This is not exactly a story I’m proud of. It’s also not a story I’m not proud of. Back when I was in high school, during the spring of my junior year, and I went on a service trip with some kids from my school to Costa Rica. We were there to teach English, play with the kids, and learn about Costa Rican culture. How do I say this? I learned more about Costa Rican culture than I had originally ever planned.
Every day, we would go to the lower school and teach the kids. Afterwards, we’d have an afternoon activity or chill around the dorms. A lot of our free time was spent on the playground, playing with the kids we taught in school. But the school children were not the only ones to inhibit the playground. Hanging around the playground, along with the kids, were older Costa Rican guys. They were probably our age, but they had an air of confidence and heightened sexuality about them.
Over the course of our two weeks in CR, there was one boy I started to notice at the playground everyday. He was tall with a hostile face. I heard girls, from a different school that was also visiting CR, talking about how cute he was. The other girls’ interest in him peaked my own.
Modesty is not a part of Costa Rican culture. I would notice this boy staring unabashedly at me, but ignored it and played with the cute school kids. One day, one of the older kids from the lower school we taught at approached me and tapped me on the shoulder.
“What do you think of him?” He said, pointing towards the guy I would come to know as Gregorio.
I shrugged. I thought he was cute, but this was definitely not the setting where it would be appropriate for me to be making advances towards anyone. This is painfully ironic. Read on, my friend.
“Come on, seriously!” He said, with his cute, little, Costa Rican accent.
I shrugged again. “I don’t even know him.”
“What would you do if he kissed you?”
I shrugged once more. He ran over to Gregorio, who was watching the whole encounter, and spoke to him in Spanish. Gregorio sauntered over to me, grabbed the back of my neck, and planted one on me in front of all of my friends and his. They cheered as he pulled away; my mouth stayed agape, I was shocked.
The next few nights, as the trip winded down, I saw Gregorio every day after classes. He spoke literally no English- it even took us a while to learn each other’s names. It sounds hilarious to say, but he actually treated me quite well. We would sneak around to find places to kiss, because what we were doing was DEFINITELY not allowed, and when he saw that my friend Jasmine, who was hooking up with his brother, had bracelets gifted from him, he ran all the way back to his house to get me some.
Even though we could barely communicate, and had to use my Spanish friend Mia to have any resemblance of conversation, it almost made it sexier. He was a good kisser (how he attained those skills I have no idea, he lived in a random town in the middle of Costa Rica and made me feel extremely comfortable and cared for me (is that weird? Definitely. LOL. But whatever). I’d sneak out at night and we’d hook up in the park. He gave me large hickies on my neck that the girls back in the dorms would help me rub off using the positive side of a battery (pro tip), as we bonded over the crazy experiences I was having.
Eventually I had to go, and he told me, in broken words, how he’d miss me. I’d miss him too, but we had severely different lives to live. He would text me on Facebook for a time, but I just stopped responding after a while. It was great while it lasted, but I knew I would never see him again.