a long time and she and her daughter-in-law M made us food and really good strawberry smoothies. M speaks some English and when we left, she told me something in English, and it was such a breath of fresh air—even only three days in. I disarmed very quickly, because I didn’t have to concentrate to understand or act like I knew what was going on when I only understood a part of the conversation.

I am not very helpful. -.-

I brought tea and coffee and we’re going to drink the coffee now. A little taste of home. I forgot how strong French Roast is. My host mom really likes the tea I brought them, which makes me happy. ^^

“Novela” in Costa Rica apparently means TV drama (think Korean drama). Luckily, my host family gathered that the “novelas” that I am writing are not those types of stories. (Very much not my thing.)

¿¿Qué demonios acabo de matar?? Translation: I killed something very strange on the wall. I don’t know if I’ll ever know what it was. (update day 4: I killed another one. Still don’t know what it is, as hard as I googled for it.)

Day four:

I can’t seem to sleep all the way through the night, or fall asleep quickly. I’m not sure why. I keep waking up and it is only after 6am that I can sleep through until 9 or 10.

My familia tica is trying to figure out what would help me sleep better. I’m thinking it’s more that I’m still in school mode and I’m used to being exhausted and being on vacation, my mind is wound a little too tightly. That or I’m eating too much too late at night, drinking coffee too late. Or I’m not writing or drawing enough to satiate my brain.

4th cockroach killed in my room.

My host parents and I talked about homosexuality today (I actually didn’t bring the subject up this time. It follows me.). They are very chill about the subject. It sounds like a lot of Costa Ricans are. :)

I love how parakeets and parrots live outside in Costa Rica and I hear them bickering and stuff from trees and buildings.

My spotify commercials are in Spanish…IT KNOWS

I JUST FINISHED DRAGONFLY!!!! My second book and the end of a series of I’m not sure how many books. Depends on how I decide to divide it up. Likely 3 books. I don’t know if the first one (The Bioroboticist) divides well enough to be two books, though it is big enough to divide.

5th cockroach killed in my room.

Day five:

In Costa Rica, YOU KILL BUGS.

Costa Rican Spanish has taught me a lot about the fluidity of words. They arbitrarily change words to include “tico,” “ito,” or “illo.” For example avacado = aguacate –> aguatico. “Tico” is also the name Costa Ricans call themselves, and I find that extremely adorable.

My familia tica were talking tonight and got on the a subject in which I explained how my mind works in needing to write all the time. My host mom said it was like a machine and I told them about my roommate and my joke that I’m and andoid, and as I was explaining more about my brain, she said something to the effect of, “You really are like a robot!” Which made me happy.

The “qué demonios” bug is some kind of black and white caterpillar with a dust bunny home. I think it’s more interested in wedging itself inside the wall than invading my bed.

Day six:

People walk all over the road in Costa Rica. Cars go fast, but they’re prepared for people.

I feel like I’m stuck in my own head a bit, not being as well spoken in Spanish as I am in English.

My host parents have mentioned my robot brain a few times in our conversations, especially when I told them I ended up staying up super late writing in a fit of inspiration. I think they think it’s both hilarious and concerning, my preoccupation with writing. They’re trying to get me to relax. I should get up at a decent time.

My host mom’s aunt brought cockroach killer. Yeeesss.

I’ve been listening to REVERSI by UVERworld on repeat today. I don’t know why.

I’ve already landed on a new project, but I’m mostly flirting with ideas, playing and experimenting and worldbuilding, as I now have two large novels to prepare for publication so I shouldn’t start hardcore writing on another. I’m hoping what takes shape will be very different than the series I just finished. My brain does not stop.

Checking in before I’m off again!

A short status update because apparently I haven’t posted in an entire month?


Quite a bit has happened. The last three weeks of school were a blur.

A week ago today, I graduated from university with a BA in Biology with an English Emphasis and a Spanish minor. Two days after that, I received a phone call from my admissions counselor at Academy of Art University–the only art school whose graduate illustration program I applied to because it sounded too wonderful for me to want to go anywhere else–and I was informed that I got into the program! I’m going to graduate school to become an illustrator and a comic-artist! Needless to say, I spent the rest of the afternoon calling family and friends to tell them the news.

What this means is, God willing, I will be moving down to San Francisco with friends to find work and attend art school. I’m so excited for what this new chapter will bring.

I’m also soon to finish my second novel. I had meant to finish it before school ended, but everything got in the way. I’m taking it steady, making sure all the ends are tied, etc. My other novel is being torn apart again. I’m looking forward to what other projects will take shape this year.

And, finally, this post is so incredibly short and anticlimactic because I’m leaving for Costa Rica in the morning (middle of the night)! I’ll be spending a month visiting my host family, who I grew close with while studying abroad. We’ve been skyping almost every week for about two years and I’m super excited to be able to see them in person again. To share an entire month with them. Not to mention this time around will not be my first time traveling alone or outside the country, so I’ll be considerably more at ease.

So the rest of tonight, I’m finishing up preparations and I’ll try to get some sleep sometime in there. I’m not looking forward to my 6am flight or the 6-hour layover, but I’m excited.

Adventure is afoot.