Related posts:Amateur Fishing Club names 2017 Tarpon Champion Multipurpose malinche, an attractive and useful ornamental A second round, Holy Sunday and the poor electoral menu How a cowboy saved me $30,000 in Costa Rica Based on remarks to wonderful staff members, volunteers and friends of AFS Costa Rica in San José on Sept. 29.I’ve spent a number of years and many thousands of words pondering the lessons Costa Rica has taught me. Some of them are specific to the delightfully unique attitudes, wordplay, foibles and flaws of this particular country. Others, however, are life lessons that I think are familiar to anyone who has lived or studied abroad.We carry them with us, whether we “forget to come home” – as my father, who turned 80 last week, likes to say of me – or whether we head back to our native lands, forever changed.Here are four of the lessons that have been most important for me. What about you?Progress isn’t always linear.This is, perhaps, a lesson learned simply by getting a little older – but experiencing the intricacies of culture shock over a period of years definitely helped me figure this one out. The thing is: it’s not really one shock. And it’s definitely not a series of steps to check off.It’s more like waves, experienced as if you were a bit of flotsam and jetsam, bobbing in changing and inconsistent waters. You may be confident and serene right now, but in a flash you’ll be tossed backward, more lost or excluded than the day you arrived. Perhaps the tide in this metaphor is indeed marching in the right direction, heading slowly but surely up the beach. However, you’re just a bit of wood or a lost flip-flop, so it won’t feel like progress to you.It’s not your fault, or the waves’. It’s the way things work.Recommended: A tale of two Costa RicasYou have to get used to that, or you’ll be very frustrated. And that’s true not only of cultural adaptation, but of most anything in life that matters: Friendship. Parenthood. Love. Learning hard things.A reader wrote me recently telling me he found the fact that I’m still learning about language and culture in Costa Rica after decades of study “disheartening.” My response: please don’t! It’s so much fun. If I ever did reach mastery of these un-masterable skills, I’d have to move somewhere new.The worst thing is sometimes also the best thing.Again, we learn this sooner or later simply by being alive, but experiencing another country accelerates it. We quickly see that the qualities we treasure most in the places we’re encountering, and in our own homelands, are often the things that frustrate us the most.Costa Rica’s famous laid-back approach, exemplified by pura vida: the key to happiness, or a frequent gateway to acceptance of mediocrity? The convenience and ease of life (say, running errands) in the United States: delightful, or the foundation for materialism and obesity?The answer is usually both. The same is often true for the people in our lives, as well.Others – people, communities and countries – are always more complex than we realize.When I’m home in the United States and come across Latin American Blend coffee, it always seems so strange to me. Latin American Blend? Why? Even a Costa Rican Blend would be very strange, when coffee from Orosi and, say, Santa María de Dota taste so different. Twenty years ago, I would never have thought about this the same way, but years of mountainous drives and many, many cups of café chorreado gradually changed the way I thought about what’s in that bag.Obviously we estadounidenses are particularly renowned for a lack of understanding of countries beyond our borders; our size, power and linguistic dominance contribute to our myopia. But I’m often asked in Costa Rica what people eat in the United States, or what we believe, or what the weather is like, and find myself explaining just how many varieties are housed within those 50 states.Any lack of understanding I’ve encountered pales in comparison to my own ignorance about, say, the almost unfathomable diversity and nuance among the nations of Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe. Hmm. I should really get on the road again.Being an outsider grants you powerful vision – and insiders should seek that out.I’ve written before about “immigrant vision,” the fresh perspective outsiders have on our adopted countries, a perspective that is often overlooked or underutilized. Those who travel or live abroad gain such perspective. However, I think it’s even more important that we gain an appreciation for the value of the outsider, and can take that appreciation home with us.You can travel the world and remain as close-minded as the day you began. You can live abroad for 30 years and refuse to learn a thing. You can live your whole life within a five-mile radius and be the wisest, kindest and most learned of people.However, I do believe that travel and student exchange are, without any doubt, powerful medicine for a world continuously wobbling in the wake of violence, hatred and bigotry.To all those packing their bags, enrolling to study abroad, or working hard as teachers, parents or volunteers so young people can venture forth into the world: thank you. The world needs more of you. More homestays, more awkward first days, more this-will-be-funny-later misunderstandings that lead to humility and knowledge.That’s progress: as messy and sure as an incoming tide.Read more columns from Katherine here.This piece was originally published on the Love in Translation blog by Tico Times Editor Katherine Stanley Obando. She is the author of The Tico Times’ “Maeology” column and “Love in Translation: Letters to My Costa Rican Daughter,” a book of essays about motherhood, Costa Rica’s unique street slang, bicultural parenting, and the ups and downs of living abroad. Facebook Comments
