Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sounds of Home

We just recently returned to Costa Rica after an unexpected 4-month furlough in the States.  We experienced winter for the first time in many years, and lived with my parents out in the country.  Throughout our time there, I was struck with how quiet it was.  With central heat and all the windows closed, I heard nothing coming from outside the house, which is so very different from our experience in our home in Costa Rica.  Here, our windows are always open, trying to stay cool in the hot tropical weather.  The result is that, after six years of living in Costa Rica, I have a whole set of sounds that have become the sounds of home.  Since returning after our furlough, I have realized how sweet these sounds have become to me.  Many of them were once unfamiliar (some of them even annoying!), but now they mean home to me.  Now that we're home again, I'm daily hearing...

rain on our metal roof
children's giggles echoing off our concrete walls
roosters crowing as the day dawns
cows mooing as they walk past our backyard
"upe!" at our gate as a friend stops by to visit
pitter pattering of little feet on our tile floors
whirring of our pump bringing water into our house from the reserve tanks
tropical birds' songs from the orange tree in our garden
a 6 year old's voice reciting the Spanish syllables he's learning to read in school
a 3 year's old's voice singing a Spanish worship song
scrapping of an iguana's claws making its way across our roof
thump-thumping of the iguana who's found its way into our attic
motorbikes without mufflers speeding past our house
tea kettle whistling in the kitchen
a gecko chirping from its perch on the wall above our bed
metal gates clanging as neighbors come and go
taxis honking in the street
a friend's machete hacking at dead branches in our yard
announcements from the loudspeakers driving by selling everything imaginable
the gentle, flowing sound of Spanish on our porch during Bible studies and classes

It's good to be home.

Now, I'd love to hear from you!  What sounds mean home to you now? 


  1. How fun that you would ask this right now! We have four pet ducks. Recently we were away from home, staying in a village. Walking down a street there, our younger daughter stopped and got a happy look on her face. She said, "I heard ducks and thought that I was home." :-)

    Ducks, children and neighbor dogs barking, those are the sounds I hear most.

    I actually have a hard time sleeping at my in-laws' home in America, because it is SO LOUD in their city. They mentioned the quiet here when they visited us. So, it's kind of the opposite for you and me.

  2. Oh, that's so sweet that the sound of ducks meant home to your daughter, Phyllis! It's interesting, too, that it's louder in the States for you... everywhere in the States always seems quiet to me after living in Latin America!

  3. Living as your neighbor in Honduras, all of those sounds are home to me as well! Except instead of an iguana on our roof, there are bats... :) Love the list. We are in the states unexpectedly right now, too, and I could hardly hear the thunderstorm last night. Quiet is right. Sometimes a welcome change but I also long for the sounds of "home." Thanks for posting.