Traveling or living abroad often provides great fodder for writing. New cultural contexts, languages and even natural settings provide us with fresh eyes on the world and on assumptions we make about how things ought to be done. A Girl Called Problem was born from my fascination with African socialism after living in Tanzania for two years. My memoir-in-progress, Sari Swinging, is about the fresh perspective I gained on parenting norms when I moved to India with my newborn son. This year, my family is living in Costa Rica and I’ve been inspired to write several articles and essays about our experience, as well as a regular blog.
Today, I want to share an essay I wrote about my kids’ experience joining a soccer (or fútbol) team in Costa Rica. At first it seemed like torture–Costa Rican kids are soccer whizzes–but it turned out to be a great lesson in grit and in what Costa Ricans calls ganas, which roughly translates to mean deep desire.