Each comes alone, or in tiny groups, through rain and snow. Anonymous. No one around you on a crowded city street knows where you come from, or cares.
But in the hallways of the Consulate, warmth returns in more ways than one. Heavy coats come off to reveal Sele jerseys. Many carry suitcases, showing how far they’ve come to stand in this line. Comments are exchanged, little doors that open to familiar places. Anonymity drops to the ground like the last of the raindrops from raincoats. We’re all Costa Ricans here, ready to vote.
Then: my God. He’s here. Keylor Navas! Two words that need no sequel to explain the wave of energy that ripples through the line when he shows up to vote. The celebrations as his signature shoots across the backs of random papers, scrounged up quickly from dozens of pockets.
The line inches forward. Ballots leave their hands, a message back home, maybe even a love letter. They shuffle off through the Consulate’s labyrinthine hallways: well, that’s it.
But it’s not. Who’s this marvelous creature who thought to make bean empanadas, hot and nostalgic and just right, as if the love letter had been received and instantly returned?
Now they peel off, alone, back into the snow, back into anonymity: votes cast, bellies warm. Their hearts all waving flags.
Inspired by Raquel Chanto’s memories of participating in Costa Rica’s elections from Madrid, Spain, in February 2018. Our weekly Media Naranja column tells short love stories with a Costa Rican twist. During our March edition, “The Lineup,” we’re focusing on the love of country that Costa Ricans demonstrate—and sometimes rediscover—when voting from abroad.