Family Histories…day 16

Chubby woman with green body and purple and red hair

Self-portrait fitting into tight pants



 

Things to remember:

  • Alisia#1 (Wm’s sisters and father call her El Jefe…the boss) asked me what I normally had for breakfast and when I said cereal, she and Carmen went out and bought chocolate flavored corn flakes for me—they’re actually quite good.
  • When something is papaya-colored, it is the inside of the papaya, not the outside.
  • All dogs hate David—I think he has ADD.  Don’t think the two are related.
  • We always keep the plug in the drain in the shower when we’re not using it; we always keep the toilet seat down, we always keep the bathroom door closed.  These things worry me slightly, as the only reason I can figure out why we do these things is to keep something from crawling in.  Kathy Gould once had a rat jump out of her toilet in Milwaukee so she kept 4 or 5 phonebooks on the toilet all the time after that.  We’d flush the toilet twice before lifting them off, then “go” like lightening and slam the books back down.
  • Rice is served at dinner (almuerzo as it’s at noon) every day, even when we have spaghetti or potatoes.
  • The salads are delicious and all Beto and I use for dressing is a fresh squeezed lemon.
  • I am not actually gaining weight.  I can fit into my tightest pants.
  • Someone from the family stops by to clean about twice/week.  Today it was Alisia#2; a couple of days ago it was Monica.  And I mean they really clean.  Everything is always spotless, limpia, limpia, limpia.  They’d be horrified if I was willing and able to tell them about throwing confetti all over my floors for six months instead of cleaning them. It was actually quite cool…sort of a colorful version of sawdust on a bar room floor. I only allowed metallic confetti…no paper. I had my standards.

More exciting historical family drama as heard from Carmen:

[Note 1: I don’t say “told by” Carmen because we must take into consideration that Carmen’s Spanish is being translated by me.]

[Note 2: I told William I would know more about him and his family than he knows and it sure looks like I was right.]

[Note 3: Carmen tells me to write all these histories in my journal as she tells them…escribe escribe. She thinks this will be a grand book.]

Found out that Guillermo was an alcoholic and also that he didn’t want Patricia’s son Alberto around so either kicked him out or he ran away at 12.  When Carmen asked Patricia where Alberto was, Patricia didn’t answer, just hung her head so Carmen asked again and again until Patricia told her Guillermo didn’t want him.  Carmen had a fit, told Patricia that there were tons of men in the world, but Alberto was blood.  Carmen went looking for him and found him working in some type of cargo place and took him to Alisia#2’s home.  Alisia#2 kept him until he got married, but Carmen made Patricia pay for psychological help for Alberto. They are all very close today, by the way, so it must have worked. Guillermo and Alberto even seem to get along. But then again, Guillermo doesn’t drink anymore.

Found out that William#3 doesn’t want Rosabell (his mom and Wm’s youngest sister) to have a boyfriend. When she invited a man over to her house to watch TV, William#3 came home, found him in the living room, and hit him over the head with a broom….fwhap (Carmen’s sound effects). The man left, never to be seen again. 

Found out that William#3 was dating a woman his mother’s age, who has 3 or 4 children.  Think there might be issues here? 

Found out that my Wm’s father had an affair when Alisia (Wm’s mother) was pregnant with Edwin, the 4th sibling.  Alisia packed up Daniel, Wm. and Carmen and left Beto (Wm’s dad) and when he came home (he worked up near Nicaragua at the time and only came home every couple of months) there was nobody living in his house.  He went looking for her and finally found her, went down on his KNEES, and begged her forgiveness and she told him he could only have one woman—good for Alisia. He told her he would only have one woman if she would come back to him and they have lived together ever since.

The reason we know this story is that Edwin told us that last year a man came by his house who claimed to be his half-brother.  He wasn’t home at the time, only one of his step-daughters was there (Edwin married a woman with 9 children…which is another big history), so nobody in the family has yet met the new half brother.  Edwin told Beto and Alisia the story and asked if Beto had another son. (Maybe all families have exotic stories happening but we just don’t talk about them so they get lost to the ages.) Beto denied the entire story, but Alisia said, si, es VERDAD (the truth).  Perhaps this is why she almost fainted when she saw William#2 for the first time…maybe she thought Beto had been up to his old tricks. 

Carmen and Edwin and I are going looking for this man after we return from Panama. Leda’s daughter said the guy looked a lot like Edwin.  Carmen pulled her lower eyelid down with her index finger and said we would see.  She calls us the Costa Rican Interpol.  We think he lives in the north near Nicaragua.  Our plan is to stop in different towns along the border, point at Edwin and ask if they know anyone who looks like him.  This is our plan? We are keeping our plans secret from both of Wm’s parents. 

Edwin also used to be an active alcoholic.  He told me he drank every day and had six accidents before he got a grip.  Leda helped him, gracias adios.  He didn’t go to AA, Guillermo did.  Just before they left, Carmen got out the bible and read something and then everyone started praying out loud; everyone said something different at the same time so I couldn’t really understand exactly what anyone was saying. We stood in a circle, Leda, Edwin, Carmen and me. Then they all focused on me.  Leda stood in front of me and placed her hand on my heart and Carmen and Edwin were behind me with their hands on my shoulders and everyone prayed out loud. 

Because I don’t say anything during these praying circles, I have a feeling they might just be realizing what a heathen is in their midst.  I have started closing my eyes to try to blend in a little better, but I don’t think anything less than praying out loud will satisfy here.  I keep trying to recall my grouping theory in these moments but it’s difficult.  I must say that it feels good to have people praying over you, though, so I am just enjoying the moment…sort of a group psychic, spiritual and mental massage.

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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.