El Blog de San José #6

El Blog de San José #6

miércoles, el 30 de diciembre 2015

La hora local: 20:44


Today, I didn’t need to be at Maximo until 11am. I wanted to sleep in but couldn’t because my host family insists that eating breakfast at 7am is all part of the “Pura Vida” pure life. I can’t say I agree with them, but none the less, my butt was at the kitchen table and my mouth was chowing down on a cheese sandwich for breakfast with “uvas” grapes. Nobody told me the “uvas” were full of “semillas” seeds so I ended up crunching on the first one by accident and discovering the little devils.


Somehow, magically, I timed my arrival at the bus stop perfectly and boarded what I hoped was the correct bus. By ten minutes into the ride I wasn’t recognizing much of anything and feared that I was lost. However, I soon caught a glimpse of the recognizable “Nadie es illegal” nobody is illegal graffiti adorning a gray wall out the window. Oh good, nobody is illegal and I am on the right bus.


We get five percent extra credit for participating in a Tandem Conversation program offered through Maximo. You give them your name and availability and they pair you with a “Tico” Costa Rican trying to learn English. The expectation is that we will meet up a few times a week and spend half our time talking in English and the other half in Spanish. I was a little nervous about the whole ordeal considering other girls had been paired with men who are easily more than twice their age, which I find weird by American standards and even weirder by Costa Rican standards.


My partner, Christian, was twenty minutes late. I’m really not a fan of this Tico Time.  Christian is 18, adores his two older English speaking siblings and like me, is studying Computer Science at the university. He’s been seriously learning English for four months now (he had classes in high school but didn’t learn much” and decided to take classes at Maximo because “everybody knows English is the most important skill now a days for a good career” (his words not mine). We talked about university, activities and tourist attractions in Costa Rica, alligators in the rivers, recycling (which apparently neither of us and most of Costa Rica are super into), differences in Spanish across the world, family, and food. We spent the entire conversation in Spanish because he didn’t seem too eager to speak English which I didn’t mind at all. However, he did throw the English words “zip lining” and “white water rafting” in there, which somewhat impressed me.


We’re finally did something I really enjoyed in class since the day of introductions. We read a poem that goes a little something like this:


Sabrás que no te amo y que te amo

Por Pablo Neruda


Sabrás que no te amo y que te amo

puesto que de dos modos es la vida,

la palabra es un ala del silencio,

el fuego tiene una mitad de frío.


Yo te amo para comenzar a amarte,

para recomenzar el infinito

y para no dejar de amarte nunca:

por eso no te amo todavía.


Te amo y no te amo como si tuviera

en mis manos la llave de la dicha

y un incierto destino desdichado.


Mi amor tiene dos vidas para amarte.

Por eso te amo cuando no te amo

y por eso te amo cuando te amo.



(The following is my personal english translation)

You Will Come to Know that I Don’t Love You and that I Love You

By Pablo Neruda


You will come to know that I don’t love you and that I love you

since life is torn between two modes,

words are wings of silence,

Fire is half cold


I love you for the purpose of beginning to love you,

in order to restart infinity

and in order to never stop loving you:

for that reason I still do not love you.


I love you and I don’t love you as if I had

in my the key to happiness

and an uncertain unhappy fate.


My love has two lives for the purpose of loving you.

For this reason I love you when I don’t love you

and for this reason I love you when I love you.



I rather enjoyed the little poem but my confidence was cut short by the short story which followed which I terribly misinterpreted because I couldn’t understand the Spanish.

During our break, we were still working on our plans for the upcoming weekend. We wanted to go to Manuel Antonio which has the reputation of being the best beach in the entire country, but it seems all the buses and all the hostiles are full. Sounds like we’ll have to end up picking day excursions instead.


A bunch of people decided to hit up Star Wars in theatres tonight, but I knew my host mom was coming home from the hospital and I figured it was probably best if I went home.  Wrong decision.  She was home when I got there but was in the back bedroom resting and wasn’t taking visitors.  I had homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner. Tasted pretty much the same as home except with boiled egg and rice. The baby, who as far as I can tell answers to “Alison,” “Ali,” “La Gorda,” “Gordita,” “Arriana,” and “Carita,” started walking today.  The evening was pretty laid back. I mostly sat around with my host father who I still can’t understand and watched TV. I caught the last half of a dubbed version of Forest Gump.  Up next my host father introduced me to “el espectáculo de los torros” the bull show.  The show includes several traditional parts: dancing, skits, people in costumes messing with bulls, professionals riding bulls and a hundred or so random people running from a charging bull.  The costumed people were wearing super hero costumes tonight. As for the hundred random people, my host father explained that they are called “torreros improvisados.”  Being a torrero improvisado is very dangerous and usually a few are sent to the hospital each night and every few years somebody dies.  The whole spectacle seemed somewhat strange and unnecessary to me, but reportedly it’s a very integral part of Costa Rican culture the last week of every year.

La Imagen in the Kitchen
La Imagen in the Kitchen
El Espectaculo de Torros
El Espectaculo de Torros
Host Family Hallway
Host Family Hallway


2 thoughts on “El Blog de San José #6”

  1. Interesting poem, worthy of pondering.
    I hope your weekend is Costa Rica at its best.
    love, Cathy

  2. I hope your host mother is getting better. She must have been very sick. Hope school goes well for you this week. Love you, Grandma

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