August 30, 2006

"Cada Cabeza es un Mundo"

This is something that I´ve been meaning to write about for a few days.
Like I said, I´m living in a house run by a sweet lady named Nidia, who goes by Abuela. There is also a girl from South Carolina named Katie, and a Colombian soccer player named Pablo. All that´s missing to make it the cast of next season´s Real World is a gay cowboy or an angry, African-American woman.
But we also have a fifth housemate. At least we did until yesterday sometime. I never really caught her name, because she was there for less than a week. But the impression that she left on all of us was...well, impressing.
This lady knew Abuela in the past, so Abuela agreed to take her in. She´s a lady in her mid-40 or so, and although she´s Costa Rican, she´s been living in the USA for a while. Which means that when she speaks Spanish, even with Abuela, she peppers her sentences with English words in absolutely pointless places. She does it to make herself sound smart, but she just sounds like a moron, really. This lady has been a subject of our curiousity since she moved into the house about a week ago (directly after coming here from the US).
This lady is really, really hoochie-fied. She spent one breakfast putting on makeup at the table for about a half hour, and didn´t actually eat anything. Her room, which was adjacent to the kitchen, was always very perfumed. Actually, every time she opened the door to come out (which wasn´t often), it smelled like a brothel had exploded. And she had shoes. Lots and lots of shoes. One day a suitcase arrived in the mail for her, and it was full of shoes that she had sent herself from the United States. Abuela counted over 30 pairs in the room at one point. And over 20 watches (she offered a Rolex to Abuela for free). And mind you, this lady was still not settled in to the house.
She still wasn´t settled because she was waiting for her own house to finish being built. That was actually the reason that she was in the house with us: hers was almost completed. But lest you think that these are all the charming antics of a merely eccentric personality, let me tell you more, dear readers. This lady has an 83-year-old husband in the United States, as well as two kids. She told them that she was coming to Costa Rica for her health (apparently in the same way she went to Colombia for a 25,000-dollar plastic surgery operation for her health). Because the trip is for her health, and because she lied to him, her husband keeps sending money her way, and she keeps spending it extravagently.
What does she spend it on? Her boyfriend. THIS is the kicker. There´s this smarmy guy that´s come around a bit recently. He´s got spiky, grey, brushed/greased-back hair, and he´s probably in his mid-50s. He is always chewing gum with his mouth open, and he reeks of cologne. Also, he´s wearing the gratuitous shirt with one-button-too-many opened, in order to reveal his obligatory douchebag medallion. This tool apparently was the Mystery Housemate´s boyfriend 20 years ago, and they are now going to get married. Actually, they were going to get married a day ago, but they left the house after 5 pm, so the marriage place was closed. So they´ll have to try again tomorrow, I guess.
In the end, this lady is probably crazy, and I should probably feel sorry for her, but when I think of her lecherous deeds and her abandonment of her children and their father in the US, I just can´t get the sympathy vibe going. One good thing, though, is that if she marries the Douchebag, she´ll lose any chance at inheriting her American millionaire´s money. Which is cold comfort, really.
Anyhow, as Abuela said, "Cada cabeza es un mundo": every head is a world. And boy, is her head a world that has never been tainted by the exploration of rational thought.
She moved out her shit yesterday, and as far as I´m concerned, good riddance to her. Although the house will be slightly less interesting for the coming future.

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August 28, 2006

My Address

I have figured out what seems to be my definite address here:
Ryan Sitzman
c/o Doña Nidia Sandoval
Tres Marías Dos
De la Primera Entrada,
25 metros al Norte
San Ramón, Alajuela
Costa Rica
There you go. It also makes you understand why "Address" is called "Dirección" in Spanish, because it is more directions to my house than an actual address. Yes, Costa Rica is what U2 was singing about in "Where The Streets Have No Names."
So anyhow, I dont expect too many people will write, but if you want to, you are welcome to. A postcard would be great. I even bought some tape today, so I could potentially hang up any that I did get. But more than anything, I am just a bit curious to see if the address works.

