May 042015

The sounds and smells and sights of Costa Rica are like none I’ve ever experienced before. There is so much green here, so much you wouldn’t believe. It’s like every inch of the country was originally green and over time people have tried to squeeze color in. From the sky, this country looks like a green canvas with colorful blocks strewn about. And up close, it looks just about the same. It’s incredible.

I knew the people here were unlike the people in the United States before I even got out of the San Jose airport. I forgot to write my accommodation address on a customs form, so I asked a man and his wife nearby if they had a pen I could borrow, the man handed me two, and said “Here is one, plus an extra, just in case”

I’ve lived in the United States for almost 20 years, and not once have I experienced simple generosity like that from a stranger.

Costa Rica is a compilation of hills and fast cars and carefree drivers. The difference between crazy drivers here and ones in the United States, however, is that drivers here are all relaxed. Every single of one them. I tried to explain road-rage to my host mother and she basically laughed in my face. Every person, animal, business, attitude in the fabric of this country is relaxed- that is the biggest culture shock so far. I’ve been in Costa Rica for less than a day, but I am already prepared to go back to the United States, shake every person I see, and ask them “What is the rush?”

Glenda, the granddaughter of my host parents, came and picked me up from my house this afternoon and told me that we were going to a Bachelorette party. Mind you I was in gym shorts, a t -shirt, and had my fanny pack on, so you can imagine my shock when she told me I was dressed appropriately. As we were walked up the steps into the apartment, I could hear the squeals and shouts and voices of men and women and all of the sudden I got nervous. Having an in-progress Spanish Language minor is hardly enough to normally behave and interact at an all Spanish-speaking Bachelorette party. Glenda assured me I would be fine, however, and told me that soon I would be “a part of the family”.

I have never had so much food offered to me in a matter of minutes. There was rice coming at me from my left, tapas coming at me from my right, and coffee seemed to be pouring from all directions. The people of Costa Rica love their food. And I love them for loving their food.
I can’t tell you the amount of hugs and kisses I received last night from people I had never met before, and in all likelihood, will never see again. Even though I stuck out like a very pale sore thumb, the weird glances eventually stopped, and after not long at all, I was playing “Pin the Lips on the Groom” with all the ladies.

Costa Rica gets two thumbs up from this girl. I can’t wait to experience the rest of the adventures this country has waiting for me.


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