Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Costa Rica

When I was a kid we had a subscription to “National Geographic World.” I remember wondering if I would ever get to travel. It wasn’t but a year or so later that I experienced my first “real” travel. We got on a plane and flew over the Gulf of Mexico (I tried to see a whale—or Cuba) to Costa Rica, where we lived for a year to learn Spanish.

Pretty much everyone you meet who did language school in Costa Rica will have hated the place, but I didn’t. It was an adventure. I was disappointed that first night though, driving from the airport to our new house. There were no huts! San Jose was a bigger city than I had ever lived in.

We arrived in the dry season. When you went grocery shopping, the bag boys wouldn’t just take your stuff to the parking lot; they would push the cart all the way to your house if you wanted. We walked or rode busses everywhere. There were trails of ants that stretched for blocks transporting leaves bigger than they were. There were all sorts of strange fruits, and people ate beans and rice for every meal—even breakfast. They sold milk in plastic bags.

There were beetles the size of your hand, and scorpions just as big—usually in the house. There were pepperbushes so spicy that the juice would burn your skin. We had to be careful not to expose ourselves to parasites or strange, semi-tropical illnesses. You couldn’t flush toilet paper down the toilet. In fact, the whole city was kind of a giant trashcan.

They would cut the grass with a machete, in your yard and in the park. The park near our house was huge and wonderful. When the wet season came it rained—often for days on end. Sometimes it would rain on one side of the street while the other side remained sunny. You could hear the rain coming across the park and almost outrun it to the house. When the grass overtook the park and grew waist-high, my brother found a machete. I don’t remember what we did with it.

We caught a snake when the dry season returned. We played with it for about a week until one of the missionaries told us they thought it was a viper of some sort. It wasn’t, though.


  1. Still an adventure-seeker, huh?

  2. We should all take after Emily and post some of these important memories. It is so strange how we remember different details and little tidbits.

    Thank you for sharing with us.


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