Saturday, January 10, 2015

My Tico family

As we pulled out of the driveway to go to the farmer's market this morning, my host mom saw the garbage men coming down the street.  "Feliz Año (Happy New Year!)" she called out to them, waiting for them to get closer so she could chat with them a few moments.  "I've been friends with them for many years, and like talking to them." she told me.  Here she is with the garbage man who told me to call him "Colochos" (Curly).

 And that's the kind of person my host mom María Eugenia Camacho (or Mariu for short) is...super-friendly, loving, funny, and great.  She's been hosting spanish students in her home for many years, and delights in keeping up with them via Facebook.  She's friends with the garbagemen, with the bus driver, with all the neighbors, with the vendors at the farmers market, with the people from the  language institute, with wealthy people, with poor people, and with pretty much anyone she meets.  Here she is talking with her brother-in-law at the farmer's market, who happens to be a Sociology professor at the University of Costa Rica.

"No one leaves my house without learning to make tortillas" she told me one morning, and then helped me gain that new life skill.

She's an awesome cook, and gives me fun new fruit to try, like these water apples.

She grows a beautiful garden that has trees of mango, avocado, orange, lemon 

and a cute little Ochoa bush that hides delicious sweet-and-sour little fruits inside a cute little packet.

She even showed me a little trick so you don't get your face dirty when you eat free samples of the watermelon at the farmer's market.  You bite off the ends of the watermelon's smile (without eating them), so you can reach the fruit in the middle without getting sticky.

She also gives me the newspaper to read each day to improve my Spanish, and talks to me slowly and clearly so I can understand, just like she kindly talks to her 2-year old grandson.

Mariu's husband Luis is also a great guy.  He's both funny and punny (but unfortunately I don't yet always understand his jokes).  I've been really impressed to see him ironing his own clothes, helping shopping, and otherwise helping to care for the home and family.

His parents live about 5 minutes from us, and he takes care of them as well as several adult children and his grandchildren also.  Here's a photo of some of the family gathered together to watch bullfighting on New Year's Eve.

Here he is buying us ceviche (raw fish in lime juice) from a street vendor at the beach.

"We had children young" he told me "and being a father was really difficult for me.  I didn't have any money, needed to work all the time, and lacked experience in how to be a father, so I didn't enjoy it much.  But now, being a father to my grandson Santi (whose mother is a single-mom) gives me great happiness" he told me as we were on a long trip.  A few minutes later when we got stuck in a traffic jam, he used the opportunity to tickle his little grandson.

And when we saw a toy chicken for sale at a shop near the farmer's market, they purchased it for their grandson Santi who loves the Champion Chickens he sees on TV.  Here's a sweet little video of them stopping by Santi's house (just around the corner from ours) to give him the chicken.

I'm feeling very blessed to have the opportunity to live with such an awesome family!

1 comment:

Colleen Caldwell said...

Thank you for this snap shot of life.