the six-month skinny

September 11, 2011 § 3 Comments

per usual, i’m filled with half-finished thoughts and a litany of phrases. they’re sitting in my head like broken glass bottles strewn across a twenty-something year old wasteland.  introverted ruminations can only go so far before you’re running around the same block in your head. i’ve finally noticed the mess, and it’s high time that i do some spring cleaning….during a costa rican winter, no less.

so what exactly has been going on? i often wonder about that myself. for starters, i’ve developed a healthy fear of any dog that barks at me, which is only natural when a little f*^$@! bites you on the ankle. it’s unfortunate too, since i do so much of my travel by foot. not only must i contend with the hills that slowly erode a little bit of my will each day, but now i worry about every single puppy that walks by me and gives me the slightest odd look. beware of those perros bravos. they have teeth.

stark raving mad puppies aside, i like cerbatana.  i like the people, even when they lie to me. purposefully, and hilariously so. you may recall an older post about a one don bosco salas, one of the elders of the town. don bosco is an intelligent man. he’s also an inventive man. (he likes to lie). earning my weight as a gringo, i readily consumed his supremely confident responses to my inquiries, especially in regards to the names of the indigenous groups that once inhabited the region. i’d still be in the dark if i hadn’t visited my favorite (and oldest) family in cerbatana, the hidalgos, a few weeks later. the hidalgos are quite the characters themselves, and one day, we were shooting the shit when i mentioned my conversation with don bosco and the indigenous groups of cerbatana. so apparently, chanan is complete nonsense, sopapo means slap or smack, and i am still as naive as the day i was born.  touche, don bosco. touche.

but really though, the hardest part of this experience hasn’t been integrating with my community (though i’m sure the female volunteers would digress). it’s coming to terms with the following: i am in peace corps. i am in costa rica. there’s some cognitive dissonance going on here. while costa rica has its share of rural and wholly undeveloped communities and its needs are important and real, i would venture to say that it is by far the most developed country that peace corps currently serves. as an applicant, you’re sold the image of an adventure in some undeveloped region of the world, and yet , i often feel like i’m still in the states. there are so many different programs and opportunities available for costa ricans that i regularly question my usefulness here. but if you look long enough you find a purpose and you find your place, and it looks as though mine is at the school.  it’s the education, stupid.  who knew?


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