Tico Culture – Blending In
Blurring the Cultural Lines
One of the most important concepts to assimilating into a new country or culture, if you are thinking of moving here or just arrived, is blending in. Take for instance the photo below showing me as I get ready for my daily hike. As you can see, I subtly blend Gringo fashion cents (or is it since?) with Tico minimalism to effectively blur the lines between cultures. You may as well start calling me Gregorio.
Need Some Proof?
One thing that I have noticed on my walks is that the Tico’s are extremely friendly to me, just like I was a Tico right along with them. When I walk by and give a hello or a Buenos Dias, I usually get one of three reactions. Most frequently is a shaking of the head from the Tico. I take this to mean the Tico is amazed how difficult it is to tell whether I am a Gringo or a Tico and the head shaking is an expression of disbelief. Next up in the line up, a smile and a wave, effectively saluting my attempt to blend in and say “hola, mi amigo” and finally, occasionally a Tico will just start laughing as I pass, as if we were the best of friends sharing a joke. This response is the most emotional to me as it truly makes me feel that I have made it. I AM a TICO.
Ya’ll, clearly this is a tongue and cheek post and if you are offended, get over yourself. The reality is, I am making fun of myself. I really dress this way and on my long walks I sometimes get philosophical and think “I wonder what all these Tico’s think as I walk by and say Buenos or Adios” and the answer is likely the polar opposite of this post and the fact that I am explaining all this in this paragraph just shows you how up tight of an American I still am.
Bonus points for any Dallasite who can tell me where the shirt I am wearing is from.
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I write about my experiences at CostaRicaCurious.com and have written a book of tips about living here:
Living in and Visiting Costa Rica - 100 Tips, Tricks, Traps, and Facts