Cooking and eating through a new culture

Coming Home

I am ready to go back home.

Let it be known as I write this, I am sitting in a chi-chi coffee shop stateside lamenting my lack of decent mangos. It’s been two weeks since I left Costa Rica and as much as I loved seeing all my friends, I miss my little lot in life. I thought I would be eating my way through my hometown, but even after two days I felt…well, full. In the short time I have been away, my diet has changed and I am having a hard time adjusting back to US food. It’s too much. I haven’t weighted myself in almost a year, but I know I have lost weight and I can feel it creeping back in just the short time here. But, everything seems too much here. I feel like I am in Disneyland. It’s bright and shiny and clean and everyone smiles at you and they are sickingly polite. There is so much waste.

Rafa can cast a critical eye on his fellow countrymen and, admittedly, he is right. The fact is, a lot of gringos in Costa Rica lament about one thing or another. Even I commented about the style of dress, but I will stand by the fact that you will never see a Tico going to the store in their pajamas, but back to my point…this little stint stateside just solidified in my mind that well, everyone is the same no matter were you go. There may be subtle cultural differences, but for the most part, people in every corner of the globe bitch, worry and want about the same things. Only the degree is different. From my little perch in this cafe, I hear the same diatribe over, and over. “So-and-so did this”, “So-and-so cheated on her”, “I never got that”, blah, blah, blah. It could be in any language, but there is an arrogant edge to Americans. Costa Rica has gotten labeled one of the happiest countries in the world but I think they are missing the mark. It’s not an over abundance of happiness, but a lack of bitterness.

People drive crazy up here. People will still careen into you on the sidewalk. People wear wildly inappropriate clothes, have disapproving relationships, and are selfish and self-absorbed, and it has nothing to do with country lines. Looking out over the city, I am overwhelmed. There is just so much of everything. It hurts my head. I lasted 20 minutes at the mall. A posh home store that I would have normally cooed over, left me ill. A trip to the grocery store makes me dizzy. I already have enough stuffed packed into my luggage to make the baggage handlers get hernias. I gave up an amazing house, a solid, well-paying career and all the fixing that go with that, to move to a country I knew nothing about. The funny thing is, where I ended up really didn’t matter. I went from a 3000 sq.ft. house to four pallets and what I could fit in a Subaru. What could I possibly want? Really, what do I need?

I knew the answer instantly.

I called Rafa yesterday and said I missed my home. There was a deafeningly silence on the other end. I knew what he was thinking, and without hesitation I added, “With you.” He let out a huge breath, “Then come home.”


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