Cooking and eating through a new culture

So far, so good

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I’ve been here over six months. Last year at this time, I had a broken thumb, Rafa just moved in to take care of me, thus fomenting the whole idea of moving to Costa Rica. It was surprisingly painless to free myself from the bondage of job and house, not to mention mind-blowingly liberating. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. Driving from NY to Costa Rica was an amazing trip, Sure people said I was brave…or crazy, the two seemed interchangeable, but man were they curious! So Rafa and I only had known each other a few scant months, and I never had been to Costa Rica, let alone Latin America, and I left a big paying, high-profile job (with a boss I fucking hated) and well, his offer to follow him down seemed certainly better than the shit storm I was living in. Really, why not?

Looking back on my time here…about the road to the Caribbean: they painted on lane dividers now, not that I haven’t seen drivers ignore them completely, but hey, they’re on the road. Now if you’re up for a more leisurely drive (if 4 hours from San Jose to Cahuita is just not long enough for you), you can go through Cartago, to Turrialba and connected with the main highway at Siquirres. I must admit, the lack of semi trucks and incredible vistas does make this trip worth it, not to mention the added bonus of stealing a few chayotes out of the fields. Teeheehee.

I rarely go for very long without feeling something crawling over me. Bugs are everywhere and although I don’t scream that loud anymore, they still can send me back on my heels. I am somewhat use to it now but what I haven’t been able to figure out is the lack of screens. Rafa said it is because it’s too redneck, that only rural poor people have screens. Hmmmm, they seem pretty smart to me. After being eaten alive while sleeping, I put up a mosquito net around the bed. The family got a good chuckle out of it, but I sleep better, and wake up with less bites and Hello?, have you seen the size of those May beetles! It sounds like a DC-10 flying around the room. Repeat after me: screens are good.

Tin Jo closed for a period of time because of “health concerns.” Really? I have eaten in some seriously sketchy places and they closed THAT place. I did a little research and well, I wasn’t convinced. There were some major discrepancies in the report and word on the street was that the closing was personally motivated. I stand by my review.

Rafa has been busting his ass at his new job and date nights have been few and far between. Instead, we have the Sunday Adventure Series which consists of traveling to parts unknown with a bottle of wine and some pastries. Any direction you travel here will reveal some amazing secrets. There is not a single weekend that goes by where I don’t see something that blows my mind.

Rafa still doesn’t let me go to the Central Market alone.

I have a Loli instead of a Lily. It’s bittersweet…

My kitchen…yeah, well…someday.

Certainly, my life couldn’t be more different. Being plunged into a Latin family and culture has its challenges. There is not a doubt in my mind that they and myself have looked across the culture gap and wondered “WTF.” As an only child, I struck out at an early age and never really looked back. Sure, my parents will always be there for me but I never had relied on them since I was a teenager and being away, I maybe talk to them once every two weeks or so, which is the exact opposite of Rafa’s family. My family is all about ignoring and denying, sometimes for decades. It’s an art for them.  I know what you are thinking, “You are sooooo screwed Chica! Latin families are all about the drama!”  All I can say is that sometimes it’s a blessing not knowing the language. I am a Gringa. I will never be a Tica regardless of how long I will live here. I love Rafa and I love his family but I will always be the “white” sheep and I am fine with that.


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