On Easter Sunday we attended a bilingual church for a breakfast, followed by the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. Carmen, a professor that Rod had met a week earlier offered to pick us up, a huge gift to us. It was a joy to be in a community comprised of people from at least 8 different countries, where singing and speaking were in Spanish and English. The diversity and enthusiastic celebration was a mini taste of Heaven.
While we were in line for breakfast we met Tom, originally from England, who came to Costa Rica for a 2 year commitment, and has now been here for 24 years. (This seems to be a common story!) Tom breeds butterflies on his 3 acres of property and invited us to come to his home when we had the chance. After the service he and his wife, Cyntiya, again invited us, writing down their phone number and e-mail for us, and exploring what days might work best. They was serious! Well, that day came sooner than expected. Rod learned yesterday that today was Juan Santamaria Day, which meant school was closed, and he had another unexpected day off (think snow day!). For a quick history lesson, Juan is quite a hero here, having the airport named after him. William Walker was an American who had decided to conquer Central America and form an English speaking empire in the 1850’s. He had taken over Nicaragua and was attempting to add Costa Rica when he was defeated, Juan Santamaria played a significant role in the victory. (Did anyone learn about Walker in their history class? Tom’s theory is that had he been successful it would have been a whole different story). So, in honor of Juan, we had a free day, called Tom and arranged to be picked up in San Pedro near the University. Pulling up in his driveway was like entering another world. We sat on their terrace eating watermelon, papaya and mango as we watched a variety of butterflies fluttering around the tropical flowers. Tom was interested in butterflies since he was 10 years old, and gained his knowledge by working in butterfly gardens and experimenting with breeding them on his own. Rod, of course, was intrigued by the process and saw the potential of a genetics class field trip!
Tom and Cyntiya’s beautiful terrace overlooking lush forest
Tom’s breeding butterfly homes
Tom and Cyntiya on the bridge crossing the river on their property
Later in the afternoon, Tom and Cyntiya treated us at their favorite restaurant in their town of San Isidro. The owner, Daniel, is from Decatur, IL. and his wife, who does the cooking, is Canadian. After our delicious meal, they spared us from taking 2 buses, and drove us home. Rod and I felt so filled from the day. For him, it was having an agenda-less day. For me, it was a day in nature and connection in relationship, 2 of my favorite things. As I learned how each butterfly feeds and lays her eggs on a specific type of plant, I was awed at the magnificence of creation. It seems to me that if all butterflies ate from any plant it would be more efficient. But, again, my soul is filled when I discover the detail and care found in nature. One size does not fit all, and diversity and interconnection are necessary for life. I am grateful to have experienced the open hearts of Tom and Cyntiya who gave us a day of sweet refreshment.