Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Particular Merits of Sunday

Sunday is my favorite day.

I generally can't do homework on Sunday, no matter how hard I try. This is probably because Sunday goes a little like this:

I usually wake up at a deliciously late hour, somewhere between 9:30 and 10:15, with the crisp and enticing light of a clear blue sky shining in through my windows. Its almost always one of those mornings where you realize slowly that you are awake, and then squeeze your eyes shut, hoping to be pulled back into the sweet land of sleep, but then, just as slowly, realize that being awake is actually quite lovely.

This particular morning I rolled over and saw my new poster, proudly displayed on my wall, right next to the hook upon which I hang my bag-not-purse and whichever pair of jeans I an airing out from a recent trip to one of my favorite smoke-filled, green and purple-lit bar where they serve rum and coke in a can. Malpaís played the first ever carbon neutral concert in Costa Rica yesterday afternoon. It was pouring when I left the house, pouring when I got downtown, raining when I met up with friends and drizzling when we FINALLY, after a couple of supermarket pit-stops, reached la Plaza de la Democracia outside the fairy-tale castle-like Museo Nacional.
It had cleared up enough that we stowed our umbrellas in favor of snaking through the crowd for a better view. Thanks to the rain, the crowd was pretty thin and we got almost as close as I was when I saw them during Semana U, way back in March. That day, sitting on the water tank beside the library and watching the crowd that filled the entire square and climbed up walls, seated in tree branches, holding on to drain pipes and hanging off every window, balcony and staircase that they could get to in the surrounding buildings, I remember just looking up at the crystal clear blue sky and being overwhelmed by the music and the emotions of the people who cared about the music just as much as I did, and the perfection of the day. Last night I looked up at the sky as it cleared, relishing the few remaining raindrops, watched the mauve clouds race across the dark blue sky, lit up by the green and blue and purple lights that lit up the Museo Nacional like a stage and the swirling lights that highlighted the musicians on the stage that stood opposite. And every once in a while when the stage lights would turn on the audience you could see, as the night went on, that the population of the Plaza swelled with waves of people, all singing along, whipping bandanas over their heads, enraptured. The concert ran for about four hours and afterward, half the crowd trickled out, and everyone else sat in little groups on stairs, benches, walls and railings, all coming down from a wonderful natural high.

I will never forget the entire crowd chanting these two songs, the musicians leaning out to meet the audience, balanced to topple off the stage and into the loving arms of their fans:
Otro Lugar

Ems and I finished the night in one of our favorite bars, where we didn't see any of the friends who we were hoping to see, but did catch a band that self-defined as Manu Chao but was really more Juanes-like, minus the metallic flavor that comes with commercialization.

Needless to say, my Sunday started off with a smile.

The next part of Sunday always involves some sort of delicious meal. My favorite is gallo pinto, the most amazing combination of rice, beans and cilantro, cooked together. Today it included an egg on the side as well. Sometimes it's sausage which tastes oddly like hot dog, but which I've come to love. Twice we've had empanadas, which is essentially a gift of either refried beans or ground beef wrapped lovingly in masa (corn-flour dough?) and fried golden, which, if you eat right off the griddle, drip down your chin and burn your mouth which is totally worth it. Whatever breakfast is, it always seems more flavorful on Sunday mornings, possibly because it follows a delicious sleep or possibly because the kitchen door is open and that lovely blue-sky light is flooding the kitchen.

Sometimes I shower after breakfast on Sundays, sometimes I leave it for later. Eventually I make it back to my bed and pull out my school books. I spread them out deliberately, planning to be incredibly productive so that I can take a break on Monday. But I always turn on my computer to check my email, read my comics and the Sunday Secrets on, provided I have not read them the night before upon my return from a Saturday night adventure. Of course, the internet always leads to chats with various friends. Sunday is always lazy enough to catch up. After this, if there's time, I find my self drawn into some sort of internet pop-news frenzy/Wikipedia vortex/Google "new thing" investigation in which I learn things like the history behind Alexander Dumas' The Three Musketeers, collect images of Art Nouveau which I'm REALLY into right now, discover that American Girl is coming out with a Russian Jewish Immigrant girl whose history, appearance and story were painstakingly researched [] . This portion of Sunday is usually interrupted by lunch because suddenly it's 1:30 or 2 in the afternoon and where is the day going?

Sunday lunch is lovely. In Costa Rica, our big meal is always lunch, which is followed in the evening by a cafecito, or snack with coffee. Sunday lunch is usually quite simple but always fresh and flavorful because my host mom goes to the market on Sunday in the late morning, after a late breakfast. So the avocados are bright green, the vegetables are crisp and the fresca (fresh made fruit juice + sugar + water) is delicious and something wonderful like mango or pineapple. Sunday lunch is with the whole family, because everyone is home; it is, after all, Sunday. And it stretches luxuriously into the afternoon.

Sometimes it's bittersweet. Two of the daughters of my host family study in the United States and one came back last Monday and the next is due Friday. And they're really a close family, teasing each other about this and that. I've said it often, but it amazes me how similar my family and my host family are, so sometimes Sunday lunch is like looking into a memory. Sunday afternoons are always nice times for nostalgic melancholy and reflection as the sky darkens and the smell of rain dances along with the breeze and almost always leads to afternoon skyping with the homestead.

From there, Sunday plods on. If I have no lingering internet duties, I will pull out the guitar and practice a bit before the afternoon rain drowns me out or my hands get sore.

Then I might nap. Que rico (how delicious) is an afternoon nap listening to the lessening rain beating on the tin parts of the roof and against the windows. Or maybe I'll watch a movie or indulge in some online episodes of my favorite TV shows, it is, after all, Sunday and I have all of Monday to do whatever I don't do today. Today I joined my host family to watch Slumdog Millionaire which I loved. The art direction blew me away.

But then it's almost 6 and Sunday is almost gone. Maybe I'll sit for a while and think. Maybe I'll listen to music, maybe I'll head back into the land of the internet. I'll glance once or twice at my forelorn school books, pushed aside long ago and know that they'll stay there until tomorrow.

Somehow it's 8:30 or 9 and time for a cafecito sans the cafe. And then soon I'm too tired to keep my eyes open, exhausted from the day or the week. And just like that, Sunday is over. I curl up under the covers and regret not a minute of my satisfyingly unproductive Sunday

No comments: