My host brother bit me!

Do I really need to say anything else?! He bit me!!

I will say that I may have deserved it haha. This little kid wishes I was a boy so badly and not a girlie girl. I teasingly pointed out that the hammock that he had now turned into a flying machine was hiking up his shorts and showing off the bottom of his chonies. And so he said “Oh yeah,” grabbed my arm and bit it. HAHA then he spent the whole day making faces at me and running in the opposite direction. I have a way with the fellas, don’t I?

Today I wielded a machete, swept up bug carcasses, and ate fruit the size of my head.

I would like to think that among my many goals for my year here, growing a pair (so to speak) is one of them. The very first night here a green grasshopper the size of a small dog flew into the house and I showed my true colors to my new family. I leapt from my seat and ran to the other side of the room squealing “What is that, what is thaaat?. Like they understand what you’re, stupid. My host brother causally grabbed it by the wings and tossed it out. Well I want everyone out there to know that I AM getting better at this! I’ve noticed that changes occur pretty fast here. Today, when a roach crawled out of a book I was picking up, I threw it across the room BUT I didn’t scream. So improvements are being made.

After “school” I was walking around the house and noticed my host brother and the neighbor were using a machete to cut down large branches and small saplings in the front of the house. I, of course, walked over and asked for the machete. I wanna try, I gestured toward the machete. My neighbor, looking very confused, handed it over and why not, I guess. This is part of what he is required to do to help the family out and I want to do it for fun. Crazy gringa. So he pointed to the tree and said “That one.” I took that tree apart branch by bad-ass branch. Then I used the machete to gather the frijolios from the downed branches. After awhile, however, I got too hot and gave it back. The thrill was gone.

I walked back to the kitchen to see what was going on in there and my host auntie was carrying a bucket with a giant mass of whiteness inside. Guess what it is, she asked. They like this game here. “Guess how old I am” is their favorite. Well I am not a fan of guessing games, especially when food is involved. Cause chances are I’m gonna have to try a piece of the item in question. But “I am on an adventure!” I think to myself and so I give it sniff. It smells sour but not in the spoiled way. “Queso?” I say “QUESO!?” She says. “No sabe que es esto?” Isn’t that the point of the guessing game, lady? No, I don’t know. “Guanabana” she says and of course cuts me off a cerebellum sized chunk of this head of fruit. I shove a piece in my mouth cause “I’m on an adventure!” And guess what… it’s really good! How ‘bout that! That showed me.

And so my day continued… hot as all hell and little less eventful than the morning had been. And just before I walk this computer over to send the blog off my little cousin screams and points toward the ground. I look and “AAAAAGGGHHHHHHHHHhhhh…” and I’m off. My nemesis, Mr. Grasshopper, back for more! And I was starting to look so cool. Frickin’ Grasshopper.

