More hard work

Golly, I hate homework. I hate it. That’s too bad, huh, seeing as I’m a study-abroad student…
This week, they gave us just as many papers as the last week, and a few mini oral exams. I actually like the oral exams because I can pick a subject and run with it. I’m good at that.

I’ve noticed some more -itos that I think will be interesting:

GRAFFITTI:
Seriously, it’s everywhere. And it looks like graffitti is mostly found on walls without murals. I’ve only seen one mural with graffitied writing on it. Maybe the young people are respecting other artists…? Regardless, the graffitti was one of the first things I noticed coming to San José. You can really tell a ton about the city you’re living in if you pay attention to the graffitti. For instance, I kept seeing phrases in Spanish like, “Costa Rica, say NO to TLC!” or “Costa Rica doesn’t sell! NO TLC!” along with the frequent brush paintings of former president Bush’s face with devil’s horns, or Mickey Mouse ears (this one really confused me). I also see many phrases denouncing Oscar Arias, CR’s current president, with all sorts of explicit suggestions of what should be done to him for “giving in” to “TLC”. Thus, the conclusions I draw solely from the graffitti is that 1) TLC must be some governmental manuever, 2) the young people (since it is assumed that generally high school to college-aged students would dream of posting their personal thoughts on a wall) disagree with TLC, 3) the US government must also be playing a part somewhere, and 4) the current CR president has angered the youth either by his involvement with TLC, or with Bush. I never knew graffitti to be so political! And yes, now I know the “full” story behind the graffitti, which I must unfortunately save for another post. It’s long.

U.S. EMBASSY:
My culture class took a “field trip” to the U.S. Embassy on the northwestern side of San José. I was a bit peeved that none of the teachers told us we would have to pay our own fare, as I just had enough for that day and today. Now I’m in debt to two girls and my host mom until I can get more money from my card. Oh well. It’s life…
The Embassy was huge, with perfectly manicured lawns, and guards, and huge iron gates, and no pictures allowed. None. The guards confiscated cameras at the entrance.
Maybe I was really sensitive, but it bothered me–all of the big-ness, and the high security, and the fact it was out of the way of the city, up in the mountains, and in the rich part of town.

GAYS AND LESBIANS:
As I’m sure many of you may have guessed, there are few gays and lesbians in CR. Nonetheless, I have seen couples, and they are usually in the younger generation. There aren’t too many in the 40’s and up generation from what I can tell.

ABORTION:
It’s illegal in this country, except for extreme cases where death of the mother or of both would cause a doctor to recommend an abortion. The illegal clinics where abortions are done are hard to find and expensive.

CHILDREN:
Nearly everybody loves little children here. On the buses, if a lady gets on the bus with a cute little toddler in tow, the other passengers will talk to the child and tell him/her how cute they are, or how strong–baby talk. I have never seen that in the U.S. Ticos will also talk to any children and baby talk them.

Okay, I am (in the words of my host brother Esteban) “Mucho cansing”–from muy cansada which means very tired. It’s a made-up Spanglish term.

Good night!

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