Got Windows, will travel! If you’re a long-time Windows mobile device user, you’ll have found that there are loads of free Windows apps on the market, some good, some great, some pretty useless! It is difficult to work out what are the best Windows apps so some research is necessary. That’s where we come in!There’s an app for almost everything, including travel. There are many paid and free Windows travel apps to make your journey more efficient, your holiday more enjoyable, but what are the best Windows travel apps for you? Skyscanner’s travel tech experts have looked at a broad range of products, from mapping tools to weather forecasts, to come up with its top 10 Windows travel apps.1. Evernote (free)Evernote can take every kind of note – written, voice records, films, photography – and sync them to all your devices, not only making it an indispensable notebook to carry with you on the road, but also a great tool to keep your memories of all those amazing trips.2. CoPilot Live (£26.99 per country)CoPilot is the equivalent of Tom-Tom in an app. Never again be lost in Milton Keynes, Death Valley or downtown Jakarta, and avoid the high costs of renting a GPS with your hired car. There’s also CoPilot Truck for pro long-distance lorry drivers – now that’s cool.3. The Weather Network (free)Will there be snow in New Orleans or sunshine and showers in Newcastle? Get detailed current, short and long-term meteorological info with this useful app. As B*Witched once sang, don’t blame it on the weatherman. With the forecast at your fingertips, you’ll only have yourself to blame.4. SkyMap (£1.29)If you’re lost on your travels, don’t fear, with SkyMap you can navigate by the stars. Wherever you are on the planet, simply point your phone at the sky and it will tell you where you are in terms of stars, constellations, planets or other deep space objects. It only works at night, if that wasn’t obvious.5. Birds PRO (£7.99)Ideal for the binocular-toting business traveller who squeezes in the odd afternoon of birdspotting between face-to-faces across the continent, this app boasts 1500 photos, 468 recordings of songs and calls, info and fun identification quizzes, so you can gen up on target species on the plane. 6. Tube Map (free)Get around on the London Underground like never before! Plan your tube journey from Archway to Barking, West Hampton to East Ham, and receive live train status updates on a scrollable map to make your journey across the capital less hassle.7. Flight Status (free)This nifty little app keeps you up-to-speed about the current status of each flight, like the departure time and departure gate, which saves you having to get up and check the screens while you’re whiling away your six-hour delay with a cheese n’ bacon burger, curly fries and eleven pints of lager.8. Allrecipes (free)Oh no! You’re on the shuttle home from Heathrow and you realise you haven’t got anything scheduled for supper. Your other half will not be best pleased if you turn up with pizza, so get inspired on Allrecipes, grab some fresh ingredients on your way home, and whip up a candlelit dinner that’ll make them forget all about your failure to flush the toilet this morning.9. App Market (free)Looking for a travel app, but don’t know which one? Can’t see your Angry Birds from your CheesedOffCats? App Market should be in everyone’s top 10 Windows apps, as it allows you to search for Windows Phone apps using a variety of clever criteria and filters. You can find, bookmark and install apps in a user-friendly and intuitive manner.10. Skyscanner (free)Last but not least, the world’s most powerful and flexible flight search app: which just so happens to be Skyscanner’s very own free app for Windows. The official Skyscanner app makes it possible to search and book cheap flights on the go, and when you’re looking for travel inspiration you only have to spin the globe to see which destinations are cheapest to reach.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map RelatedTop 20 best travel apps: recommended by Skyscanner20 of Skyscanner’s travel tech experts pick their personal favourite travel app they don’t leave home without.iPhone travel apps – discover the best free & paid apps with SkyscannerGot iPhone, will travel! Our pick of the best travel apps for iPhoneAndroid travel apps – discover the best free & paid apps with SkyscannerGot Android, will travel! Our pick of the best travel apps for Android.