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August 25, 2006

A Bit About Abuela

Like I believe I said before, I am in Costa Rica now, teaching English. It´s going pretty well, although the kids are loud as hell. At least in the 4th and 6th grades. But I told them that since I don´t speak Spanish (OK, I lied...I do, but they still don´t know that), every time I hear them speak in Spanish, I translate it to ´We want to copy sentences from the board!´ Which they hate. Slowly, they´re coming around. Altough the 4th grade is notably smarter than the 6th grade in this respect...
I´m also living at a house that an older lady runs, and she has people call her Abuela (grandmother). There are a few cool things about Abuela:
-She has a secret peanut butter stash. She eats like a bird since she had a stomach operation, but her vice is the old P.B. She has to hide it, though, since it´s rare here and Americans bring it to her when they visit. Also, if it were in the open, she says her grandkids would eat it all.
-She does 25 pushups a day, and not even girlie style! She´s 73! I´d be hard pressed to do that many myself, and I think I still fall into the category of Strapping Young Lad.
-She has a dog named Canabis. You have no idea how hilarious I think this is. See, it´s a big husky, and she says it already had that name when she adopted it. She told a story last night about a time Canabis ran away, so she was standing on her porch yelling ´Canabis! Canabis!´ I guess the neighborhood watch people had a talk with her because they thought she was a drug dealer trying to sell product!
More later, hope everyone is doing well, wherever you are.
Also, if you need to get ahold of me, my number is 445-5575. There are no area codes in C.R...

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August 21, 2006

Anti-Rodney Dangerfield

I played Monopoly last night with Fabian, Valeria, and Alejandro, the kids in the family I´m still temporarily staying with. I would have totally kicked their asses, if he hadn´t stopped early to play XBOX 360 racing. Where I lost. But at least the kids are calling me ´Teacher Ryan,´so I´m finally getting some respect.

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August 20, 2006

Family Fun Time

I´m in Costa Rica now. I got here a day or two ago, and was picked up by the Quesada Aguilar family. They are a mother and a father, plus three kids. The middle child, Valeria, will be in my sixth grade class, so I have been trying to not let them know my weaknesses (ie, snakes, LEGO Star Wars, etc). Today we went to a freaking volcano, of all places. It was really great...I was going to post a picture, but the capability to do so eludes me at this point. But rest assured it was cool and smelled like egg farts (it´s an active volcano). We then went to a zoo and saw all sorts of injured Costa Rican animals that had been rehabilitated or unable to be re-released into the wild.
So basically, things are going well here. In case you read my posting the other day about the guy who claimed to be a prophet, I wanted to add the crazy thing that he said that blew my mind. I could not decide whether it was freaking brilliant or just a crazy pile of shit. He said that there is no sin in being a thief, if that´s what you´re meant to do in life. He said that you are just stealing something that was never there in the first place, that never belonged to anyone, and that will no longer exist in the end, anyhow. He said God creates the theives, also.
Damn crazy people.
Anyhow, I am only staying with this wonderful family until tomorrow, when I move into my new place. I will try to keep this crap updated, but there won´t be internet at the new place, and I don´t know how often I´ll have access to it. But thanks for reading, still. Until then...

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August 17, 2006

Another Thought for the Day

Here's another quote from the "Off The Map" by Mark Jenkins, the book that I quoted from the other day. The quote, by the way, has some strange phrasing and ungrammatical sentences, so I didn't mistype. But, since I'm headed to Costa Rica to teach for four months, this quote from page 187 seemed pretty poignant:

