It’s the little things

Well, since we have decided to stay here we have been working towards making the house more comfy.  Last month we invested in a new fridge.  Our last one was only three and a half feet tall and I had to defrost the ice box every two weeks.  So happy to have a big one that I don’t have to defrost.  Yesterday while I was out I saw a nice dinning table and chairs.  The one we had was literally falling apart.  We already lost one chair, while my husband was sitting in it!  This one is very nice, a very hard and heavy wood, it will last.   The old table, we put on the patio and just use the plastic chairs with it.  It’s nice to have a table outside now.   We were going to try to finance the new one so we wouldn’t have to shell out that much at once, but they wanted a co-signer.  So, since we didn’t finance it, they gave me an extra year on the warranty.  The new fridge actually has a 10 year warranty on it.  We still have so much to do.  We are still hooked up to our neighbors water line.  We need to get our own meter and have the lines put in.  We still need gutters on the house also.  We really want to enclose the side patio as well, stepping stones from the gate to the front porch would be awesome.  That would make it a lot nicer during the rainy season.  We still don’t have ceramic tile in the house, our floor is concrete.  Then there is our poor fence…it’s slowly giving into the weather.  It’s just going to take time.  We did just hire a new cleaning lady today also.  About $15 a day, once a week.  This will help me out so much with my back and hip problems.  Plus, the hubby has problems with his knees and shoulders.  (Retired USPS carrier.)  Just a few little things happening around here right now.  But it’s the little things that keep us happy.  You have to treasure them, if you don’t treasure the little things, you can’t appreciate the big things.

Healthcare and children

I know it’s been a while since I have posted anything here.  Sorry.  I will say, that after recent events we have deiced not to sell our house and move.  We are staying right here!  We have a great network of friends and neighbors that truly care.  I am not about to give that up.  So, this is what has happened…

Tuesday, my daughter started saying that she wasn’t feeling well.  She said her stomach was hurting.  Didn’t think much of it at first, probably just a little stomach bug…Nope.  Now, keep in mind that I have had medical training.  I have worked as a CNA and as an MA, had a ton of classes for many different fields.  Plus, last year, I spent a week in the hospital for an appendectomy.

Well, I checked my daughters temperature and noticed that she had a slight fever.  I asked her where the pain was, then I had her lay on the bed and I checked.  Guess what?  Appendicitis.  We hobbled down to the Red Cross, which is very close to our house and got an ambulance to the emergency clinic.  (We don’t own a vehicle.)  The doctor checked her out and then sent us to Heredia to the hospital.  It was an extremely long wait down there.  They may not be very quick, but they are very good at what they do.  I got a hold of my daughters test results and read them first before giving them to the doctor.  They were almost identical to mine last year.  We saw the doctor and he was saying that he didn’t think it was an appendicitis.  I raised some Hell with him and told him that a year ago mine was the same way.  Then we waited some more, and waited some more.  My daughter’s pain was getting worse, so I went up to the desk and started raising some Hell.  Was actually a little worried that they might kick me out.  We waited some more.  Finally there was a cleaning lady.  She asked me what was going on and I told her.  She went and got the pediatrician that was on duty.  He walked us to the back and got us a doctor right then and there!  Here I am, trying to speak to this doctor in Spanish and my brain is turning to mush at this point, I had been awake for more than 24 hours.  Everyone stopped and stared at me, you could have heard a pin drop.  Then a wonderful woman doctor came out that spoke great English for me.  She was so nice to us.  I was about ready to cry on her.  From there, they went ahead and started getting her ready for surgery.  It was still a long wait.  They have only a few operating rooms there and several people having surgery and three of the other people with appendicitis’.  It was about 5 in the afternoon when she finally went into surgery.  So, it was about 16 hours after we got there that she finally went into the OR.

Now, we live about 2 hours from the hospital.  I wasn’t about to come all the way back home.  Luckily I have a very good friend of mine that lives in the same town as the hospital.  I was able to stay with her and she took me back in the morning.  God bless her and her family.

