The unmarked house on the street with no name

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Where I stayed
I walked about town

Flag of Costa Rica  , San José,
Sunday, August 30, 2009

I always hate staying at other people's houses. Things just aren’t the same. Part of the reason why I packed so many "necessities" was because I was going into a situation that I knew nothing about. Would it be clean?

I was cautious at first; looking around for any indication that I may get Salmonella, The Plague, The Clap, Polio, Scurvy, Dysentery, Mad Cow Disease, Diphtheria or worse yet…COOTIES!

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. As soon as I caught a whiff of the sweet nectar of the cleaning gods I sang that old germ-phobe Spiritual:

Bleached it clean!  Bleached it clean! Thank God almighty they bleached it clean!

When I got up in the morning, I was happy that I could leave my Soft Scrub and Sponge in the bag. I took a shower without fear…and shoes. It was liberating in a way. I felt more at home.

Sweet Catalina was up and waiting to make me coffee. She had this contraption that was a wooden thing  with a  sock thing and the product was a great thing.

She had gone out to get fresh bread and cut up fresh mangoes. (So I am allergic to mangoes…despite what my husband asserts. My face swells, my throat gets close to closing and in general it is not fun. )   I had to pass on the mango, but she cut me some papaya and I almost chipped my tooth on the bowl scarfing it down. The bread was soft and she had guava jam.  GUAVA JAM!  Again we sat and talked (well she spoke and I did a lot of pointing and grunting) It was nice. She is so sweet.

After I had gotten dressed we took a walk around the neighborhood. She showed me where my school was. ( Ummm…there are no street names. The directions to my school are down 2 corners and up the less busy street to the busy one.)  and the mall and McDonald’s and KFC. She decided that she was hungry so we sat down to a traditional Costa Rican meal of the Mexicana thin crust pizza at Pizza Hut…really Catalina…Pizza Hut?

I paid.

I mean it was really not a choice.

The bill came and she asked me if I had gotten any money changed over yet. I pulled out my debit card and prayed the Sue Jo Midwest at the credit union had notated my account correctly as an explorer and travel extraordinaire. There is nothing worse than having a card declined ( I mean it has never happened to me cuz I always run to the bathroom to check my balance before I order…you know back in my poorer days…like last Wednesday) I was unclear how much the bill even was. I mean when has anyone in the history of life ever gone to Pizza Hut and the bill was 4,820.00???

4, 820.00

I mean how would  I have even gone to check for that. I feel like the automated system would have laughed at me. I sort of picture it sounding like the guy who played Punjab in “Annie”(or the perv in Boomerang) Like a deep-low taunting snicker that would instantly incite shame within my very being. The waitress whisked my card away and before I knew it the card was back at the table. The waitress had a pen and stood there as I signed. I was relieved to know that the tip was included. I mean what is the tip in 4820.00?

Oh I know…a car.

Catalina and I walked through the mall. So there is tight and then there is dangerous. My tight fitting jeans are tight. I have to get help from my husband to get them up sometimes. They leave a mark from pushing against an uncooperative belly, but I feel like they will not prevent me from bearing children. These women…I felt afraid for. It was as if at any moment a button was going to pop and become a dangerous projectile object or a stitch would bust and all sorts nonsense would occur. I found myself staring and silently asking…I mean…How is she breathing? Where do they even sell something like that? Why don’t I have a pair?

In addition to all of the tight jeans…every woman under the age of 43.5 and over the age of 14 had on heels. Not just heel…heels, but music video-bathing suit stilettos…really? I mean it is Sunday in the food court…ain’t nobody scouting for models (said my jealous inner voice).

Later, over arroz con pollo, Catalina told me more about her life. Her husband died 40 years ago. She explained that when you love someone that even though you can be happy, the pain of losing them is always there. (At least I think that is what she said and she was pounding her heart and looking sad so I did not feel comfortable asking her to repeat it) Things sound so much more poetic when you say them in a language that the person that you are speaking to does not understand.  She never remarried (I did get that) . I will have to tell my husband that story. He might be remarried when I get back…I doubt he would last 40 years.

Anyway, today was good. Even though we walked around and she showed me landmarks, I still have no idea where I live or how to tell anyone to get here.  It is fine though. I feel like I am in this special world…lost even from myself.  I am loving this unmarked house on the street with no name…I just might find my calling here.
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sakeeta on

So $8.24?
That was too cute. I love Catalina already!

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