Monday, October 12, 2009

Recently I was asked what it is I like about Costa Rica. I was stumped. I wanted to say, "that I can wear flip-flops all the time," but that seemed lame, unthought-out, and underappreciative. I knew I should be saying more--something about the seven ecosystems or the charming bakeries--but I didn't care. I didn't care enough to put the mental energy into it.

A few hours earlier I'd been woken from a nap by someone telling me they had "to go caca." I wasn't actually asleep yet, just hovering in that delicious pre-sleep floating place, that blissful, overly-tired zone that's only accessible when one's esposo goes to another country, leaving one solo with a teething baby, a five-year-old, a cat who will not ever fucking stop asking for fucking food, a dog who emits clouds of fur when she blinks, and another dog whose breath smells exactly like the other dog's ass (I know, because I saw it happen). Only after living alone with those five entities can one reach the level of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion that permits one to...

lie down, head on the wrinkled sheet. grasp baby's foot with one hand (even though baby is asleep). note presence of other child on its bed, reading. close eyes. briefly think about the fact that esposo missed his flight and will not be coming home for a whole other day, but then...drift.

I drifted for a few minutes, I think, and it was wonderful. When I felt the finger tapping on my forehead, a few too many times than was absolutely necessary, I didn't even mind it too much. But when I became totally awake, when I saw the hot tropical sun shining on the curtains and realized I'd been woken from a nap--goddammit!--only to be told that someone had to go caca it seemed so un...something. Unacceptable. Unright. Unfair--very, very unfair.

So when later I was asked what I like about Costa Rica, what I really wanted to talk about was naps. How much I like them. How much I just wanted one of them right now. I knew, though, it was pointless: I wasn't going to rest until mi esposo came home. A day later than planned. Good god.

When he did come home the next afternoon I didn't slash his rental car's tires--I went for a bike ride. The air was cooler than usual, the sun going in and out behind the clouds. I rode past Lula's school and saw a bunch of beautiful white birds sitting in a tree in the middle of a marsh. I bought a bottle of water at a pulperia I'd never been to before, almost speaking in coherent Spanish with the cashier, and rode to the spot where we saw monkeys. On the way there, an old man wearing an elegant shirt smiled at me, and I saw a particularly cute horse in the big field by the school. Near the monkey spot, I noticed a house for rent. I met the owner and saw the inside of the house. It was charming, with big windows, high ceilings, and a bunk bed in the kids' room. I rode home, totally excited to tell mi esposo, and when I saw how tired he was I took the insane moving baby from him and didn't feel resentful about the whole extra day of solo parenting.

Today we looked at the house together, and then we drove to Nosara, a town thirty kilometers away. The drive was beautiful, all fields, trees, and hills, and although I had a beer in my hand and it made me happy it was also the thought of the little house's big windows, the cute horse in the field, and the smiling old man that made me happy. It was the fact that the color green weaves in and out of everything here in Costa Rica, that there are no strip malls, and that people greet each other with words about life. More than anything it was the fact that I'm here--that I'm able to be here--experiencing all this.

It was those things, I realized, that make me happy, those things I like about Costa Rica, but taking a sip of my Imperial I realized there was one more thing: being able to wear flip-flops. My feet have been living pura vida since we got here.

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