For the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about getting some type of structure set up in my side garden so that I could watch the birds eating my leftover fruit throughout the day. What kind of structure would it be, would I have to do more than swab it off each day, would the birds crap all over the beautiful flowers and ruin the garden, was it too big a risk with the squirrels shouldering in on the delicacies… on and on. Interestingly enough, late last week I was delighted with the opportunity to watch six of these pictured birds (Oropenda) eating the plantains on a tree right outside my kitchen windows! These birds are about five times the size of a robin, make a sound like a turkey that bounces through the jungle, have nests dangling from very tall trees that are huge, long structures…, and are very rarely seen. And I had SIX of them flying from tree to tree, calling, eating and delighting me with their spectacle! It was like I had a dream come true! Inside of 2 weeks of thinking about it! I’m loving my life in paradise!
I’m exhausted from partying so much these past couple of days. Any of you that know me personally realize how incredible that must be for me. I’m usually sitting on the couch reading, cooking something wonderful, rearranging the furniture or wandering around the immediate area being quiet. I mentioned in an earlier post about how most Ticos feel about hermits. You might as well be in a zoo. It’s a foreign – literal – concept here and considered a US trait for citizens to abide immediately adjacent to one another and not hang out. Alot. Together. Intimately.
I’ve been here in Costa Rica for only seven weeks and yet have been totally accepted and loved by my son’s extended family and friends. Folded into their network seamlessly. It’s scary, fascinating and incredible all at the same time.
On my birthday I was taken to the nicest restaurant in San Jose, the capital, and treated to a marvelous lunch where I was serenaded by the waiters with a rendition of the Happy Birthday song in Indonesian . The next day my son calls me and says he’s out at the gate on the road. Neither he nor I are very spontaneous, so this created concern. There he was standing on the other side of the gate, car turned off, his head hung low. I ran up a bit freaked out and asked him what was wrong. He mumbled something and my heart rate got a little bit faster…. What? I said???
A teensy bit louder he said “I’m here to take you to your surprise birthday party.” One part relief and a big part WTF????
Yes. We got to his place and there were the balloons, the kids excitedly claiming protector status of the pinata, presents mounded on a side table, and everyone standing yelling out “Happy Birthday!.” All twenty-some of them… some of them I had met before, all I now claim as family.
And the following day I’d been invited by my daughter in law to go to a “coffee” celebration little baby shower (as she described it). I shouldn’t have been surprised when we drove up to a Hall decorated for at least fifty people… there might have been more. A full dinner ensued, with coffee of course, the guys outside looking at one anothers engines, kids running around having fun, games galore, and presents magnificent. Four hours later, we cut out early.
When you’re – well, me – retired, everyday is a Saturday! I have to check my Calendar to figure out what day it is; or after my computer boots up. Sigh. I’m really relaxing here in paradise. This photo is of glowing yellow flowers with Vidal, the farmer of the property, in the background. Idyllic, right? HA! You shoulda been here a coupla days ago! We experienced the force of nature for 2 hours with winds like a tornado, rain so heavy at times I couldn’t see out of my windows and lightening and thunder galore. It was amazing. I stood in the middle of my safe little casa feeling the awe of the pounding, pounding, pounding of the storm. About half an hour after I had cleaned up the mess from open windows in the kitchen…. ahem….. I was so captivated that I forgot I’d left them open…. my daughter in law called to make sure I was alright and told me that her sister and entire family got stranded in an overflowing culvert and had to be rescued by the Red Cross! Mucho frightening event! Evidently they thought they could make it through a monsoon-ridden lake in the road, only to short out the engine. They decided to leave the car, opened the door and were immediately in a lake up to their chests…. everyone screaming and crying over the cell phone to mamacita so the rest of the family could experience their terror along with them. But, that’s one of the endearing attributes of the Costa Rican culture. The family, the closeness, the connections are deep and lasting no matter the circumstances. And the next morning? As if it never happened. No drama left over to try and reconcile…. they move on, they are more in the moment than I’ve ever experienced. And the flowers in the picture above? Can you see them glowing? Yes. That’s my metaphor for today, my friends. Giving your all within the moment of the moment doesn’t leave any space for leftover wanderings of what-if’s.
Better late than never, huh? You might be able to see my house through the flowers, but only if you put your mind to it… kinda like this past week has been for me. Very lazy, very not project oriented. I have class tomorrow with my Spanish tutor Cristina and I am just now getting the paperwork out and realizing that it was enough for a week that I spent being pretty lazy instead of working as I should have. Sigh. Can you tell I feel like I’ve finally arrived in Costa Rica? Yes. It feels marvelous to just putter around the house, watch the weather, listen to the birds, read, and attend to the necessary stuff. I’ve decided to adopt Heredia for the next month or so and really get to know it. I’m going back to the central market tomorrow and have lunch. Then I want to find this fantastic apartment/hotel just for a further foray into the city… and also because it’s across the street from a fantastic Italian restaurant. I want to find and do these things because I realize I’m ready for adventure now. I’m feeling more comfortable. Maybe this new feeling of relaxation will help with my Spanish. I do know that being between two languages is tending to screw up my spelling in English. But to heck with the spelling, it’s the “saying” that’s next, isn’t it? Yep. I have to have some language to order lunch tomorrow. THAT I won’t be hesitant about doing…. now back to studying…