Letters from Lindsay: The Tico Life
Before you pack and take a plane to Costa Rica, consider reading this.
Sometimes I am jealous of the ones that work in a building, with air conditioning and luxury lamps and decorations… But then I take a step back. Look where I live, look where I work. I just sit on my porch and look at nature's decorations on my floor. There is a butterfly that almost looks like an owl when you see it, and it is same color, like my tiles. I feel the wind instead of the air conditioning.
After the hard work I did feeding the turkeys, chickens, and rabbit in my parents home, I decided to rest for a bit in my hammock, considering that Andres is still in the school and Gabri is enjoying his nap.
Many people would like to visit my country, and I deeply feel I should advise them of something before they go to pack…
I wish I could write this blog in a faster way, but there are too many birds singing in my garden, and I can't help but be distracted. Having too many birds is a real inconvenience for those visiting my village; it can be difficult to see and listen to the birds of all sizes that flock around.
There are many trees. It seems that this is the season for mamones, guayabas, pejibayes, bananas, oranges and more fruits. There are too many butterflies, humming birds, toucans, parrots and even macaws eating the delicious treasures from the trees.
So I will move to my yard, where perhaps it will be more peaceful for writing…
The green grass looks like a rug. There are some insects climbing up the colorful plants, the day is sunny, and I am sitting under a palm. I think of the day when Keilor and I planted the palm trees in our property; now they are big enough, almost 4 meters. The soil here is rich… Poor farmers: I guess it is hard to them to have lots of kilograms of yucca, tiquisque, ñampi or malangas per every single plant. Yet maybe it is not all too bad because they are getting stronger from their hard work. It makes them to save money and time, because it is the equivalent of going to the gym!
Well, my neighbor is asking for mom, she was calling her, but mom didn’t respond. When mom gets into her kitchen, she forgets the world, and there is a new world for her. She makes delicious food, and this is another problema to add in our “think about it list”… She wants you to taste all of her food creations. Sometimes I have to taste homemade bread, gallo pinto, tortillas, and picadillo in the morning, then when I come back from work, I usually get her sopas or tamales or any other kind of dishes, that include fresh vegetables such as carrots, squashes, pumpkin, potatoes, yucca, plantain, tiquizque and an endless list of products from Costa Rica.
There is a sound in the house. It is Gabri waking up, and he is hungry… I have been writing, and there is not lunch prepared for him, so I will give him a cup of sugar cane juice, the one we prepared yesterday at home. There are some pieces of guanábana, papaya and watermelon in my freezer, and some anonas and caimitos that my friend from school gave me yesterday. She has lots of fruits, which she shares with her friends, otherwise she wouldn't know what to do with her harvest. Anonas and caimitos are not so popular here, so I appreciate her gifts, and I like to give her back some cacao or chocolate fruit. There are some cacao trees on my in-laws property. It was a big problem to me. It was a heavy bag full of fruits and love. It was also a big problema for my co-workers, who had to experience the same experience… Costa Ricans are so friendly, it is hard to stop every time you see someone you know along your way. They want to ask about you, about your family, your pets, your plans for the future and finally, they all give you lots of blessings and hugs, it makes your arms so strong, after giving and receiving too many hugs.
Gabri is happy but thirsty. Sugar cane juice is so sweet, so he probably needs something different now. We have many coconuts here, but I don’t know how to use the machete. This is something to consider… Take a lesson about how to use a machete in Costa Rica! There are many fruits and vegetables that require the right use of this tool.
Let’s drink water, it is pure and good for our health… Then we will have more time for learning how to use the machete and of course, for describing my "hard life" in Costa Rica, the things nobody explains you before you come.
There are not concrete walls around me; what I see is just the green pastures, the unpaved road and the neighbor’s cows enjoying their happy life. The light comes directly from the sky and sometimes, when we have enough time, we make a fire at sunset and sit around it, just to listen to the Mother’s Nature voice.
God bless you, and God bless Costa Rica!
Lindsay Padilla is a nature lover and mom of two boys. She has been teaching Spanish since 2006 and working for the development of rural communities in Costa Rica. She enjoys writing, reading and swimming.
Are you interested in learning more about the Costa Rican way of life, called Pura Vida? Our service programs which can be added on during any of our retreats include opportunities to stay with Lindsay and her family and support our efforts in their village. Learn more here.by