Literally Leah

sharing is caring, so I obviously care a lot.

The Diary of Leah J February 24, 2010

Filed under: costa rica — The Under-Analyst @ 10:19 am
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What’s the difference between a diary entry and a blog?  Not much, more cursing and misspellings I suppose, more candor and a little less wit.

(sometime last week)

Dear Diary,

This morning I woke up at 7, and my stomach hurt. Clearly the large amounts of rice and beans I have been continuously shoving down my throat are not only making me ridiculously fat but creating effing ulcers as well? Ohwell.  So anyways… I got up and to my delight we had acquired a baby!!! There he was, this super fat little baby sitting on the floor with these big eyes (you know how babies always kind of look retarded?  I LOVE THAT! He almost looked cross eyed haha).  I immediately scooped him  up and spent the whole morning cooing over him and smothering him in kisses.  His mom eventually showed up, this 15 year old girl!! It makes me so sad that all of these girls here get preggars at 14 and 15! Maybe in my next class I will drop condoms on all the tables. But back to the obese baby,  his name is Ian and he is 7 months. I was going to tell the mom that I’d take her baby for her so she could reclaim her childhood, but then I wanted a drink so I gave him back. Also, Susannah (the grandma) and I totally bonded this morning, mainly because the Spanish Gods smiled upon me this morning and I was somehow able to not only understand what she was saying (a miracle, she mumbles) but also respond!  Also this morning was a HUGE moment because Samuel, the son of my host mom’s sister (so my cousin?), who is 2 and adorable and loud as hell in the mornings, well anyways this morning he called me Tia (auntie), not once, but like five times!!!

*I should have not gotten excited over Samuel calling me Tia, because 2 days later he was calling me “Papi”… damnit, now I’m a dad?

(some other day last week)

Dear Diary,

Stomach pains.  I’m not sure how I managed to sleep with such an inflated middle.   As usual, I nodded off and on with the shrieking cries of my younger siblings and cousins (the circus that lives in my shanty).  I heard them all yelling while even Ho chirped in with his aggressive barking.  The one word I managed to clearly hear over and over again was ,”ratero.”  I finally got up out of bed and everyone started telling me about the ratero.  I, naturally, assumed a ratero was either a rat or some other animal.  But when I grabbed the dictionary to confirm this I was stunned to find the translation, ‘pick pocketer.’  Apparently some drunk robber had approached the house just then, as I lay listening in my bed. Oh the land of Sarapiqui…  Last weekend a local Tico here broke his wooden peg leg at the bar and was found dragging himself with his forearms in the middle of the death highway back to his house.  And because this place is so small the next day we all discovered that Peg Leg Tico is actually Kaity’s neighbor and when his wife heard that her one legged drunk husband was crawling home she simply cursed and said that’s what he deserved for going to the bar. I’m so glad I have both of my legs.

(Last Saturday)

Dear Diary,

Just got back from playing with the kids at home.  Took a cold shower, getting easier to bear, well slightly.  My hair has dried into its normal frizz ball state.  And I’m looking at my wrist in sorrow as I realize that I do not have a hair band there to pull this back when the time comes.  The rain has finally stopped!  Thank the Lord!  And now I am debating whether or not I should take a dip in the Rio…  but I feel like that would take away from my shower earlier.  Damnit.  I’m super pissed because I’m out of batteries for my camera and now it seems that there’s a photo moment every other minute.  This morning I saw White Egrets standing on the backs and heads of the cows that live in the pasture next to my house, it was adorable.  Later I saw my four hens all standing on our front bench, looking forward as if waiting for their photo to be taken.  And of course I still need solid pics of the fam and cousins etc…  I suck at taking pictures.

