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Just the Tip of the Riceberg

My friend Julian asked me on the bus the other day how my first month of being in Costa Rica went, and that was the first time I realized it had actually been 4 solid weeks since we arrived. I told him it had been a really good month, but I expect that my best months are still ahead of me. Even if it’s not true, I figure it’s a good attitude to have. I believe we’ve only reached the tip of the iceberg, or “riceberg” in this case, being in a nation that is hopelessly enamored with rice. This may have something to do with the fact that the only beach I’ve been to so far is laughable to Ticos in its quality compared to many others here. Or the fact that getting adjusted to the flow of classes at the beginning of the semester is never easy, especially in another country. Or the fact that I am anxiously anticipating the arrival of Emily in 3 weeks. Or the fact that Semana Santa in Panama has potential to be mind-blowingly awesome. I suppose the facts speak for themselves. Again, however, I think that being able to look forward to the future despite the circumstances, or “facts”, is an important aspect to a healthy lifestyle.

I’d like to share something I’ve learned about communication. Ever since I got the idea in my head to travel to a Spanish-speaking country, my goal has been to become “fluent” and master the language. Although I suppose that goal is not quite as concrete as I had expected or hoped. Communication simply consists of people simply trying to get across ideas or messages to other people, and most of the time that doesn’t even involve words! So I suppose mastering a language and all the inner-workings of the grammar stuff isn’t quite as important as being able to simply communicate the intended idea. I’m sure it’s just a lot more fun to feel comparable comfort in two languages instead of just one. It just fascinates me how people all over the world can use the same sounds and move their mouths in the same way (or at least similar ways) – just in a different order – and come up with a completely unique language that connects the humans within a specific region. Incredible!

For a short update on what has happened to me this week, I’ll hit a few high points. The basketball coach of Universidad Nacional invited me to play with the university team (maybe because he’s good at recognizing incredible natural talent, or maybe it’s just because I’m taller than 95% of the population here… who knows?). Much to my dismay, walking into the gym for practice on Thursday night found me feeling like I stepped into a time machine that took me back to high school freshman basketball tryouts. I feel confident that my middle school team would have given the best players there a good game, but I’m gonna stick with it and see what happens. I also got to meet with Daniel Hercules, the boyfriend of a friend of mine at UE, to have him show me around his university and San Jose on Monday. I “got to” sit through his physical chemistry class, which made me appreciate my chemistry-less curriculum. Before I go, I’d like to share a few of the few things I currently miss about the United States: cold milk that comes in gallon cartons instead of luke-warm liter boxes, popularity and sufficient broadcasting of the Winter Olympics, and the promise of toilet paper in every public bathroom. (That last one could really leave you sitting in a… sti(c/n)ky situation!).

A pic I snagged with the Universidad de CR futbol team... super nice guys!

The front of my university

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7 Responses to “Just the Tip of the Riceberg”

  1. Mom Says:

    We’ll have lots of gallons of cold milk waiting for you in June. I won’t buy them yet, though!

    And I’m sure it was your natural talent! :) Love you!!

  2. Marcy Says:

    LOVE your posts, Benjamin. You have quite a talent when it comes to writing … and appreciating/recognizing/observing the obvious. You see things beautifully — thanks for sharing! Love you and have fun!

  3. Rachel Says:

    I bet your bball team is L-O-V-I-N-G you!!! Enjoyed your blog! I’ll remember to always a fresh roll of TP at my house when you come visit!

  4. Kelsey - cousin :) Says:

    Wow, great blog Ben! Very insightful. I’m so glad you’re still having such an exciting time!! I just laughed out loud in the middle of a class lecture when I read that last sentence. :) Hope you have another great week!

  5. Mom Says:

    (Aunt Rachel would be miserable in CR…I’m just saying…)

  6. Dad Says:

    Hey, GREAT Blog, Benjammmmin’!! It makes me happy to see you’re having such a great experience! If I didn’t love you so much I’d be jealous, but I’m content experiencing CR vicariously through you. So…..keep having fun, learn a lot, and dunk on someone for me!! Love you!

  7. Mimi Says:

    We’re enjoying our vicarious travels in Costa Rica, Benjamin. Please take pictures of the rice fields and send. We love you. Aunt Mimi and family.

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