Suprise Differences, Suprise Similarities
The main reason I came up with this post was so I could talk about two things, one similarity and one difference. It kind of exploded from there.
So to start. Doorknobs. That’s right, doorknobs. Some inside doors have handles like we know in the states. Some. However, all outside doors do not. They have these weird handle-less things that you can’t open from the outside without a key, even if it is unlocked. The outside is just a metal panel flush with the door with a key hole. The inside has a boxy thing I am guessing holds the locking mechanism, a key hole, and a little lever you can pull to open the door from that side without the key if it is unlocked. I can’t get over the fact that they don’t have doorknobs!
On a similar note all the houses have fences around the property and a gate. The houses in downtown Heredia, the houses in the surrounding “suburbs”, the houses out in the country. I guess home break-ins are common and these are the measures they take to prevent them. Some places even have razor wire circling the top of the fence. My mama tica keeps the gate unlocked when people are home though, you can reach through and open it with the inside lever when it is unlocked. Haven’t had any problems with theft or things like that but it is strange having to get through the gate with its key before getting to the door and having to find that key so I can open the handle-less door.
Relating to rain, no one here uses rain coats. They all use umbrellas. This is just weird to me in a place that gets as much rain and as heavy a rain as they get here. I come from the NW were no one uses umbrellas, we all use rain coats. Two places renowned for their rain that have completely opposite stands on the rain coat vs umbrella debate. We were all talking about it and I think we decided a good umbrella is cheaper than a good, compactable rain coat, urban environment supports umbrellas, it rains for shorter periods of time here (an hour instead of all day), and the wind doesn’t blow the rain sideways. Not sure if any of those really affected the evolution of our different cultural norms or not though.
Another NW difference, pedestrians here, definitely do not have right of way. Drivers down here scare me, I would definitely not rent a car to go somewhere or anything like that. As a pedestrian you wait and hope for a break in traffic. On big streets and small. Makes it interesting when I try to go running. Or even just walking to school.
On similarities, college students are a lot the same here as at home. They live on caffeine to survive long classes after late nights. Drinking and partying are a common pastimes, with soccer the sport of choice to watch and mourn or celebrate a loss instead of football. Though, same as in the states, I have no idea where the money comes from as even here college students are perpetually broke.
They dress the same here too. Girls if you read somewhere that you will need to wear dresses and skirts, they lied. Most of the time girls here wear pants, to them 70 degrees is cold. But shorts are seen too, they are not just beach wear. I have seen Ticas on campus wearing bootie shorts same as in the states. When I went to church with my family there was a girl there in shorts. Yes some girls wear skirts or dresses, but they are no more common or uncommon here than in the US.
Those are just some of the ones that surprised me; different from what I heard back home or from my preconceived notions.