(Sunday)

Dear Diary,

Heidi’s birthday:  El rio, El Chante and a last one at Portones.  A lovely little Sunday. There’s another bed in my room now…  I’m not sure what that means.  There wasn’t a kid in it this morning when I woke up.  I assume it is because we are switching rooms soon?  And can I just say that I am the opposite of excited about this upcoming room exchange.  Here I am, living in the grandiose of grand rooms in the house, my own shower, toilet, a big armoire a rug, two windows with stained peach lace curtains.  Why the hell would I want to switch rooms!  And be forced to shower and defecate in the same bathroom as the rest of the household?  Damnit. Yesterday the whole family was over, again.  It is beyond exhausting.  All of them speaking the Spanish to me, usually at the same time.  The kids climbing all over me.  I tried to run away for a bit to Portones but I had to go back to change and get ready for Heidi’s party, and getting out of there was like trying to break free from a maximum security prison.

(Yesterday)

Dear Diary,

Shit.  Ruffy has a disease, similar to that of leoprasy, I presume.  We found this stray little guy (he looks like Eddie from Frasier only the Holocaust version with patches of fur missing) yesterday morning here at the center and his little brown eyes pleaded to us for help.  Obviously I am a sucker for sick little animals and apparently so is Casey.  We concocted a plan to wash him (he was disgusting) which involved me putting on my swimsuit and taking him into the shower, in our bathroom here at the center, and then soaping and sudding him up with gardening gloves.  It was successful although he definitely didn’t like it at times.  Afterwards Ruffy was a new dog, well not really, but he did smell better and he seemed significantly happier.  Casey and I snuck him lunch leftovers which he loved (Casey had already fed the little bugger like five granola bars in the morning).  This morning I found him sitting outside my front door of my house!  I threw a peanut butter sandwich out of the window for him.  He followed Heidi and me to the center.  Hilda (our cook) came cursing around the corner and then proceeded to tell me in detailed Spanish that this dog was severely diseased (thus his missing fur) and that it can spread to humans and other animals.  Well shit!  If I get dog leprosy down here because of trying to help little Ruffy I am gonna be pissed indeed. And so now we have to shoo the poor little lepper away from the center, to roam Sarapiqui, with no food or shelter.  I wish I had a million dollars and I could open a humane society here so I could at least put Ruffy to sleep!  I told Casey we should take care of him Old Yeller style, out back with a shovel…  and by we I mean he should do it, cuz obviously I could never beat anything to death, except for the bugs that live in my room.

(Today)

Dear Diary,

My new 1A class is proving to be a little difficult.  I feel like Laura Ingles Wilder with a room full of people ages 12-70, staring up at me, blank faced.  I repeat the verb conjugations AGAIN for To Be… I AM  you ARE  he/she/it IS, we ARE, they ARE.  We have been learning this now for the past 3 classes.  They all nod their heads vigorously and as I move around the room to view their workbooks I see that I am clearly failing.  I again go to the board and explain the pairing of pronoun and verb and the same three know-it-alls yell out the answers and roll their eyes.  So by the end of the class I have three different groups doing 3 different activities because some can’t figure out “I AM Sammy and he IS Geroge,”  while others are ten pages ahead going over present continuous work. AGGGHHH.  My level 2 class was much better, thank Dios.  We continued our focus on the past tense of verbs, both regular and irregular and they made bingo cards and I read out a sentence with a verb in the past tense and if they had that particular verb (they had a bunch to choose from on the board) on their card they got to put a chip there.  They are going to be disappointed when they get their boring worksheets next class.  Ruffy Mange smells terrible and looks worse than yesterday.  Poor Ruffy.

Austin comes tomorrow and I am beyond excited!  Finally someone else will experience this place!  And we are going to the beach for the weekend!!!  This morning, in the shower, there was a spider the size of my butt cheek!  It was HUGE.  And I was like, “okay buddy, I’m so not going to kill you because you are gonna eat all of these little effers that crawl around and bite me.”

