Come join me on my new Costa Rican adventure!

IMG_3653Dear Love in Translation/Dictionary of You subscribers:

I am so grateful to you for following this blog and being a part of a project that brought me so much joy. From the first night I started writing a letter to my baby girl, to the day those letters became a book, to the connections I’ve made with friends old and new because of these essays, it has been a blast. Now, I hope you’ll follow me over to katherinestanleyobando.com, where I am about to start a new writing adventure.

The blog you’ll find there, which will launch this coming Sunday, Sept. 15, is called the Costa Rica Daily Boost. It’s my attempt to share something from my adopted country every weekday for a year that’s inspiring, comforting, thought-provoking, beautiful or hilarious. Packed with little essays, pics, profiles, life hacks and even recipes from time to time, the project aims to provide readers (and me!) with some reasons for optimism during a very difficult period for our world, as well as in my own life. I hope you’ll join me and sign up for the blog (you’ll see the signup option at the top right) so you can get a daily dose of Costa Rica in your inbox, and so we can cheer each other on together.

You can also follow me on InstagramFacebook or Amazon. I hope you’ll connect with me any of those ways, and share these links with anyone in your life who loves Costa Rica or could just use a pick-me-up during these troubled times.

Until Sunday, all the best, y un gran abrazo desde Costa Rica.

An interview about ‘Love’

kso-pic-smallThis was an amazing week and I’m so grateful to you for your comments and shares! Earlier this year, Tico Times Managing Editor (and fellow writer-mom) Jill Replogle asked me some great questions about Costa Rica, writing, juggling family and the immigrant vs. expat debate. The TT published the interview on Monday and I’m proud to share it here as well. 

…Stanley, 37, arrived in Costa Rica in 2004 and has worked as a reporter, editor, speechwriter and freelance writer, as well as in a variety of roles in the nonprofit sector. After the birth of her daughter in San José in 2013, she began writing about Costa Rican language and culture, both on her personal blog, The Dictionary of You, and in a popular Tico Times column called Maeology. Many of these writings are included in the new book, which follows our Publications Group’s first title, “The Green Season,” by Robert Isenberg (2015).

Continue reading

On motherhood and hunger (como el león del Bolivar)

I’ve come to Costa Rica three times in my life. The first time, I was seven, and I remember absolutely nothing about the whole trip except seeing an enormous crocodile in the canals of Tortuguero. The third time, I was twenty-five, beginning the six-month visit that has continued for ten years. But in between was a college summer when I worked as a highly improbable intern at the national newspaper La Nación and lived with the greatest family in Costa Rica. Don Memo and doña Hannia sealed my fate, planting the seeds for my return years later. They ensnared me in a net of good food, exuberant kindness and costarriqueñismos that I would never quite escape. In a very real sense, they paved my way to you. Continue reading

Endings (murió la flor)

Part of becoming a parent is gaining the ability to wax poetic about some pretty mundane shit – including, well, shit. Enough bleary-eyed diaper changes will make a philosopher out of anyone. Nothing, though, can compete with a bubble wand in terms of making a person ponder the fleeting nature of life. In the movie “Knocked Up,” Paul Rudd’s character describes it: “I wish I liked anything as much as my kids liked bubbles… It’s totally sad. Their smiling faces point out your inability to enjoy anything.”

Paul RuddIt’s really true. Watching a kid chase bubbles puts us, as adults, to shame: the simplicity of the game, the intensity of the joy. Continue reading

If this is insanity, then call me crazy (medio treinticinco)

(My dear: This is one is for me to ask you to read when you’re a teenager, for you to actually read in your 20s, and for you to appreciate, maybe, when you’re… well, 35.)

I had heard it a few times over the years, but now that I myself am 35 years old, one day it hit my ear in a new way, and I had to ask your dad. “Why is that medio treinticinco means crazy? Is that the age when you lose your mind?” Uuy, pero ese mae está medio treinticinco, huevón.

He explained that, no, there is a simple explanation: 35 is, or at least it was at some point, the police code for a nutcase. It’s the number that crackles over the radio when a cop picks up a guy who thinks he’s a chicken, or a wild-eyed woman who believes herself capable of driving through San José in less than two hours during Friday rush hour. However, despite this clarification, I can’t help but associate the expression with my age – which is my favorite age thus far. That’s partly because of you, but also partly because blowing out candles thirty-five times seems to have freed up something in my brain. Or maybe it knocked something loose. Continue reading

Home Sweet Home (mi choza)

I slip out of the house into the cool evening. It’s late-summer twilight in New England, God’s attempt at justice for those who live in cold climates. These endless sunsets that stretch long past dinner make it possible to end the day with a run – a luxury impossible in Costa Rica, where the sun drops like a dead weight at six-ish, year-round. (I know, I know. I can feel the wrathful eyes of Mainers upon me. I’m not complaining, and yes, I know I haven’t scraped the ice off a car in 15 years. But you know it as well as I do – a Maine summer, for all its brevity, is perfection.)

Mi choza

I’ve got a good hour of light left, but it’s dim enough that the living-room window looks cozy as I pass it, and I pause, torn, reluctant to turn away. Inside, two heads lean together, conferring in front of the record player, your grandmother’s grey, yours brown, both equally tousled. A Sesame Street record starts to play. I make myself keep going, past the For Sale sign and into the street. Goodbye for now, mi choza, I think. Choza, one of the first words your father taught me. Literally a hut made of palms, but also a comfortable slang word for home. This home, for a few nights more at least, is mi choza gringa, my stateside place to hang my hat during the pat thirteen years. Continue reading

When You Are Engulfed in Fruit Juice* (macgyver, part II)

My last post to the Dictionary before Costa Rica’s unbelievable performance at the World Cup wiped every other thought from my head for a full month was about how to hacer un macgyver, the Costa Rican phrase inspired by the ’80s TV icon. As I wrote, it’s used to describe a low-key way of solving most any problem without getting your proverbial panties in a bunch. A Bangladeshi taxi driver and a hilarious product recall have since given me a few more things to say about this topic. Continue reading