Well, here I am back in the country of my birth. I realize that the postings, as well as the pictures, were few and far between. It’s really difficult to keep track of life while one is living it, though I try to remember the juicy bits for later historical reference. This is often regardless of the realized fact that the poetry of the moment will certainly be lost forever. In words. I can capture the essence of a feeling, describe it as one would expound on the sensation of a smell, the emotion of a color, the taste of a moment. But I wonder if that moment, as I experienced it, can ever truly be conveyed to an extent that another can share it in the same way. It could be argued that this is what makes us who we are, what keeps us separate in our tastes and personalities. Even when we share commonalities, from an individual perspective, they are ours alone.
So many moments when I thought, I must share this. The richness of this sunset, the freshness of this tuna steak, the warmth of this breeze coming off an ocean so familiar to me, yet so alien in temperature. The sounds, the colors, the life around me in abundance. I’m no stranger to a rainforest, having grown up on Vancouver Island, the westcoast of Canada. I knew that a tropical rainforest is far removed from what I’ve known, but I never thought to such an extent. I thought it would be familiar and strange all at once. To a degree, Monteverde, the cloud forest reminded me a lot of home, with more monkeys and cicadas and larger trees (because there is no macmillan/blo(wme)del in costa rica. Fortunately people have taken great pains to ensure that their natural surroundings remain exactly that. Natural. Surrounding.
A temperate rainforest is alive in a kind of dead way, if that makes any sense. The smell of rot permeates, damp and lichen and mold spores and fungi abound. Ferns grow close to the ground, acting as cover for the animals leaving tracks. Granted, I did far less exploring the tropical rainforest than I had thought to, but everything I saw of it suggests to me that it is innately alive. Everywhere there is sound, movement, suggestion of habitations long undisturbed. I’m sure this is not the case everywhere, as colonization/corporate interests/wankers of all shape and form have sought to exploit anything awesome for some inconceivable personal gain that has little to do with the thing itself and much to do with invisible profit margins. But I was fortunate in that the places I got to be there seems to be a real interest in improvement without too much invasion.
It has happened again, that I have fallen in love with a place I have visited to the extent that within 2 weeks of being there I was already wondering how I could manage to stay. Learning spanish would help, I bet. I wonder about this, my constant ability to fall so in love with somewhere I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be. The same thing happened to me in Berlin. I had no intention of visiting Germany and then I went and fell in love with it. Paris will always be in my heart, I imagine Ireland will have more or less the same effect. But Costa Rica surprised me.
At first my attitude towards the country wasn’t necessarily the best one. I wasn’t really into going there as much as I wanted to see Guatemala, southern Mexico, Argentina, Cuba, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru…Costa Rica always kind of struck me as being too united statesianized. I only ever heard stories of ex-pats going to live there to dodge the taxman, to frolic on white sand beaches, to build golf courses and resorts and turn it into a playground for the wealthy, since they couldn’t have Cuba and Mexico was just too poor and independent to do this with. A pretty bleak attitude, you must admit. As far as any kind of independently defined culture went, I had a hard time sussing it out. It didn’t strike me as a place that someone like me could find much in the way of daily joy. Moments, certainly, but anything consistent? How narrow I was. How grateful I am that I went anyway. How delighted I am that Costa Rica proved me wrong.
Yes, Costa Rica is overrun with anglos and euros, as well as representatives of other places as well. Yes, some of them are complete assholes, with no respect for the place or the people they are visiting. That happens everywhere. What makes up for it is how absolutely lovely every single Tico I met is. What also helps is that a good portion of the non-local locals I met are so delighted to be there, their love is apparent. And contagious.
Upon arrival, within the first week I was enchanted, but also convinced that I didn’t think I could ever live in such a place. Upon departure, I was wondering how long it would take before I come back. This time for longer. I think this is not an uncommon scenario. As much as I would love to go back, right away, next November (after my mom’s birthday), whenever I can manage it, I hesitate. I know my ability to fall in love with the novel, the shiny, those places filled with people living a relaxed and expressive life. I also know that there are so many places out there I haven’t seen yet.
I did succeed in my intended goals for the trip. I learned to surf, to the extent that I know it’s something I will do for a long time to come. I got a tattoo, representing the country in a very specific and memorable way. Which I will post pictures of on some night when I’m not completely exhausted. In fact, I’m going to sleep now and will write more about the ubersuperness that is Costa Rica later.
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