Saturday, October 18, 2008

It Was Bound to Happen Sooner or Later

Things that I don't worry about:

  1. Getting sick.  I have not had any kind of illness since I've been here.  I know I will need to be a little more careful when I get to some of the poorer countries, but I've eaten pretty much everything and have not been sick at all.  The only times I haven't felt 100% has been due to alcohol and not the food.  If I do get sick from the food or water, I may be out for a few days, but I'll just deal with it.

  2. Getting shot, kidnapped, or being drugged and having my kidney stolen. Statistically, these things are just not going to happen.  And I don't think anyone has ever had a kidney stolen.  I could be wrong, but if anything like that happened 10 years ago Greta Van Susterin would still be talking about it.

  3. Shark Attacks. Again, statistically, this is just not going to happen.

The things that do worry me are more mundane:

  1. Getting a sunburn.   That would suck.

  2. Falling coconuts.  This might sound silly, but the trees are really tall and when a coconut falls about 10 feet away and cracks open on the sand, it kind of freaks me out.

  3. Irregular verbs and indirect objects.  Frightening.

  4. My backpack getting stolen.

Check #4 off the list.

It was bound to happen sooner or later, I just wish it had happened later and somewhere else. I woke up Wednesday morning and my front door was open and my backpack was missing from my apartment.  They came in through the second floor kitchen window, which I had left open, and stole my backpack, which I had left in the living room.  The backpack contained an Ipod, camera #2, sunglasses, my sneakers, a Spanish dictionary, and my notes from class.  I can't believe that they got in and did it all without waking me up.   Samara feels pretty safe and it's easy to get comfortable.

Since Samara is pretty small, and shopping options are limited, I took a bus into Nicoya on Saturday to go shopping for replacement items.  Nicoya is a city of about 50,000 people and is about an hour bus ride from Samara.  People from Samara go to Nicoya to shop, like we used to go to Paducah when I was growing up.  I bought a new backpack, and Ipod, and a memory stick. Electronics and other imported items are kind of expensive here.  The camera I bought in Heredia cost $120 more than it does on Amazon.  I'm going to go without a camera for a few weeks.  I know enough people by now that I'll put up some pictures on a Picassa album titled “Other Peoples' Pictures”.

I am living with a family for my final three weeks in Samara.  I really like my new family.  The father is the town mechanic and his garage is attached to the house.  The house is bigger than the earlier house and the walls go all the way to the ceiling.  So the noise level is more bearable.  They have two teenage sons (Ernesto and David), a boy and girl that are both five years old (Esteban and Kamilla) and a baby (Alexandra).  The kids adorable.  They are very well behaved, but demand attention.  I can only understand about 30%-40% of what they say.  If I don't understand something I just nod my head and say Si.

Living in a small town is almost as strange as living in a foreign country.  Everybody knows everybody and knows everybody's business.  I hardly get out the door before I run into someone I know, whether it be students or teachers/staff from the school, waiters in restaurants, random people I've met, or the town drunk.  It's kind of nice, actually.  The mother in my new family knew my landlady and already knew that I had gotten robbed.

Also strange is living without a cell phone.  I had my cell phone disconnected.  So for the first time in my life, I don't have a phone number.  It's kind of liberating, but I obviously miss the conveniences of having one.  It is difficult to organize things without cell phones or text messages, but it's a little easier here, since there are only three bars in which people are likely to be: Bar Olas, Tutti Frutti, and The Gondala.

I guess my Spanish is getting better, although I still have a long way to go before being able to converse with locals at their speed.  I'm finding out that becoming fluent in a language is a long process.  I can read a newspaper article as long as I have a dictionary.  If it's a subject I'm familiar with, I can comprehend most of it without going to the dictionary.  I went to the police station to file a police report on my backpack.  I later found out that I was using the wrong verb tense to describe my backpack and it's contents.  But the police officer knew what I meant.

Two weeks ago I had to give a presentation on a current event.  This involved reading four Spanish language newspaper articles during the week and presenting on Friday.  I chose the credit crisis in the US because I was pretty familiar with it from reading the news in English and I also wanted to learn some finance terms.  It was pretty rough, but I got though it.  This past Friday, we had to give presentations on how to prepare dishes typical to our native countries.  The Swiss guys presented on Fondue, the Canadian on Chinese Pate, the Dutch guy on Beer (it's pretty common knowledge in Europe that traditional Dutch food is terrible).  I presented on Barbecued Ribs.  I think I did a pretty decent job.  It was videotaped.  If I'm able to get it electronically, I'll post it.  But I might not be able to.

Maria Jose came in second on Latin American Idol.  She was beaten by Margarita from Panama.  I really wanted her to win, but I'm glad she beat out Pako from Mexico.  He was cheesy.

It rained heavily for 48 straight hours this week.  Many secondary roads were knee deep and the main roads were also under water in places.  They are on track to have the rainiest rainey season in 60 years. ( )

It's hard to believe I've been here for nine weeks!  I have two more weeks of classes, one week of traveling in Costa Rica, and then I will head down to Panama.

Pura Vida!


Ozzy Nelson said...

sounds like you have your hands full down there. Too bad about the backpack. At least you still have your computer. no camera is going to be a bummer.

Shaun said...

Man that sucks...
On the bright side, you still have your kidney(s) and you haven't been hit in the head w/ a coconut.

Life is good.
Take it easy


Jen Holt said...

Sorry about the backpack. That sucks. Glad the new host family is better though. I'm sure those kiddos are keeping you entertained. I can't wait to see what comes your way in Panama!

Anonymous said...

Jay, it's extremely interesting reading of Your Excellent Adventure! Sounds like you've gone with the flow pretty well, including being burgled. Hope to hear from you again soon!

Dan Haile

David said...

It sounds like a great trip so far (other than the obvious backpack theivery and 48 hrs of rain). My house was broken into just a couple of weeks ago as well. They busted out a window while I was at work. Crazy world. Keep posting and have fun with the crew coming into visit this weekend!