First time is NOT a charm…

As those of you who have been reading my blog updates know, sometimes things take a number of efforts around here to happen. As with the checking account we tried to open beginning August 15th….it is STILL not opened. However, we do have an account with a different bank that the attorney helped by facilitating the necessary paperwork to get opened. The original bank has the same paperwork….just haven’t been able to open the account yet. We keep getting more paperwork and questions….it will happen…eventually. Thank goodness for the other bank

Again, especially as a former long-term banker, the banks are interesting. You walk in and pull a number..just like the meat counter at the grocery or at the DMV. Then you sit in a plastic and metal chair…and you wait. At our current bank, last week we walked in and pulled #25. They were currently servicing #12. It’s not a problem either! No one is agitated and huffing and puffing or bitching and screaming. Everyone is sitting quietly and WAITING. This concept would NEVER work in the USA. First of all, people in the USA are in too big of a hurry…for what…no one really ever knows.

We have our new marketing materials and our new website is almost finished. I am still amazed at how inexpensive business supplies are. Our 300 business cards were $60. Our 15 shirts with color graphics front AND back were about $120..crazy. We’ve also got a quote to replace the graphics on the back of the bigger boat is under $50…CRAZY. However, it’s still CRAZY to me that a 6 pack of the cheap beer is $7 and that a block of cheddar cheese (not the huge blocks) is $5. It’s funny what we eat now…lots of pasta and rice dishes, salads, chicken and fish…

So the FIRST bank was not a success at first attempt….neither has house hunting been. We have to find somewhere to live by October 31st. This house is a 3 month lease which allowed us to get down here and figure out some things. Last week…we found a house. Initially, it was my “dream house”…modern, fabulous kitchen, ocean view from the top floor, attached “apartment” for daughter to have her own space….then…

Then, after working some ideas out, going through the house twice and talking preliminary details..the owner called and said someone else was also interested. So we trekked back out  on Monday..renegotiated and signed the lease. Best’s a lease with option to buy.  PROBLEM was..on this visit…it just didn’t feel right. I don’t know what it was, but when we walked in the house, it just wasn’t “right”.  The first time I walked in, I was  overwhelmed with the “this is it” feeling. This time…I had a weird…not good…feeling. Not sure why. Women understand that “gut” feeling. Anyway,  we signed the contract. The next morning, the guy called and rescinded. There you go. He was not happy that we didn’t want to include his car in the deal and didn’t want his moldy couches. For someone who is moving back to the States and in a lease/purchase contract…why do the couches make a difference? Well, go with the gut instinct… wasn’t the right house I guess.

So we continue…hopefully do not have to wait until the “3rd time’s a charm” cliche to kick in…I’d like it to be the next one.

I am loving learning Spanish and love the people here. Our gardener/pool man and I have become great buds and he is so gracious it’s amazing. The natives are really happy, friendly and giving. My daughter and I went to our first Costa Rican baby shower this week. Let me tell you…they go ALL OUT. It was at a restaurant in a private room…there were balloons, big decorations, tables to seat about 20, cake, cookies, a full meal served, a chocolate fountain, fresh fruit….and games. Those who know me well know that baby showers, wedding showers, and Tupperwear/Avon/Pampered Chef, etc parties are not my thing. We left before the event was over….and left 2 hours and 20 minutes after it began…. Incredible..have no idea when it ended.

I also met with our Costa Rican accountant. We had established 2 accountants: 1 for the hubby’s Costa Rican company and 1 for my USA company. My USA accountant was killed in a small plane crash on his way into town to meet with me and a few others. Very sad. No words.

The Costa Rican accountant meeting was a bit overwhelming.  I was FULLY prepared (remember a former banker) with my financials…had 3 P&Ls – 1 for the ENTIRE business including the holding company, 1 for the business operations in US Dollars and 1 for the business operations in Costa Rican colones. I had a payroll spreadsheet, balance sheet, etc. She offered me a job… LOL. One thing I found VERY interesting is that Costa Ricans get Christmas bonuses EVERY year. It is MANDATORY. It is based upon their annual salary divided by 12…yep…and it’s untaxed. They also, by law, are required to take their vacations a week at a time. All employees are entitled to 2 weeks vacation once they have worked for you for 50 weeks. The EMPLOYER lets the employee know when their allotted vacation time will be.  The “funniest” fact to me was that, if your employee has been working for you for a year or more, you have to give them a month’s notice when you FIRE them. Yep…unless you want to settle it with some kind of  severance payoff …you have to give a month’s notice. Severance is 19.5 days of pay if they’ve only worked for you a year…goes up with each year. Crazy…imagine these principles in the USA.

Some obvious differences of the week….it’s strange never seeing a mail truck; most of the school “buses” are just vans; the roads never cease to amaze me….most of them around here are dirt…with potholes and channels running threw them; I haven’t worn heels in AGES; currency…still working on my conversions; knowing what day it is…I never seem to know off of the top of my head; the “real temperature”…(Farenheit that is) everything is Celsius; cows and horses wandering through the streets; nature’s sounds; vehicles are primarily SUVs, 4×4’s, golf carts and motorcycles;  paying your vendors’ bills directly to their account at the bank; no movie theater or mall nearby; tip is included in your dining bill; it’s CHEAP to eat at restaurants compared to the States;  maid service is about $25/week (includes whole house cleaning and changing/washing of bedding and linens); watching sunsets on a regular basis…..

Life IS an adventure…it’s what you make of it. This is not a dress rehearsal….savor the moments, the people and the experiences…for the “first time” may not always be the charm, but sometimes it is all you get….

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