When I got to the hospital, you have to get a security pass first before you can go up and visit anyone.  I actually like this idea.  They had her in the recovery room because there wasn’t room anywhere else.  I had to put scrubs on over my clothes, which is funny because I was wearing scrubs, but they had to be perfectly clean.  I was so happy to see my baby that I did cry.  She was smiling which made me feel good.  She told me that she had wonderful nurses and a few spoke English.  She doesn’t know any Spanish, just a few words.  Then I got great news, she was coming home that day!  Her appendix did not rupture and she had the surgery done laparoscopy.  I was so relieved.  I called my husband and let him know.  Then I had to call another friend to come and get us.

Now, my daughter is not on the insurance yet.  Her residency is still pending.  We went to the cashier to find out how much we were going to have to pay.  I was thinking I will just make payment arrangements.  But I knew the total bill wouldn’t be near as much as it is in the States.  I was thinking a couple of thousand dollars.  The most amazing thing happened.  The lady looked at me and said, since she is a minor there is no charge.  I about fell over and almost started crying again.  She smiled really big at me and I asked her again just to make sure.  She said, “She is under 18 and a minor, there is no charge.”  After that, we were on our way home.

We got home this Thursday and last night we had a problem.  She started having more pain and spiked a fever.  So, I walked quickly to the Red Cross, I can’t run, and got another ambulance.  They picked her up and away we went to the emergency clinic…again.  They immediately took her back.  They checked her out, did some blood work, got her on some strong antibiotics, gave her something for the pain, and back home we went.  We were only there for about two hours.   For pain medication at home, they gave her 500 mg of acetaminophen.  They do NOT prescribe narcotic pain medication.  I like that as well.  Keeps people from becoming addicted, blocks illegal sell of it, and it does cut back on crime.  But again, no charge.

Today she is doing great!  She is up and moving around.  The fever is gone, and the pain is a lot less.  It’s been a long week, glad it’s over.  So, today I am baking a homemade pecan pie, even the crust is homemade.  I love this country!

House for sale

Well, my husband and I have decided to continue our adventure elsewhere.  So, we are selling our house here in beautiful La Virgen de Sarapiqui.  The area is still not full of tourists, which helps to keep the cost of living lower here than in other parts of the country.  Our neighbors are wonderful and sad to see us move.  Give you an idea of how sweet our neighbors are.  I had surgery this past January, and everyday for a week my neighbor would bring me something over to eat that was homemade.  All the people on our street always wave and say hi as they are walking by if we are out.  We can walk to town and have people honk and wave at us.  It’s not a big town, but it is a wonderful town.  The bus stop is close, and we can get to anywhere in the country by bus.  We have never owned a vehicle here, the bus is cheap.  There is a lot to do in our town and surrounding area.  There are canopy tours, horseback riding, rafting, kayaking, guided nature hikes, chocolate tours, coffee tours, river boat tours and so much more.  Our house sits on top of a hill, so there is almost always a nice breeze.  Plus, it is a quiet neighborhood.  The house includes all furniture and cookware.  It is 2 bedroom and 1 bathroom, 57m2 and the lot is 200m2.  Furnishings include: flat screen TV, futon, stove with oven, small refrigerator, cabinets, pots and pans, plates and glasses, silverware, toaster oven, blender, small dinning table, twin bed, dresser, lap top desk, full size bed, closet, hot water shower, three fans, washer and dryer.  Already has internet and home phone, they run around $35 a month.  Utilities run between $30 and $45 per month, just depends on how much you use the dryer.  Local satellite TV is $25 per month, many channels come in in English.  Also, included is a prepaid local cell phone and a bicycle.  (kitten in the cone on the dinning chair is not included!)

We are asking $45,000USD for everything!  Comment if you are interested.  Thanks!

