5 November 2008
WARNING: PG13 RATED COLUMN, MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR YOUNG CHILDREN OR PRUDISH BUSYBODIES.
The school is a single room concrete block building up in the hills behind Santa Ana in Costa Rica. It’s poorly lit and cheaply furnished in the Costa Rican style. I spend four hours a week there teaching a few of the locals how to speak English. My students range in age from 14 to 64. A small core of about half a dozen are my most dedicated, another half a dozen drift in . . . → Read More: Nurturing Cultural Intercourse and English Language Dignity
11 October 2007
Much of Costa Rica’s appeal for Americans is that living expenses here are supposedly a lot lower than in the U.S. When our income ended after the top of the real estate bubble in 2005, we moved here thinking we’d save a bundle.
While it is true that some things are less expensive, fresh produce or the services of a plumber or gardener, for instance, many things are actually more expensive. Additionally, we live in the suburbs of a big city here, where the cost of living is higher than it is in the countryside.
Rice and beans . . . → Read More: Re-introducing the Ends
15 August 2007
Gabrielle is 11 years old. She’s four and a half feet tall and doesn’t weigh much more than a couple sacks of groceries. Her black hair shines in the dim light of the dingy classroom as she nervously twirls it in the fingers of her right hand. Her eyes are almost black, the whites bright white; her smile, a contagious flash of fun, bursts like a sunrise from flawless cinnamon skin.
With dogged determination and mixed success she tries to pronounce the word “like” using just one syllable. I suggest she try to use it in a . . . → Read More: Te Amo por Siempre
8 August 2007
When we moved to Costa Rica a year and a half ago, the prison-like façades that faced the streets of San Jose appalled us. Steel security bars and razor tape are everywhere. We were delighted that our first house was safe enough in the middle of a large coffee plantation that it needed neither bars nor wire. The five big, not-that-friendly dogs and attentive longtime employees provided reliable security.
A move across the valley to a suburb closer to the city gave us a new perspective on security. With a small . . . → Read More: Security Aesthetics
5 August 2007
Roman Catholicism is the official government religion here in Costa Rica, although the Ticos don’t seem to care what your religion is. Having an official religion appears to provide the Costa Ricans a sensible and wonderfully tolerant attitude toward sin. Perhaps it’s the convenience of the Sacrament of Penance. Or maybe it’s the cultural effect of the graceful Spanish word for sin, pecado. A pecado sounds like such an excellently trivial little habit, something for which no one would condemn a caballero, a gentleman, or his dona, his lady, either, for that matter.
Official government . . . → Read More: Keep the Vice Squad Private