Art & Tranquility

If you ask anyone who has visited Costa Rica to describe it in one word, they will say: “tranquila”—peaceful. Not only is the air lighter and cleaner (due to the abundance of trees and nature present in the country), but the people are super caring and considerate. The last two weeks in Costa Rica have been met with a million rich interactions with the Tico people—whether its giving directions in the street, or having deep, meaningful conversations (in Spanish) about controversial topics such as politics, feminism, war—they all treat you with the utmost respect.

This last Wednesday my roommate Gviana and I went to an open mic event in Downtown San Jose to perform some of our spoken word pieces—I did a whole set of mine (three pieces) and the owner of the restaurant thought my work was full of so much passion and emotion that he was kind enough to invite me back to open for a Jazz band this Tuesday night! In the United States, I feel it’s harder to land a gig like this but he valued my work and believed in it and gave me such a sense of happiness. This country is a safe spot for anyone—whether you want to expand your knowledge of the language, meet new people, experience diverse scenery, or even reach for your dreams, you are welcome to go as far as you please!

To add to its peaceful environment, Costa Rica is a country who has abolished their military since 1948. They do not believe in war. Because their funds are not being put into the military, they push it all into their art and education programs. This country is absolutely RICH in art. Every street you walk on will have some form of graffiti or murals—even the houses are painted in vibrant colors! There was even beautiful art in the hospital! There is so much culture present in every element of San Jose.

The art makes a point to emphasize the diversity of the community. In the United States, much of the art I’ve seen uses subjects of the white community; however, here, inclusivity is universal—there are paintings of people of all backgrounds. Additionally, the art reflects many liberal sentiments—much of it calls for an end to femicide, masochism, and for economic, social, judicial, and political equality. I’ve only witnessed art like this in some of the streets of Downtown Tampa/St. Petersburg, so it is very exciting to see how ubiquitous it is here. The vibrancy of it breeds happiness.

We also visited the “Museo de Oro Precolombiano” and “Museo Nacional de Costa Rica” where we saw beautiful blue butterflies and saw art that depicted the history of the country. With your surroundings consisting of art and the mountains, you can never study in a boring place!

And don’t even get me started with how amazing it is to be CONSISTENTLY surrounded by native Spanish speakers! My roommate and I have been keeping a vocabulary list of all the new words we are learning in our advanced language class (so far we passed 300), and we have even more that we learned and didn’t write down! That is to say, each day we spend here we absorb a load of information—this immersion is not just a means of memorizing (which often takes places in regular, classroom-based university courses), but actually LEARNING the material. It’s not just “in-one-ear-and-out-the-other” because we are constantly hearing and speaking the language and also seeing it through all the street signs, menus, and books.

Equally important, we have an intimate class size of five students! We spent these last two weeks discussing and writing reflection essays on controversial topics such as femicide, violence and poverty, abortion, women’s rights, masochism, and environmental problems present not only in Latin America but also worldwide. I truly believe this experience is extremely gratifying and unlike one I would ever be able to receive in the United States. I’m excited to see what’s more to come!

Beautiful place, beautiful people, enriching history—Costa Rica, you have my whole heart.


Vocab List:

  1. Embarazos no planeados: unplanned pregnancy
  2. Escasas: insufficient
  3. Compartir: share
  4. Ley restrictive: restrictive law
  5. Crisis de salud pública: public health crisis
  6. Tener acceso a tratamiento: have access to treatment
  7. Anticonceptivo: contraception
  8. Derechos Reproductivos
  9. Comiten Crimes: commit crimes
  10. Aborto natural: natural abortion
  11. Aborto Inducidos: induced abortion
  12. Aguantar: endure
  13. Estar contratiempo: have little time
  14. Empoderamiento: empowering
  15. Disminuir: Decrease
  16. La manutencion: maintenance/support
  17. La guarderia: day care
  18. Acaso: Maybe
  19. Inestabilidad económica
  20. Ponte en sus zapatos: walk in their shoes
  21. Soy una mala madre
  22. Ultrasonido: ultrasound
  23. Que te sentiría ponerte en tus zapatos
  24. Crear empatia: create empathy
  25. No emitir juicios: dont make judgements
  26. Insalubres:unsanitary
  27. Inseguros: insecure
  28. Lugares clandestinos: secretive things
  29. Juicios: judgements
  30. Pecadores: sinners
  31. Parir: Dar a Luz
  32. Esparcimiento: spend time w ninos
  33. Salir Embarazada: Get pregnant
  34. Cosa: chunche: a thing
  35. Rifa: raffle
  36. Proveedor: provider
  37. El concurso: pageant/race/competencia
  38. Castigo: punishment
  39. He tenido: i have had
  40. vacillo/a: empty
  41. Apuntar: take notes
  42. Penalizado: penalized
  43. Salir embarazada: get pregnant
  44. Embarazarse: get pregnant
  45. Esparcimiento: como divertirse con actividades
  46. Desarrollarse: grow as a person (mentally)
  47. crecer: grow
  48. parir/dar a luz: to give birth
  49. La manutencion’: what parents have to provide for their children–como educacion, techo (define), ropa, alimentacion
  50. Culpabilidad: guilt
  51. Estado confesional: a state with an official religion–there is no separation between church and state
  52. Estado laico: secular state
  53. Afectividad:emotion
  54. Retroalimentacion: regurgitation
  55. Facilitar: facilitate
  56. Quirurgico: surgical (steel)
  57. Retumbar: repeat
  58. Asco: digust
  59. Mareos: dizziness
  60. Fogon: top of a stove
  61. Envejecer: to become old
  62. Puño: fist
  63. Chillar: yelp (como una tetera…teapot)
  64. Aparecer: to appear
  65. Afincada: based (in)
  66. Lanzar: to launch
  67. La supervivencia: survival
  68. Rabia: rage
  69. La secustra (de): the robbing of
  70. Los secuestros: kidnappings
  71. Dilacion: a delay
  72. Cargar: load/charge
  73. Echar: throw
  74. Colerico: angry/furious
  75. Arriesgar: to risk
  76. La granja: farm
  77. Comercio justo: fair trade
  78. Certificacion:certification
  79. Produccion piñera: pinewood production
  80. Hacer senderismo: hiking
  81. Carambola: starfruit
  82. represas–>energía hidroeléctrica: dams–>hydroelectric energy
  83. Bastante: quite
  84. Bañera: bathtub
  85. Papel higienico: toilet paper
  86. Aun no: not yet
  87. Desteñido: faded
  88. Desteñir: to fade
  89. Cultivo: culture/cultivation
  90. Implantes: implants
  91. Esterilizacion: sterilization
  92. La cosecha: harvest
  93. Aguas residuales: sewage water
  94. Acciones gubernamentales: governmental actions
  95. Envenenamiento: the poisoning
  96. Escarabajo: beetle
  97. Bromelia: type of red flower
  98. Champinones: mushrooms
El Sotano–In english, “the basement”. This was the cultural center of downtown San Jose where I was invited to perform. They host activities like dance classes, open mics, and art shows! Every Tuesday night they have a live local jazz band play.
The University of Costa Rica
These art pieces were presented in the fourth floor of the Hospital Hotel La Catolica


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s