While traveling abroad, it is custom to come across many different cultural differences. Here are some that I have observed from the Costa Rican people, known as “ticos”.
1) They throw their toilet paper in the trash because the pipes in most places are old.
2) They shorten everyone’s names. For instance, my name had been changed from “Carolina” to “caro”.
3) They are very comfortable with getting close to each other and even give each other kisses as greetings.
4) Their houses are very close together and it is very easy to hear other neighbors at night.
5) They stay up late (even until midnight) and wake up early cleaning or cooking.
6) Since they are sustainable conscious, they have shower heads that heat to make the water warm.
7) There are no such things as directions in Costa Rica. Everything is relative to one another. For instance, they might say “The house on the right, 200 meters from the old tree, yellow, with a big fence”. Weird, huh? And streets aren’t named either.
8) They have huge sets of keys. I’ve had to use 4 keys to get into my house because of all the gates.
9) It is very common to have rice and beans (Pico de gallo) for every meal.
10) They like to drink coffee at a young age. The nine year old grandson in my house drinks it.
11) They have fresh juice for almost every meal. It’s typically a fruit blended with water.
12) Their groceries here are very expensive due to high import prices…. a jar of Jif is $6!
13) A “fast food” restaurant can take up to 45 minutes to get you your food because of their “Pura vida” (tranquil) lifestyle.
14) It is not uncommon for the entire family to live in one house or the grandma to take care of the grandchild, rather than the mother.
15) Cars do not yield to people.
These are just some things that I have observed, but many things I have observed are very interesting. My Spanish teacher here loves shopping so much that she often gets a brand new pair of sandals delivered to our classroom in the middle of class! I have been enjoying learning cultural differences and adjusting to the Pura Vida lifestyle.