(We have officially arrived in Costa Rica! If you have not yet read the extremely detailed account I wrote of our journey here, head on over to our ministry blog and read it. The link is included in my reading list. There's also a list of 25 things that are different about living in Costa Rica.)
We've mostly been in a honeymoon phase with regard to life here. But life in a foreign country is not always rosy. I want to be upbeat and positive about my time here, as we are guests in the country. However, I also feel that it's important to be real. Adapting to another culture is not an easy thing. You realize that those things that you take for granted, or that you thought were not important to you are incredibly important. Some days you can go with the flow and adjust to doing things differently. Some days you can't. This is one of those days for me.
The last time we moved, 8 years ago, I made a list of all the household items we'd need to buy. Then, we loaded everyone in the car and headed to Walmart. Within one--or at most, two--trips, everything on that list had been purchased for a reasonable amount of money. A couple days after the big move, I had our house mostly established (this does not mean I had the boxes unpacked. Far from it).
So this is the expectation I had in my head as I prepared to make a home for my family here in San Jose. I sat down upon our arrival and began a list of items we needed to buy for the house. Some items were already furnished. But some were not. Or, there were not enough for our family. I made a master list and expected to be able to purchase everything on that list within a day or two. After all, they have a Walmart here, and we were planning on going to it Monday evening. What I didn't count on was that Walmart is the pricier option here. There are far cheaper places to get household or food items. That one-stop shopping I've grown accustomed to at home is not how things are done here.
Here we are, three days and five trips to various stores (including two Walmart runs) later, and I still don't have everything checked off my list. And because we do not have a car, trips must be made when someone with a car can give us a ride, or, as in this morning's case, you must hire a taxi or two to ferry you and your stuff to and from the store. You can't just put the kids in the car, drive to the Walmart, get the items you need, and then drive straight home. I suppose if we had a car, this process would be easier. But then again, we'd still be driving to several different stores to buy what we need. Now my husband, on the other hand, is loving this! He's enraptured by the thought of having to walk to the hardware store, the bread store, the meat store, the pharmacy, and the general grocery. He loves it! He'd much rather walk, take buses, or taxis than have other missionaries drive us around.
With regard to our house, Troy will tell you that the "home establishing" process is mostly finished. He'd say that we have most of what we need. And he's right. A lady, however, would look around and notice the lack of pictures on the wall. Flowers or knick-knacks on the tables. Bedspreads on the bed. Fluffy rugs on the floor. None of these are things we brought with us from home. Everyone always encouraged me to bring our special pictures and knick-knacks--those items that make home "home". But all of our pictures are puzzles I'd glued together and framed. I doubt they'd have traveled well, and as this is a short term, I didn't want to risk it. Aside from a few things, I really don't have any cherished knick-knacks. Candles are far more important to me, but again, I didn't think they'd travel well.
I know that everybody has bad days. Today apparently was mine. It didn't help matters that I forgot about applying sunblock on any of us yesterday before visiting the park and was horribly sunburned. And as I was wearing my sunglasses, besides the overall lobsterish complexion, I have raccoon eyes. It's not pretty, and serves as a rather painful lesson on the importance of daily application of sunblock. Especially with my fair skin. And especially given how much closer to the Equator we are.
I promise to keep these pity-parties to a minimum. It just didn't seem realistic for me to always seem to be upbeat and positive in my posts. I wanted them to be real. To show some raw emotion, both positively and negatively.
EDITED TO ADD: Now, a few hours later, I'm doing much better emotionally. Troy and the kids did some exploring around our area this afternoon, so I finished the dishes, put on my "Pride and Prejudice" soundtrack, and just enjoyed the strains of that soothing music mixed with the sounds of a gentle rain. When they arrived home, they surprised me with a teapot. Now I can make hot tea without having to heat it over the stove in a pan. I was surprised that having a teapot was that big a deal to me, but it was. And then after reading this post, my darling husband and oldest son dashed down the street and came back with an enormous bouquet of fresh flowers they bought at a flower shop down the street. I am blessed with a sweet family who believe it is important to cheer me up when I'm feeling down.