“Tropical paradise, unarmed wonder, or Tiquicia,” are some of the many names attributed to Costa Rica, my home country. Before getting into Costa Rican lands (or reading the following text), it is important that you understand the following:
Costa Ricans are “Ticos” (males) and “Ticas” (females). That’s where “Tiquicia” comes from, which translates to “Land of Ticos.”
“Pura Vida” is our motto. It literally translates to “Pure Life.” However, it has more connotations than any word in the Spanish language should. It means hello, goodbye, thank you, everything is good. One can also use it as a question: Pura vida? = How is it going?
I am mae, you are mae, she/he is mae, we and they are maes. Mae mae mae. This is how we, Costa Ricans, address our peers. It means dude, but it is common to use it in every sentence we say. It is a bit overused, but it makes us easily identifiable.
In Central America, between Panama and Nicaragua, 6% of the world’s biodiversity settles in the 0.03% of the earth’s surface, Costa Rica. It is a small country which connects the two enormous Americas. Our territories cover about 51 square kilometers, 64 times smaller than India. The population is not a high number either; there are almost 5 million ticos registered, 42 times less people than in Brazil.
Costa Rican, as its neighbor countries, is a Hispanic country. All the Hispanic demographic groups, regardless of their mother-country, can communicate using their own kind of Spanish, with its respective accents. However, our kind pseudo-Spanish contains a lot of “costariqueñismos” which are words that aren’t used anywhere else in the world. Apart from the Pura Vida and the Mae, we use vara, moncha, and bañazo in our usual vocabulary. Chuzo, guineo, hueiso, mejenga, bretear, ojo al Cristo, ¡pele el ojo!, pinta, and many others are also part of our lexicon.
One quarter of Costa Rica’s total land extension are protected jungles. The country is internationally renowned due to the flora and fauna variety. Costa Rica is highly nature-friendly. The eco-truism is a big income for the country’s economy. Furthermore, since 2014, all electrical energy in Costa Rica has been derived from renewable energy sources. Hydroelectric power is a big contributor, almost 80% of the electricity that we consume since then is generated in electrical plants in our diverse electric dams.
Something that I highly like about my country is the fact that we have no army. The demilitarization occurred in 1948, and since then, Costa Rica has been an international representation of peace and amity.
There are hundreds of factors that make me love my country, from the beautiful beaches of the Pacific, to the green diversity in the Caribbean. The humid forests and the diverse volcanoes also make me realize how beautiful the place where I was born is. Due to that, I am proud to say Yo Soy Tico.
Jefferson Phillips from Costa Rica is studying computer science at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada.