Rico Tico Culture

Written by: Rachael Sine 

Abriendo Mentes is situated in the most ideal location: surrounded by beautiful beaches, warm weather, delicious food, and nice, accepting people.  Costa Rica was recently named one of the top places to live to escape world conflict by sky-today.com, and I couldn’t agree more! Tico (Costa Rican) culture,  as represented by Potrero, is very peaceful and full of rich traditions with a laid back lifestyle.

We asked AM volunteers to write down some of the most interesting cultural differences they noticed between Potrero Tico culture and the culture where they grew up (mostly American).  These aren’t necessarily good or bad differences, just different! Here’s the top 10 of what they came up with:

  1.  One of the best things I know here is the way the kids look out for each other and how all of them get along and play together.  Last week, the theme was family and when asked, Verenice told me that her favorite family member was her brother because “He loves me and I love him back” and it made me want to cry because it was so sincere. When I was her age, my sister was – granted not as cute as Dilan, – not my favorite family member.
  2. Rice is eaten for breakfast instead of toast!
  3. Putting a bull in a pen of intoxicated people is a form of entertainment
  4.  Things here are very slow paced and there isn’t such a vital concern for time, in comparison to the US.  Have a meeting at 12:00? Show up at 12:45 and there’s no problem! 
  5. Although Costa Rica is one of the “greenest” countries in the world, people are very irresponsible about trash in Potrero.  People will often choose to throw trash on the ground rather than put it in the bin 2 feet away from them.
  6. Family is SO important here. There are no babysitters or nannies: you’re raised by your whole family not just your parents. Your extended family always lives close and sees you all the time. 
  7. Landlords do your laundry if theres no laundry machine. Score.
  8. Buses and bikes are much more common than cars.
  9. Don’t have enough money at the Super to pay for all your groceries? No problem…pay tomorrow!
  10. Kids have much less restrictions in Potrero: you’ll see 4 year olds playing by themselves in the concha, and walk home alone afterwards.  They cross the street without holding a parents hand, and don’t cry over a lot of things like scraping their knee that a lot of America children would cry about.
There you have it! We LOVE the community of Potrero in which we work, and are so blessed that we have their acceptance and support.  Living in Potrero and being a part of their culture is so rewarding, and we couldn’t ask for a better place! 
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