The other day, over a few beers and a nice discussion about countries and culture, someone pointed out that I used the word 'home' to refer to both Costa Rica and Chicago. This seemingly simple observation about the overload of the term 'home' struck a chord with me.
Over the course of this trip I have found myself representing and explaining things about both Costa Rica and the US. I've lived in the US for 5 years now, and in a way I'm identifying with their way of life a bit more everyday. Don't get me wrong, I am and always will be a Tico (and proud to be one!), but I can't help the cultural assimilation. I got my graduate education in the US, married a beautiful girl from the Iowa, I bought a house in Chicago, and our kids will probably be little gringuitos!
Obviously this is from a cultural perspective, as any immigration officer will quickly point out that I am Non-Resident Alien, but nonetheless this cultural duality is interesting and seemingly unavoidable. It allows me to play both parts – from speaking Spanish and hanging out with the Latinos, to switching to English and 'fitting in' with the native speakers The simple fact that I am writing this blog in English is a concrete example of this phenomenon.
I remember that during the Fulbright orientation, they told us that we had to become 'dual ambassadors', representing Costa Rica when in the US, and the US when in Costa Rica. I guess this is what they had in mind.