Post #4 DIVE: Jeepers! Beware of the Creepers!

Saludos (otra vez)! I am at the beginning of my fifth week here, and wow does time sure fly by! For the past week and a half I have mainly hung out with my host family and friends, and have relished in the wonderful Santo Domingo environment. Though I have truly enjoyed my time here, there have definitely been some experiences that have left me a bit overwhelmed, confused, and in a state of introspection. Most of these experiences have occurred during my journey to and from my worksite. 

About two weeks ago, while waiting 40 minutes for my second bus home, I noticed that an older man was trying to get on a bus to San Jose but he had left his phone on the bench. I called out to the man a few times, and as he quickly ran back to get his phone, the bus pulled away. The man thanked me for watching over his phone and explained that he was confused about the bus schedule and  routes. Soon after, he began to talk to me and he asked a couple of questions. Being from the South, I at first did not think anything of the interaction, as I thought he was just being friendly. The conversation soon shifted to personal inquiries about me, as he then started showing me shirtless pictures of him at the beach and pool then began to ask personal questions about me: “Where are you from? Where are you staying and for how long? Why are you here in Costa Rica?” Most notably, he told me that he remembered me sitting in the back of the bus from the day before (and no I did not remember him from the day before). At this moment, a small wave of stress swept over me, as I had not remembered him from the day before and I had no idea where these questions were leading to.

After a few minutes, the bus finally arrived and made sure to sit as far away as possible from that man. Following the encounter, I made sure to be very aware of my surroundings while walking back home, and although I felt overall creeped out since I was unsure of his intentions, I ended up brushing the situation to the side a bit. Reflecting upon the situation, I feel a bit more concerned now than before, because I think of the different possible outcomes that could have happened and how I maybe should have been more cautious than I initially was, such as maybe switching up my mode of transportation the next day or even in the moment. Despite having a positive interpretation of the interaction at the moment, I now have a negative evaluation of the situation since, to me, he definitely held some of the characteristics and behavior of a creeper. Although I was unable to have someone verify my interpretation, reflecting upon the situation with the separation of description and interpretation has enabled me to realize that I need to be more aware of who I am encountering and interacting with on the bus–even if they seem friendly!