The title of my last entry, “FINALLY,” which told of my adventures in Guanacaste that I forgot to mention also left me with a wicked wristwatch tanline on my distal left forearm you can almost tell time with, reminded me of the word “FAMILY.” This train of thought led me to realize that I haven’t yet blogged much about the family I’m living with here in Santo Domingo that has been such a big part of my experience here. So, I’m going to do that now. It’s sure to be shorter, and maybe sweeter, than the last one so you can get back to procrastinating somewhere else out here in cyberspace.
My madre, Marielos, could not be sweeter. She is a stay-at-home mom, like the large majority of the mothers here in Central America I imagine, whose focus on cooking, cleaning and keeping house allows me to enjoy high-quality meals, frequently cleaned laundry, and a beautiful yard without so much as lifting a finger. Of course, I’m used to lifting my fingers, so I make sure to do my part when she allows it, which primarily comes in the form of washing the dishes and making my bed. Due to the fact that I eat more than any other student she has had before (out of the 20!) and have nothing to show for it in terms of weight gain, she is convinced that I have a parasite in my stomach that requires immediate medical attention. So I try to eat less when she’s around and sneak more later when she’s not, but I can’t keep living like this for much longer! She is incredibly patient with me in my Spanish-learning process and is always helpful in teaching, involving, and having fun with me. We really have a good time and laugh together a lot.
My padre doesn’t like to laugh so much. Don Luis is almost always out of the house either working at his business or finishing the thesis for his PhD in his office upstairs. I guess working from 7:30 am to at least 8:30 pm every day doesn’t give him much reason to laugh. He really is a nice man and makes sure to correct me when I err in speech (which I appreciate, but sometimes I feel like he’s just waiting for me to make a mistake, you know?). He certainly is an ample financial provider for the family, but he leaves much to be desired in his provision of fatherly love and display of emotion. Don’t tell him I said that though, or he might love me even less than he already doesn’t.
I have 3 hermanos. One of which is married and lives out of the house (Esteban, 31 years old), another who will be married and out of the house in approximately 8 days (Julio, 27 years old), and another who is currently “looking” for work and taking classes at UNA at night (Armando, 20). They are each very friendly to me and fun to be around. Julio actually takes me to school in the mornings because UNA is on his way to work, so that saves me about $1.50 a week in bus fares! I rarely see Esteban, but Julio and Armando really make an effort to involve me with their friends when it’s possible. Like, among other things, I got to come along with them to Julio’s bachelor party a couple weekends ago, which was really fun, so I really couldn’t ask for much more from them.
Overall my living experience is very pleasant and I am being well-provided for and taken care of, even beyond what I expected. Having internet access, hot water, a nice room, laundry service, and 3 meals (plus an afternoon cafe) a day is hard to complain about. Add that to the fact that it comes with people who are enjoyable to be around and you’ve got yourself quite a Costa Rican homestay!