exploring, examining, exchanging, expressing
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Final Daze
It is no exaggeration for me to say that the past week has been emotionally draining.

Dec 7
My parents arrived at the San Jose airport in the afternoon. I got them checked into their hotel, fed them, gave them a quick tour of central Heredia, and put them to bed. I began to realize that guiding them would be very much like taking care of children. They depended on me for everything.

Dec 8
We had breakfast at a soda in the central market. Mom's statement: "I've never seen so much meat in my life." Dad saw a jar of picked peppers at another table and decided he wanted some. I didn't know the word for this food item, so I had a hard time describing it to our waiter. My parents just pointed. We caused a bit of a scene. I ushered them out quickly, left a large tip, and took them to the farmer's market. Mom decided she didn't like fruit. They met my roommates and we all went to Zoo Aves, using public buses. This was a new experience for them. Dinner was at La Casa del Cerdo (The House of Pork), where we ate mucho puerco.

Dec 9
We checked into Best Western Irazu to be closer to San Jose, which we toured for a bit. Then we met my roommates at the central park and took the bus to my Tico family in San Rafael Abajo de Desamparados. Today was Alejandra's 15th birthday, so the whole family was at the house to celebrate. My parents were overwhelmed. Lunch was rice, beans, salad, and beef tongue. My parents were disgusted. After eating, the dancing began. And oh, how we danced! I've decided I really like merengue. My parents, however, deemed it "dirty dancing." When we had to leave, it really hit me that I'd be leaving this family. Que triste!

Dec 10
We were picked up for a tour at 6:45am. It began with breakfast and a tour of Doka Estates coffee plantation. Then we were whisked up to the Poas Volcano, where we luckily saw the crater unclouded. Afterwards we got to spend a good amount of time at La Paz Waterfalls. Here we visited monkeys, birds, butterflies, and a few other animals. We also had an excellent buffet lunch. Oh, and we saw waterfalls too. Mom mentioned she'd never walked so much. Finally, we went to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí for a boat tour down the river and more animal watching. Thirteen hours later, we crashed at the hotel.

Dec 11
Interbus picked us up at 8ish (supposed to be 7:30am) to take us to Cahuita. Finally, we got some relaxing time at the beach. I showed my parents some of my favorite spots. We ate and chilled out. Mom slept alot.

Dec 12
More beach relaxation. I took them down to Playa Negra. I played fetch with some beach-dogs. More eating. More chilling.

Dec 13
We hopped the bus down the bumpy road to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. We shopped for souvineers and xmas presents. I led them down the path behind the beach so they could see the sights, including Rocking J's (the surfers' mecca). I made sure my mom got ice cream and my dad got beer. Then we went back to Cahuita for dinner at Cha Cha Cha.

Dec 14
Interbus picked us up at 7:30am on time and drove us back to the airport area. The parents decided they should stay in a hotel here, rather than back in Heredia, to make the trip shorter. It turned out to be a good idea, and they liked II Milenium - a small hotel in Alajuela by the airport. Then we paid our departure tax at Banco Costa Rica, did some final shopping, and I sent them back to their hotel so I could finish things for myself. I had dinner with my roommates and packed my bags.

Dec 15
We got to the airport in plenty of time. Things went fairly smoothly. Then we learned that our flight was delayed for an hour. This was a problem, because it didn't leave us much time to catch our connecting flight in Atlanta. In fact, when we got to Atlanta, we were told that we'd missed it, so we got in line to reschedule. Then we were told that our flight to Tri-Cities itself was delayed for 3 hours, so we had plenty of time. When we got to the gate, however, we found a different situation. There was no plane. It was stuck in Milwaukee due to bad weather. ETA? Unknown. We sat for hours and hours, getting tidbits of information from the attendants. Finally they found a plane for us, and we made it back to Tennessee around 3am.

And now I'm here at my family's house. I've been officially welcomed back. It all seems very odd. I think I'm experiencing a sort of reverse culture shock. Hopefully that will ease with time. But for now, I feel very much out of place.


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