05 May 2012

Our non-confrontational Tico neighbors

Today, I had the best laugh I've had in a long time! I still chuckle just thinking about our "non-confrontational" Tico neighbors. Costa Rica natives HATE to confront anyone with bad news, a gripe, or anything else that might make them feel uncomfortable.

A perfect example is the guy that made the windows for us. He was supposed to be here a week ago, on Saturday, to put the little plastic plug covers in the window frame drain holes. He didn't show up, so I called him yesterday and he said he meant this Saturday. My Spanish is very good and he really did say last Saturday, but whatever. It's now almost 3 PM and when he didn't show up again, I'll call him on Monday to see what happened. It would never occur to him to call us to tell us he can't make it.... that would make him uncomfortable, because he would have to deal with our disappointment once again.

Another example of this Tico personality trait is the situation with my neighbors that own the farm property adjoining our place. There are 4 brothers and sisters, one of which is the father-in-law of my cousin whose wife sold us our little piece of paradise. Every Sunday at least one of them comes to the farm around 4 PM. I have no clue what they do down there, but they'll stay for an hour, or two, then stop to chat with me on their way back home to Alajuela (a neighboring town).

This past Sunday they showed up after dark, stayed about 10 minutes and drove out again quickly, without even so much as a wave. Very strange! About an hour later John found they had stuck a letter in our gate, signed by all the family member and it included all of their national identity numbers. Most peculiar. I translated the letter and started seething. I couldn't understand why they just didn't stop and discuss their concerns with the house we have constructed. I forgot the Tico way of doing business. Here is the loosely translated letter they stuck in the gate:

Dear Señora
Receive a cordial greeting from us. At this time we solicit in the most respectful way possible to communicate that the water you have leaving your property is not positioned toward the right-of-way road. That is to say, the water is entering to the right, below the gate and we, the property owners are not in agreement with this.

Then they listed all of their names and identity numbers. Needless to say, we were clueless as to what they were talking about, so I stewed about it all night and gave the letter to our contractor, Rodolfo the next morning. He thought maybe they were complaining about the rain water run off, so he had one of the workers dig a trench and move a drain line so there is no way our run-off will flow on their property, instead it flows away from them, toward the right-of-way passage road.

Fast forward to today. One of the brothers and a sister showed up today to check on their farm. On their way out, the brother stopped to talk to me because he thought it would be better to discuss the situation face to face. Wow, a Tico that is actually willing to confront someone with a problem, I'm impressed. I told him I agreed, face to face is always better as it eliminates misunderstandings.

I told them what Rodolfo had done to correct the run-off and then the sister asked why the drain pipe was still positioned below the gate. I asked her to show me. The gate is not a gate, it is actually our property wall. When she showed me the pipe, I burst out laughing! This pipe is the remains of the improvised urinal the construction crew setup when they first started the construction on the Casa. They took a 5 gallon water bottle, cut the bottom out of it, turned it upside down, and attached a drain to the mouth of the bottle. This drain was then position so that their pee would run under the wall and down the field with the rest of the pee from the cows and horses. Needless to say, we all had a hearty laugh and I promised the drain pipe would be removed when the construction crew shows up on Monday.

My only regret is the sleepless night I had as the direct result of the non-confrontational Tico.

1 comment:

  1. ahahahaha, big laugh on your behalf. I want to see the drain problem! John might want to grab it for the bodega!