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Journals from Costa Rica Fall 2008

2008-10-13 La Vida Costarricense: DEFINED.

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A cool view from the 1st Reserva we went to.

Im sure youve all been waiting with bated breath to find out what it is about the Costa Rican life that makes it such a desirable vacation destination for so many. Well, Im going to fill you in. First and foremost, its the extreme sense of tranquility that seems to overcome all of the people here. Locals and tourists of all types seem to be overcome with the contagious feeling of calmness. Nothing is urgent, nothing is imperative, and absolutely nothing is the end of the world. For example, the other day I was shopping in a boutique during my lunch break (where I accidentally bought a really cute top and some fabulous jeans whoops!). Anyway, as I was looking at a shirt, it fell off of the hanger and onto the ground. From past experience, when something like this happens in the US, the sales person gives you a dirty look and a raise of the brow raise as if to say, Really, you just dropped that? Here, on the other hand, the saleswoman smiled at me and said Tranquila, tranquila! (aka: Dont worry about it). Since my arrival here, I am yet to feel stressed out. It is the most amazing sense of calm Ive ever felt which may be attributed to the fact that its the most elongated feeling of serenity Ive ever experienced. Second reason Costa Rica is the bomb: the tico time Im sure youve all heard about. On first impression, the fact that this country has a reputation completely the opposite of punctual could be disheartening. However, I have come to love the fact that if youre running a little late, you can still walk comfortably (yep, thats right, walk; we hoof it everywhere around town 2 miles minimum to/from school daily) because no one cares if youre a few minutes behind. I love how ahorita, directly translated as in a little bit, (ahora= now) can mean anywhere from five minutes- to an hour- to who knows how long. Although those two factors are winners, I must say that my favorite part of the lifestyle here is the practicality of it all. I have come to realize in the past month (and a halfweird) that in the US we have an excess of everything. Here, I use the same dishes every morning for my breakfast. I wash my own dishes after my breakfast, my lunch and my dinner. Im pretty sure in this entire house (5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms) there are roughly 10 place settings (bowls, plates, etc). Why? Because why would anyone need more than that? On the contrary, my 5-bedroom 3-bathroom house in the US is equipped with approximately 6 SETS of dishes. The ones we use daily, the old ones (that have recently been gifted to my sister for her grad school apartment), the plastic summery ones, the Christmas ones, the Fish ones, and at least one set of Nice China that I may have eaten off of once in my life. Not that I blame us, though, thats just the culture in the US. We have too much of everything, but we are blissfully unaware because thats just the way it is. If you can afford to have it, you do have it (to a certain extent). Im just so glad that Ive come to this realization before I get married so that I dont waste my entire gift registry on seven sets of Fine China. Just kidding! but maybe a little bit serious. The knowledge Ive gained thus far that I value the most is the simple statement that Ive heard my whole life, (but never completely understood), Less is More. (Not sure if this is accurate application, but its my interpretation so I suppose anything goes. ) Afterthought: As much as we are all looking forward to returning to the lavish lifestyle we know and love, its kind of a double-edged sword. Yes, its true that while were here we cant drive cars, we cant use the internet at all hours, we dont have cell phones, etc. My point is that for the first time in our lives we dont have everything at our fingertips. However, as much as it sucks to be without them, those luxuries come with the price of the fast lane." At this point, Im not sure if my longing for my Blackberry and Winco Sour Watermelons outweighs my love for this stress-free lifestyle. Fortunately, though, (for us and for our families back home) thats not a choice we have to make! Our flight home has already been booked. On the 15th of December its Oregon, here we come! Anyway, we leave for El Caribe (Caribbean) on Wednesday, so you can look forward to hearing about that adventure in the near future! Hasta, SALLIE

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