This past weekend was a reminder of what living in paradise is like. Yesterday, we got to sleep in and enjoy a good, long night’s sleep. It sounds so simple… yet never guaranteed. Recently, the pastor and youth have been doing some prayer or worship meetings early in the mornings. On a Saturday, I define anything prior to 9:00 a.m. as early. In that sense, I guess what I am really referring to with these morning meetings is really early. A couple of weeks ago, we awoke to music blaring downstairs right around 6:00 a.m. To be honest with you, I am not sure why people think the earliest hours of the day are so much more holy than any other time of day. For night owls, like myself, midnight is far more holy to me than 6:00 a.m. Nonetheless, this is quite the tangent I’ve gone off on only to let you know that we got to sleep in to the hour of our choosing, and it was delightful!
Around noon, Andrew and I drove up to his gym. On Saturdays, we’ll either walk or drive to his gym and then I will go on my own adventures while he works out. The neighborhood that the gym is in is quite quaint. The gym itself is down a street that is almost completely residential. It is a little odd to pass all of these houses and come to the next door in line and have it be a gym. I don’t think they believe in any really zoning codes here. After Andrew heads into the gym, I take off on a walk into town. As I said, the neighborhood is quaint, but I do tend to haul it past this one house. A few weeks ago, I was walking to the market and an elderly woman was standing in her yard by the gate. As I approached, she seemed to be getting increasingly agitated by my presence. I could hardly understand anything she was mumbling about though. And then one of the few Spanish curse words I knew flew out of her mouth, then again, and again. Each time was louder than the last. This old lady was calling me a whore in Spanish! I can’t blame that on a cultural difference so much as a generational one. My thought is if I walked into a nursing home in the states wearing shorts and a tank top, I may very well get the same reaction out of at least one person there. I’m hardly making excuses for the woman, after all, she did call me a whore. But I tell you this story to point out why Saturday turned out even better for me than expected. The woman wasn’t even standing outside when I walked by to be able to scream nasty things as I passed. Point for me.
Yesterday, I brought my iPad on my walk with the intent of heading to the park to read. Most of the time, I like to venture off the main road to see different stores, bodegas, restaurants, and whatever else exists in the town center. I like to think of my walks as fact-finding missions, of sorts. I have the worst sense of direction out of anyone I have ever known so I am often glancing down streets to test myself on whether I remember certain landmarks or places I have been before. As I was walking, I passed the street where I thought the Indian store to be. It’s a fun store to check out from time to time. I paused at the corner and checked to make sure I was right on the location. I was. But I also saw an interesting looking café. I walked across the street to check it out. The best part of cafes in town during daytime is that they have their doors wide open and it feels like an indoor/outdoor type deal. I decided to take a glance at the menu and consider stopping here to read instead of continuing on to the park. After all, it was lunchtime and I hadn’t eaten anything that day yet.
The friendly woman at the counter was able to convince me the hamburgers on the menu there were tasty. You need to be able to read people very well when asking about burgers in this country. Most places have awful burgers here, nothing like what you’d find in the US unless your highest standard for a good cheeseburger there is McDonalds. But, I believed the woman and ordered the quesoburguesa sliders and a Coca Cola Light. As I sat down at a sleek-looking, modern table, propped open my iPad, and starting sipping on my diet coke, I thought this must be the scene people play out in their mind when they dream about living abroad. Walking into a fabulous café on a Saturday afternoon, relaxing with a good book, listening to the hustle and bustle of people outside walking from store to store shopping. This is the life people dream about. After about an hour, and two delicious sliders later, I joined the hustle and bustle outside as I walked back to the gym to meet Andrew.
Now that I have made people nice and jealous, I’ll share a humorous piece of paradise with you that will set you right back to a state of non-jealousy. When I returned home from my adventure in town, I was ready for a shower. As I get in the shower, I see two little black legs coming out of the crack where the wall meets the ceiling. A spider. A wretched, awful, good for nothing spider. My experiences with spiders here in Costa Rica are too many to count. Just last week while in the shower, I spotted one climbing the wall. I made eye contact with that sucker every 15 seconds or so until the death defying moment when I realized I hadn’t checked on the spider in 3 to 4 minutes. My heart skipped several beats until I located it again. I have also implemented the hard and fast rule of shaking out all towels from the rack or the shelf before using them to dry off. Two times now, I have pulled a folded towel off the shelf or grabbed my towel hanging on the rack and had spiders come flying out. One dead and one alive.
So now I take precautions, lots of precautions, which is why I knew I had to kill this spider lurking half way between the openness of the shower and the darkness of the ceiling. I should also note that some spiders are dainty, fragile looking things (not to be taken any less seriously, in my opinion) and then there are dark black, thick looking spiders. The lurker was of the latter variety. I grabbed the showerhead down and contemplated how fast I could get out of the shower if the spider survived the fall down and started scurrying. I changed the sprayer to jet speed and aimed upward. Lucky for me, he didn’t start scurrying when I sprayed him down. Then again, I had him pinned into a corner with the water and he was likely drowning quite rapidly. I sent the spider flying to the drain in the other corner like he was rafting on white water rapids. Once down the drain, and for safe measure, I grabbed the bottle of dog shampoo and started squirting it down the drain. If he had survived my attempted drowning, he was now going to be ingesting dog shampoo.
I tell you this to show that even paradise has its drawbacks from time to time!