H is for Hacerse Bolas

Costarican idioms (loosely interpreted)   Hacerse bolas is to become confused, which is easy to do if you don’t speak Spanish very well. Like me. But for a long time I didn’t have to learn the language. The area where we live, the Atlantic coast, was first populated by indigenous natives and then by WestContinue reading “H is for Hacerse Bolas”

E is for Estañon Sin Fondo

  Costarican idioms (loosely interpreted) Gluttony. I don’t believe I am a glutton, but I do tend to hoard food. For a long time I stockpiled because there simply weren’t any decent pulperias ( grocery stores, mostly called tiendas in other Latin American countries) in our area, so if I saw something we needed, or IContinue reading “E is for Estañon Sin Fondo”

C is for calenton de cabeza.

Costarican idioms from A to Z (loosely interpreted) The verb calentar means “to heat,” so this expression means “to get angry” (hot headed). Do I have a problem with this? Ha! This has probably been my single highest hurdle living in Costa Rica. When I first arrived twenty years ago (can it have been thatContinue reading “C is for calenton de cabeza.”

B is for Bochinche

Costarican idioms from A to Z In Costa Rica, bochinche means “to mix it up” or “to fight.” But, curiously, it is also a Costarican national dish. When ordering the almuerzo, or lunch, one can order a casado or a bochinche. The only difference is the way they are presented. The casado is a combinationContinue reading “B is for Bochinche”

Adventures in Alternative Medicine- Costa Rican Style

Sometimes our bodies simply rebel, forcing us to quit our usual abusive treatment of them and pay attention. At least that’s what mine did about six months ago. It all started with the wonderful inversion table Alan built me. I felt hanging upside down would correct the high right hip I’d lived with for years,Continue reading “Adventures in Alternative Medicine- Costa Rican Style”

Magical Realism, or Gabito Meets the Mexican Mafia

According to my dictionary, magical realism is a literary genre or style associated especially with Latin America that incorporates fantastic or mythical elements into otherwise realistic fiction. After this week, I would venture to say this definition is largely a North American attempt to grasp events as they naturally occur in Latin American countries. Authors may simply be writingContinue reading “Magical Realism, or Gabito Meets the Mexican Mafia”

Of Quipus and Libraries

I read a fascinating article the other day in my local English newspaper, The Tico Times. According to the story, for the past five years writer José León Sánchez, and philologist Ahiza Vega have been studying the regional written and spoken languages of several native tribes in Costa Rica during the colonial period. It wasContinue reading “Of Quipus and Libraries”

Banking on an Answer

Unless everyone agrees on an established filing system, there will be chaos. In my filing system, for instance, the car insurance bill belongs in the general file under Insurance with a subfile Car. But someone else might feel that the bill is about the car, and all things Car should be stored under the generalContinue reading “Banking on an Answer”