I just got back from my first weekend trip to the Monteverde region of Costa Rica. It’s one of the “cloud forest” regions of the country, known for its rain forest, canopy tours and endangered wildlife. It was an unforgettable weekend filled with fun activities (zip lines, ATV tour, day/night hike) and many cups of good coffee. For those who have not tried it, grab a cup of hot “aguadulce con leche” (sugar cane water in milk) which is a hot chocolate that has had caramel swapped out for chocolate.
We have all been slowly acclimating to the Costa Rican culture, food and citizens. It’s safe to say that we’ve settled in nicely and have fully integrated into our host families. The flora and fauna strongly contrast that of New England and I dream to once again be basked in Bostonian humidity, which is comparatively less than Costa Rica.
So the most humorous cultural/lingual confusion occurred on my first day in Costa Rica. During my first conversation with my host mother, I heard her say “[juega] Jenga a la iglesia con los jovenes” which is loosely translated as “[want to play] Jenga with the youth group at church?” To cut a long, awkward story short, she had actually said “VENGA a la iglesia con los jovenes which means “You are coming with me to church with the kids.” So, you can imagine my confusion when I showed up at the church ready to play Jenga, and instead attended a Catholic mass (for four hours).
More hilarity to ensue for sure,
~John “Juan” Pratico