I walked out the back door carrying a handful of dinner scraps to throw on the mulch pile. It was a humid and warm evening, which always reminds me of the Summer months of my youth. Those were City nights; this is a tropical rainforest—a fact I remember daily. This is the jungle I dreamed of while encased in the cement, incinerator ash, iron bars and subways of NYC. To the south, a powder-blue sky with puffy white clouds are backdrop to pods of tropical mist making their wispy way over the top of nearby hills to the valley below. The mists will soon cover our exposed ledge of property like a soggy blanket.
An evening bird with a mellow voice repeated “Who? Who? Who?”
“It’s me, me, me!” I said aloud. “Como esta, birdie?” I dumped my trash in the dirt and stood transfixed, listening to the myriad sounds coming from all directions while the sun set. A toad sounded like a huge drop of heavy water. Ba-a-a-a-a-loop! There was a see-saw somewhere in the opaque thicket of old growth out there, accompanied by a set of castanets, the squeaky hamster wheel bug, the uh-oh bird, the “tearing paper” bug and the ever present heckling gecko.
A creature giggled. Twice. Three times, then laughed as if it found mushrooms and a pot plant for dinner. “Giggle. Giggle. Giggle. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!” Repeat, until the thing had me giggle-laughing also. We giggle-laughed in harmony.
A car alarm went off, but it wasn’t a car alarm. Bweep! Bweep! Bweep! Please back away from the bug!
“Giggle. Giggle. Giggle. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!”
“Ow!” I did the ant dance, “Putas olmigas!” (Whore ants!) and shuffled away.
“Giggle. Giggle. Giggle. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!”
“Shut up. Stupid bug.”
I do a lot of that.
I also grew a fig, started cantaloupes, and have twenty pineapples growing. Banana, avocado, papaya, pepper, tomato, spinach, plumeria, lime, halyconia, huevos de monos (sweet smelling “monkey eggs” trees), almond, aloe vera, coconut, various herbs… It’s all very cool and kinda bizarre to be called Farmer Meech by some, but that’s not the most unexpected result of moving to Costa Rica. Not at all. Of course I felt excited when we touched the tarmac as immigrants on the Ides of March in 2011, but I’m convinced now I know why. The plain and simple reason is the weather. When I mentioned how it reminded me of my youth, and those hot Summer nights that were so full of anticipation, freedom, optimism, curiosity, and heady mischief, it was a casual reference to what’s become a profound transformation. Sure enough, the association with weather, of all things, has turned this living, thriving, chirping, burping, blooping, dance-the-ants-away playground into my personal fountain of youth. Therein lies my fun-damental love of Costa Rica.
Either that or dementia is setting in early. Whatever, I’ll take it.
Headline encapsulations of other stuff:
I dropped about thirty pounds in thirty months. (Organic diet, lots of walking up and down steep hills, hauling rocks, digging plant holes and water control trenches, running away from ants, some pull-ups and push-ups (!), in a climate where whizzing outdoors breaks a sweat. Also, a Starbucks coffee cake and quad latte would require an overnight trip at a cost of roughly two- to three-hundred American bucks!)
It took 28 months, but I received the blessing of Immigración for Temporary Residency. My cedula was ready for pick-up after I joined the Social Security health plan. I’m card-carrying legal. Very cool news, particularly with regard to health insurance and meds (should I need some). When Babe joined in May, 2013, (residency approved separately, doesn’t matter if you’re married or even if it’s your kid, you’re not necessarily approved at the same time —requiring an extra over-nighter to San Jose) she was charged $48 a month for full coverage (hospital and meds) based on her income (SS). Since I won’t get SS until 2017, it won’t cost me anything for the same coverage. (And when I do collect SS, it’s likely no one here will ask if my income status has changed—which I’ll confess since I don’t want to take advantage of Grandma Costa Rica. She’s been good to me.)
That’s a boatload more than I could get health-wise from the US after forty-plus years of work. I’ve learned that the US totally sucks on tons of levels, but is a mere puppet (like every country) of the money lords, Mafias and malevolent aliens who successfully control the world.
I’m cynical, but happy. No longer does a night out qualify as a special event, but finding half a discarded cinder block makes my day. I will give it a use in the garden or fire pit. Who among us can say a cement block makes them happy? I am blessed.
Rules of Costa Rica
Rule Number Nine (Swanson’s Rule): Never lend anyone your vehicle.
Rule Number Seventeen: Men, never take a leak outdoors at night while holding a lit torch.
A bug the size of a small mallet knocked a flashlight out of my hand in mid-stream. Confusion ensued. Inches to the wrong side of that light beam, with zipper open, while placidly whizzing over a 20-foot drop-off… I’m just saying there could be lasting trauma. Your life (and that of your progeny) is in your hands!