La Mujer en la Pulperia (The woman in the convenient store)


After the first week in Costa Rica, I made a local Costa Rican. She’s actually not Costa Rican but she has lived here for over 34 years. She came from China at the age of 19 with her family and started her life here. We communicated in Cantonese and she instantly accepted me. The following days after school she would offer me snacks as I passed by. I often decline because I had already eaten.

One day I decided to sit in her shop and talk to her. She offered me ice cream called “Tris”. It was a cookie ice cream and it was the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten in my life. She told me about her kids in the US, the Chinese community, and how she lives here in Costa Rica.

Her life is quite mundane. She works, stays at home with her husband, or goes shopping. Although simple, I saw that she was genuine and happy. She always smiled and exuberated care and interest.

My relationship with my parents’ back home is not intimate. I would go as far to say that I don’t know my mom at all. We simple exchange necessary conversations such as come to eat, pick me up from school, or where is my sister/brother. As for my dad, I have a deeper relationship but still we don’t talk as often as I would like.

My first fiend, Monica, was an opportunity for me to feel connected to my culture/family and maybe even improve upon when I come back. I would like to keep connections with Monica and learn both about Chinese-Costa Rican culture. Although I don’t know where this relationship will take me, I’m glad it happened. Until next time.