Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dias Libres

Since I have taken my new job as a home manager for the neighbor, I have two days off. These days are reminding me why I have chosen to live here in these moments of my life. My job is frustrating. My job is mostly hard not because of the logistics of the work but rather the peculiarities of my boss. Yet, I treasure my two days off. Working a five day work week (believe it or not) is relatively uncommon in Costa Rica. Almost everyone I know enjoys merely one day off. Living here one realizes how much her home culture is engrained into her perspective of the world. I can work six days a week, and I did for about six months. It killed me. I want my American five days of work and two days of mi propia vida!

I am developing a routine of going to the beach and surfing with Ryan on Saturdays. He still only has one day off. Before we worked together (he was my boss and I was the butterfly worker/cook/receptionist/butterfly tour guide/house manager/babysitter/girlfriend), and we could not have the same day off. Working in different places, we can have the same day. Saturday was our first day of having the same day off, and it was wonderful. We slept in - almost a chore when you consider that the sun rises bright and vengeful at 5:30am; however, we achieved our goal.

After a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs with a bowl of papaya and sliced bananas, we went surfing. I never imagined myself liking surfing because I never saw myself suring. It is one more example for me of how there is so much that life can offer that we can not imagine because of our limited experiences. We have to put ourselves out there to be able to discover what we really like, enjoy, and love.

I suck at surfing. Sucking at surfing is actually a testimony to how fun it is. This is because the waves beat the *** out of you, and you can barely stay standing on the board and yet, still feel that ache to try try again because you are sure the next wave will be "the one". You know, the one you finally stand up on; the one that finally makes it all click and you know that standing up on the board is not just a skill you are reaching for but a part of your being.

After surfing beats us up (Ryan is much better than I am), we sit on the beach and talk about our dreams for the future. We talk about law school and how it will develop us as people, what we can do for others, and how it will affect our relationship. I tell him I firmly believe that I will eventually go to law school in the states, and he supports me. My current path is to experience and complete law school in Costa Rica. Thereafter, I am not sure if right after or a few years after, I will go to school in the states and establish a solid professional path toward working with social justice focusing especially on international relations.

After recuperating and playing with some huge hermit crabs, we walk the four beaches back to Ryan's motorcycle that he left in town. He gets on then waits for me as I struggle to get on carrying a big backpack on my back and his surf board tucked under my left arm. Unfortunately, my arm is about two inches too short to carry his surf board comfortably but the responsibiity falls on me as the rider.

At home, he walks Jack and Java - who are more like children than dogs in my opinion. Jack appears to be a mix of a boxer and an American bulldog. He's quite big and adorable. He is also very one-tracked. He has only two purposes in life. His first is to find affection from anyone who is willing to give it. His second is to kill every other dog he meets and anything else that seems threating (aka. quads, the occasional passing vehicle, tiko men, anyone who appears afraid of him, a howler monkey we ran into on the road one day, maybe a bird depending on the day).

Java is a beautiful, petite mix of a colly with jet black hair and caramel eyes. You can see her thinking in those eyes. She is very intelligent; and therefore, a somewhat strange dog. She is the most loyal dog I have ever met but won't play with sticks or play like a normal dog. The only one she really likes to play with is Jack. This is her only fault. When you are about to walk Jack, you can expect that she will bark like a crazy lady trying to rile up Jack to play with her. This is not so bad. What is bad is that she likes to instigate Jack into attacking other dogs. She herself is a complete pacifist when she is alone (save the occasional dog that is smaller and much weaker than herself). Imagine an instigator instigating another that needs no instigating in the first place. Thus, instead of dealing with Jack pulling hard to attack another dog, you have to deal with Java jumping up and down in front of him barking like mad and effectively enticing Jack into a frenzy that is very, very difficult to control. Controlling Jack in those occasions is a story or rather, multiple stories for another day. Ryan jokes that he could write a book with only the stories of his life with Jack to fill it. Jack is lucky he is such a love bug. It seems that as much love he exudes is equivalent to how many problems he creates for you.

Backtracking a bit, Ryan walked the dogs while I showered. After showering, I started watching the last few episodes of Dexter season 2 - my latest addiction. After he walked the dogs, Ryan surprised me with a papaya/banana shake (with no sugar added) that he had made for me. We watched three episodes of Dexter until the sun went down, and we became hungry.

After eating my reheated soy protein and left over salad from lunch, we went downtown. We have to go early or else we won't go out because once it gets late, going to bed becomes too tempting. We typically go to bed between nine and ten. Well, we typically go to bed between nine and ten this week. The next week when we have Summer we all go to bed between eight and nine.

Downtown is busy for low season. I buy a box of orange juice and a small bottle of vodka because I figure out I can buy them for 4000 colones, which is the equivalent to only two bar made screwdrivers. We made at least six of our own. We dance to fast merengue, and we dance to the better songs of reggae. Ryan did not like to dance too much when we first met but dances wonderfully and more and more I get the privelege of dancing the night away with him. He prefers to dance at home more than in public. The nights we dance for at least an hour in the living room to merengue and salsa we find on youtube are very special to me. We talk to people we do not see too often and end up going home early. We do not go home early because we are bored but because we are exhausted.

That was Saturday, and I am writing this on Sunday. I spent this morning discussing the details of Enron and how vice president Dick Cheney had associations with Halliburton during the Iraq war and most likely made quite a profit off the war. We talked about how unfortunately, terrorism in many instances is the kick off to the development of the terrorist's country. It seems that a terrorist does something bad enough to incite war. We spend grand sums of money to destroy their infrastructure and kill masses of their people. Then, we turn around and spend more money to rebuild their infrastructure including establishing schools. If we say that what creates a terrorist is lack of education and opportunities for advancement, then why do we try to build them up and educate them only after we have destroyed them for essentially what they lacked in the first place? It seems logical that we would spend a tiny fraction of the money spent on war and rebuilding if we would simply build up (mostly in education) what we see is lacking now.

I believe that the very fabric of our world is structured in such a way that we are all dependent on one another. This means everything whether it is a tree, an ant, or human being needs each other in the most fundamental way - a way that we obviously do not fully understand yet. For purposes of this discussion, I am specifically talking about how countries depend on each other. Thus, when America does well, other countries do well, and we have to admit that that works vice versa as well. When other countries do well, they can pull us up too.

I think the Us vs. Them philosophy is what handicaps us most concerning further development as a people and a country. It stains our perceptions of the world and ultimately, affects how we make decisions and shape our worlds. The world I know is, on one hand, the direct consequence of how I see it, of how I believe it should be. On the other hand, we all live in a shared world which means the world is basically a mixture of a bunch of individuals having their own take on how they see the world and how they believe it should be.

Therefore, the world, for the most part, is what we make of it with our combined perceptive powers. Us vs. Them perceptions divide our world. How we think breaks us or makes us. I think it is time we start doing everyting in our power to stop dehumanizing our neighbor and face what that means when we are making decisions about where to put our money.

This was my Sunday morning and why I remain content with where I live. I thrive off of the physical adventure and the mental stimulation. It is hard to live here, and soon I will show you why. In Costa Rica, it often feels more like surviving rather than living in paradise.


  1. Love you. Love this.


  2. You are a very talented writer among many other things! Look forward to hearing more, Besos!