5.23.2017

Journal, November 22, 1976 AM

Today we encounter our hero in line waiting to get fingerprinted at the Ministry of Public Security in San José. I haven’t written since Thursday, no time.

I am now pretty well “cocido {cooked}.” <We bought a ring for Sofia on Friday.> It’s beautiful. We were fortunate to find the place where Jaime {Olson} & Pilar bought theirs. Other places had no selection. <I feel very positive about taking Sofia on as my partner.> But all the expense & hassle of a wedding scares us both.

Also Friday, the boys arrived from El Salvador. They have been a hit with everyone in San Antonio since they got off the bus. List of passengers: Steve Pamperin, Mike Shank, Dean Current, Jim Monachino, Art Bailey {all PCVs, Peace Corps Volunteers, except Art}. <Sofia took a real liking to Mike immediately & for the wedding I left her in Dean’s care, so she got close to him too.> They were like a delegation of good will ambassadors. With {PCV} Felipe {Vasquez} & I, they took Jaime out for a few beers to send him off.

Jaime was the star of the show at his in-laws’ house. He carried a bottle of guaro {rum-like Costarican liquor} around and judiciously made sure every one of us had as much to drink as he did. He had hoped Ahenor, his buddy from Anamoros, would show up, but he didn’t come on the Tica Bus with the other guys, and once Jaime got drinking he forgot about Ahenor completely.

The first round of drinking ended at 11 PM when we returned from the Jardín Cervecero {a bar whose name means beer garden} (after the guaro and 6 pitchers of beer) to hear a “serenata {serenade}” that some local musicians had been contracted to do for Pilar. They got there late, but it was really nice, a guitar & singing, as a sendoff for the bride.

Steve, Art and Felipe took Jaime into San José to drink more beer about 1 AM. I had already gone to bed at that time, but found out about it promptly in the morning through the rumor mill.

The wedding was beautiful, a real community event, with about 20 couples in the party between “padrinos {godparents}” and “amigos {friends}.” The fiesta {reception} was a true folk festival. <I danced the second dance with Pilar, & then got Sofia’s jealousy flowing by dancing one with Nuria (the “major amiga {maid of honor}” and a special enemy of Sofia).>

<Sofia got over it quickly, & we caught all the slow dances after that.> The rumor mill has turned full force on us now. Not only were we both repeatedly asked when we were getting married, Jaime’s Dad asked me if it was true we were going to get married in March. It doesn’t bother me any more. We’ll just follow our own timetable.

<Sunday, Sofia, her sisters & I took the El Salvador bunch to Ojo de Agua {water park}.> It was great, just the thing for the morning after, even though it was ungodly crowded. The guys loved the cold water, the falls below the Ojo {spring} and the diving boards. I went off headfirst from 3 meters for the first time ever. Mike took a picture of us in the falls.

Jaime’s folks came to visit Doña Carmen in the afternoon, and I served as interpreter. Jaime’s folks are so much like Pilar’s, just humble, hard-working folks who hate anyone making a fuss over them. But they just can’t repeat too often how much they appreciate the hospitality. They said Doña Carmen reminded them very much of a neighbor of theirs, & she was tremendously flattered.

When they had left last night, Israel Campos {Pilar’s father} said to me (taking me aside), “You know, you people come from a culture that is very much the same as ours, you & Jaime. His folks are like us and you’re like our children, and that’s why it has all worked out so well.” He said it all.

I saw the Olsons to the airport this morning. Again, I was interpreter & managed to help the flow of communication. Actually, most of what they tried to get across was emotion, & the language was largely superfluous. I couldn’t find any better words for them, or for Doña Marita {Pilar’s mother} and Doña Carmen, to express the great love & respect they all felt. The liquid level in my eyes got pretty high, but didn’t spill over.

<Sofia said that when I go home in December, she’s not going to the airport.> She doesn’t like to cry in public, she claims. I bet she wouldn’t cry, she’s pretty self-controlled, but I know what she means.

I got to Peace Corps Office late, but no hassle, & it appears I’ll have no problem going home for Christmas. Only the visa could hold me up. That’s what the fingerprints were for. I’m finishing this after lunch at the cafeteria in the Facultad de Agronomía {Agronomy Department} before reporting to work at CIGRAS.

<Sofia & I keep getting closer.> We both are apprehensive of the rough financial road we’ll tread in the early years of our marriage. But I’m very confident now that she believes in the central importance of learning all she can as much as I do. Her Dad is a great preacher of the get-an-education doctrine, like {my} Dad. She really enjoys the interchange of ideas, & I think she must get the same high from fresh knowledge that I feel. I’m pretty content with her.

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