Journal, March 5, 1976 AM

We arrived in San Salvador at 7:30 last night, our nerves utterly shot from being pushed & shoved by people, & relentlessly hounded by hawkers all day. Somebody dropped stuff on Jan’s head hustling to get off the bus. Why they hustle to wait a half hour or so afterwards I’ll never know! And that put her over the edge. When the baggage boys started mimicking Jan’s English I got a little out of control also. They had gotten grease all over her backpack as well. Later we both agreed we could understand how people just get so disgusted with the way people treat them that they go wild & kill & maim!

Jan’s so into family member’s lives I don’t hardly believe it. She says Merna thought I was crazy when I supported George McGovern, and the fact really troubles her. She hit on Marcia’s jealousy that Jan has gotten “special treatment”, and that upsets her greatly. At the same time she feels Marcia & Merna are both unhappy, & in a sense, wasting their human potential in their present life situations. She can’t understand why Joyce dumped her Madison friends when she quit her job & moved to Milwaukee. <She’s worried I’d be making a mistake marrying Sofia, etc.> She just lets the whole thing bother her too much. We’re all adult, free-willed creatures, and will go on living (& perhaps fucking up) our lives no matter how much she worries. But she’s so good & concerned. God ought to love her if he’s just & good!

Jan expressed the same thing I’ve noticed in the 2 weeks of our stay. Intellectually, we’ve grown along nearly parallel lines since we last saw each other almost 2 years ago. She attributes it to common upbringing!

Journal, March 3, 1976 PM

Managua again, some places never change - but we did get a different room this time!

<I said goodbye to Sofia this morning. She and her younger sister came into San Jose with us to see us onto the bus.> She gave me a little red carnation and a cooked chicken (with Tortiricas {a local brand of tortillas}, eggs, carrots, potatoes - muy rico {very tasty}!) for the trip. So we were off & a little while after we passed the airport & headed into the mountains.

(Jan just came back from taking a shower & announced it was Ash Wednesday. She’s giving up bread & chocolate, I’ll try chocolate and [but I didn’t tell her] beating off.)

<Jan started up talking about Sofia - her doubts about her, etc. She said Sofia was spoiled, & she catered to me too much, & implied she was too immature to be a fulfilling companion for me.> {some text not transcribed} <We ended up getting pretty huffy with each other because I insisted Sofia would grow (intellectually) and Jan is more doubtful.> Jan really strongly resents how the women treat their men so lovingly here, while many men are fickle egoists with chics on the side.

I think the men are foolish too. They don’t seem to appreciate what they have. One strong-loving woman who’s willing to limit herself to me is all I need. Jan’s right about it being preferable to have an intelligent mate, with interests similar to yours, & who can grow with you. We basically differ in how much energy we’re willing to devote to the search, & how long we’re willing to wait (or how far bend the standards) to find what we want. <I see potential in Sofia, she’s rejected several good looking but egoist Ticos {Costaricans}, & chosen a Gringo {North American} (against her father’s pronounced will) for her first novio {boyfriend}.> She wants to study and have a career. Jan is sensitized to women being servile, but that’s deeply embedded in the culture here, & as long as I don’t overexploit it, I see nothing wrong with the affectionate way she treats me. But I’m waiting to see how she gets into university life, & want her to visit Wisconsin before we take any plunges.


Journal, March 3, 1976 AM

Today we hit the road again on Tica Bus. <I have to shelve my life with Sofia again ‘til April.> Enough said.

Jan & I went to Escasu and to Cartago yesterday. We never found that new gringo {North American} school, but got to see more of San Jose & its suburbs. Jan seemed satisfied. The Basilica church in Cartago was impressive - beautiful wood ceilings & stained glass windows, plus cabinets overflowing with offerings to patron saints.

<We bought flowers for Doña Carmen & for Sofia in front of the National Theater.>

Rita {Klukazewski} was over for supper. She is thoroughly bummed out with Peace Corps’ lack of support & bureaucratic hassles. But she’s still funny, & has found a good family in San Jose. She and Jan hit it off well, & she’s going to write Jan about job possibilities in Golfito where she’ll be stationed. <I took Sofia the flowers at six, & then we walked to Pilar’s.> {some text not transcribed} Sounds like something Dad might have done back when Merna & Mary were in highschool, & started dating. I still have a picture in the mind of when he chased Merna around the house after she defied him on something. <He’s adjusted now (just rants & raves to third parties), but Jan says my letter home about Sofia triggered a geyser of emotional outburst!> It’s rough on parents, they raise their kids to do what they think is right, & then the kids go off and exercise their free wills, shamelessly!

<We made popcorn at Doña Carmen’s with Pilar & Sofia.> {some text not transcribed}

<I pushed the idea of a pre-marriage visit in December to her {Sofia} again last night.> Given her doubts & fears, I think it’s the best course. Once married, separation would be far too painful for us both, and I want her so {much} to know & appreciate the lifestyle I was raised in. I love that old farm!


Journal, March 2, 1976 AM

Jan & I buzzed around like little bees, and got a fair amount done yesterday. We went to Basico {the Peace Corps training center}, & ran into Ed Stoll. He gave us some idea of which schools Jan should try to get in contact with. We looked around the center (almost shut down now, with only 6 trainees), and got a couple grapefruit. We tried calling schools from the San Antonio pay phone, but no luck, so we stopped by Pilar’s on the way home for lunch. She was in good spirits, says it’ll be April soon, & Jaime will be back. They’re such nice folks, her & her family.

Jan took a school photo of Doña Carmen & the kids for first day of school. Mauren was so cute in her little shorts & blouse uniform, sitting in the hammock!

We went looking for the Costa Rica Academy in the afternoon, and were lucky enough to find it with only minor difficulties. We hit a stroke of luck there ‘cause the director is the former Peace Corps director for Costa Rica & a U.W. {University of Wisconsin} graduate. He gave us instructions how to find other schools, & told Jan the best way to be hired was to be here, job hunting, and keep beating on doors. They have a U.S. type preschool program at Costa Rica Academy (the only one in the country), and Jan was a little excited about the possibility of working there. She may go back home, work 2 jobs, and get some money together to come down in August, & beat the pavement!

We also hit the Salvadoran Consulate (no visa needed), and the Tourist Institute. At the latter we got maps of Costa Rica & San Jose (at last!) and a copy of the Tico Times. The Costa Rican English language newspaper impressed us with an article and editorial which minced no words in telling Henry Kissinger (a recent visitor to this country) that he wasn’t doing his homework on Latin America, or giving this region the attention it deserves.

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Journal, March 1, 1976 AM

Yesterday wore me plumb out, between the long train ride & the hot sun in Puntarenas. <Of course I had a great time since I was with Sofia all day.> I swear I could have a good time almost anywhere if she was there. The train was ungodly crowded both going & coming, and the beach was packed - long lines to change & shower. Jan got sick of it very fast, but I’ve had more time to get used to it, & I don’t let it upset me anymore, although I prefer going to less crowded places. Jan had a good time floating on the calm water though.

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