Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tico Time

Years ago I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Costa Rica as part of a study abroad class.  I had an amazing time and am so grateful for the experience.  What a beautiful country with genuinely nice people!

Costa Ricans call themselves Ticos.  One of my favorite phrases, which we heard often there, was Tico time.  Basically it meant that nothing really happened "on time".  Things were scheduled at specific times, but if you happened to run in to a friend on your way to some event, you would never say, "Sorry, can't talk, I'm late."  You'd take the time to talk to your friend, and then head on to wherever it was you were going.  You get there when you get there.

Realistically, I probably wouldn't function well on Tico time.  I'm a procrastinator.  I wait until the last minute and then rush to finish everything before the deadline.  When there's no deadlines, I don't do much.  But I love the concept.

Last night I was on my way to a meeting and happened to run into a friend that I hadn't seen in probably a year.  It was a total fluke because I was in an area of town I don't normally go to for said meeting (not one of my regular meetings...not a typical meeting...hard to explain exactly what it, and she had just moved in to that area.  She hadn't lived anywhere close to there the last time we'd talked.  So I was about a block away from the meeting, but I took the time to talk with her.  I found out she's now 8 months sober (she was struggling to string together more than 3 months before), has a new job, and is doing well.  Eventually I decided I'd better head to my meeting, though now 15 minutes late rather than the 5 minutes early that I was.

I'm not a huge fan of walking in late places....especially places like that where the door is right by the front of the meeting room so there's no sneaking in the back...but I'm used to it because time management has never been my specialty.  Later that night I mentioned the encounter to a friend of mine and she was talking about how nice it was of me to stop and talk to this friend, and how it was such a supportive and caring thing to do.  That surprised me because I never really considered doing anything else.  Of course greeting and talking to a friend comes before "business".  Even if it hadn't been someone that I hadn't seen for a year....even if it was someone I see regularly, I'd still want to take the time to catch up and make sure they're doing ok.  That's just the way my mind works...and sometimes it gets me in trouble because so many people value being on time so heavily.  I remember being lectured about how it's disrespectful to show up to a class late.  I understand what they're saying, but if I see someone I care about along the way, aren't they more important than a class?

When I was in Costa Rica we went to this big rodeo event that most of the town was apparently coming to.  It started very late.  The rest of my group, all American, was checking their watches, grumbling, and seeming generally unhappy.  The Costa Ricans around us were talking and laughing with each other, and none seemed bothered at all by the delay.  I asked a man sitting near me about it.  He chuckled at the question and said, "They'll get here when they get here!"  Works for me!  Somehow, the philosophy seems to work and life keeps going there.  What I do know is I felt 100x more peaceful there.  Granted it was like a vacation....the school was not very school like and i wasn't working or anything...but when I got back to the US I remember sitting in the corner of the airport feeling shell-shocked as I watched people rush by me.  Everyone going somewhere, everyone checking their watches, everyone rushing.  I wanted to go back to the land of "we'll get there when we get there," where human interaction always trumps punctuality.  Of course I may disagree if I spent some real time there, but it felt like a breath of fresh air.  So much of the stress of expectation was just gone.  There wasn't the constant push to do more.  I felt like I could breathe...and just be.

I don't know why this is my chosen rambling today.  I've had so many things I wanted to blog about, but when I finally had time to sit down and write I'd forgotten them all! lol  So hopefully you'll be hearing from me again soon.  My internship starts next week.  Eep! :)


I'm grateful for my new perspective on life.  I had some things go on this week that may have done me in stress-wise in my "old life"....but any more I'm able to think through them, find the positive, and keep going with them just being a little glitch along the way.

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