I actually forgot the password to this blog. So, I last posted in August of 2010 ... which has more to do with my surrender to Facebook than it does with me quitting my job, cashing in my meager contribution toward the retirement I would have enjoyed at age 87 or so, moving to Central America with my dog and 9 suitcases, and marrying a Costa Rican socialist.
|coffee fields around the corner from my apt. with requisite volcano in the background|
I'm thinking of starting up a new blog ... even the colors on this one seem to reflect those years in Seattle. The grey years. Maybe my long cyber-absence and the idea of a new blog are just part of my ongoing efforts to separate myself mentally from that time, I don't know.
So I've lived here now for 7 months, and the mental transition ... well, let's just say it's a process. There's a part of me that is still surprised to see the sun every day, that doesn't truly believe it will really come back in the morning. A part of me that even on muggy days, when my deodorant has raised the white flag of surrender, still mentally pays desperate homage to the weather gods so they won't take it away. I still avoid the shade, and am practically horrified when I see Costa Ricans using umbrellas ... against the sun. I'm sure they, in turn, think I'm not quite right in the head, trotting down the sunny side of street like some some clueless tourist. ¡Qué gringa! Never mind, even the tourists have the sense to walk in the shade, with their visors and backpacks and Hawaiian shirts. And maps. They all have maps. Which doesn't help much, because there are no street names or house numbers here. But that's another story.
In Seattle, people literally call in sick to work on sunny days. I'm serious. Because you never know when it will happen again, and there's a kind of giddiness that hits you. Hey, I'm talking about a place where you literally may not see sunshine for a month. And then only that fleeting phenomenon locally known as a "sun break" before you're back in the grey.
It's really not possible to explain the effect of living like that. There's something in me now where I can't walk on the shady side of the street. There's this irrational fear: don't waste the sun, if you don't appreciate it those weather gods will take it away again. And once that gets inside you, it apparently can't just be switched off by escaping to a tropical climate.
In Costa Rica, summer runs from December to May, roughly. What they call "winter" is really just the rainy season. The idea of a rainy season struck fear into my Seattle-scarred heart, but it really just means it rains every afternoon. You still get sun almost every day. Of course, "rain" here can easily mean torrents that will wash your house into the river, as opposed to non-stop drizzle, but I repeat: sun basically every day.
Of course, going through said rainy season with no car, no dryer, and no furnace sheds a whole new light on rain, but that's another story.
So in December these trade winds, the vientos alisios, arrive and the Costa Ricans, or Ticos, as they call themselves, get all nostalgic and happy, because it signals the beginning of summer and the arrival of Christmas. (I know, right? Still trying to wrap my head around that combo.) They start putting Christmas lights on palm trees, and these nativity scenes pop up everywhere. Even in the bars. The manger itself stays empty until the night of the 24th when the holy ceramic child makes his blessed appearance. Even in the bars. Anyway, these winds are insane. Laundry dries in half an hour, but holy hell can it be chilly at night! "Ah, ¡qué fresquito!", how refreshing, says mi esposo, aka the hubby, while I scowl, pulling my emergency hoodie out of my bag (because I still can't leave the house without that, are you kidding me?). Fresquito my ass, honey, this is just plain cold.
Maybe if you've lived your whole life where heat and sunshine are a given, every single day, those winds might seem refreshing, a relief, but after Seattle, those winds just seem cold, like the heat was just a cruel trick, and welcome back to reality now, chica, courtesy of the weather gods. We know where you live.
It's hard to imagine ever feeling relief instead of dread, at the arrival of the winds or rain. Even happy Christmas trade winds. I supposed someday I'll get there. Until then, the sunny side of the street feels just fine.