Numero seis...

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Where I stayed
Karaoke 88

Flag of Costa Rica  , San José,
Wednesday, September 2, 2009

There is so much to learn here. I need help doing EVERYTHING. I am so thankful that people are patient and helpful.  Yesterday when I went to the bank I was completely confused. They only let one person in at a time.

That was weird.

I so glad that I was about 4th in line. Had I been second, they probably would have thought that I was trying to bum rush the place. I would not have known to wait until the person ahead of me was in and seated. When it was my turn and I walked in, I flashed back to the airport security line. The security guard at the door ran a wand up and down my back and front and then checked my bag. (Sheesh…is bank robbery like that here?)

So when I was actually in the bank, naturally I headed for a teller. Everyone started yelling and pointing and I stood frozen, unable to understand, and scared.  I turned around and silently pleaded with the security guard to offer me some assistance. He answered my pleading eyes with a question. I was not quite sure what he said. I did understand ayuda. That is the verb that means "to help." I nodded. He locked the front door, guided me to some sort of kiosk and started punching buttons. I had NO idea what was happening. Soon a ticket came out of the bottom and he pointed at a screen with numbers and a chair where I should sit.

I was too afraid to sit in the chair. The screen looked like Keno and I was nervous that I would miss my turn. Luckily it was sort of easy. The teller was nice. He spoke no English. I am here trying to get better…really I am. I was a little nervous not having a person that spoke English, though, when I was dealing with my money. I don't know what I thought that he would do. Grab my money, spout off some stuff in Spanish and run. I’m an idiot. Anyway, I gave him my measly $60.00 he gave me 37,000.40. Nice.

Today was a new adventure. I had decided that I was going to get on the bus and take a look at one of the universities that is closest to my house. (Sin [that’s the word for with] “Diane.” She was a little funny acting, but I pulled it off) So I got on the bus and when I saw something a little familiar I got off. The campus had so many people milling about. There were a lot of restaurants and street vendors.

As I walked by a street vendor I saw something that caught my eye. It was a souvenir that I thought my father would like. I stopped and asked the price. I nodded when he told it to me. In addition he explained the craftsmanship (at least that is what I think) I asked the price again and thought that perhaps if he told me again I could use that time to figure out what he had said the first time and then give him the money.

No such luck.

I took out a bunch of money and held it out for him to take. He looked at me. I could tell he felt pity. I would have. Here was a full adult person standing with money and asking that it please be counted it for them. I know it was stupid and irresponsible, but I had no alternative.  He looked afraid to touch it, but then pointed and told me what to give him. 2500.00. Muchas Gracias.

I continued to walk around and observe the sights. College students look the same everywhere. Sloppy-chic, shabby- chic, slutty-chic, studly-chic or I-want-you-to-think-I-don’t-care-chic. This campus was no different.  I waded through all the people to try to find something to eat. I stopped at a counter that had a lot of people. I figured that if I watched and listened that I would know what to do when it was my turn. Oh how wrong I was.

I pointed at what I wanted. She gave me something else. I got scared and flustered and just wanted to be away from the counter. She told me a price which of course I did not understand.  Again I found myself holding out money and pleading with the seller to offer me assistance. She took a bill. Gave me some change and while I felt like crying, she moved on to the next person. I was so embarrassed. I felt stripped and stupid. I was sad that I was seemingly unable to take care of myself.

I took my purchase, whatever it was, and started walking down the street. I began to eat it so that I could at least pretend that was what I wanted and I knew what I was doing. It was heavy so I was sure that at any moment I would get to the meat and be eating some sort of sandwich…ummm…nope…just bread. Feeling even more defeated, devastated and shamed I wrapped the bread stuff back in the bag and continued down the street.

After a few paces I saw a Chinese place.  In true Chinese take-out form there was a menu with numbers and pictures. The prices were at the bottom. (Thank God) I put my money together, repeated the number a few more times in my head and ordered without incident.  

“Numero seis, por favor” 

Chicken, rice, salad and fruit juice.  1300.00.

I brought the bread stuff to Catalina. I asked her what it was and told her the story. She thought that it was funny. I guess now it is…then…not so much.
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Comments

sakeeta
sakeeta on

Aww...
I laughed at the blog initially, then I wanted to cry as i realized that you were really scared and sad. You can do it my friend. Just believe that you can! I'm pulling for you.

t.henny
t.henny on

CUIDATE!!
Cuidate, por favor mi amiga mayor!! No necesitas ser independentista en un pais extraño. Yo se que tu eres fuerte y intelligente, y que seras buena, pero no quiero preocupar por ti! Tal vez debes comer en la casa :)

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