My Weekend, put simply

Published: July 6th 2005
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I´m always so random, so bear with me…
My mom here is so cute. She likes bread a lot, so she doesn´t eat the bigger meals with me most of the time. But whenever she makes a comment about something not right, like how she eats too much bread, she says, “Es un problema, Yaneec.” “It´s a problem, Janice,” with a seriousness reflecting from her wide-set eyes. She also said she doesn´t eat the food with me because she gets tired of it. I can imagine. She cooks three meals a day! I would get tired.
It is interesting to me how in the U.S., there´s only one type of “white.” Here in Costa Rica, there´s such a thing as “not quite a white.” My Tica mom was commenting how my friend Crystal is not quite white. I was laughing on the inside because she had a tan. Apparently, there´s a spectrum of “whiteness,” which makes sense. In the times of Spanish dominion, you were considered a “Criollo” or “Creole” if you had two parents from Spain, but were born in America. If one had a European parent and an indigenous parent, he would be considered “Mestiza.” If one had a
Llegamas a MonteverdeLlegamas a MonteverdeLlegamas a Monteverde

We arrived, and darkness met us
European parent and a black parent, he would be considered “Mulato.” And finally, with an indigenous and a black parent, he is a “Zambo.” That´s why there´s an emphasis of color.
I like how when I´m walking down the road and all of a sudden I hear this deafening cheesy music. That is when I realize that it´s the “anuncio” van rolling down the road, as an obnoxious voice blares from the megaphone sitting on top of the vehicle. Imagine that, commercials playing even when you´re walking to school.
Yesterday, July 4, Independence Day was a little different for me. In class, we were talking about Pacheco, the president of Costa Rica, and how he refused to sign the agreement of becoming “separatist,” “isolationist,” “supraregional,” etc. All of the above. In fact, Costa Rica is pretty much isolated country. Everyone I´ve asked in Costa Rica hasn´t traveled anywhere else in Central America. There´s that attitude of patriotism and nationalism. It all has to do with history. Years ago, this country has committed to peace. It is the only country in Central America without an army. It refuses to participate in the potentially violent decisions of other countries surrounding it. Anyway, that day, I was sitting in the computer lab all alone, after class. I was typing away at my paper, and I realized it was getting awfully dark. Then, the ground beneath me began to shake. Subtly. An earthquake. No worries, though. Nothing serious occurs. It´s just that Costa Rica is on a plate, which moves. I left the room because it was dark, and as I was just to go down stairs, the bathroom door creaked behind me. Mwahahahahaha!!! I think it was just the wind.
I have to tell you all about my amazing weekend! July 1-3…I´ll try to make it short, if that´s possible!
It was no ordinary one. Jen, Crystal, and I took a cab to the bus stop of Monteverde. That was our destination. When we arrived at the hotel, it was pitch black, except for the tiny light that illuminated from the chest of the hotel owner. Outside was no light in sight, except for the billions of stars that sparkled in the sky. The lack of electricity was the reason why we could see them. I had never seen it like that before. I was in awe.
We were hungry. We walked to find the restaurant the hotel guy told us about, with a single flashlight. We almost backed out when we found it, until the waiter of Jill´s dreams caught her eye. She was in love. I fell in love here with the “bebidas naturals,” con agua o leche, it doesn´t make a difference. I love them all just the same. They are slushy fruit drinks, made from fresh fruit, mixed with water or milk. Our “loves” drew us into the restaurant. Our waiter was funny, because he kept dropping things…his tray…the check…
The next day, I woke up with no idea of what I was going to be up against. I naively stepped into the Selvatura van that picked us up at 7:30 in the morning. As we were driving continuously on a ridiculously bumpy road, I looked out, and sheepishly stared up at the insanely high zip line. Oh no, why did I sign up to do this, I thought to myself, and even verbalized it. I trembled.
I stuck my legs into the harness. A guy named Diego helped me out. He asked me how I was. I put on my bravado. “Bien, y usted?” They handed me a helmet and gloves, and regretfully, I put them on, only to realize that the repulsive stench that reached my nose emanated from those very things. Must have been some nervous people before me, I thought.
Another ridiculously bumpy ride to our destination. Inching nearer to our destination, the reality of what I was about to do penetrated me more forcefully each second. I somehow knew in the back of mind, though, that I would never back out. Not when this opportunity was staring me in the face.
My legs quivered and felt like jello. I looked ahead of me towards the other platform and took a big gulp. The guy told me not to break the first time. The first line, which was supposed to be the easiest, was the hardest. I supposedly was breaking. “Don´t break!” “DON´T BREAK!” (too bad for their vocal folds; they have to yell every day, at everyone!) I wasn´t quite sure what that meant at the time.
Each line I took, the more relaxed I got, and the more I got to enjoy the splendor and majesty of the rainforest canopy. I was enjoying the vast greenery.
Then…we reached the “tarzan rope.” Let´s see, how many crazy things can you fit in a program to torture the tourist? Yep, that´s what was running through my mind at the time. It was kind of funny. Crystal was saying to Mrs. Kosciuk (the brave mother of my classmate who joined us on this indispensable adventure), “Look! There´s someone from your age group going!” referring to a middle-aged woman preparing to swing down. Just after she said that, the woman shrieked louder than anyone we had heard, as she plunged down into doom. We all laughed, but inside wanted to break down and cry. We all knew that the scariest aspect of this apparatus was the drop down, letting inertia carry you the rest of the way through. You were literally falling for a few seconds.
Yeah, like I would do such a thing. He. He he. He. So, I was on the edge of the ladder, oscillating whether I wanted to die or not. As my usual fickle self, I let Nicole step ahead of me. I told the guy, “No estoy segura!” I wasn´t sure if I wanted to go or not. He told me it was okay, but it´s a good experience. I somehow took that as a challenge. How dare he not tell me to go? In a bewildered determination (if that makes sense), I went up. Then later, in horror, as I looked down at my destiny. I listened to everything they said, absent-mindedly. With a gentle warning to cross my legs, and a push, I was off. I closed my eyes. I fell, the swung. I swung back. I shook with fright. The guys at the bottom tugged at my leg, but couldn´t bring me to a stop, at first. I swung again. Haven´t I suffered enough already?
Finally, I stopped and sighed in relief. The guy asked me if I liked it. “Sí,” I lied. “Más o menos,” I said more accurately. He told me to put my feet down, and I said “Donde?” My mind was obviously still swinging. They laughed.
I walked up the hill back to where everyone was, meekly, but with my head a little higher. A seemingly simple activity meant more than just a simple swing. It was an overcoming. Of fear. Fear is an inhibitor and a disability to me. And at that point, I was free.
More than anything, I enjoyed the beauty of the creation of my Maker. It was breath-taking. And in other ways not as naturally, my breath was taken away. But more seriously, I will take this experience with me. I have learned from it. The need to be dependent on God, how small I am, and to let Him be the leader of all my adventures…
Did I mention that I´m deathly afraid of heights?

