Mohit and UPeace helped me find a family and I couldn´t have been luckier as the family is absolutely adorable.
My first weekend my hostmother’s son Gerardo gave me lots of his favorite latin music and took me and Mari (his sister’s daughter) to see a nearby Indian reserve and eat at a bar with a swimming pool up in the mountains. Then my hostmother Dona Marta and her daughter Nancy brought me to a beauty saloon with the intention of getting me some tattooed eyebrows. Dona Marta and Mari, her 11 year old granddaughter (Nancy´s daughter), are my favourites as we can spend hours just talking and laughing. Strangely enough los Ticos (Costa Ricans) and I share exactly the same sense of humour.
To my big confusion Marta (and the guys in the gym and the people at the store) kept on telling me that they were going to accompany me wherever I was going, to the university, to the gym, to the store, absolutely everywhere… so I would tell everyone “no thanks” and try to explain why I didn’t think this was a good idea. With Marta I would wait a little… looking at her all confused… and she would just sit or stand looking back at me without showing any intention of joining me. Mari explained to me after the first week that they were actually saying “May God accompany you”… and didn’t understand why I was so against it.
I’ve also started to walk the dog Orejitas that had never gone out walking since he was a puppy and they’ve had him for seven years now. It’s actually quite challenging… all the stray dogs in the neighborhood come running and try to kill poor little Orejitas and I stand there shouting and kicking at them… the Ticos (Costa Ricans) come running to help me. It’s actually quite entertaining… and exhilarating when the dogs get especially mean. Mari sometimes comes with me but she’s the first one to run away when the dogs attack.
One day my hostmother asks me about the food at UPeace. “It´s great” I say but then add “But Dona Marta… you know nothing compares to your cooking”. While I just wanted to fit in a well-deserved compliment, she decided it would be best if she would prepare for me lunch to bring every day. She´s determined to take very good care of me… within the first ten minutes of me meeting her she had already started her search for a suitable arranged marriage so I would not feel like leaving Costa Rica ever but feel at home. While she´s teaching me about Costa Rican cooking, I plan to make her my speciality chocolate cheesecake this weekend.
We´re also planning a trip to the Panama border where the Costa Ricans go to buy all their electronics and other commodities that are insanely expensive here due to high tariffs and numerous monopolies. I will be discussing the Costa Rican economy in a lot more detail in the coming days. On Sunday there´s the national referendum on whether Costa Rica should adopt the TLC (a free-trade agreement between Central America and the States)… the debate is intense and I plan to spend Sunday in San José observing people´s reactions to the results.