Finally I was able to get a grip - or something of the sort - on my onw stuff, and finally was able to sit down and start my letter to Hélène, which I'll probably crush into a paper ball later on and start again. On Saturday my mailbox brought me two new letters, which on top of Daniela's add, well, three letters to read and reply. On a way I'm happy I have letters still to read and to write, as these keep me occupied, keep my "hobbies" filled instead of leaving me with the sound sensation of void that comes when the last letter was written, sent on its way and all you are left with is with the waiting.
A penpal of mine wrote to me recently that it was mean, she knew that, but often letting go of a letter filled her with a feeling of sadness, as if she were putting an end to a nice, warm, long conversation, and though you would get an answer and the cycle would go on and on endlessly it wasn't the same. To say this over the net doesn't sound as stupid as it sounds face-to-face (reason for which I believe some people avoid the face-to-face reality and therefore stay only on the cyber plane of life), but I get that, and I understand how hard can it feel when you must part from a dear friend, who lives on the other side of the planet, whom you can't see for a talk and a coffee every Tuesday, but with whom the contact is through some distant mean of communication, and whether if that person has been in your life for years or merely a few weeks, or if you just met him or her online.
A letter, thus become, like some sort of extended afternoon coffee where actually time isn't a boundary for you to say all you want to say (unless you are in a hurry to post the letter before the Post Office closes, which has happened to me more times than not. Has anyone else finished a letter at the Post Office, perched on one of those uncomfortable counters - suddenly so comfortable - while every single postal employee eyes you like the sole reason on Earth they are not home? If you do, please honk, so I don't feel like I've been the only "Postal Worker's Nightmare"), that time decomposes, fractures differently. A written letter on one side, and one on the writing at the other, your pen balancing from your fingers while you nurse a cup of good, hot, tasty coffee. Its a long, nice chat where no one has to go nowhere, that breaking up a moment to go to work is like taking five minutes to go to the bathroom.
However these past weeks have been anything but peaceful and quiet. There have been a lot of "situations" to handle, many of which I would have rather handled with a shotgun, thruth to be told, and others that presented such a level of tanglement my brain simply froze upon the attempt to get some sense out of the mess. The human capability to mess neves ceases to amaze me.
I had this intense desire to write, to communicate from my inner self, and thought often about picking up my pen and replying to my letters, connect my computer, steal some time and blog, and optimistically took hundreds of pictures of my surroundings, of the lovely things that inspired me at the moment, builing in my head paragraph after paragraph of thoughts and stories.
This month, I had this intense feeling, magical sensation almost, of the colorful, loud, teluric beauty of this land. Odd it me, I know, but I found myself aiming my camera and loving the typically Latin American flair of the world around me. The simplicity, the odd and uneducated way of things, where the colonial features remain here and there as a reminder that no longer hurts, of the history, of the Spanish domination, of those white men that came to conquer, that vanquised the natives and of which the society in general has no feelings one way or the other. Buildings that hold more about the short and badly told story of this young nation, that seems to believe history is something to be forget, something to pull out for banners and political justifying, not realizing, how that story, and the undervein of it still runs strong, as if in reality the whole country were still submerged in that past - minus the heroes.
From the terasse of a somewhat trendy-wanna-be coffee-bar, while waiting for Carrie, the pictures snapped, the Postal Office building yellowing away behind the buildings of a 1970's built, and refurbishings and other smaller attempts at pulling something from the 21st century, something that seems to pepper other districts of the Capital City. Escazú, Mata Redonda, Montes de Oca, Zapote. A building crammed in a city center so chaotic, so poorly planned, so messed up, filled to the brim with crime, which politicians fleed, abandon like rats after it has been their doing, their lack of real interest, their poor planning that turned into a cluttered maze of aformity.
Yet it has a sort og charm that touches my soul in these days. It's the city that mirrors the hearts of those living part of their lives here, those that inhabit it. It has a lot of detached bits of many trends, and uneducated collection of a lot of things you should know to be educated. It's the forward thinking of the Metropolis, that's somewhat unable to let of of the old, because the crowds are so large and everybody has his or her own opinion. Thus the mind and the city remains cluttered, trapped in nobody's land with a lot of bits that leave up to nothing, with the elitists thinking only on escaping, living the mess to others, detaching themselves from the experience, as if they had really nothing to do with it.
San José amazes me.
Last week I took my first train trip in Costa Rica. Well, we call it "train" and it does look like a train, but it's more like some ... well, it does work like a train... like a trimmed train, slow and short that does the job of a tramway. Small platforms, somewhat haphazardly made, very basic infrastructure, for a rather modern machine. Another entertaining feature. It has a character too, an amazing air about it, as it compresses a trip through unseen sites, poverty and lush vegetation. My own province opens up, from a mildly modern, yet even more narrow and crammed city center, to truly honest mid 20th century visions. Wood structures built decades ago, painted ages ago, only recoated, but never changed, with simple stores packing fresh vegetables and fruits on wood shelves and boxes. Simple people and such a sweet, soft feeling about everything. The mirror of my people: cluttering up a little for appearence, to show up to the big brother San José, but in their heart simple and homey.
It's a warm feeling, something close to delving into a nice Carmen Lyra novel, full of romantic dreams of the life in the country, in dreamy poverty where love and honestly is all you need. Heredia, the city of flowers and beautiful women, stays quiet and simple, honestly believing itself to be the safest place on Earth.