Mouse, Karaoke and Tight Clothes…day 8

cartoon rat

Self portrait as a mouse

Today I wrote a database for the Plastics Factory, a very simple one, but at least it will track orders and payments.  I hope I can find enough Spanish to teach them to use it.  I enjoyed having a day to think about otras cosas than Spanish. 

It’s raining cats and dogs, well dogs anyway.  No cat would dare to rain anywhere near this place.  Mirta has a phobia about cats and all the poodles have been trained to chase any cats away.  I still haven’t figured out exactly how many poodles they have, but it’s a lot.  There are two 3-week old poodles in this house and five 2-week old poodles in Jose’s daughter’s house.  We contact her by shouting through the kitchen window. 

Tomorrow I go to the Atlantic Coast with Margo and Madonna.  Jose thinks it’s dangerous because people are poor and there isn’t any work there.  He also said that gringas like it there because they can get drugs and sleep with black people.  There are plenty of black people in the U.S., why travel so far? that’s what I want to know.  I’m pretty sure Americans like it because of the music and diversity—at least that’s why I’d like it.  The drug part might be correct, but again I have to wonder: why travel so far for something readily available in the U.S.?

Later that night: I was drawing, but had to stop to record this.  I was unhappy about the enormous roach that was here last night, but now a mouse has just run across the floor– not that I haven’t had them in every place I’ve ever lived. I thought at first it was a REALLY big insect, but no, I now have a regular zoo in here.  It must have been all the rain.  I’m trying to keep a good attitude about these things, after all, at one time I was considering a career as a naturalist. I do wish nature would hang out in someone else’s room, though.

Went to a Karaoke bar/restaurant with Jose, Mirta and Stephie.  I had two coconut drinks and so much food it’s getting ridiculous.  Tonight it was a huge platter of fried chicken, fried pork, fried fish, fried cheese and fried unidentified vegetables, along with ceviche with bananas and lots of orange lemons.  I thought they were green oranges, but they are lemons with green peels and orange insides, whatever happened to lemon yellow?  Both Jose and Mirta sang songs.  I didn’t have the nerve.  We really had a blast, though.  Jose knows everyone.  I’m so lucky to know these people. 

Mirta made ceviche for lunch today and it was out of sight (ha! I have dichos tambien…William’s family, especially his father, Beto, is teaching me many Costa Rican sayings. Twanis, Mahi [can’t find it in the dictionary, so unsure on spelling] translates to cool, Dude.).  Mirta is Peruvian so all of her cooking is Peruvian and WOW can she cook.  The mouse is making noises in the corner.  Maybe she has a family and is nursing, it sounds just like the two puppies nursing.  I don’t have the nerve to pull back the curtain to look.  I remember thinking I could catch a mouse with my hands in college and pulled open a kitchen drawer to grab it. I was so startled when I saw it actually in the drawer that I ran in place and screamed—which I almost did just now as it ran out from behind the curtain again, darted across the room, saw me jump and ran back behind the curtain.  I’m going to brush my teeth and give it a chance to settle into my bed.

Well, I’m back from the bathroom and I can still hear it behind the curtain.  Am going to sleep with my socks on—I don’t know exactly how this will protect me, but I feel more secure with them on. 

Observación 1:  Costa Rican women are much sexier than I am.  Their clothes are much tighter and lower cut.  I look like a 50-year old woman in a 14-year old boy’s clothes.  Well, actually I am a 50 year old woman.  Still, I don’t think I shall change my style soon as I didn’t have to suck in my stomach all evening (thank God, considering what I ate) like all the other women.

Observación 2:  Americans are so much more wasteful than Ticos.  More on this later.  Forgot to mention that Jose came home with a new second hand car, a Range Rover or something like that—big anyway.  It broke down on the way to the Karaoke place.  He called one of his sons on his cell phone, who came and towed us back with a Suzuki Sidekick about 1/3 the size of the Rover.  Even though the Sidekick was smoking when we got back, we hopped in and continued with our evening.  No one was bent out of shape about this.  I want to own this attitude.  Maybe I could bottle it and sell it to gringo commuters in the US of A.

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Befuddled…day 2

Confused and befuddled...a mere shell of my former personality

Much of the family visited today, too.  

Hi Patsy (email to one of my sisters), 

Am learning at the speed of mud.  This internet cafe only has Spanish on its pcs, so it is a bit difficult to figure out how to do things.  I didn´t realize I even read the menus anymore, but now that they are all in Spanish I sure can´t remember them. 

Hi Mom (email to my mother), 

I was so exhausted yesterday I could barely speak English, let alone SPANISH!, but somehow I managed to make it through a huge family party.  I was asleep, however, by 7 pm and didn´t wake until this morning at 7 am.  I´m set to jet today, however.  I feel great and my Spanish is improving by the minute.  Or maybe I am just faster with my dictionary. (Is this exactly the opposite of what I just told my sister?)   

Journal: 

Everyone is taking my Spanish lessons very seriously.  They correct me and make me repeat things continually.  If I don´t learn Spanish here then I´m just not going to be able to learn it at all. 

 My every-day life in Costa Rica is going to be way different than my every-day life in San Francisco.  I already appreciate things I had never even considered, like not having to wash my clothes by hand in a big basin of water.  They have just purchased a washing machine (it is kept outside) and are very proud of it, however, they don´t have a dryer.  They have no microwave or toaster or dishwasher or … actually it sounds like my house before William moved in. 

One of the dogs, a diminutive brown brindle named Binky, tried to bite me.  If no one had been watching, I’d have bitten him back but it is only my second day here, so I didn’t think that would be cool. The other dog is blond and white and inexplicably named Blackie.   I feel like I may have entered the pages of some strange Mexican novel. 

Painted pictures with Gilary (6, pronounced Jilary…though they told me it was like Jilary Clinton), Monica (Gilary’s mother) and David (14…son of Patricia, one of William’s 4 younger sisters). They think my drawings are strange, but interesting. 

 Tomorrow I visit my cousin who runs a feminist radio station down here with a friend.