Pura Marisa

Thoughts, stories and reflections of my journey living "la pura vida" in Costa Rica


My street in San Jose near the courthouse. Very secure, somewhat convenient, just a little too green on the inside.

I’ll admit it. I have completely been holding back in the last month about a pretty amusing situation which has been on my mind, and influencing my day-to-day activities since I moved last month. Aside from a few close friends and family, few know much about the character I just shared an apartment with for 6 weeks–6 weeks too long!

As implied, my roommate (we’ll call her Holly), no longer lives with me around the corner from the Courthouse. In fact, she and her very sweet, but muchtoolargeforanapartment retriever, Mattie, went back to the States on Saturday in hopes of sorting out her “quarter-life crisis” as she explained it to me exactly a week ago as she delivered the news.

Now, I’ve had numerous roommates in my life up until now and have managed all kinds of odd or incompatible roommate personalities. It started with my childhood spent in matching Phoenix Suns bunks with my tomboy sister Val; a year with my infant brother’s crib at the foot of my bed (one of my favorites to date); a shared freshman dorm with a painfully shy pre-med/biology major; another dorm apartment shared with an unhygienic headcase, a serious shopaholic, and one other normal girl; a close-knit Argentine family; a sweet old Spanish madre; three of my close girlfriends in our palace/apartment in our last year of college; my sister Valerie again, this time as adults in Chicago, sans bunks; a brief stint playing mom/housewife at my Dad’s, and of course two months with Zaida and one with my friend, Greg. All had their quirks, ups and occasional downs, but I would definitely repeat living with a handful of them. Though, I don’t think I could say the same for Holly.

There were really two dogs in the apartment; the live one, and the smaller version I swept up once a week. Gross. *Note the lovely green wall., not my choice!

Holly wasn’t all bad, of course. She was a nice person, my same age, and was here teaching English just like myself. In fact, we nicknamed her Holly because she had quite a bit in common with Miss Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. For example, she was decently charming and had friends, liked to party the night away with said friends, sleep in and wake up living the remainder of the next day contentedly amongst the liquor bottles and empty food containers from last night’s party, as if they had become part of the decor.

She also called her dog “dog”,  which sealed the deal on the nickname–unbeknownst to her. However, trying to care for a big, hairy dog in an apartment without a yard, while wanting to party as much as possible, and live a life free of cleaning duties and ever experiencing morning made living with her, a dirty and smelly hell. So, in case you ever wondered why Holly Golightly lived alone, I believe I’ve just answered your question!

Her defense was that she lacked the sense of smell due to nerve damage caused by some freak fainting episode. A story I’m not sure I completely believe occurred while sober, but I can’t imagine anyone with olfactory nerves intact would be able to handle the overwhelming smell of dog she lived in quite happily.

Now, I can’t say I’ve always been the perfect, most neat roommate. My former roommates would ALL attest to that! Folding and putting away clothes just happens to be my least favorite chore, and that’s obvious! However, nothing could be more disgusting than the entire dog I swept up at the end of every week, and am still finding in cushions, clothes, shoes, and yes, even food. The distinct hamster smell that emanated from her bathroom towels still haunts me. I swear, if we lived in a cartoon, those towels would have a swirly, bright green cloud of stink around them!

To be fair, I’m sure she didn’t enjoy me very much either. My morning workouts in my room, and requests for low noise after 10pm would be really annoying for anyone set in her type of late morning/late night schedule.

Lesson learned: Never again live with someone I don’t know very well whose hygienic standards are far below those of, well, the general public. Even if my rent is cheap! You can’t really put a price on cleanliness.

Though those six weeks were nothing less than interesting, I can still think of many upsides to the situation. First, without my daily decision to dine at Dan and Liam’s, we wouldn’t have our family dinner tradition. It also reinforced my decision to never own  dogs while living in an apartment–ever–it’s not fair to anyone. Finally, got to spend plenty of time at the beach!

So, here I am living alone (5 minutes away from friends, no worries) for the first time ever, and in a foreign country. If I didn’t feel like a big girl before, I definitely feel like one now.

Last weekend's beach escape back in Santa Teresa. Poor Liam fell in a hammock, though he did say seconds beforehand that, "You really haven't lived life until you've fallen out of a hammock." So, Liam's definitely lived.


5 responses to “Holly

  1. Val June 22, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Hooray for you and living alone 😀 I bet it feels liberating! can’t wait to room with you again, sis. And don’t worry, I won’t try and tell you how to make your bed 😉

    • Marisa June 29, 2011 at 3:42 pm

      It does! The dog smell is slowly subsiding! I’m excited to live with you again too sis. Clean, comfortable, predictable. That’s how I like my living space to be! 🙂

  2. Sam June 23, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    What is wrong with the Suns?!?!?!?!! They just picked a great player in the NBA Draft mind you!!!! Haahaa I was the best roommate how about that Val?!?!?! Liam all I have to say to you is: Epic Fail!

    • Marisa June 29, 2011 at 3:44 pm

      Never said there was anything wrong with the Suns ya goofball! Who did they pick? And Liam and I weren’t living together silly, it was a girl. Do you not remember anything I tell you ?!? 😉

  3. Sam Flores July 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I meant epic fail cuz Liam fell out of a hammock SILLY!!!!

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