Costarican idioms from A to Z (loosely interpreted)
A is for Apuntarse: to join, as in join in an activity, or a club (or a blog challenge). The verb matricular is also used here, but that is better translated as “enroll.” The informal is apuntarse (¿Alguien se apunta a escribir una blog A a Z?).
I’ve never been much of a joiner. Perhaps that is one reason I am an expat living along these Caribbean waters. It might also be because I lived a nomadic life in my youth; my parents moved almost every year while I was growing up. No, we were not a military family, instead we were a political family. My father was a back room politician with the Democratic Party, a mid-century James Carville if you will. In any event, I went to eight grade schools in eight years. So I guess I never saw the point of joining anything or even making close friends, because I was sure we would move. And we did. Outside my brothers and sisters and extended family of cousins, I can count only one friend who I’ve kept in contact over the years. We moved a lot.
Being apart became a way of life for me, so being an expat is a natural extension of that. People always ask if I mind being a stranger in a strange country, and really the answer is, no, I don’t mind. In some ways it is easier because here I know am different. In my own country friends expected me to join book groups and other social groups, and I did do some of that when my two children were growing up, but it has never really interested me.
Recently I have realized the importance of joining a group of some sort. I am watching my father, also a non-joiner, in the last years of his life. He is now adrift in his late nineties, living in a memory unit in Oregon. He does not want to do crafts or join discussion groups, he does not want to go to the wine and cheese parties the staff plans or take a drive to the country. He sees no point in exercise clubs unless, like he did in his youth, you are training for the Olympics. Instead, he sits.
As he has always done, he sits in his chair with the newspaper or a book, but now he has no idea what he is reading and carrying on a conversation about politics is pointless and frustrating for him. When I visited him last January I looked at him and thought, this is what happens to isolated people in their old age. It frightened me because I see so much of myself in my father.
My mother, in her mid-nineties, is a cat of a different color. She joins book groups, tai chi groups, exercise groups, gardening groups, and is gregarious to a fault. I think sometimes she would rather be distracted by a social encounter than to seriously look at her own situation. But her mind is fully intact. So, those are my role models. One who is an introvert (and a bit of a misanthrope), and the other could be called a gadfly. I think I need a balance of the two. I treasure my solitude and do not wish to give that up, but I do need to create a social world for myself. And I have to a degree, the Internet being what it is.
I belong to several online venues. I have an online critique group that I adore, The Internet Writing Workshop. I have participated for the last five years and developed friendships that are very close; a recent illness of one of our members caused a flurry of emails across the globe. There is always Facebook, and it surprises me how much I really enjoy belonging to Facebook. And, I just joined a writer’s corner of the Internet, Backspace. Now here I am in this A to Z blog challenge.
I am coming out of the woodwork. My mother always said I was a late bloomer.