Augh… How long has it been since I was here? Twelve days? Eighteen? Possibly even more than that? Yikes. The reason for my absence was more than just
boredom busywork but also a horrendous interesting vacation to Costa Rica to visit my Grandmother. She’s pretty much the backbone of the entire family, and she knows pretty much everyone that could help her in some situation or another.
She’s also an expert grandmother (she bought me pretty much every single Bionicle set I asked for when I was little), and goes by “Tita” more than her actual name. She’s just like my mother when it comes to knowing people. She’s also doesn’t even use the appropriately-titled “Grandma Guilt” to her advantage. She wasn’t even mad when those deer ate all of the shrubs she planted in our front yard! That’s how good of a Granny she is.
But anyway, our vacation was a crazy ride. First off, it was planned only for a week, but due to… well, my mother’s usual last-minute-delay skills (something Tita does not share in common with her, by the way), we ran into a snag.
So we missed the flight, and on top of that mom’s bag was still in the 100-pounds mark after we spent half an hour trying to stuff half of it’s contents into her carry-on purse. Fortunately, we managed to get her inventory down to a reasonable (I mean here “physically possible to stuff into a bag that size without using a shrinking ray”) size. So on day 2 we got on a two-part flight, stopping in Texas to change planes. So I had to deal with the same stupid ”how-to-survive-the-impossible” plane clip that was shown on a teeny-itty-bitty screen with really loud speakers blaring this cheesy music. The view from the plane was incredible, though, so it almost evened out.
The trip itself is a bit of a tale to tell, with a lot of boring stuff (like souvenir shopping) in between, so I’ll just tell you some of the more interesting bits. I would say “best”, but there are some parts that were great, but also would take quite a while to describe. Wait, is it kind of rude for me to describe something cool happening to me and not you because you weren’t there? Ah, I’ll just go on anyways.
So first off, when we got there we had to rent a car from a guy who knew really how to reel in profit. Since we were foreigners, he figured that either A: We had trillions of dollars with us, or B: We didn’t understand the currency exchange rate, so he could trick us into paying more. Fortunatley, my dad was born in Costa Rica (did I say that’s where we were going? Silly me.) and thus learned Spanish as a first language. In other words, he learned the same language I was learning (well, trying to learn), but in a faster, better, and much more effective way than I was. In the end, we managed to get the car for an extra Three Hundred dollars(?!) and race off to find the house Tita rented for us.
Remember when I said that Tita knew anyone who could help her with anything? She found someone who was offering a house for rent at a reasonable price. The only mistake she made (and this is saying something) is that she never actually saw what the house looks like. She never communicates via computer (another thing to add to her “expert granny” repertoire) so her only way of talking to people from afar is from phone. So, as it turns out, the house was actually more like a tiny camping house. A little kitchen, a bathroom, and the rest of it was bedrooms. Also, many of the screens (as the windows had no glass in them) were broken, so we had to close a lot of the windows, making the rooms very dark at night. Fortunately for me, they did have electricity, so I could use a fan and the 3DS I brought along. Tita also invited some friends of hers along, so she was set to keep herself entertained as well. I don’t what my parents did to distract themselves from the campsite-like home, but I’m guessing they just used sheer willpower to bear with it.
Most of the trip was us spending time on the beaches, tanning ourselves… well, dad actually was the one hell-bent on tanning himself, for some reason. He really didn’t tan that much either, and I think he’s pretty upset about that. Mom and I spend most of our beach time swimming in the ocean, and it wouldn’t be her if she didn’t come up with a name to personificate the ocean: Mathew. She says she’s been doing it since she was very young, which makes sense, since she began doing all the weird stuff she’s been doing today since she was little. She even makes the ocean/Mathew talk to us sometimes, which makes a random passerby think she belongs in the funny farm.
We also tried collecting some of the awesome shells that washed up on that shore, and believe me, they were much better than the shells you normally find on the U.S.A. shores.
The only downside is that Tita told us it was impossible to bring them out of the country, because it was now a law in Costa Rica that you must preserve the natural beauty. But my mom had plans, oh, she had big plans for those shells, and when it comes to something she thinks of doing that may contradict ways of the law, she’ll just go on and do it anyway. She’s nigh-unstoppable when it comes to either a Scrabble/Words With Friends match, or some artsy, home décor plan.
So, due to my mom’s unstoppable determination, I didn’t have to worry much about souvenirs. But back to the vacation (wait, we were still there…) the nights were the most awful thing about the house. First off, my room only had one fan that barely worked. Second, it was too cold to sleep without a blanket, but too hot to sleep without one, either. Third, the bugs. Oh, the bugs. I already said I’m horrified to a pale hue when it comes to bugs, so I guess I forgot we were going to somewhere tropical. Tropical areas have bugs from my nightmares, and I slept with those huge, bloodsucking, possibly venomous… creatures flying around me, creating countless, itchy lumps all over my body that tormented me even more each passing night. Augh, it was torment! Torment, I say!
On top of that, there was the skunk. That house had a skunk for a rodent-like resident, which, just like any house-dwelling rodent would, lived in the walls and burrowed through them. But this was a skunk, which are much larger than mice and also make much more of a fuss when threatened. While this sucker looked adorable, he was busy with a new burrow right inside the wall next to my bed. So every night I would hear this erratic scratching next to me, and I was afraid to pound the wall to scare it as I might get sprayed by it’s stinky area-effect weapon.
In summary, my attempts to sleep were hellish.
The rest of the trip is mostly minor stuff. There was a surf competition in there, but I really couldn’t see much of the actual action. The reason I even mentioned this is because of the people who owned the house. I don’t remember their names, as I rarely talked to them (they spoke only Spanish, and I was afraid of looking stupid if I tried using my school-taught skills), but there was an old couple, one was a maid and the other a semi-alcoholic guard to protect the house from thieves. Also, there was a boy there around my age who loved surfing. He was a grandson of the couple, and I was told he really was exited to see someone his age. However, I am/was lacking in social skills, and even more so in another language taught in one of the least effective ways possible to me (school) so we rarely talked.
Good thing my dad and Tita were fluent in clear Spanish, so I usually had to talk through them. My dad did download a speak-to-translate app on his phone, but it really had a bad microphone. Half the time we had to say the same thing at least ten times before it got it right, so we just gave up on that. Thankfully Tita was happy to act as a translator, even if it did mean translating things I wouldn’t rather hear from her friends.
The trip ended much better than it had started, and we were secretly all relieved to return home to modern, 1st-world America. However, this trip was actually enlightening In some way: I did learn a few life lessons. One is that I have it good where I live. Looking at Costa Rica, there were a lot of houses that seemed to be nothing but a collection of scrap metal pieces in the shapes of homes, and I felt pretty guilty about myself looking at them. Second is that the bugs here are puny compared to the giants in Costa Rica. I remember seeing a moth with a wingspan the size of my entire head (and my head is pretty big, let me tell you)!
So the trip was fairly fun and taught me a few things. It also taught me one thing about my mother… Nothing will get between her and taking things home with her.