Well, it’s been a little over three months, and things seem to be settling down. I’ve been busy with organizing my new life, and I’ve also been doing some consulting work in the states (since I don’t have a work permit or visa here). The country is quite beautiful, and the view from my upstairs office is amazing. The people are friendly and every conversation, even with strangers, begins with Como esta? (How are you?) and Que dicha (That’s great) and ends with Que tenga un buen dia (Have a good day) and Pura Vida (The good life). Only ugly Americans walk into a store and just start asking where to find things.
Speaking of which, I have been making every effort not to come off as a typical, aggressive gringo. While planning the move, I envisioned myself being the calm and gracious retired gentleman, culturally sensitive and making every effort to speak the language. However, after fighting with the stunningly horrific bureaucracy (e.g., trying to get mail and packages sent two months ago) and yelling at my neighbors’ dogs to shut up (imagine four dogs trapped in a yard the size of a small bathroom who bark non-stop– one of whom sounds like a cat caught in a blender), I fear that I have already failed in that fantasy. I was expecting afternoon siestas, quiet reading time and telephone conversations with loved ones; instead, I hear myself screaming at the dogs “Enough!” or “Quiet!” loud enough to wake the dead. The odd thing is that it works. So, it appears that the price for enjoying my time in my beautiful home is that I come off like I’m completely nuts. Maybe it’s a good thing that third-world cultures seem to have a more compassionate view of the afflicted; perhaps I’ll go full-tilt crazy and they’ll think I’m touched by god.
Please feel free to send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.