Monday, October 27, 2014

Conquering My Fear of the Phone

Like I said in my last entry, this past week's goal was to find a place to live in Heredia. My week got off to a frustrating start. I sent out several emails to the scarce online advertisements for rooms, apartments and houses for rent. The past two years in Spain I was able to find a house this way; I simply saw the ad, sent a message to the landlord and continued correspondence through email. This approach didn't work so well in Costa Rica. First of all, Costa Rican's aren't particularly good about responding to emails, and most don't even put ads online to begin with. This made my life very difficult.
I'll admit that my struggle to find a place wasn't completely due to online problems. I also was busy planning lessons for my first week of classes with English2Go! I was a little stressed and so I didn't put as much time as I should have into the house search. Still, I was frustrated. I was ready to move out of the hostel I had been living in for over a week, and finally unpack my bags and settle into a place. After talking with some locals, they told me the best way was just to directly call the person posting the ad. This puts me WAY outside my comfort zone.
The house! Most people have outdoor garages like this. 
As many of you know, my Spanish is fairly proficient and I'm very comfortable speaking the language. However, when it comes to talking on the phone, I'll do anything to avoid it. So much gets lost in the translation when I can't see gestures, facial expressions and read lips. My confidence plummets as my palms begin to sweat and my voice starts to quiver. It's so embarrassing that all this happens over a few simple phone calls, but I can't help it! I am one of many millennials who falls victim to the fear of talking on the phone (even in English I don't like it). Why? Because we millennials grew up with AOL instant messenger, email, texting, and facebook, which means talking on the phone is rarely required. Because I hardly ever used it, I never became comfortable with it and now I'm a grown 24-year-old who shivers at the thought of talking to a stranger on the phone. Okay, I'm being a little dramatic, but seriously... talking on the phone makes me really uncomfortable.
My Street
However, after finding out that Costa Ricans respond better to phone calls than emails and messages, I knew it was my best option. I began to call some of the numbers I had been collecting and didn't have very much luck. Finally, I took a chance and called the number of an ad I saw online that didn't have a picture of the house posted (which usually I take as a bad sign and pass over it). However, a nice woman picked up the phone and told me all about the house and I was immediately interested. The following day (Friday) I took a taxi over to the house and met the woman I had been talking to on the phone, Francesca a smiley 20-something tica and her boyfriend Harold. I immediately loved them, the house and the neighborhood. They seemed to like me to because when I asked when I could move in they said as soon as I wanted. So, I moved in that very night and have been living here ever since!
The house has four rooms: one is mine, another belongs to Harold and Francesca and another belongs to another young tico called Roland. The fourth room is for guests (visitors welcome!). It's a nice small house with a dining/living room and kitchen. Everyone in the house speaks both English and Spanish so it's been a nice mix of languages. Our neighborhood is extremely quiet and safe, just a 10-15 minute walk from Heredia's center. Not to mention the office of the company I work for, English2Go, is literally one block away, lucky me! I feel so fortunate to have found somewhere that is such a perfect fit for me. It took a lot of time, patience, and work to find this place but as the saying goes "great things come to those who wait."

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