Changing routines…

As we get older, we tend to get really comfortable in our routines…maybe even depend on them. If we typically have oatmeal for breakfast and run out.. it throws us off for the entire day. If friends or family come to visit, we become excited to see and host them. However, within a short period of time (sometimes just A day), we’re off our routine and almost cannot wait for them to leave.  When we were younger, many of us really enjoyed or even thrived on spontaneity and change. Change…something really difficult for some people to embrace…and it seems to worsen as we get older.

HOWEVER…I’m not OLD yet…and my ” old routine” is no more. Quitting my job, selling the new car, selling the house and packing up the stuff that’s left (of which I have very little after selling and giving away almost ALL of my “stuff” and of which MOST of it is still in a container on its way here….), and moving to a foreign country…..throws  routine to the wind. Routine is not a  BAD thing…but sometimes routine evolves into rut. When you’re in a rut…you need to get out. However, you can’t get out of your rut if you don’t even recognize or realize that you’re in one.

Instead of establishing new routines, at this point, we’ve just been trying to establish the business. Most of our time this week has been spent “setting up the requirements”. One day was spent traveling to the nearby town (city) of Liberia. to go to the Costa Rica “tributacion” which is their IRS. The office was located in a mall that never populated in Liberia. The door was guarded and you take a number and wait for someone to help you (lucky for us was immediate).

We attempted opening a commercial bank account, but did not have all of the documents needed to open.  The bank requires two documents the attorney had not supplied, the “IRS” number and a letter from our bank in the US confirming that we (he) had/has an account and was/is a satisfactory customer. (They supply no form, don’t care about balances or anything, it’s more of a character reference and it has to be signed, on letterhead, with a phone number included and some sort of stamp….a teller stamp was fine.) We haven’t opened this yet and should do so next week, but are still debating which bank to use.

Our first “real” bank experience was when we had to pay for our business cards. Many businesses (who are not retail) supply you an invoice by email along with their bank account information and you go straight to the bank, pay the invoice and then take the receipt of payment to the vendor. This was quite interesting as it was my first real look at a bank on the inside. ALL of the banks have a security guard at the door. Here, you also enter and take a number (VERY much like government and the US’s DMVs). There are two seating areas separating the customers based upon services needed. Chairs are lined up in rows…(again, very similar to the DMV) and you wait (apparently quietly) until your number is called (flashed on the screen). The atmosphere is very industrial and sterile with no decor. The employees are all uniformed. It is not unpleasant…just very utilitarian. VERY different for someone who spent 18+ years in banking in the US and much of it with community banks.

Our other business adventure this week was with our Costa Rican CPA. We have 2 CPA’s…one for the Costa Rica business and one for the US business (they work in the same office). Again, there are things we still need (filing our employees with the Costa Rican equivalent of Social Security, getting copies of the documents of liquidation of the employees with the previous owner, By-Law type documents, etc). Apparently, we will be filing our first “year-end” statements in Costa Rica effective Sept 30. Never thought that their tax year would be different from the U.S….never crossed my mind.

Also this week, we had happy hours to meet the families of our crew as well as the owners of the other charter businesses. The first meeting was with the crew and families and it was amazing. The Ticos (locals) are wonderful and good-hearted people. They are welcoming, simple and gracious. I was nervous about how we would be received by the “family” this business really is.  It was a beautiful evening and although some of the family members did not speak any English, the communication still flowed and there truly were no barriers. So refreshing to be in such a world after leaving a country displaying more hatred, jealousy and animosity than any nation should…much less a “sophisticated” one…

Our second meeting was with the local owners who have been here for quite a number of years. They are from the US, Canada and European countries and settled here years ago to live a simpler, happier life. They’ve raised their families here and are also welcoming, gracious and a wealth of great information for those of us newly arrived.

So my new routine is still a work in progress. Some things I have discarded from my previous routine include: No more HIGH heeled shoe collection, no more jackets, blouses, straight irons, foundation make-up….(I can be ready to go in 15 minutes or less)….and I LOVE IT.  Everything is different….except for the routine of walking the dog at least 3 times a day…but I DO keep changing the route….

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