Birthdays in Costa Rica


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.

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