Numero seis...

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Karaoke 88

Flag of Costa Rica  , San José,
Wednesday, September 2, 2009

There is so much to learn here. I need help doing EVERYTHING. I am so thankful that people are patient and helpful.  Yesterday when I went to the bank I was completely confused. They only let one person in at a time.

That was weird.

I so glad that I was about 4th in line. Had I been second, they probably would have thought that I was trying to bum rush the place. I would not have known to wait until the person ahead of me was in and seated. When it was my turn and I walked in, I flashed back to the airport security line. The security guard at the door ran a wand up and down my back and front and then checked my bag. (Sheesh…is bank robbery like that here?)

So when I was actually in the bank, naturally I headed for a teller. Everyone started yelling and pointing and I stood frozen, unable to understand, and scared.  I turned around and silently pleaded with the security guard to offer me some assistance. He answered my pleading eyes with a question. I was not quite sure what he said. I did understand ayuda. That is the verb that means "to help." I nodded. He locked the front door, guided me to some sort of kiosk and started punching buttons. I had NO idea what was happening. Soon a ticket came out of the bottom and he pointed at a screen with numbers and a chair where I should sit.

I was too afraid to sit in the chair. The screen looked like Keno and I was nervous that I would miss my turn. Luckily it was sort of easy. The teller was nice. He spoke no English. I am here trying to get better…really I am. I was a little nervous not having a person that spoke English, though, when I was dealing with my money. I don't know what I thought that he would do. Grab my money, spout off some stuff in Spanish and run. I’m an idiot. Anyway, I gave him my measly $60.00 he gave me 37,000.40. Nice.

Today was a new adventure. I had decided that I was going to get on the bus and take a look at one of the universities that is closest to my house. (Sin [that’s the word for with] “Diane.” She was a little funny acting, but I pulled it off) So I got on the bus and when I saw something a little familiar I got off. The campus had so many people milling about. There were a lot of restaurants and street vendors.

As I walked by a street vendor I saw something that caught my eye. It was a souvenir that I thought my father would like. I stopped and asked the price. I nodded when he told it to me. In addition he explained the craftsmanship (at least that is what I think) I asked the price again and thought that perhaps if he told me again I could use that time to figure out what he had said the first time and then give him the money.

No such luck.

I took out a bunch of money and held it out for him to take. He looked at me. I could tell he felt pity. I would have. Here was a full adult person standing with money and asking that it please be counted it for them. I know it was stupid and irresponsible, but I had no alternative.  He looked afraid to touch it, but then pointed and told me what to give him. 2500.00. Muchas Gracias.

I continued to walk around and observe the sights. College students look the same everywhere. Sloppy-chic, shabby- chic, slutty-chic, studly-chic or I-want-you-to-think-I-don’t-care-chic. This campus was no different.  I waded through all the people to try to find something to eat. I stopped at a counter that had a lot of people. I figured that if I watched and listened that I would know what to do when it was my turn. Oh how wrong I was.

I pointed at what I wanted. She gave me something else. I got scared and flustered and just wanted to be away from the counter. She told me a price which of course I did not understand.  Again I found myself holding out money and pleading with the seller to offer me assistance. She took a bill. Gave me some change and while I felt like crying, she moved on to the next person. I was so embarrassed. I felt stripped and stupid. I was sad that I was seemingly unable to take care of myself.

I took my purchase, whatever it was, and started walking down the street. I began to eat it so that I could at least pretend that was what I wanted and I knew what I was doing. It was heavy so I was sure that at any moment I would get to the meat and be eating some sort of sandwich…ummm…nope…just bread. Feeling even more defeated, devastated and shamed I wrapped the bread stuff back in the bag and continued down the street.

After a few paces I saw a Chinese place.  In true Chinese take-out form there was a menu with numbers and pictures. The prices were at the bottom. (Thank God) I put my money together, repeated the number a few more times in my head and ordered without incident.  

“Numero seis, por favor” 

Chicken, rice, salad and fruit juice.  1300.00.

I brought the bread stuff to Catalina. I asked her what it was and told her the story. She thought that it was funny. I guess now it is…then…not so much.
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sakeeta on

I laughed at the blog initially, then I wanted to cry as i realized that you were really scared and sad. You can do it my friend. Just believe that you can! I'm pulling for you.

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