Wednesday, February 25, 2015


After a few weeks in Costa Rica, my host mom started calling me "Cindy María", since it just didn't feel right to her that I didn't have a middle name.  And, being a country heavily influenced by the Catholic Church, María seemed an appropriate name for her to give me.  (When I first learned I'd be living with their family, I was tickled to learn that I'd be living with three María's and two Luis's.  When I arrived, I found they used nicknames to keep everything straight--there was "Papa Luis" and "Lucho" for young Luis.  There was "Maru" for María Eugenia, "Eu" for Eugenia María, and "María" for the other María).

After I had dated Caleb for a while, I noticed that he called me "Lucia" when he talked with his friends and family about me.  When I asked him why, he said it's because my face is full of light (luz) and so they had chosen that nickname for me.  I was flattered, of course.  I definitely like "Lucia" much better than "wink wink", a nickname my family chose for one of my brother's girlfriends!

Laundry in Costa Rica

As I looked at myself in the restroom mirror after class one day, just before I was supposed to meet Caleb for a concert at the National Theatre, I felt badly.  It was a bad hair blonde roots were showing.  And a bad clothes day.  Since there wasn't much I could do about it at that point, I tried to put it out of my mind.  But, even so, I still felt a little insecure as I crossed the pigeon-filled plaza near the theatre.  When I saw Caleb in the crowd, I smiled and walked towards him.  He gave me a big hug and kiss, looked into my eyes and said "I like your face.  You are more beautiful today than yesterday."

I tried to explain the concept of a "motivational liar" to him, but he didn't really get it.  Whether his words are true or not, I appreciate him for saying kind and encouraging things to me every day.   

A culture of equality

"I heard there's an amazing couple over here, a gringa and a tico, who can do magic." the homeless guy said to Caleb and I as we sat outside the national theatre, waiting for the open air concert to start.

"Really?" we asked.

"Yes, they are able to magically make a coin from their pocket appear in my pocket." the man smiled.
And with that, Caleb pulled a coin out of his pocket and gave it to the man.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Happy as a Worm

Costa Ricans have a little rhyme to express being very happy: "Estoy feliz como una lombriz" (I'm as happy as a worm).  And they like to joke that if you aren't happy, then you've failed as a worm.  (Something like: "Si no estás feliz como una lombriz, estás fracaso como lombriz"). 

These last two weeks, I've been as happy as a worm.  Because so much has happened, and because my writing time is limited, I'm not going to be able to give you a blow-by-blow account of all my adventures ("de lujo en detalles"--a luxury of details, they like to say here), so I'll just summarize some of the highlights.