Costa Rica part III: Tonteras, Shiro, y Choque de Cultura

The final installment of comments, much more brief than the other two posts:

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The last two weeks of my time in Costa Rica passed quietly. I finished my excursion with A.

I was talking with A about how I am embarrassed to take photos because I don’t want people to think I’m the kind of tourist that is just there to see things and be served in luxury. A said if you want to see the intentions of a foreigner, you listen to them. If they are speaking the language, or at least trying to, then you can tell that they’re here to learn.

I guess here many people put Americans on a pedestal. And I worry that people will think that I think I’m better. But what A said made me a little less ashamed/afraid of my skin color and my blue eyes and American Spanish. I’m here to learn and to make friends. That means something.

I finally found a Costa Rican food that I do not like: Tamarind. I hear it’s kind of an acquired taste, or that it’s not uncommon for people to all out dislike it. I tried to entertain thoughts of drinking the entire glass of tamarind fresco, but I couldn’t do it.

G and his brother C are ridiculous. I walked to the panadería (bakery) with them and it was tonteras (silliness) the entire way.

One day we went to hang out with E and I, G and R’s youngest son and wife. They live near a lot of family, so R took me to go meet everyone. It was awkward for me, but it meant a lot.

G adopted a little white, spotted Chihuahua puppy. We were thinking of something along the lines of white. We considered “Blanquito.” G asked me what snow is in English, but that word’s kind of tough to pronounce for a name. Offhand, I mentioned that white in Japanese is “shiro.” The next day, G was talking to his granddaughter and mentioning how “Shiro” sounded like a good name for the dog. It officially became the puppy’s name, though it’s pronounced more like “cheer-oh” by most people. R kept pronouncing it “chirop.” She doesn’t like dogs, but I think she’s warming up little by little to Shiro.

On June 1, we went grocery shopping and I strolled after my adopted family taking it all in. I remembered my first time, and I was kind of terrified. I was super comfortable that day, and it was nice.

R took me with her, her sister-in-law, and a neighbor to a country club to go swimming. I felt a bit like a hillbilly, since the place was so fancy, but it was fun.

I tended to have long talks with G in the evenings after R went to bed, but on one particular night, we all sat up talking. I let off steam about my anxieties of the impending travel day.

Shiro destroyed my headphones.

I watched an old horror movie with G, and I thought i could handle it, but it was quite sickening. G likes horror movies. He’s better at making himself dwell on positive things, I think, so maybe movies like that don’t get stuck in his mind as much they do in mine.

The first time I left G and R, I cried. I had never experienced anything like what they did for me, and I didn’t know if we would ever see each other again. This time, I didn’t feel so broken, because I know we’ll see each other again. I’m also, admittedly, more accustomed to goodbyes.

I still almost cried leaving them, though.

The travel day was exhausting. We landed after midnight, and I got home around 1:30am. The next couple of days I spent in a state of unmotivation, sleeping off headaches. Today I am feeling better, though I’m still culture shocked coming back.

I need to start getting everything in order to move to California in August, and I’m not yet ready to face the adult world. I don’t want to have to rush so quickly to the next thing as has been my habit for the last few years. I just want to sit for a while.

But I do have some time to do that.

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