There are certain things that you expect when you go from somewhere like Australia to somewhere like Costa Rica, differences by any other name. The most obvious is having to deal with a totally different language (excepting of course those who already speak Spanish). Less obvious are things like social and cultural differences or what the capital city in each is like. Some might be hard to notice at first but are otherwise in the not-so-subtle category because you basically have no choice but to notice them.
The subtleties arise when you say, look for the moon.
In Australia you look for the moon near the horizon, maybe 20 degrees up from the horizon and its huge in the night sky. In Costa Rica everyone looks straight up and the moon is this tiny little disk hanging in the sky. Interestingly enough, its almost easier to see the details on the moon in Costa Rica than it is in Australia.
Honestly it was weird for me at first, having people crane their necks straight up as though they were standing at the base of a tree and looking at a cat stuck in it. I really didn’t think about the position of the moon before I left because it was one of those things that I just took for granted in some way. The moon is big, the moon is there and you can see it during the day. Not so much on any of those things in Costa Rica.
Some things however are not really different at all.
Mothers, for example, and laughter. In some respects they are both pretty universal concepts and yet not something that you really think about until you’re living in someone else’s home barely able to speak their language yet you understand a tone of voice or make them laugh with something you say (however brokenly) at every other turn. It’s putting your trust in total strangers’ hands but it’s why I enjoy home stays. You get to see things you otherwise wouldn’t staying on your own, either in a rented place or a hotel. Hostels, youth hostels and the like, are sort of similar but you see different things.
I hadn’t really thought about it before but much like some Pagans and Heathens like to put down roots, both literally and figuratively, in a single place and attune themselves to that one locale, I like to travel to different places and to one extent or another incorporate myself with other people, live like they do and what not… Its only a have finished thought but I think there is something to it. Mark that one down for a coming back to.