Additional photos below
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5th July 2005

Tarzan is alive and well. You did it, what an adventure. Looks like it's the only way to "conquer" the rainforest. We had a wonderful family reunion last 7/2 and the baptism party of Tristin at Hillside on 7/3 both events were quite well attended but we can't top what you and your pals did at Monteverde. A condo unit might work out just fine. Did you check out the pics on the reunion and the Calif visit homepages? Cheers, Pop
5th July 2005

I did it again! I keep hitting the enter button. Thanks for allowing us to experience your adventures vicariously. I'm thankful you're safe and had quite an excitement. God is really awesome. Auntie Nene and company left us early today and proceeded to NY to see Jing. They are staying at the hotel for 3 nights then head back to LA. Next visitors will be the Miquiabases on the 30th. You'll be home by then, Lord willing. Love ya.
6th July 2005

hey janice! So I hear ur upset that I've only commented once. Well, this is my THIRD time man! I wonder if u got my last one! was long! anyway, I can't believe u did that rope thingee! Ur experiencing soo many things that u can't over here in the states! That's so cool! The pictures are nice! I wish I could've visited u. Hey, ate suzie and I wanted to go to nyc the first week of august with u to visit ate jing! says no...but I just wanted to tell u. Btw, u should call more!!...haven't talked to u since el dia de los padres!

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