Saturday, November 3, 2012

A new normal

Having been in Costa Rica for 15 months now, things that once seemed strange are now my new normal.  Here's a few I thought of.

Earthquakes-  This is what really sparked my thought on this topic.  Recently we have had lots of little earthquakes.  There was the big one a few months back that left some damage in Samara.  Then a little jiggle a few weeks ago (7.something, but very deep so no damage done).  Then just a few days ago there were two very strong and very short earthquakes only one minute apart.  I was sitting in bed, watching TV when it happened and the quake came with a very loud ''BOOM'' noise.  At first I thought someone hit the house with a car.  Then I thought maybe something fell on the roof.  I went outside to check when I heard another loud ''BOOM'' and a strong, but quick, shake.  I still had no idea what it was until I came back inside and one of my friends on facebook wrote ''yes it earthquaked, but it was quick''.  Ohhhh... right.  I'm in earthquake land.  When am I going to start realizing that the ground shaking means earthquake?  Who knows.  (FYI- these two little earthquakes were only a 2.3 but originated in Escaz├║ which is the town right next to wear we live.  So they felt much stronger than any other quake I've felt.)

Ants-  They're everywhere.  You can check out a post I made in the very first months I moved here about the ant colony I found in the bathroom sink.  But they're not just in the bathroom sink.  I've heard (and seen) that ants have built nests in books, speakers, even computers.  They're everywhere, all the time.  In the USA if I saw ants in my kitchen I would run out to buy ant poison to get rid of them immediately.  Here, cleaning up the ants is just part of the kitchen routine.  We have a constant stream of ants going from outside, through a cracked window, across the wall, behind the sink and onto any dirty dishes that have yet to be washed.  We can now only feed Perlita once a day at night because sometimes she won't eat in the morning.  Of course by the time I get home from work her bowl of food is swarming with ants and I have to throw away the food.  All of our dried food, snacks, chips, cookies, etc are not only closed by a clothes pin, we also put them inside a sealed ziplock bag.  Because those ants get everywhere.  We learned after the infamous Ants-In-Grits incident back in February '12.  Lost four good containers of grits that day.  A sad, sad day.

Phone ringing- Sometimes it's the little things that make you miss home.  Here when you dial a phone number you get a long beeeeeeeeeep, beeeeeeeeeeep as a ringtone.  In the USA you have the riiiiiiiiiiing, riiiiiiiing tone, like a bell.  I am completely used to the beep noise, but everytime I call a USA phone number I just can't help but love the 'ring' instead of the 'beep'.

No hot water in sinks- I guess I don't really know why people need it.  I suppose to wash dishes correctly you have to use hot water.  But there are no sinks with hot water here.  Well, perhaps if you're fancy.  The thing is most homes (in the Central Valley) have what the gringos like to call ''suicide showers''.  Suicide showers have the heating unit right above the shower head.  I don't think anyone has actually been electrecuted by the suicide showers before, but it is a fun name for gringos to use.  So this means there is no hot water for sinks.  Which isn't something I even notice anymore.  If fact, I never assume a hotel/hostel will have hot water at all.  It's always something I look up first.  But then I'll go to some fancy pants country and get all excited because I can wash my hands in warm water.  I was thinking about this the other day because in school one of my homeroom kids got her nose bashed.  She was gushing blood and there were no gloves for me to use to help her stop the bleeding.  I was super uncomfortable dealing with so much blood and not having gloves.  I immediately went to wash my hands and was like ''oh yeah, no hot water!''  So I just washed them twice for about two minutes each time with lots and lots of soap.  Hope that did the trick.

Suicide showers usually don't look quite this dangerous, but you can see what I'm talking about.

Also, I just bought  a spontaneous trip back home to NC in December!  I'll be there for a couple days just to hang out.  Can't wait!!!


Elizabeth said...

Hey! That showerhead looks exactly like mine in Kenya!

Going Like Sixty said...

Note to readers: We don't live fancy and we have on demand hot water to all faucets and only teensy-weensy ants from time to time.
But we do feel the same earthquakes. :<\

Anonymous said...

Whats worse than that is when I stayed overnight in Golfito for the "Black Friday" sales and I took a cold shower from a tube sticking out the wall, at a bed and breakfast.