Monday, January 26, 2015

From English to Spanglish

From English to Spanglish

First week of school- done!
I absolutely love all of my classes as well as my teachers.  I also get to start volunteering at the Museo de Nacional next week. Woohoo! I'm kinda picturing "A Night at the Museum" every time I think about it. Last night we got back from a weekend at Jaco Beach, and today my backpack straps are reminding me of the lack of care I took on lotioning my shoulders.  I'm trying to wear shirts big enough to cover my sunburn so that my host parents don't see it since they reminded me at least a few times to put lots of lotion on. "Mucho blanca!!" they would say and rub their arms with their eyes really wide. And I would say "Si." and nod my head in a really serious manner.  Since they're my (host) parents I feel like I need to hide it for a while and save myself a lecture because the only thing worse than a lecture in English- is a lecture in Spanish.
Anyway, it was my first time staying in a hostel! That was an experience.  After getting lost for a while trying to find it, we came into a warm and cozy room with two beds set on top of some extremely creaky wood framing, a shower that was --I kid you not-- a hose coming out of a whole in the wall, behind a puddle gathering on the floor, and no running sink water.  But hey, for $13 a night you can't ask for much.  I guess with the free ladies night at the downstairs bar they had to cut back somewhere. For me, I was recouping from a major caffeine headache all day since I hadn't had my morning dose of coffee, so I didn't get in any participation at the bar.  BUT I did have some vanilla ice cream from a local hot spot called "POPS" across the street that was even better.
While I slept off my headache, my classmates had a great time salsa dancing at a club nearby and then roaming the beach afterwards.  I was a little bummed to not be joining them but you get some pretty crazy-disco dreams when you're sleeping above a Skrillex club with bass pumping until 4am,  so really it was a win for us all.
The funniest thing that happened to me this week was a 'Spanglish' issue with my host parents over dinner.  Earlier in the day my host mother and I were talking about what kind of snacks I like and whether or not I like palomitas, which is the Spanish word for 'popcorn'. I said yes, and she continued in saying that she didn't really care for it but her husband loves it, yada yada.. So later on over dinner, my host mother tells my host father in Spanish (broken english and Spanish) about our conversation from earlier.  I was a bit confused as to what was being said so he looked at me to translate in english and he said, "Lourdes says you like porn? yes?" ..... I continued to stare back at him and say "um....." with my eyes darting back and fourth, and Señora Lourdes, says "p-p-porn?" with squinty eyes trying to pronounce it.  I felt my face getting red and hotter and my heart rate start to pick up and I continued with my "um.. no... no intiendo.. no se..." and so my host father continues with "hmm.. como con peliculas.. ('like with movies')". I continued to stare and get really uncomfortable and now I really wished someone had been recording this whole conversation.  My host mother began making notions in the air and saying "pop", "pop", "pop". And that's when I got it.  I shouted, "POPCORN!!! YES! I love POP-(extra emphasis on the second "p")CORN!!!"
And then my host fathers face went pale, shortly accompanied by loud laughter. He realized what the mistake he had made in translation was and explained it to my host mom. A few seconds later her eyes widened as she said "No! No! No pornografia!"  I think all three of us were almost in tears from laughing so hard. Hahaha gosh that's my favorite story so far and I think they tell it whenever a new guest comes over and meets me for the first time.
It was so stinkin funny in the moment, and now when I look back at it, the multiple cry/laughing experiences that i've had with them are so much more than worth all of the communication barriers.  The way that my host mom lays her hand on my wrist or puts her head on my shoulder when we're laughing or don't understand something, and the struggle in my host fathers face in coming up with the words to translate for me are two of the greatest acts of love I've experienced. We haven't been able to carry on more than two consistent conversations but man do I love them, and oh how they show me how much they love me.  They're so full of joy and after over 20 years of marriage they greet each other with a soft smile when I say something in total jibberish/spanglish. This soft, warm joy that they hold is so deeply woven into their individual lives, their lives together, and their culture.  My host mom has tried explaining this to me several times, that they live on and take from the community what they need, nothing more.  They don't have excess food that goes to waste, they don't have decorations adorning their walls, they don't have cars for each person of the family, they don't have a spacious back yard just to look at.  They have a home that is just enough for them.  Simplicity. My Tika mom told me tonight at dinner even, that most Tikos just care. They love and care for one another.  That's where Jesus is.  He is here in the littlest details.  He is here in the faces of people who work long days in the sun, in the people who take care of their homes, the people who sell fruit in the neighborhood super markets, in the tattoo shop guy who was mid-stencil when he helped us find a hotel when we were lost today. A smile is Jesus.  And that's a wonderful thing. He is a God that is present without words but in the very creases of time carved into the faces of men and women who take the city bus to work every morning. He is in my host mother who cooks and cleans all day.  He's in the hearts of study abroad students who can't wait to experience more of the heart beat of God that is the scenery of mountains and fresh flowers in the morning.  He's all around, waiting to be seen and heard, just like he is in Memphis and anywhere else I'm taken. Faith is belief in things unseen, but seeing, really seeing, has to also mean believing. At least in Costa Rica.

"We come alive as we love... Our beauty comes not from pursuing a brilliant career track, but in the nitty-gritty endurance with difficult people or circumstances... Love will not grow if you check out and give in to the seductive call of bitterness and cynicism--or seek comfort elsewhere.  We have to hang in there with the story that God has permitted in our lives.  As we endure, as we keep showing up for life when it make no sense, we learn to love, and God shows up."
-Paul E. Miller, A Loving Life 

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