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Journals from Costa Rica Fall 2008

2008-09-03 Bienvenidos a (Welcome To) Costa Rica

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Los Bueyes con carretas

Well, we havent even been here a full week, but let me tell you, it seems as if weve been here an eternity. Each and every day has been an adventure in itself, starting from the time we set foot out of the airport and began this perma-sweat that I have conceded will continue ruthlessly until our return to Oregon. However, set aside the sweating, and these past few days have been some of the most tremendous of our lives. Trying to communicate in a foreign language is unbelievably difficult, especially when you find yourself in a pueblo, a smaller rural town, with immense amounts of slang, slurring of words, and abbreviations. And even though we are living in this pueblo that is supposedly the same size as Mac-Town, navigating this little city can be even harder than speaking its language. The confusion one faces in trying to learn the ropes of a new city is augmented by the fact that here in San Ramn, Costa Rica they dont believe in street names, or house numbers for that matter. So if you want to ask someone for directions youll get them in terms of landmarks. As our Spanish professor told us on our first day of class here (well, it was in Spanish, obviously, but this is the gist) Here, Ticos (Costa Ricans) give directions in terms of cows, and if the cow happens to move in between the time you get the directions and are trying to follow them, youre out of luck! Amidst all of our struggles, however, we have come to love the little pueblo of San Ramon in the short period of time we have spent here. Our adoration was aided greatly by the events of The Festival of San Ramn that happened to be taking place upon our arrival. The Day of San Ramon is technically the 31st of August, though the big celebrations start on the vspera, or the eve. On Saturday the 30th, thousands of Ticos line the streets of San Ramn surrounding the central park and the Catholic Church to watch the Entrance of the Saints. In this procession the 30+ surrounding districts of San Ramn parade through the streets carrying statues of their Saints adorned with beautiful flowers and surrounded by traditional dancers and musicians. It was a very vibrant and moving sight. The next day, the streets filled up yet again, but this time to watch a parade of oxen pulling beautifully hand-painted carts (for which Costa Rica is famous). We had the opportunity to attend these events with our families, which helped us to partake in the celebrations, but more so helped us to better appreciate and understand the pride that these Ticos have for their city.

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