Family is really important here. When William#3 heard that Carmen was going away for the day he came over to his grandparents place (an hour by bus one way) to hang out with them. He comes by every Sunday anyway, but this past weekend, he came by on Saturday too.
I went for a walk last night with Mari, Jose’s first wife. She told me she works in the plastic factory too. This morning their 2 year old granddaughter, Nicole, and Jose’s son Francisco came by early and sat on Jose and Mirta’s bed to visit while Mirta slept on. Everyone mingles continually. Mari’s boyfriend is probably only about 18—at least he looks it. She told me he was really young—still in school, so maybe only 16! Her oldest son just turned 25 so she must be 40, I’d think, but folks have kids really young around here.
Today is Francisco’s birthday so Mirta made a cake, put it in the oven, then asked Mari to take it out and frost it while Jose, Mirta, Nicole and I went out. I love this family too! Everyone wants to speak English, so we exchange words all day long.
We drove for around an hour today through gorgeous mountainous rain forest (horrendous roads) and then it lived up to its name and started to rain. We arrived at a fish farm/restaurant where we dropped a line with a ball of something on it—I didn’t even ask what it was—and within three seconds had a beautiful fish with a red stripe on the line. The bait man killed it in front of my eyes (I hate that), then took it to the kitchen and it was fried for me. Nicole caught the other two for Jose and Mirta. It then started to pour buckets of water. I figured we’d be killed on the way home because of the roads and the rain so ate chicharon (fried pork), fried yucca, 2 cups of agua dulce con leche and rice pudding. I hate the thought of dying when I’ve been resisting temptation. Mirta asked for raw onions and they brought us a huge bowl in lemon—must have been 2-3 onions. We ate them all. I had always thought I disliked raw onions, but obviously this is no longer true. Another cosa falls to maturity.
Jose is a very interesting man. The second of 15 children (12 boys in a row, then three girls) with an alcoholic father—I thought drunks weren’t supposed to be able to get it up—he and one other brother worked from the time they were 3 or 4 to support the family. Every centavo they made was turned over to the mother, who by the way is alive and lives with the father still, he hasn’t had a drink in over 20 years. They milked cows and mucked out stables, picked coffee and other fruit/vegetables. He didn’t have a pair of shoes until he was 11. I will get the next installment on his life later. I believe it is another novella.
Things to remember:
• Alisia#1 was 14 and Beto was 16 when they married. Alisia had 4 children by the time she was 20.
• No car seats for children; 2 year olds climbing ladders; Nicole wetting her pants and saying, she “didn’t do todo (all) in her pants, just part.”
• No cars are on the street today, not because it’s Sunday, but because there’s a soccer game on TV.
• Peel yucca and the other two veggies before boiling in water; no need to peel the purple potato-like thing, but add sugar to it. Add garlic to all of them after they are cooked.
• Mirta prepares all the food as soon as she comes home from the grocery and puts it in the fridge to eat later. This is a very good idea.
No food is ever wasted, in fact nothing is wasted. It’s embarrassing that I could be humiliated by someone throwing a popsicle stick on the ground when I’m such a waster in my regular life. I justify it by putting my garbage in the correct garbage can!
Everyone is talking at once, including about ten dogs. They all want to visit my mother in Darlington—they’ll think they’ve entered a hospital. Wish my camera hadn’t broken as I really want pictures of everyone’s faces—yes, we all have more than one face.
I think we’re getting ready for Francisco’s birthday; need to find a clock for this room. Am very cansada (tired) by evening. Spanish is exhausting—much easier when I’m telling my stories as I can control the conversation then. Really difficult at parties and I absolutely suck on the phone. Jose asked me why I don’t own a house and I tried to explain my life philosophy, but now in retrospect I believe the real answer is I’m a grasshopper and never save for the future. My philosophical reasons sound so much better. Strong-armed Jose into letting me pay for groceries today—practically had an arm wrestle in the check-out line. Really need a cup of coffee—forget the “malo for your health” I’m in CR!
The fiesta tonight was really nice and I didn’t even need the coffee. Mari, Albert, Francisco, Nicole and I attended—Stephanie and two of her friends attended briefly. Jose and Mirta barbequed steaks and pork, but I didn’t eat any as, since I survived the ride back today and there is a large chocolate cake waiting in the wings, I need to conserve some calories somewhere.
Heard many stories of Oso the dog today. I’m going to make a children’s book of his life, though I think the beginning will have to be censored or aimed at an older crowd. Jose gave Oso’s mother to a girl whose father wouldn’t buy her a dog. The mother was a pure bred poodle. The father wanted to breed her with another pure bred poodle but couldn’t find one, so locked her on the porch when she went into heat. However there was a gate and she backed her butt up to the gate and did the do with a half Pekinese-half something else and had a litter of puppies that look much like poodles with a really bad under bite. I wonder if anyone has thought of dog orthodontia yet? Anyway, the father was so mad he threw the puppies into the street where they were all rescued by different people. Jose took one which became Oso.
Jose and Albert are trying to remember all the Oso stories for me:
- Oso followed Jose’s car for three kilometers and Jose didn’t notice until he stopped the car to get out and Oso jumped in.
- Jose and Mirta and Oso went to San Jose and Oso jumped on a bus by himself. Someone told Mirta that he had seen Oso jump a bus and so she and Jose chased after 3 or 4 buses before they found Oso, sitting on a seat like all the other passengers, looking out the window. Everyone on the bus was laughing when they stopped to get him. I wonder if he paid his fare.
- This is so weird, Oso just came scratching at my door and now he is sitting in my room looking at me and whining like he wants to tell me something—he’s never done this before. Maybe he knows I’m writing his stories and wants his side to be told, or probably he wants me to leave out the part about the bad under bite.
- Once they left him at a gas station in Puntarenas and didn’t notice until they got back to Grecia. They drove back to the gas station the next day—it’s a five hour trip one way—and were told that a taxi driver had taken him. They checked out all the taxis until they found the right one, but the driver had given Oso away as a gift to his mother who lived in a different town. They went to the different town and found the mother, but she had a Doberman who didn’t like Oso, so she had given him to someone else. Finally, at this person’s house they found Oso.
I need to practice drawing dogs.