Trying to Party

Our daughter turned nine recently, so we wanted to have her friends over to celebrate. We were shopping at Pequeno Mundo, Costa Rica’s bargain basement mecca, picking up some summer clothes for this glorious weather we’ve been having, when we found some “dollar store-type” items that would be perfect for fun party crafts. We decided to have a slumber party for four girls, including my daughter (mi hija, or “mija”) and make it a slumber party, so there would be plenty of time for swimming, crafting, games and watching High School Musical 3, of course! We gathered up some other girly things for crafts and games and drove home excitedly making plans!

“Mija” knew which three friends she wanted to be there, so we created the invite and printed them out. Crickets, that’s what we heard…crickets! No response. Nada. I wondered, did Costa Ricans not understand R.S.V.P.? “Mija” said the girls were excited, weren’t sure they could spend the night, but we needed to talk to their parents. We finally gathered up their phone numbers and my husband called their parents. He spoke with one father on his first call, who said, “Sincerimente, los ninos en esta pais, no quedan a domir in otra casas hasta eran como quince anos.” Translation: To be honest, the children in this country do not stay and sleep at other houses until about fifteen years old. We were so grateful this parent had gently leveled with the gringos, but I also felt embarrassed that should not have just assumed a practice, so unique to America, would be easily accepted by other cultures. It seemed so obvious once we were informed! My first instinct was to spend time smacking myself upside the head, saying, “Dummy, dummy, dummy!” My husband, bless him, saved me from this self-centered tirade, and said, “Hey, no big, we’ll just hold it Saturday, and it will be great!”

I needed to decide if I was concerned about what people would think of me, because I made one mistake, or did I want them to see who I am, warts and all. I pick the latter, but it sure is easy to want to wallow and worry! I guess after almost 50 years of that useless behavior, I finally get it…sort of!

It’s Sunday morning, and everything hurts! There is that problem with having a party at your hose, clean up before…clean up after, but there’s the added challenge with kids’ parties of running around the whole time, to to keep everything running smoothly. I crawled into the tub last night, and read five chapters of a book before I realized the water had cooled, then read two more before I could gather up the energy to stand up! The truth is, even if you stay in some sort of shape, a fifty year old body is not 30…period! The silver lining? The party was a huge success! The moms came and stayed for the entire party, which was great so we got to know each other, language stumbling and all! They loved our tranquil campo, and laughed along with the kids as they frolicked in the pool and ran in the water-fun relay.

The moms told us that girls did not go to sleepover parties until age 15, however, younger kids will attend the Latin version of a slumber party. It begins at five, ends about nine, and the kids all wear their “pijamas.” One mom said that Grecia is more like old Costa Rica, more traditional, and so what may be popular in the city, is not embraced here. I’d have to say that suits us just fine! We are thrilled everyone had a good time at our first party here in Costa Rica, but me, I’m off to grab a couple ibuprofin!

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