This week was my first time visiting the school Cedeno Cedeno, a public elementary school in Puerto Jimenez.
Entries in #culture (3)
As those who are already present on our Teaching Project are aware, we have recently begun working at a new school in Puerto Jimenez: Saturnino Cedeño Cedeño.
Travelling abroad, the focus is often on the local culture: the new experiences that are offered by a step into the unknown. We tend to think about what we gain from this foreign environment, whilst pretending that we leave nothing behind of our own.
Yet the truth is that the mantra ‘take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footsteps’ is a fallacy. Cultural interaction is a to-and-fro; a relationship that passes back and forth between the resident and the visitor, and creates a unique precedent for further interaction.
Being a ‘gringo’ in Costa Rica is not like being a foreigner in the depths of the Amazon jungle. Far from it, people will barely bat an eyelid as you walk down the street (unless they are trying to sell you a tour or coconut oil). It takes years of endeavour to be considered a ‘local’ whilst travelling abroad, but in Puerto Jimenez Gringo culture is at once separate and well-integrated with Tico culture; difference is recognised and, for the most part, celebrated.
The benefits of a healthy tourist culture in Costa Rica are that home comforts are that much easier to find. There is a good stock of foreign biscuits and Nutella in the supermarket, and the hamburgers and pizzas in town would make you think you were sat in a restaurant at home. And yet, outside the supermarket, tamales and pipa fría are sold from stalls, and the menus run in alphabetical order through casados to hamburgers and tacos de pescado.
In Puerto Jimenez, expats, tourists, and locals blend like water running into the ocean. Though our origins may be different, we live alongside each other and learn from each other. We take the best of both worlds, and as a result, you can always take a taste of home on your next adventure!
By George Shankar - Field Communications Officer
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