by Hannah Nevitt, Greenheart Travel Volunteer Abroad Participant
It is almost 2 o’clock in the afternoon and pouring down rain. The water drains from the gutters and splashes into tiny puddles along our driveway. I can hear the spraying of water as cars whiz by on the nearby road. Muffled voices in the distance, the clucking of chickens, and the background music from a TV advertisement I have come to recognize. I am starting to become accustomed to the world I now live in.
As time passes I am starting to realize how much of Costa Rica’s culture I have started to absorb. I am no longer fazed by thunderstorms, sudden downpours, scampering raccoons, or even by the variety of insects with which I now share board. I crave coffee three times a day and I am not yet sick of rice and beans. I have become accustomed to the mid-day siesta; in fact, I am not sure I can now live without one!
I am reminiscing over moments of culture shock I experienced within my first month here; young children drinking coffee, watching them play soccer without shoes, drinking soda out of plastic bags, and seeing homes with earthen floors. Yet somehow, now I am no longer surprised. It is just the way of life.
I remember about a month ago when I observed my 10 year old neighbor, Ramon, sweeping and painting the roof of his house. I sat from my porch pondering the cultural impact of this situation. I remember wondering if I would ever see a 10 year old boy in the U.S. (who looks like he is 7) walking along the rooftop re-painting shingles. He wakes up every morning at 7am to milk the cows or help with chores, no questions asked. Always with a smile on his face. It is incredible.