To: The United States
From: A Costa Rican
Valentine’s Day in Costa Rica, is not just a day for lovers, but rather a day that celebrates love in the most nonspecific form. It is for friends and romantics alike to celebrate the greatest of human emotions. I have had a philosophy on love for quite some time now, and it is one that is not easily put into words. Upon being asked what love is, initially, I would answer that I do not know, but I believe people strive to find it either directly or indirectly every day of their lives. Love is my religion, and when asked what God is I would have the same response. I do not know, but I believe people strive to find Him either directly or indirectly every day of their lives. I believe that my Catholic high school was correct in saying that we are created in His image, so perhaps Les Miserables is true in saying that, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” We strive for meaningful relationships because they bring us the greatest feeling on Earth, and it is with that feeling that we can find God. We see Him in the eyes of another, whether it is a grandmother who has baked a batch of cookies for her two young grandchildren, a sick mother who lives for the next conversation with her boys, or the unity that a couple can feel while interlacing fingertips. This is love – regardless of circumstance.
The smallest gestures can leave the greatest impact. Arts and crafts in Spanish class helped me revert back to my Kindergarten self as each student made a Valentine’s Day card for someone else in the class. After a day of “work”, I explored the city a bit, bought a flower for my Costa Rican mother, Noemy, and returned home. Shortly thereafter, the two other students, Noemy, and I gathered in the kitchen for dinner. We had lasagna, which reminded me a lot of my home in the USA – my grandmother in North Carolina is a wonderful Italian cook. Just as we were about to finish, the doorbell rang twice. It was Noemy’s son and her ex-husband. Both entered, and we all sat together at the table in her kitchen. The older man had brought a cake for her, sat next to me, and began to speak in English – only I could understand. He said, “There is only one woman for me in this entire world, and she is here in this kitchen. I can die happy because I know that I have found her.” I was taken aback to say the least. An elderly man of dwindling health sat next to me and shared his wisdom of love. His relationship had transformed from marriage into a friendship that had grown stronger now that the two are apart. I can only hope that one day I will understand the depth of his statement.
Stories have the power to recount history, but they also evoke emotion and reveal character. The old man was not the only appalling part of tonight, for a great love story had yet to be delivered. A story that this family holds closely to their hearts is that of how Noemy’s son found his wife. He began the tale by describing his relationship with the woman that he would later wed. The two were exclusive for three years at their university before going their separate ways. They did not talk for nine years, and were both in relationships with other individuals. One night, his former girlfriend had a dream of his father suffering from a terrible accident. It sounds unusual to contact someone after nearly a decade based off of something one saw in a dream, but she called him the next day. The two began to talk, and rediscovered a spark that had not been present for 9 years. Within the next two months, the couple had moved in together, and in ten they were married. From an objective perspective, this seems completely ridiculous. However, my grandmother did something similar – she rejected a scholarship to a university in order to get married at age eighteen. Love is not logical. It is not able to be understood, yet when one finds it he/she knows exactly what it is. Perhaps that is the greatest mystery of all.
~ I hope you all had a wonderful Día de San Valentín!