During the best of of my married years, the woman I was married to used to marvel at how I knew I wanted to marry her the day after I started talking with her. Four years later, we were wed.
That trait has been a consistent feature of my life. I don't go comparison shopping if my mind has found something that I am truly happy and content with. I didn't look around for more as a teenager, and didn't later in life either.
Female stalkers, er, readers, take note: now that I am happy and content with my solitary life, you have a tough task ahead, but not an impossible one by any means, if you want this single guy to fall for you. Try harder! Yes, you can ;)
Anyway, where was I? Yes, I have been that way with most things in life, not merely with the affairs of the heart. With cars. With homes. With shoes. And, even with restaurants when I travel.
In a setting where the people and language and culture are very different from what I am used to, if I loved the food at a restaurant , then why should I even bother wondering whether there might be better ones out there?
At Orosi, I found one such place. After my first lunch there, I knew I was set. I had three more lunches at the same place. Always the same food too.
My fourth and final lunch was after the energy-draining hours at the national park. The waitress initially gave me a menu and then quickly corrected herself. She took it back and said, "arroz con vegetales, frijoles, agua."
"Fritas?" I asked I loved those freshly made potato fries.
"Si, si" she said with a huge smile.
The older I get, the more I find comfort, reassurance, and joy in genuine smiles. I am tired of the fake smiles. I would rather that people don't do fake smiles at all. I will be completely ok with their pouty faces instead. On the other hand, a genuinely warm smile from a stranger, like this waitress, is simply priceless.
I sat outside, as always. There was a large group, a family of eight at the far corner. We were the only customers.
I walked inside and told the waitresses that this was my final lunch and that I was heading back to the United States. They smiled again. The one with the long, thinly-shaped eyebrows had the best smile of them all.
"May I take a photo?"
"Todo?" one asked.
Their response was so genuine. One immediately ditched her hair net, brushed her hair, and tied it differently. The eyebrow waitress rushed outside and assumed her pose. I didn't have the heart to ask her to come back in, because my plan was to take a photo of them all with the chef too. I followed them outside.
After clicking, I went back in and said I wanted to take a photo of the chef. She, too, smiled!
The food tasted excellent, as all the previous three were. I was sad that I wouldn't see these women again. Life is about the different people we meet. Some we like. Some we don't. Some like us. Some don't. Some stay with us for a while, and others are transient. Memories of these Ticas will stay with me forever.