When my husband Kevin and I were dating in college, he studied abroad in Costa Rica for five weeks so he could learn Spanish via language immersion. One day, I opened up my email and read, “When I’m finished with my classes, why don’t you fly down here so we can travel the country together?” How totally romantic!
Kevin and I hike the rainforest in Costa Rica in 2003.
But so last minute. He was talking about a date two weeks away and I had an expired passport!
I made it happen – but barely – because my passport literally arrived in the mail the day before I left. My plane landed in San Jose where my very tanned Spanish-speaking boyfriend met me.
We traveled for nine days together staying in beach towns, zip lining through the rain forest, and eating fresh papaya and drinking mango juice for breakfast. Traveling with my personal translator, we avoided touristy areas so we could experience Costa Rica culture up close and personal.
Being half Filipino, I am often mistaken for being Hispanic so locals would sometimes just randomly start speaking Spanish to me. When they did, I would get this embarrassed I’m-sorry-I’m-your-typical-spoiled- American-who-only-speaks-English look on my face. Then I would politely say, “No hablo espanol” and then quickly point at Kevin – “El Gringo” (you know, Spanish for “The Gringo”).