The new people I meet here have this one question in common… how do I feel about living in Costa Rica. Is it too hot. Are the people being friendly to me. Am I finding my way around….
This country’s culture is based on feelings. It’s amazing to me that someone I don’t even know – the taxi driver – is concerned about my emotional comfort. And I am relaying this without any exaggeration whatsoever.
Not having the language is a barrier that feels like a wall… and is. I have a few words and a few verbs that I mangle routinely, but the effort, the attempt I make to have a discussion is considered valuable. Thank goodness for Google Translate! Before I go anywhere I think up sentences that would be either nice to say or necessary to achieve a goal, and put them in my back pocket. I keep my grocery receipts so I can study the names of things I just bought. I’m almost ready for People Magazine in Spanish. And, of course, I have notes from my tutor and books to study that I don’t. Being a passive observer on hour-long bus rides or in lines waiting for my turn with the cashier is tuning my brain and I’m recognizing words I want to learn because they have such emotional resonance as I’m listening to people talk without knowing the language, but recognizing the body language.
And I think, too, that my own emotional state of happiness and contentment is recognized by the Ticos (people) here, becoming a bridge that’s easily accessed and understood. Lovin’ the life, my friends… lovin’ the life!