“There is something about long journeys. You’re lucky if you manage one in a lifetime, and by the time you’re done you’re swearing by God never I’ll never do it again. But then some evening, months or years later, while you’re browsing through the atlas, whistling or humming or eating, whop! A few weeks later you’re gone. And if you somehow find yourself on just one more long journey, something gets in you, like a worm gone up through your feet. From then on, somewhere inside every unbearable trip (because there will always be another trip), you’ll swear up and down this is it dammit God damnit this is it, period. But then you’ll find your way back to your own warm bed and clean bathroom and beautiful world and discover they’re just as they were when you left, and after another month or two or six, this thing inside you will start to swell and throb. You’ll become restless and sore as if your bed were too soft and your bathroom too bright and suddenly your beautiful world has again grown moldy with mediocrity. So you’ll pull out the atlas and fall into it and the next morning buy an airplane ticket and just when everyone thought you were finally figuring it out, you’re gone.”

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Add Your Two Cents' Worth Of Mustard

I had a bit of a get-together last night, and I found out that people actually do read this blog. Zach and Bobby, for example, said that they'd have posted comments, if only they didn't need to get a blogspot blog to do so. So, I've tweaked the settings, and now anyone can post a comment.
But if it's crappy, I can still delete it, since I'm a fascist like that.

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August 15, 2006

Thought for the Day

The following is a quote from the book "Off The Map," by Mark Jenkins. My friend Rachel loaned it to me, and it was really good. It's a dude's recollections of riding across Siberia on a bicycle. Hardcore stuff. Anyhow, there were quite a few passages that I liked, but two especially stood out. I'll copy one now, and the other one later. Here's one from page 175:
“Sometimes you meet someone you know.
You have spent nights together. Night upon night for years talking and talking. You have camped together beneath the sky and sung songs together and drunk beer in each other’s homes. You have hugged and cried and laughed together. And you have never met.
There are few such people, but they are the ones you will always know and who will always know you. They are in parts of the world where you haven’t been. They are living lives you cannot know. They have sisters you have never met whom you’ve danced with on the porch and brothers you cannot see whom you’ve wrestled in the grass. They have kitchens with bright windows you can’t imagine, where you had coffee a thousand times. These are the people you meet, and know, before you speak.”
Think about that. I like it, and I hope you do, too.

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August 14, 2006

Crazy...Like a Fo...OK, Maybe Just Crazy

So I'm near Philly now visiting my buddy Chris. He lives near a halfway house, and most of the people that live there have some sort of mental issue, as well as a semi-criminal background. We were standing outside last night, and one of the guys came out and talked to us. You know how people say that there's a thin line between crazy and brilliant? This guy was square on that line, and it was freaking me out. When crazy people are at least ranting bullshit, it's one thing, but when they admit that they're crazy, plus have command over a staggering vocabulary, it's rather disconcerting. Plus, he was claiming he was a prophet, and some of the things he talked about were things that I'd been thinking of on my own. Like the idea that there's something in the air these days, and there's a big change coming.
Oh yeah, and he had pictures of demons on his cell phone. One was really freaky.
So that's what I'm thinking about these days.
Pennsylvania is cool, also. We went to Atlantic City to see Laura, toured the QVC studios, and went to Amish country.

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August 6, 2006

Off to the "Tasty Coast"

I don't really think anyone reads this, but if you do, I wanted to say that I took a job in Costa Rica for a few months. I'll be gone from August 18 through December 13. So if you call the house between now and then, you'll probably annoy my roommate Aaron McGrew. Which could be kind of funny. But in the end, you'll still not be able to talk with me.
I'm not sure how email or telephone contact will be in Costa Rica, but I might not be able to update the blog easily from there, so there could be quite a few gaps in service, so to say...not that I've been so hot about keeping things posted anyhow.
Before I leave, I'm also going to Philadelphia for a week, so it'll be some busy times between now and then.
But not so busy that I can't waste some time. I've posted the pictures from Mexico City, Argentina, and Europe on, so check them out if you want to. I was going to post a tantalizing picture as a preview, but seems to be acting like a dick tonight, and pictures aren't working. Anyway, there's also some new crap in general on the site.
So take care...

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