Well, this past week was a bit different. I left on Thanksgiving Day and flew back to the USA. I was going to visit family AND to mule back some things needed that we cannot get in Costa Rica…or get easily or affordably. The thing I was MOST excited about bringing back was my griddle. I LOVE pancakes and they just don’t taste the same to me in a frying pan as they do on a griddle. That and some fishing stuff…and I was going to be SET.
When I arrived at the airport in Liberia, the process was easy and uneventful. As I sat down at my designated “Gate 6” (there are only a handful of gates at this airport), my phone informed me I was to now move to “Gate 3”. Most flights from the Liberia airport to the eastern U.S. seem to leave in the 1-2pm. Moments after being re-seated, the crew announces we are going to be delayed as our plane has just arrived and it needs to be serviced. (How much time do I have to connect in Atlanta?) Literally, SECONDS later…they start the boarding process. Psych. Must not have been a dirty group of previous passengers. During the boarding process, (as in many foreign countries), every few people are pulled aside for a more “thorough inspection”. Apparently, I won that ticket. Me? ((“Hey! (I’m thinking in my head). I’m ‘your people’ now. I live here!”)) Obviously, and possibly thankfully, they don’t hear the rant within my head. I had to take out my computer, take out my iPad, take out my phone, take out my plastic bag of liquids, take off my shoes…ugh. Sit down, swipe my palms, swipe my phone, swipe my computer bag handle… Guess I was looking a bit shady….
Arriving in Atlanta, immigration is a breeze. The first thing I notice when exiting customs is the soldier with an AK-47 or something strapped across his chest. That REALLY felt odd to me. Costa Rica doesn’t have ANY form of military (since 1948). The country’s budget previously dedicated to the military is now used for security, education and culture. The literacy rate in Costa Rica is amazing. As of 2017, 97.8% of the people over the age of 15 can read and write. Education expenditures in the USA are about 3.5% of the GDP, In Costa Rica, education expenditures are about 7.6% of the GDP. Approximately 30% of Costa Rica’s national budget is spent on education. The students wear uniforms here in order to keep social and economic distinctions transparent. Education is both free AND mandatory in Costa Rica.
So back to my trip….I check in at Atlanta, put my luggage back through and then pass through security. This is when I learn that apparently rhinestones and studs (which spell Hard Rock Cafe on the front of my shirt) are cause to get a feel-up from TSA. I mean FEEL UP. She rubbed her hands up and down my chest more than…. well you get the picture. All due to the studs and rhinestones…AND they are VISIBLY on the front of my shirt! Guess which shirt I did NOT wear back”?
The week in the States was awesome. I spent a number of days helping my parents put up their Christmas stuff. I’ve always I always thought it must be difficult to get into the Christmas spirit in FLORIDA. Doesn’t “feel” like Christmas…doesn’t “look” like a Christmas card. We didn’t really have “white” Christmases in Virginia, but at least it was cooler, the leaves were off the trees and you wore something besides shorts. Well….look what I did…I moved to Costa Rica.
Some things I have really missed…like the selection at the grocery store. Some things I really don’t miss….like the traffic. Observations while visiting the States… I DON’T miss any of the restaurants; I DO miss the selections of spices; I DO miss the selection and pricing of cleaning products; I DO miss the ease of access to these things; I DON’T miss wearing business attire (even my high heels), I DO miss AMAZON; I DO miss some of my winter clothes and boots; I DO miss our recliner leather sofas, I DON’T miss the taste of the USA drinking water; I DON’T miss the media/news; I DON’T miss driving in the USA. – While in Tampa, I drove on the interstate across town to get some items and I was NOT comfortable! Albeit, I was also in a low-riding vehicle (Daddy’s vette)..but I haven’t driven over 30-35mph in 4 months! Felt like wuss….
So now, I’m back in Costa Rica. Christmas is going to be VERY different this year and I have VERY mixed emotions. Part of my journey back to the U.S. last week was to bring back some of my other ornaments, but I had too much stuff in my suitcases. I “muled” some items for our other fishing business friends here in Tamarindo and also wanted to bring back some spices and household things I have missed while here. For those who don’t know me or don’t know me well….I used to go ALL OUT at Christmas. Last year, I decorated our Virginia home with 14 Christmas trees, 65 nutcrackers, and various other decor. This year, I have 2 “skinny” trees I brought from the U.S., and a handful of ornaments. So other than that, some napkins and a Christmas Village item I brought from the States, that’s all I have. PLUS it DEFINITELY doesn’t feel “Christmasy” here. Heck…we are entering SUMMER. The other REALLY difficult part of this move is not having my son around for the holidays for the VERY first time (he’s 23). I get emotional just thinking about it….
So here we are in a tropical paradise (no complaints), rains have gone, winds have picked up, no flat tires lately (knock on wood), ginormous grasshoppers have waned greatly (YEAH), tourists are picking up, charters are picking up and we are finally getting into a rhythm….until we broke the glass coffee pot this week….now another scavenger hunt begins.. oh…by the way….I still don’t have my griddle