Yesterday, I drew a lot. In Costa Rica, I attend a university mainly for students interested in the arts. Technical degrees range from architecture to digital animation to product design. What am I doing here? I am taking two classes, one is to learn Spanish for health professionals and the other is to learn about conflict in the healthcare field. I know. My area of studies clearly matches the university’s specialties. Every Friday, I attend an art club. We met in a nearby extension of the school that is part food place part store part computer lab. Excellent explanation. We sit in the food place, which is similar to a café without the twinkling lights and succulents. Trends. Tell me about it. We sit in a table that is usually too small to accommodate everyone because some students arrive late. The art professor is very chill. We start off with introductions. The group is usually half Americans and half Ticos (Costa Ricans). It constantly changes. After introductions, we start drawing. We had to write a word on a piece of paper and then pass it to the next person who could write or draw anything based on your word. I wrote two words. Going the extra mile. My words: “free mind.” I passed it to a Tica who started drawing a brain and colored it in green and purple with these awesome markers she had. After that, I knew it was going to be a good round. Other words were “sol,” “árbol,” “ángel,” “confusión,” and “mermaid.” To name a few. Every time, the art professor would say, “one minute left.” We did this until we got our original paper back. It’s cool seeing other individual’s interpretations. Free Mind IIAt this point, food came. Chicken strips and French fries with chipotle mayonnaise. Art + Food = Happy Times. Simple math, really. Every time I go to art club, the art professor points out my calligraphy. He always compliments it. But this time, he asked me if I would teach everyone how to do calligraphy during the next art class. I said I would. So, I’m going to teach a calligraphy class which is pretty cool. I taught my friend once how to do calligraphy, but, to do it in Costa Rica in a school full of artistic students is a different story. Here I am, a foreigner teaching others that are established and comfortable with their artistic crafts. What? Regardless, I am really grateful. Once I agreed, the art professor told me to create a flyer and he would post it on social media. The flyer read Taller de Caligraphía con Jasmine. Woah. This is real. It should be really fun, I love teaching and drawing.

After devouring most of the food and trying not to get grease stains on my artwork, I started drawing a surrealistic drawing of a child I met in a Costa Rican orphanage. While I was drawing, I spoke with a Tica who also did calligraphy. She told me that she started writing calligraphy when she was very young and she showed me different techniques and the different art materials she had. A cool technique was writing calligraphy with a metallic pen on thick transparent paper so that the color could sit on the surface and give that shine affect that is lost when writing on regular paper. Long sentence. A run-on? No. Afterwards, I headed back to my host family’s home. One of my host family members is an 11-year old boy. My Mamá Tica told me that he used to love drawing, but doesn’t do it as much anymore. My plan: bring my art notebook and supplies and draw in the dining room. I was finishing a drawing I did of a Koi fish. Part curiosity and part being nosy is what gets people interested in what you’re doing. The boy analyzed my fish at the beginning and jokingly said it looked like a blue whale then salmon. Rude. Yeah, I know. He said that he used to draw, but wouldn’t receive reinforcing remarks. After walking back and forth and making jokes, I noticed he sat down. He grabbed a piece of lined notebook paper and a pencil and began drawing. He was referencing a TV character on his grandmother’s phone. Only the sound of the novella (Spanish soap opera) played while we drew. His father offered me some hot chocolate. Let me reiterate real quick: Art + Food = Happy Times. Food including drinks such as hot chocolate. After finishing my hot chocolate and drawing, I told him “see, you can draw,” and then I walked downstairs. Art. Pretty much everywhere. But to be able to practice it and to be able to encourage others to do the same is an amazing experience.

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