Umbrellas Would Be Nice — By Jennifer Shipp
Central America Costa Rica North America

Umbrellas Would Be Nice — By Jennifer Shipp

Alajuela, Costa Rica map
This is a map that I drew off the MindBody Zone web site demonstrating its location near the Centro Cementerio and the Pizza Hut in Alajuela, Costa Rica.

So I looked online and found a place that offers classes in all kinds of things. It’s called the “Mind-Body Zone” and it’s located in the center of Alajuela. We decided around 4:00 PM to go into the city and try to find it.

Lydian was in a bad mood. John had a headache. And it was raining. We started walking down the hill. About 100 yards into our walk, a man backed out of his driveway with an ancient Land Rover and offered us a ride. I’d seen him giving other people rides, so I figured it was okay despite the very large spear-point knife he had in the backseat. We hopped in and his wife started chatting with us in Spanish. She is apparently taking English classes with her daughter and is on the fourth out of eight classes. She really wanted to tell me more about it, but we got to the intersection and it was time for us to go. She spoke so fast I could hardly understand her. When people start talking too fast, I always hear a little voice in my head that says, “Pretend…just pretend to understand…”

I hate to pretend to understand though. It really bothers me, in fact. I don’t like to miss one word of what a person is saying. In English, when people are talking to me, I really like to hear what they’re saying and clarify by asking questions whatever I don’t understand. In Spanish, I have to just nod and smile, nod and smile and try as hard as I can to understand a few words so that I can at least make them feel like I understood, or that I was trying to listen.

I wonder sometimes if people just nod and smile at me, especially at home. I often feel like people at home simply don’t understand my words or that I’m talking too fast. In Spanish, though, when I say my three word sentences, it’s rare for people not to understand which is pleasurable in comparison with home, even though I’m obviously saying much simpler things.

Which makes me wonder if perhaps I just need to say simpler things all the time.

Anyway, we got on the bus and went into Alajuela and bought some food and pillows. It was pouring rain. Of course we have umbrellas at home, but I didn’t pack them so we had to buy some of these as well. Even though I knew we were coming here in the rainy season, it never once entered my mind that I should pack umbrellas.

Never in my life have I had to actually use an umbrella. Today was the first time that I realized that we need to always have an umbrella with us when we go out. As long as we have an umbrella, the rain is tolerable, but without it, we would be absolutely drenched within moments after the rain starts to fall. As a kid, I always wanted to need to use an umbrella, but the opportunity never once presented itself in my thirty six years of being on this planet. Until now, that is.

We found the Mind-Body Zone place, but sadly, it was closed up. The hours listed on the web site said 7:00AM to 9:00PM, but if this place is like any other Latin American country, I suppose those are just the hours when one might find other people there.

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