Stretch and Pass the Apples

My journey to the land of ‘Pura Vida’ has begun splendidly with a splash of brain numbing exhaustion and a dab of unknown. 
As I handed my passport to the lovely lady at immigration, I realized one very important detail I overlooked when making a decision to move to this spectacular Latin country. I do not speak Spanish. None. 
I am about to embark on an adventure not only of travel, teaching, and personal growth, I am embarking on survival! I learned ‘el pan’ and ‘la manzana’ from my Duolingo app, so I am limited a bit. I need to up my literacy game quickly if I want to eat more than bread and apples!
Getting around has also been a challenge. My life is no longer has the great independence of my ute, but of busses, taxis, and the life saving Uber. 
Yesterday, I hopped in a taxi with a older gentleman, say 90+ years of age, who could neither speak English or use google maps. I was only 1 kilometer from my apartment with all my shopping. It was an easy route. He proceeded to drive past my apartment not once, but three times! I quickly learned the word ‘Alto!’, as he started down the entrance ramp to the highway to downtown. I kid you not, he then backed up the ramp until the traffic nearly honked him off the road. In his frustration he returned forward to the highway and we traveled a bit more until he could turn around. All I could think was, “great, all my daddy’s fears are coming true in the first week”. Thirty minutes later he dropped me at the curb. Yes, I tipped well and tried my best to say ‘Gracias’. We were both a bit shaken. It was both a humorous and humbling experience. Thank goodness for Google translate. 
I had no idea how much I need language. I depend on it, like we all do, for communication. But what I didn’t realize is how my “Jennie-ness” needs to chit chat with all around me. I needed to comfort that driver, but couldn’t. I needed to joke with the Uber driver for the 30 minute drive to church. I needed to exchange pleasantries with the kind lady from the supermarket. But I couldn’t. I feel as if my voice is gone. It is a lonely place to be. I have developed a greater empathy for those in foreign lands who have also lost their voice. The ‘Who’ of who we are truly are is expressed with each word of glorious communication; it is our humanity. 
Rosario is one of my favorite people in Costa Rica. She is the gate keeper of my little neighborhood. I see her each day I come and go. She does not speak or understand English. I do not speak or understand Spanish. Nevertheless, everyday we chat for ten minutes. Sometimes it looks like an elaborate game of charades, and other times it is a talk between good friends. We are communicating. I know we are both talking about the same things, we both just speak in our own home language like the other can understand. It is such a beautiful thing. Our humanity is so desperate to connect with one another, that we don’t hold back, but venture forward. Each day new words will connect us. 
I purchased a bright beautiful new yellow yoga mat, to start working out. Each day I hope to stretch myself; stretch my body and mind. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Most of all Spiritually. I ache to stretch myself. I hope the aches of this stretching with grow me closer to being able to chat with Rosario and others on a deeper level. I need to be able to sprinkle a little “jennie-ness” while I am here. Learning a new language at 40 is not easy. It will stretch me. But that is what makes this land of ‘Pure Life’ such an adventure. 
Pura Vida 
Yo como manzanas. Como pan. Puedo llamar a un taxi. Lo más importante es que puedo usar Google translate como una bestia! Pura Vida mis amigos.

One thought on “Stretch and Pass the Apples

  1. Oh my goodness! So funny! Driving in San Jose is crazy… I think I curled up into a tiny ball 10 or more times while Scott was trying to get around. This country is amazing and you are going to do amazing things… pura vida

    Liked by 1 person

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