1:00 am – Receive my “good morning” call from the roosters that never dare to venture behind our house.
3:00 am – awoken by my host Mom listening to Christian music and praying with amazing faith, I remind myself of just how much I have yet to grow . . .
8 am is really when the day all starts, though. I unzip my bug net and get ready for the day in the once-closet-turned-room that I have. Life in Shiroles can seem pretty lazy on the outside, but it’s always filled with random adventures and work.
In the States I despise breakfast, but here, breakfast time has become one of my favorites. Usually it involves plantains, fantastic banana pancakes, or beautiful bread arepas matched with the best coffee in the world! Either getting caught up in conversation with my brother on the trip, or a surprise conversation with my host parents brings me to midday. I look forward to those conversations. By then, we have done our daily chores and exercised a bit. Ahhhh. That cold-only shower is something I look forward every day. 10am – 2pm is the prime humid time of the day; I make sure to save my shower time around then.
I might first shoo away some chickens or stray dogs that like to enter the house, but finally, I start my devotions. I usually try to snag my favorite blue and white rocking chair that my family keeps out in the front porch.
By the time I read, journal, and pray while watching the men and women walk past our house, I hear a “Rebecca!” come from the kitchen, letting me know that lunch is ready. My host Mom has probably prepared a plate of food for some man wandering around the street, too.
Costa Rican’s have three main foods: rice, beans, and chicken. While one may think that it would get boring after a while, my host Mom does a fantastic job at mixing them all together with different spices, in different ways every day. I have never gotten sick of a food that she has prepared for us, and one thing I have not missed whatsoever is food from the States. I crave Costa Rican food.
After lunch, the house turns quiet. This is not common in every house in Shiroles, but it is a breath of fresh air for me, someone who needs some privacy. I may do my laundry, go to the store, read, try (and fail) at playing the ukelele, talk with my host brothers, or take a walk with a member of the IMMERSION group. The later the day becomes, the more random, extended family members come in and outside of our house.
5:30 – 6 pm: The sun goes down.
This has been such a hard part in my transition. I am so used to going to bed when the sun goes down. Here, it goes down hours before we have dinner!
By this time, my family may be watching TV. I’ll watch a soccer game, National Geographic, or a new movie that just came out (who knew that they carried good movies here!?), and then I try to help with dinner.
Let’s just say that cooking is not my favorite thing in the world. I don’t know how to cook a lot of things, but I want to learn. I have officially become the chopper of vegetables in my family, and although I may get tired of it, I try (as much as I can!) to keep a good attitude and be faithful with this task the Lord has given me.
We eat dinner around 8:30 or 9pm. To me, that is super late. By that time, my stomach is growling hardcore. I may get two plates of food by the time dinner is over. But, I say that a happy, growing stomach is a good stomach while I’m here in Costa Rica. I can worry about weight loss later 😂 With every meal comes a drink. Coca Cola is such a huge priority here, and I really fear they have an addiction. I get at least one, sometimes two glasses of Coke a day. I used to not like it, but now I am warming up to it . . .
And from there, we talk. I tend to go to bed early; I don’t know how my family makes it until 10:30 or so. But people joke around with each other and talk about the neighborhood gossip. It’s a good time of family (immediate and extended) members of the community that my family has “adopted,” and us, the white gringos that are striving to understand at least half of what everyone is saying.
This is a day in the life of Shiroles. If short-term mission groups are here, my lazy day turns into helping my mom cook for the team. If the school needs us, we teach lessons. If my host dad asks us to work, we work in his plantain field. A day in the life of Shiroles is impossible to fully explain, because it changes every day. You never know what’s going to happen until a couple minutes before or right when something is going on. The beauty of spontaneity is this: we rely on the Lord for our daily actions and we stress less. If we rest, we rest for Him. If we work, we work for Him. When we commune with others, we commune for Him.
Shiroles has taught me a lot about what it means to truly live.