Chapter 1: The Quest for Pura Vida

Why I’ve Stopped Writing About Costa Rica

As some of you may have noticed, my blog posts have become sparser and sparser.  Part of this is my university workload–in my literature class, I have to read a novel a week (in Spanish!!).  Part of it is I’m lazy and when I’m not studying or doing something Costa Rica-ish, I’m napping or something.  What surprises me, though, is that I just don’t generally have the desire to write.  It feels too much like another homework assignment, and I don’t even know what to write about that would be interesting for both me and you.

I never had problems with this last semester because daily activities always contained something new and puzzling, and writing helped me hash out and make sense of things that were completely novel to me.  For the last couple of months, though, I have found that my confusion is more vague and often can’t be clearly attributed to cultural differences.  My problems are more personal: less “gringa figuring out Costa Rica” and more “Renee figuring out her life.”

I’m going to take this as a positive sign of my adjustment.  Six months ago, it seemed impossible that the culture would become so much a part of me that things like trash in the streets would become less of a cultural disappointment and more of a personal annoyance at specific people, or that having a conversation would be less comprehending the meaning of the words and more understanding the perspective of the individual I’m talking to, but that is what life has become.  The difference may not seem significant to someone who has never experienced becoming part of a new culture, but you can trust me that it’s huge.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing about Costa Rica, but it does mean I’m going to have to start becoming more creative in my blog posts.  There’s still things that should be written, just not things that are as easily definable as my previous topics.

Cultural adjustment is a weird thing, and all I can tell you at this point is that it’s happening.

P.S.  This picture is very symbolic of my cultural adjustment journey.


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