Friday, July 1, 2011

Culture... A 'Nice' Change

I don’t mean to rag on good ‘ol Colorado when I say this but Costa Rican’s are the nicest people I have ever encountered. Ever since being picked up at the airport in San Jose by Alfonso, the grandfather of Adriana, who is attempting to learn English as we do the same with Spanish, I noticed the difference. Not just the abundance of stray dogs on the street, the lack of street signs or traffic signals, that everyone drives like the world is collapsing behind them, or the fact that it is legal to drink and drive but the gentler side of things. The family that housed us for more than a week couldn’t have been anymore generous or more welcoming if it was the Four Seasons. They had coffee waiting for us in the mornings with freshly fried gallo pinto (a pan-fried mixture of last nights’ rice, beans, and assorted veggies), things for us to do and see throughout the day and an ice cold Pilsen to finish the night off.

Take for instance the only pair of pants I brought with me. Yeah they were a bit rugged to start with. They were already second hand and made of a light, breathable material but I thought they would be comfortable in a hotter, more humid climate. The first night I put them on I realized they had a massive rip all along side of the pocket. I went to Alicia, Alfonso’s wife of 30-some years, and asked if she had anything I could use to patch them up with. She sent me to bed assuring me she would figure something out.  When I awoke the next morning, early at that, my pants were neatly folded in a plastic bag in front of my door. Even though Alicia wasn’t very skilled at the sewing machine, she took it upon herself to call up her neighbor Ulga, the sewing queen, to do the repairs. Not only did she fix the large hole with a patch and the works but she hemmed the un-hemmed bottoms, fixed a small whole in the back pocket, and reinforced around the button clasp so they wouldn’t rip farther. I can’t express to you readers how astonished I was. I had never even met this lady and because I was a newly introduced houseguest of Alcia’s, she took at least a few hours out of her evening to repair my pants. Even though they have since been ripped beyond repair, I am forever indebted to you Ulga.

The style is different down here. What is mine is yours. I feel that I have surrounded myself with an amazing group of friends back home who are as generous as can be but they take it to another level here. I already have too many people to thank for making this trip more than enjoyable and I am sure I will have to thank many, many more.

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