As many of you may have heard, the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica experienced an earthquake last week. Yes..5.7 magnitude and happened between 1:30am and 2:00am in the morning. I didn’t really “know” there was an earthquake until later that morning when I was told. However, I was awakened at that time out of a dead sleep….the kind of sleep where you wake up and realize you are drooling out of the side of your mouth..not the kind of sleep where you wake up looking like Joan Collins in Dynasty.
What I didn’t know when I moved down here (yes…there are things I didn’t/don’t know) is that Costa Rica sits near 3 big tectonic plates located near what is referred to as the Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash now playing in my head). The Ring of Fire is an area in the basin of the Pacific where a number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. Never even thought about that. However, I DID know that Costa Rica has over 60 volcanoes and I think 6 of them are currently active. (Remember, the country is only about the size of West Virginia.) So….I’m assuming there may be more bumps in the night to follow….maybe next time I won’t be drooling.
Major event this week was the arrival of our container. Yes..we shipped a few things from Virginia to Costa Rica. We battled over whether would ship anything at all, what we would ship, who we would use, how we would do it.. such a grueling and emotional process. We obtained quotes from 3-4 companies. The container charges are based upon volume, weight, and..when it arrives in Costa Rica…taxes on the value. For the past 2 weeks we received a slew of emails between the carrier, logistics company, and freight forwarder…talking among themselves…all in Spanish. No word from “my guy”. Not knowing when to expect arrival, I emailed the handler (not my guy as he had not responded to my previous email and it had been 5 days…) and asked when to expect my shipment. The next day, I receive an email it was coming THAT afternoon!
As the email said to expect the shipment around 3pm, we spent the morning looking at our “next place to live”. The lease on this home is only for 3 months so we need to be out by the end of October. By 12:30pm we were in the grocery picking up food for an upcoming charter and my phone rings. “What?” OMG..it’s the container truck driver and I have no friggin clue what he is saying. “. Then, in a calm PANIC mode, I run around the store asking people who work in the store if they speak English (ingles). Nope. I desperately run to the check-out counter and locate other (obvious?) expats, who FORTUNATELY are now bilingual, and ask them to please take my phone and tell me what the guy is saying. Well…he’s AT OUR HOUSE. Great. First…I wake up to find out they’re coming that day (and we needed cash for the driver to release the goods) AND they arrive 2 hours early without any English in their bag of goods.
So “bumps” happen. They ARE funny…after the fact. Funny how THOSE type of things are what are now defined as stressful. There are certain types and amounts of stress needed in order to feel compelled, purposeful and useful. I’ve always thrived on certain stresses. But our move was fueled by the exhaustion of the stress of working in corporate America. Management expectations, re-directs, unfulfilled promises, pay cuts, healthcare increases, job eliminations, THOSE stresses make you weary and unhealthy. So many people close to us have experienced one or more of these in the past 12-24 months….
What about here? That bank account we’ve tried to open for 3 weeks? “No go” with THAT bank yet. They’re still creating additional questions and/or paperwork they need in order for us to get that account open. It’s a privately held bank. However, our attorney recommended and assisted us with another bank and it was open in 2 days. Ridiculous.
Without going into the story…make sure you use your blinker/turn signal when traveling in Costa Rica. People will pass you on either side, at any time, in any place, in any type of vehicle. But for $100…it never happened….
Groceries are still a struggle for me. It’s the pricing. Some things are SO cheap…and some things are SO not. $7 for Peter Pan peanut butter. $4 for celery. $6-7 for broccoli, $5 for a tub of cream cheese…..these are all imported. BUT…$1 for a pineapple, $0.87 for a HUGE loaf of FRESH Italian roll/baguette, a pint of milk $.055….and fish is free. 🙂 The local farmers markets are the places to go for fresh fruits and veggies…and the produce is beautiful…just buy local.
As rainy season is May-November, we get rain most every afternoon. In the dry season (especially January-March), you may not see ANY rain. Since we have historically traveled to Costa Rica during the dry season, I was not expecting this level of humidity. However, when you don’t have to “do” your hair, put on make-up or wear permanent press clothes..it’s easier to tolerate.Ponytail hair is now a standard. It rains late afternoon or early evening for a few hours. Some of the storms are quite animated. My understanding is that come October, it may rain nonstop for days.
Something else I hadn’t thought of ..words of wisdom from my mother… the good thing about the humidity? “You won’t look as old with the humidity. It plumps your skin so your skin doesn’t look so wrinkled…” Again..something I had not thought about…which I think about daily now….