Family Stay in Heredia
Feb 3, 2020   Costa Rica
BLOG: Un-related thoughts and activites of the day . . . .

When I didn't seem to find the time to head down from Monteverde last December to come see her at her house, I kept telling Vanessa I'd come visit her soon. Well low and behold I ended up making plans to head back to Costa Rica about 5 weeks after I came home from my 2 months there last winter.

I was excited, but also a little nervous to go visit her and stay at her house. Mainly, solely really, because of the language barrier. She doesn't speak any English and my Spanish is, um, fair at best.

When we hung out in Monteverde (where we met - she was the live-in cleaning gal where I stayed until we all partied too much and she got fired - whoops!), we sometimes had other people with us that would help translate (albeit it poorly when it suited them), or our times together were short. Like going to the store or to dinner or when we did girly time and she ironed my hair while we drank beer to cure our hangovers. This would be full time hanging out, spending all day together, talking about important things, talking about silly things. How was I going to pull this off? Google Translate can only take you so far. It's not like I don't speak any Spanish but I swear it seems to get worse the harder I try!

So me and my regular carry-on luggage, plus a giant duffel bag full of things for Vanessa, plus the "dead dog" (a set of tennis racquets and balls to donate to the children's park that was wrapped in black garbage bags wound with packing tape, making a lovely bundle complete with tape handle), made it out of the San Jose airport where I promptly lost WiFi signal. Shit, WhatsApp was my connection to Vanessa who was picking me up.

Outside the airport was the typical barrage of taxi drivers asking if I needed a ride but I happily told them (in Spanish) that my friend was coming to pick me up. .... but that I lost WiFi and wasn't sure where she was. "What's her number?" one of the guys says. He pulls out his phone, dials it, and hands me his phone. It was a genuinely nice gesture. The people are like that here.

That might have been the first time I've spoken to Vanessa in some time. I always stick to text that I can easily translate. Long story longer, I finally realized that I should be waiting for her up on the road by the bus stop (outside the airport) instead of outside the baggage area. Thank god that duffel bag had wheels! About 15 minutes later she pulls up, runs out of the car and we have a big reunion hug. :)

I was so beat after the red-eye flight. I nested a little bit on the large shelf she cleared for me in her bedroom (so nice of her) and took a nap. I love her house. Simple, in a nice area with nothing but trees behind their lot, 2 other small houses right next door with other family members in them, and even some aunts and uncles in houses out by the road. In her house it's her mom (who is so amazingly lovely), me and Vanessa in her room, and 2 boarders from Venezuela in the 3rd room.

That night they were having a surprise bachelorette party for her sister (who lives next door). They decorated and barbecued and I drank the boxed wine I bought at the pulperia down the block. I felt honored to be included. But it was also near impossible to do anything but sit there quietly and pretend with smiles and gestures that I was involved in the conversations. More wine. Perhaps some of these chips and beans will keep me busy.

I was grateful when Vanessa said she and I were leaving to go to Karaoke. Yes, you heard me, I was grateful to be going to karaoke. LOL. We took a cab to a nearby bar where her friend works and I kid you not, not 5 minutes in, someone started singing Hotel California. More beer please. A shot of Cacique? Sure, why not. Oh, and did I mention that my friend hasn't really worked since she got fired so who do you think was sporting the bill for the entire night? Whatever, I knew that would be the case so it was an investment I was willing to make. That and probably at least $1,000 worth of clothing, nail polish, make-up, shoes, jewelry, and other things I brought her from the states that I wanted to get rid of.

It was pretty cool actually, her whole family got stuff, even her nieces. And I Vanessa was wearing "my" things every day. Even afterward in FB photos. :) Good to see the stuff well received.

So anyway, that bar closed early so we went to a bar that took forever for me to understand what the name of it was. Tkche. What? Oh, it's T.K. Che whatever that means but at least it's pronounceable. More karaoke - Vanessa sings very well BTW - more beers, more chiliguaro (I have become quite fond of those).

That bar closed at 1 or 2 and somehow I ended up in tow while a young cute guy she met at the bar took us to an after-hours place Vanessa knew of. I wanted them to just take me home, but instead we danced a while in the overcrowded bar, she shut him down, he tried putting his hands on me (not), and we left. But not before someone backed into his car. Got home at 4am. Slept most of the next day.

Hung out at the house. Had some very nice talks with Vane and her mom. Her mom even made me cry. She told me I always had family there with them. Totally sincere. We all walked to the supermarket, then OMG I forgot about the Super Bowl! We tuned it in on their blurry TV and watched the half time show and some of the game.

I told Vanessa that I really didn't want to, but if she wanted to go out, I would rally since we only had one more night together. She thought about it, then "maybe just for a little while." Here we go again LOL. TKChe, another after hours bar (Otis?) near the other one, and again out until 4am!

I had less money so after the bucket of beers, a lame dance with a guy who was still chewing his dinner - gross, and her disappointment that I would not buy her Cacique shots, we were going to leave. I was SO tired, I was counting the seconds until we went home. Almost made it. Then a mystery man bought us a round of beers, then her cousin showed up, started buying us drinks, and that was that.

Slept until it was time to shower and get to the bus to go to Monteverde. She made me a wonderful breakfast and woke up her boarder and had him drive me to the 7-10 station (for a small fee of course).

So that was my time visiting my local Tica friend. Such a close family and it was heartwarming to be a part of it for such a short time. She wanted me to stay longer but honestly with the language issue, it was so exhausting. Two nights was enough. She wants me to come back again after Zancudo. I do want to visit her again so we'll see when we can work it out. :)

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