Though I wasn’t able to post while in Costa Rica, I recorded my thoughts regarding each day in a journal so that it would be fresh in my mind when it came time to post.
There are many differences between Costa Rica and my “home” in the Unites States. The sewage was the most significant for me as it was the biggest adjustment that had to be made. They do not flush their waste down the toilet- but rather deposit it in waste baskets to the side of the toilet. This is done because their sewage system in not designed to be able to break down and process the toilet paper. Not flushing the paper was a challenge because using the bathroom is one of those actions that we do automatically. It is habit to sit down, use the restroom, flush and leave without even thinking about what is being done. It was a challenge to break a habit that I did not even know that I had! At first I had the attitude that having to put my waste in a garbage can was “gross” and “uncivilized”. As Americans we tend to prefer the mentality of “out of sight, out of mind”. By flushing my toilet paper, it no longer exists. I do not have to smell it, see it, or deal with it any longer. I can use as much or as little as I want and once I am finished with it it goes away for some other person or machine to deal with. Costa Rica is a much simpler country in this manner- but that is not a bad thing. Just because they may not have instant hot showers, air conditioning, and/or the ability to process toilet paper in their sewer system does not mean that they are any less developed. Perhaps Costa Rica just has a better image of their priorities. To them, having a healthy ecosystem is more important than having interior luxuries. We can learn from this that whats easier is not always better. We see ourselves as a dominant country and superior to others- but what really measures ones sophistication and superiority? What’s familiar and comfortable is not always better.