Freedom at last!….sort of

I made it.

I completed my mandated two-week total quarantine. The first thing I did was to walk to a bank to fix a problem with my online account; after that, I went to a market.  It felt good to be out in the world again, but I must confess that I found myself feeling somewhat anxious as I passed people in the streets and businesses.

Most people here are wearing masks, by which I mean around 90-95%.  Ticos are culturally less likely to feel entitled and less resentful when being required to take measures which protect the public. Here, as in the US, there is occasional moron who wears his or her mask below the nose or hanging from the ear (or none at all); but I guess there will always be those who are, as we say, “unclear on the concept.”

Being outside is different for me here.  While in Florida, if I had to go somewhere, I went by car and then masked myself while in supermarkets and offices. There was something comforting about being alone and protected in a car.  Here, I never bothered to buy one, since I usually take a very inexpensive Uber or simply walk. For the first time in almost four years, though, I wouldn’t mind having my own car. That said, I’ve gotten into the habit of having everything delivered, and I rarely need to go anywhere in person.

Speaking of ordering and having things delivered, I’ve done pretty well. Except for the times I couldn’t determine actual sizes: I now have a jar of mayonnaise large enough to serve 40 and a package of the tiniest tortillas I’ve ever seen– I can’t even imagine what they’re for.

During the past months, I have thought about giving up the online teaching. The instruction itself is always fun, but I’d rather not spend the time required for lesson-planning (especially for no pay).  However, my sojourn in my brother’s house woke me to the importance of daily interactions with others.  So, I decided to see my current classes through to November in order to ensure some form of human contact. Besides, it’s not like I don’t have the time.

I know I’ve mentioned in the past that many products sold here are from China and of low quality. This is because just about everything in this small country is imported, and incomes are not as high here as in the US.  That is why I always return to CR with household items in my luggage. Well, after 3½  months in the US, I returned to find my garbage disposal, which I had installed a few years ago, rusted shut. I wondered why it didn’t work until I took it out and disassembled it.  After scrubbing all parts and squirting them with WD-40, it worked fine. Who’d a thunk it?  Just be grateful for your first-world conveniences, boys and girls.

While my spoken Spanish is excellent, my comprehension is less so; I continue to struggle when Spanish is spoken very quickly and softly, as is often the case with women. (I know, I know. It’s harder for me to understand women. Feel free to riff on that.)  I watch lots of Netflix series in Spanish in order to improve my listening skills. I recently found one called El Dragon, about the grandson of a Mexican drug-lord who has lived in Japan and been trained in the martial arts and returns home to take over the family business. Yes, it’s a telenovela, but, for some strange reason, the Spanish is more comprehensible to me. So it has become my nightly ritual to watch one of the many episodes.  The people in it are pretty, and the acting is not as over-the-top as other shows. My thoughts are now consumed with wondering when Miguel and Adela are going to have sex. Such is my life.

The number of cases of covid-19 here increases by about 1,000 per day; so far, we are at 17,000+.  The rate was stable and under 600 for three months and then started shooting up due to two factors: the Nicaraguans crossing the border for medical care and those living in poor, crowded residential buildings and not taking precautions. The government here is, after four months, reopening the borders to allow in foreign tourists from countries with sensible and relatively effective measures in place to control the spread of the virus.  It is not surprising that the US is not on the list of countries whose citizens can visit. So, I’m wondering how many Germans it will take to fill up the hotels and get the tourism industry up and running.

I made another Youtube fable with my nephew.  I know it ain’t art or even of professional quality.  It is, however, an attempt to get people’s attention and a call to action. It would be helpful if you’d “like” this one (and the first), since that’s how these things get traction.

Ciao for now, and stay safe.