After Mario’s dramatic welcome, I spent October getting used to my new little house and the infamous “barrio.” I spent exactly one week sleeping at one neighbor’s house, working from another neighbor’s computer, before moving back home. My brand-new AC unit allowed the hole Mario used to rob my house to be filled in with cement, so I felt safe. When the cops brought my sneakers back to me, I was repulsed and told them, “Ew, you can keep them, I’ll never wear them again.” Then I reluctantly told them I’d accept them but would only wear them to kick Mario’s ass, and they sped off. But soon I was wearing them every day. It’s not like I could go to the mall and buy a new pair.
Mundane chores became my source of constant entertainment. For every time I learned the hard way that I can’t shower outside if there’s even a slight hint of a breeze (the curtain is diaphanous at best), I had the experience of washing my hair in rain water and drying off with the view of a rainbow as big as the entire sky.
I finally had grocery stores I could walk to (what’s a 30-minute hike in the blazing sun?), and I met trustworthy cab drivers to take me to Spanish class four days a week. My neighbors started calling in the mornings for a walk around the neighborhood or jog on the beach. Friends’ dogs took turns hanging out on my stoop and barking at strangers. Even the wildlife seemed part of my protective shell. I fell asleep at night to melodious frogs, and my favorite iguana, a skinny green guy with a long black tail, stopped by several times a day.
Martini Mondays on the stoop brought everyone together, and I finally killed my first scorpion. (Admittedly, he stayed squished under a phone book for three days before I got the courage to sweep him out of the house.)
Then on October 20th, my life changed completely. I got a phone! You have to be a resident to get a phone chip, so this was a big deal. The neighbor I was walking with every morning kindly arranged it for me. Finally, I was going to have a social life after two months in Costa Rica!
The next day, one of the chickens marched through my yard proudly showing off the cutest five baby chicks I’d ever seen.
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