If you’re going through Vergel, keep on movin’…

For my country fans (Annie, Maura, Kourtney, Cassidy, Emily, etc.) thank you for appreciating that lyric. If not, get with it! It’s Rodney Atkins! Hehe SO yesterday I decided to go check out Palmar, my hub “town.” It has the essential things, grocery store, copy place, 15 different shoe stores, and 3 chinese food restaurants. Go figure. Actually, there are lots of “chinos” down here. However, most places were closed down, due in part to it being Sunday but also because it was ELECTION DAY! I sat in front of the T.V. last night following the Election Day news, surely making my “real” parents proud. (And yes, I said “real” parents. It’s now something we volunteers have to distinguish between, especially when we have our Orosi families to include as well.) So congrats, Laura Chinchilla and Costa Rica, first female presidente! My Vergel family wasn’t too crazy about it because they were voting for Otto Guevara, who came in 3rd after Otton Solis. Something interesting to point out, all the candidates have “banderas” or flags that represent them. And the people fly them EVERYWHERE! Every single candidate starts with one. They are really simple, more simple than the Obama “yes we can” image, but they represent that candidate whenever you see it. Dad… we could be onto something really big here. We’ll talk. Anyways, yesterday, had I been wearing red and yellow Otton t-shirt, or a teal “Laura: Firma y honesta” t-shirt I may have gotten a ride anywhere I needed to go. Instead, I played it safe and took the bus. Ha. Probably would have had better luck with getting a ride from a stranger. After I was done roaming around Palmar Norte I hopped on the 12pm bus back home. I told the bus driver “Escuela Vergel” in my best Spanish and took a seat on the back of the bus near the door. I knew it was only a few kilometers away. Yup. Only a few kilometers cause there it went…SHIT! Alright don’t panic. Just need to go ask the driver what happened. Because the bus is so crowded I have to wait until we stop. So, at the next stop I say “Escuela Vergel?” in my best questioning Spanish, with the shoulder shrug WT taught us to use in case of confusion. Oh it’s way back there you say. Hmm. Why? Oh you thought I knew what it looked like and would have pressed the buttom. I see. Oh I should get off here at the side of the road and wait for the next bus going the other way. Gotcha. VERHELL NO! This is what I learned to not do in my orientation. Okay, sir, will you drop me off in Curre? I have a friend there (which isn’t true cause he’s at the beach) but I figured at least I was a little familiar with it and if the fit hit the shan and no buses came by, I would be able to stay at Will’s house in Curre. Oh thanks sir. I’m gonna go back to my seat. So I go back to my spot in the back of bus near the door again. 5 minutes pass and this nino comes looking for me. Yes little kid, I want to go to Curre now. It was Vergel but now it’s Curre. You want me to give you what? 300 more cause I missed my stop? Out of my way, twiglet. So, I stomp towards the front of the bus. Mr. busdriver you missed my stop. Sorry, I don’t really understand what you’re saying. No, I asked for Escuela Vergel first. You didn’t stop. No, I didn’t push the button cause this is my second day I don’t know what it looks like. NO I’m not gonna pay the 300 colones, sorry, this is your fault not mine. Please let me off at Curre. And after a 2 hour wait in Curre I made it back to Escuela Vergel. WOOHOO! Success! My first trip into town and my first act of defiance in Spanish! I was pretty proud of myself. So was my family apparently. Hehe they boosted about it to the neighbors. I am a feisty gringa, better recognize. “Real” Mom and Dad, aren’t you proud?

That sounds really nice but there’s a chicken in the hammock.

Here I am! In Vergel, no pun intended. I would be relaxing in hammock on the porch, listening to the much appreciated rain, readying my big girl book, Pride and Prejudice, and causally dozing off but its already been claimed. So instead I decided to write to all my faithful readers… cause all 4 of you have been really great. I am proud to say I survived day 2 yesterday, cold showers, missed buses (read on!) and all. Actually, I enjoy these feared cold showers, especially when it’s 90 million thousand degree outside, which it has been from when I get up at 7 till I go to bed at 9. And yes my sleep schedule is that of an old lady and I’ll take it cause honestly the only things to do when it’s that hot are take a shower, swim in the river, or sleep with a fan pointed at your bed. One shower a day is really all I can do, and even that’s a bit much for me. As for the river, in the words of Sarah the Dolphin, “eh eh” hahaha. Too squishy… too unknown… and to be honest, too many tales of crocodiles for my taste. Hehe my host brother, after hearing me refuse to come in, told me (well not so much me as the river cause he was staring at the river while he said this, possibly consoling the river, apologizing for the gringa who refused to be one with nature) “John always wanted to play in the river.” Well then, John, my hats off to you cause right now… eh eh. Maybe some other time. So you guessed it, in bed with a fan for me…and a movie. I’m going through these movies a little too fast. Gonna have to restock soon. But with all that said, it’s really not as sad as I remember it on my first visit. The family is really warming up to me, though I hear I’m about to see them less and less as the school year starts. The say they are happy that I come out of my room and talk to them more than past volunteers have. I am trying my best to be friendly but fear it might be in vain. I get word today if I am leaving this place and going back to the volcano or staying here. At this moment I think I want the volcano. It will be closer to friends and civilization. I will be able to get the airport quicker and will have a nice place for people to stay when they come visit. But how awkward is that “hey, it’s been great but I have another family I’m gonna live with now. Yeah they live near a volcano but that’s where I think I belong. But you all have been really nice. Thanks so much for your hospitality.” And now lets try it in Spanish… “Lo siento. Tengo un otra familia… cerca de un volcan. Lo siento. Gracias por su hospitalidad. Pero yo necessito ir ahorra. “ As you can see my Spanish is greatly improving.