For those of you who don’t know (or never thought about it)…Costa Rica has skunks…..more later….
So MUCH has happened this past week. It’s funny how I don’t wake up on Monday wishing for Friday anymore. These days, I’m not even sure what day of the week it is, and it doesn’t really matter. We have charters that go out any/all of the 7 days (wish that was the case at the moment), so the only significant difference with the weekend is that banks and government offices are not open.
Last Friday (Sept 15th) was Costa Rica’s Independence Day. It is a MAJOR event here and EVERYTHING is closed. The day commemorates the country’s independence from Spain in 1821. There are parades all around (almost like mini-Christmas parades or Mardi Gras parades) with kids in band uniforms (in the heat) , costumes, people riding on trucks, and folks just celebrating….everywhere. In the central area of the towns, people gather like a county fair/family picnic and kids play games, everyone eats, etc. It is quite the affair and a very unified effort.
Saturday was the Tamarindo Beach marathon which we had been warned would leave us with limited or minimal access to getting in or out of town during the first 1/2 of the day. Little did I know or even CONCEIVE in my head that the festivities would start with FIREWORKS at 4AM!! Holy smokes….4 AM!!! Following the fireworks, we could hear the announcer with the megaphone “thingy “starting each and every race…they had 10k, 21k, 30k, and 42k races… The town was PACKED for the race. Just about every hotel, hostel, and apartment was booked. It was pretty cool to see all of the “healthy” people here just to run. Funny how I thought I would go down around 7am to see them off…..
Costa Rica’s wildlife inhabitants seem to be a mix of Texas and the Amazon. Yes…we have jaguars, monkeys, ocelots, sloths, jaguarundi, as well as armadillos, coyote, raccoons…and SKUNK. Yes….skunk. How do I know for sure? My DOG. I let my Puggle (pug/beagle mix) out for his last “quick wee”and next thing I know he DARTS behind the car. (Let me set this up…from our front door to the automatic solid metal gated door that swings open for us to leave…which is attached to a wall around the house…is about 25 feet.) After he darted, I see something small run to the side of the house. I think “that dang cat who peed on our beach towel outside”…and dread that my dog is going to chase him throughout the yard. However, the dog doesn’t follow. Curious, I head to the back of the car where my dog is rubbing his face on the gravel. I think “What?” and then “OH SHIT”. About that time….a waft of pungent air penetrates my nostrils and I anxiously corral my dog in the house, up the stairs and into the bath. When I say (so eloquently) “penetrate my nostrils”… I mean PENETRATE. Willingly and wanting, the dog is very cooperative in getting into the tub. Washing 1: Dog Shampoo followed by White Vinegar…followed by more shampoo. We then to back downstairs to a house that STINKS. No eloquent words needed. It is HORRIFIC. The house friggin smells. Facebook friends are now fully aware (thanks to my social media queen daughter) and have recommended tomato juice…we don’t have any….so Washing 2: A bottle of gazpacho followed by white vinegar followed by dog shampoo. Now…all I can say is that although gazpacho is tomato-based, at this point, all I can smell is that air that glued itself to my nose hairs with a touch of celery. Especially when the dog decided to shake in the midst of rubbing the gazpacho into his fur causing me to look like a victim on NCIS. Although the dog now smells a bit better (or tasty to some)…the house is still rancid. I parade through the house with my husband’s spray deodorant/anti-perspirant. Amazing how that disgusting odor carries even if he didn’t touch anything and all of the floors are tile.
After another suggestion via Facebook…the next day I ventured out for peroxide and baking soda. Washing 3: mix of baking soda/dishwashing liquid and peroxide followed by dog shampoo. Holy moly….although not the sweetest smelling dog in the world…he HAS to be the cleanest.
Good news? That ORIGINAL bank account we were trying to open? (We have another bank account opened a few weeks ago…but the 1st bank we approached, we’ve been trying to get an account opened since August 16th…)…well, the original bank’s account is FINALLY OPEN!! OMG. However, we won’t have online access or debit card until 9/29, but it IS open. I think of my former career as a banker and am speechless.
We found a house! Yes, we are moving mid-October into what may be our “real” home. It is just outside of town close to where we get gas, bread and a lot of our food supplies for the business. We will be at the top of a hill overlooking the mountains. You CAN see the ocean a bit from the pool..but that was not our big priority since we are at the beach all of the time. The house was built only 4 years ago and has many modern conveniences unlike the “traditional” Costa Rican home. Very few homes in Costa Rica even have dishwashers. Costa Rican custom is that the men serve as the “dishwashers” of the home. Bwahahaha…. Although I must say, my hubby washes the dishes at LEAST 1/2 the time, if not more.
We also released our FIRST monthly newsletter this week! Yes…went out to a little over 100 people. Hoping to increase our readership on that and am looking forward to getting those out each month. Things are moving along…too slowly for the hubby as to business volume, but it does help that it’s not too busy while we acclimate to the culture. Matter of fact…I (yes ME) helped 3 young European students in the phone store yesterday who were buying SIM cards and loading their phones while they are here studying. Yes…I was the communicator between them and the retail clerk. AMAZING. Who would’ve thought? By the way….phone costs here? Yes…we put about $5 on each of our phones about 5 weeks ago…and just went in to re-load with more time. THAT is nice.
We have also met someone who can help us with our residency. The ins and outs of legal requirements, government requirements, etc with owning a business and wanting residency is a bit daunting. However, if you work with an experienced and local “Tico”…it is supposed to be “no problem”. Yes…everything is “no problem”. We shall see…
But there IS something to that “no problem”. Think about what stresses you..is it REALLY a problem? Or is it a symptom? The truth is that there are often WAY TOO MANY things we cannot control…weather, what other people do, Mother Nature, animal instinct, public transportation and television programming…but the only thing we CAN control is the way we react to everything we encounter…good or bad. THAT is where stress is derived, formed, handled or thwarted. These days…I am trying to handle or thwart as much as possible. So take control of what you can. “Don’t sweat the small stuff. ” “Follow your dreams”…and you know, the old saying, “If it is to be, it’s up to me”.