 

Last Week with Ho and Dharma Initiative February 18, 2010

Filed under: costa rica — The Under-Analyst @ 11:00 am
Tags: , , ,

As I sipped my coffee this morning I took breaks from my deep ponderings to scratch the newly acquired mystery bug bites.  With my eye mask holding my wild, frizzy hair out of my face I yelled at Ho to shut the hell up.  (Remember that Ho is our dog who lives on a rope in the backyard) Another dead dog was found on the side of our death calle this week.  This is the second dog to get hit by a car and die in the last two weeks.  The main sentiment about dead dogs is one of annoyance, mainly because there is no “dead dog clean up crew” so whoever owns the property where the dog dies has to get rid of the mess.

I make myself a plate of pinto gallo (a bean and rice mixture used as a staple for every meal) and grab some cold chicken from the night before.  I usually load on hot sauce but this morning I am feeling dehydrated so I eat it plain.  The family is no where to be found.  I haven’t seen them in 3 days.  Our schedules are completely opposite.. by the time I get home at night they are asleep and dinner is sometimes left on the stove for me and when I wake up they are already gone (remember they get up at 4:30).  I notice that Ho rarely has water out back in his dish, granted he is stupid and knocks it over whenever anyone fills it for him, so I go out back and dash to grab his bucket before he can jump all over me and scratch the hell outta my legs with his claws.  I decide he should have some breakfast too so I make him a nice plate of rice and fruit loops.  He drinks and drinks and drinks and I feel bad for him wondering how long he’s gone without water out in the heat.  He sniffs at his breakfast and then looks at me like “what the hell is this?”  I tell him he shouldn’t be so damn picky and leave it there.  As I walk into the house I can’t help but think how good Manny has it back home.  His little golden retriever pampered ass gets to run free in a big back yard.  He gets to sleep in the nice house and snuggle in the bed with my mom.  He gets to go for walks (unheard of here,  I have yet to see anyone walk a dog with a leash ).  The only thing that Manny would be jealous of is Ho’s breakfast of rice and fruitloops.  All the dogs eat left overs, although I heard one Tico say that they were going to the store to buy dog food (I just assumed they didn’t sell dog food here).

On Monday we all went to La Selva Biological Rainforest Research Station.  Apparently 60 percent of what is published about rainforests comes from this place and it is where a large amount of research is conducted.  I was excited to see the “wildlife” and learn about the various current research projects.  But can you imagine my delight when we arrived and this place was seriously just like the Dharma Initiative!!!  For those who do not watch LOST I apologize because the various references will mean nothing to you. We walk into the gated community where all the buildings look similar and an old swing set sits in front of an old schoolroom to the left. Our guide, Fofo (who is the brother of my house father) explains that many researchers live here while they conduct their various projects and some have children.  He then says that it was more common in the past but that they do have a few couples that have lived on the compound for years and years.  They also host groups of research students for month long stays.  We shuffle forward, under the violent sun rays, and Fofo continues to educate us on the local fauna and flora.  I am only slightly interested in this and am trying to nudge our group on towards the actual “forest.”  Anne Louise, a member of our tribe, asks questions about everything, “Why is that part of the leaf red…?”  This is all fine and dandy except that I soon realize that our tour leader is incapable of walking and talking.  With every question we immediately stop (usually directly under the sun) and are forced to stand patiently while he repeats himself and the answer over and over again.  This is especially painful for me because I am suffering from extreme sunburn and therefore am wearing a t-shirt and long pants.  My sunburn is so bad that I’m not wearing a bra, which also makes our small trek slightly uncomfortable as sweat pools between my small “mountains.”  We finally make it to the pathway into the primary forest.  We walk about twenty feet and there is a hatch to the left!!  I can only assume a poor Tico is forced to live down there in seclusion, pushing a button every 180 minutes.  We meander out of the primary forest and make our way to the “other” forests.  We see wild boars and a few birds who all look the same to me (Yeah, I’m a terrible birder).  We saw a sloth on the bridge into the camp and that was my highlight.  We do not have much time and to my delight we head back to our cars to leave.  I want to come back, when I’m not dying of sunstroke and our guide doesn’t move at the pace of a snail.