“It’s My Life” — By Lydian Shipp
Central America Costa Rica North America

“It’s My Life” — By Lydian Shipp

Let’s start at the beginning. We got to the house. We got unpacked. We had to go get another key made for our rental, so we went with the people renting the apartment to us. The walk was pretty uneventful. We walked, got a key made, and then William (the man renting out the apartment) took us to a restaurant where we got guacamole and chips, along with some seriously heavenly salsa. We stayed there for quite some time eating our guac and chips. That was also rather uneventful, to be honest. The others were drinking alcohol and eating mega plates of nachos that really didn’t look quite as decadent as our salsa. We decided that we would talk to William about rentals in the area and good places to take a group of kids if we brought them here later on (2017 NOTE: Just to clarify, this was a business plan we considered. We’ve thought about setting up a business where kids could travel to different places.)

From the restaurant we went to a Mega Super grocery store where we got three vats of water, some pasta, and a couple of other food items. I was disappointed that we only got three big bottles of water, but it worked out fine in the end. We also got one of our “primary food groups,” oatmeal cookies. They’re available at the Mega Super in Alajuela, too, and we rely on them as snack foods. They’re are essential to our survival right now. After shopping, we then went back to our apartment and waited while processing our unfinished night.

William, his girlfriend, and my parents chatted for a bit while I sat in my room listening to my music trying to come up with something to do (I hadn’t brought much entertainment equipment). In the end, I took my headphones out and contemplated how high one could make the walls without having to cut any angles. It wasn’t very far where it would look okay, but this activity entertained me for a good thirty minutes until around 9:30. Apparently, it was karaoke time. Now I’m glad that I went, very glad in fact, but I was extremely against it in the beginning. I was tired, my hair looked like it had been dragged through the mud (in my opinion), and I’d already taken off my belt (it took forever to put it back on where it looked good). But, despite all this, I went reluctantly with the assumption that if I was to sing, my dad would go first. Originally, there was no frickin’ way I was gonna sing.


We hailed a taxi to get to the karaoke bar because it was quite a ways out. For some reason, I had karaoke and open mic night messed up, so now I’ve been set straight. I didn’t really think that the whole bar experience was particularly stimulating, but it was interesting because I had never been in a bar before, so that was kind of cool (in a weird way).

I went up to put my name down with my dad to do karaoke, and I didn’t realize until later that it didn’t really matter if I put my dad’s name down before mine on the list, because the choice of who went next was random. I made a fool of myself when I made a pathetic attempt to speak Spanish to the man in charge of the karaoke stuff in a futile effort to find out how many sappy ranchero songs were left before me or my dad got to go. It didn’t work that way. Which sucked.

I did eventually get to go, but before my dad, which made me nervous. But I did it anyways. I sang Holiday, by Green Day, my favorite band ever. In the middle of the song, I was able to get a lot of people to start shouting “hey, hey, hey”, which was pretty awesome.

My dad was planning on singing Vertigo by U2, but he didn’t want to do it in the end because he’d almost lost his voice from shouting all night, and joked that he would have to sing the song down an octave like Barry White or something. Instead, he and William who had a great sense of humor, though drunk, sang the song together. My dad still sang low. He also snuck in a South Park line. It was hilarious. He didn’t stand up, which probably made very little difference. When Costa Ricans do karaoke, they don’t stand up. I only saw one guy stand up.

To read my mom’s (Jennifer’s) account of the Costa Rican Karaoke Bar, click here.

(NOTE: This post was written when I was 12. I edited it in 2017 for grammatical errors and other technical stuff, but maintained the content to preserve my 12-year-old perspective)

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