Growing up in the United States I have become accustomed to certain things. I have realized that there are little things that are quite different abroad that I did not think would change.
Here are a list of Costa Rican Quirks (I hope to update this list throughout my semester here):
- No mail boxes if you expect mail there is a P.O box, maybe.
- There are no doorknobs almost anywhere
- There are no addresses here. You find one location and you measure your home from that location like a restaurant or gym.
- Majority of the roads are one-ways.
- Spicy food is not spicy (this might just be a me thing)
- You could walk down one street and find 3 barbershops at least 1 vet. And at least 2 Optometrist offices.
- Uber is illegal
- There are no carpets anywhere.
- Families do not sit on their sofas/couches
- 100% of toilet paper is thrown out and not put in the toilet boil. (this I feel like is culture thing I throw my toilet paper out at home)
- Across every church is a park that is mostly concrete with some trees.
- Swings are rare at parks
- Catholicism class is offered as an elective for all schools and as a Sunday School.
- During holy weeks like Semana Santa you cannot buy liquor (depending on the city)
- WhatsApp isn’t just for friends or family it is for classes too. (I text my professors all the time, but this is how you mess up)
- Flash Drives are super important here
- You have to go to a copy place to get copies or books or print anything
- No right of way for pedestrians
- At UNA (Universidad Nacional) there may not be soap or toilet paper but someone might be brushing their teeth
- There aren’t any allies (they weird like NY)
I asked my friends in program to help me fill this list up and I would like to comment on their remarks (not to insult them but to bring up conversation on thoughts a lot of people from the U.S believe)
- Latinos love PDA (Public Displays of Affection)
- Families are less materialistic
In both these instances there is a reason. Growing up in a Mexican household but being surrounded by non-latinos majority of my life I have seen that “Americans” are less family oriented. Latinos are very much attached to family and this goes beyond immediate family members but includes cousins, uncles, aunts and second cousins etc. That being said love is also very important and Latinos are not afraid to show it which can be uncomfortable to some people.
- There are a lot more stray dogs here.
Every country I have been to not including the United States has a lot of stray dogs. Which can be seen as a bad thing or as a natural thing. In the U.S. stray dogs are taken to shelters and often times sold for profit or euthanized. In other countries stray dogs are meant to be street animals. It is a difference of culture.
- Houses are very colorful.
This I kind of found to be funny. In the United States we are used to seeing buildings in modern or neutral colors like brown, white, beige etc. Latinos traditionally have always been more colorful and willing to stand out, something I appreciate from our culture.
- Less white people here
This comment is a very interesting topic that I hope to delve on more in another journal. Nonetheless it still needs to be addressed. Latin America was colonized by the Spanish (a should be well known fact),who are white; therefore just like the United States is filled with different shades of people. Although there are obviously a lot more brown people here, there are still a lot of white-passing Latinos.