After spending both five months abroad in Italy and a year-and-a-half in Costa Rica, I have noticed that most travelers never forget to pack some type of mp3 player (most commonly an ipod). With headphones popped in each ear bud, people are accustomed to drowning out the noise around them. Music can have a calming influence in stressful situations, it can provide uplifting words in times of hardship and it can be a constant pulse that keeps us charging forward through a difficult workout.
Music is universal.
Any country you travel through, you will discover a new set of beats and instrumental harmonies. You don’t even need to understand the language to enjoy the rhythm. And, one of the most remarkable things about music is that it is something that you can bring home with you.
During those days when you long for nothing more than to be abroad, you can turn on some music and let your mind wander back to the past. I have done this on numerous occasions. For me, it’s those Friday nights where I find myself curled up on the couch yearning for Reggae Night. My night becomes a little less lonely by turning on some of my favorite reggaeton tunes. I admit, my flannel pajamas don’t quite compare to my beachy “going out” attire. It’s a work in progress.
Riddim is good.
Wait, did I just mention Reggae Night?! Yes, this white girl from Wisconsin fell head over heels in love with reggae. Not so far as dreading my blond locks and faking a Jamaican accent, but I was known to shake it on the dance floor a few times. It wasn’t good shaking, but it was something.
Sure, like most people, I knew some of Bob Marley’s famous songs, but Reggae music is not mainstream. I was accustomed to listening to pop, alternative, country and even some oldies on occasion. Reggae music in Wisconsin was an anomaly. Little did I know what I was missing out on!
Each Friday night in Samara, Tabanuco – a beachfront restaurant and bar – was packed for Reggae Night. It was quite a mixture of people – wannabe rastafarian Ticos and out-of-place foreigners. I most definitely fit into the second group. But, when there’s no movie theater, no bowling alley and not even a late-night fast food joint, your choices of nightlife activity are pretty limited.
My friends will agree with me when I tell you that there were times I actually dreaded going to Reggae Night. After a while, you can sing the words to every song. You’ve seen the same people a million times. And, frankly, you wish for a Friday night curled up on your couch!
But, like everything, you don’t realize what you’ve got until it’s gone. I miss the social interactions, the laid-back atmosphere and the sound of the waves just steps away. And, I miss the over-played music. I miss the beats, the words, and the way it made me feel. Because really, who can stop themselves from dancing just a bit when a really good song comes on?
In America, we are always so focused on what others think of us that we forget to actually be ourselves. In Costa Rica, I was able to let go a bit. If you want to dance, then dance. If you want to sing along to a song, then by all means do so. You will be a foreigner to Costa Ricans no matter what you do. So do your thing. Music and dancing is in their blood.
So, to bring a little of my favorite flava to all of you…here is one of my feel-good tunes. Enjoy!