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Independence Day

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Happy Independence Day Costa Rica!  This was in my little town of La Virgen de Sarapiqui.  There is only about 8,000 people who live here and it’s a great place to live.  The people are super friendly, helpful and outgoing.  My camera went on the fritz today and was only able to get these two pictures.  Bummer!  But as you can tell they even get the kids involved here.  Had a great time with my family today.  There is a lot to do here in the Sarapiqui area, a lot of people still don’t know about our area.  Somewhat of an undiscovered part of the country.  It is very beautiful.

Getting your driver’s license

A few days ago my husband and I went for our Costa Rica drivers license.  It was an interesting and long experience.  I will give you the run down of what we had to do.  For starters, you have to have your residency card, Cedula, in order to get a drivers license here.  I do know also, that in September of this year it is going to change a little, everything is supposed to be going digital.  You will need a physical examination in order to get your license.  They used to ask for proof of your blood type, they didn’t ask us for this at all.  You will need two copies of everything.  This includes your Cedula, US drivers license, and your passport; the picture page and the page with your entry stamps.  For the first time you have to go to La Uruca to have it done at the Cosevi.  My husband and I had our physical done before we went, I highly recommend this.  It will save you a lot of time down there.  You will go in and wait in a line, they will call you to a window where you will give them all of your copies and they need to see the originals also, so take everything with you.  Then you will wait in another line to be called to a booth.  Here they will go through your information again, get your phone number and directions to where you live and an e-mail address, if you have one it isn’t necessary.  After this, they will give you a paper that is stamped to take to Banco National, it is only a short walk.  There is where you actually pay for your license.  Ours cost $8 each!  You go and pay then go back and wait in line again, the second line you waited in.  You will give them your receipt to show you paid, they will take your picture, finger print and you will sign.  That is it.  It did take us a couple of hours to get this all done.  It is really an easy process, it’s just a slow process.  I did a lot of reading about this before we went, but I figured it out.  Pretty much everything we have done here I have done myself and learned on the fly.  Also, if you don’t know Spanish, take someone with you that does know Spanish.  My Spanish is very limited, but I can get by.  I just ask them to speak slower and tell them that I am learning little by little.  Pura Vida!

Immigration update for Costa Rica

I just found this out the other day for those wishing to come here from the US.  You no longer have to send in your documents to the Consulate of Costa Rica to be authenticated! It has to do with the Hague Convention and the United States is now apart of it.  This means that once your documents are apostilled by the state they will be accepted here in Costa Rica.  This actually went into affect in December of 2011.  I found out because my daughter is coming down here and I needed to get all of her paperwork together.  I did call the Consulate of Costa Rica in Washington, D.C. to be sure.  This saves a step, and in some cases a lot of money.  You no longer have to go to the yellow house now either to get everything stamped and signed before taking it to the immigration office.  Another step saved.  Two years ago I did all of mine and my husbands immigration paperwork.  I did not use an attorney.  We got our residency without any trouble.  Hopefully I can do the same for my daughter.  It may be a little more complicated for her, since her dad is in the states, but I will have all the court documents stating that she is to come here and live.   I do have a friend that is an attorney here, and he speaks English, he told me that should be all I need plus the other paperwork for her.  Standard birth certificate, background check, transcripts from her school, plus the court documents.  He said we should be ready to go once she gets here.  Praying that it all goes smoothly.

So, now the paperwork goes from city to state and then to here.  Translated all into Spanish, register with the Embassy of the United States, pay deposits and stamps and wait.  Registering with the Embassy is $50, translation of documents did run about 5 cents per word, that can add up quickly.   Deposit is still $250 per person for pensioner status.  Then I have to buy her school uniforms.  Lots to do here for her.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

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We had an amazing time yesterday, if you can’t tell!  La Paz Waterfall Gardens is absolutely beautiful and worth the trip.  Yes, that is me and my hubby together; and yes he is a little older than I.  Holding and petting the toucans was probably the highlight of our day.  They are so soft and light.  I also couldn’t believe that I was able to get a picture of the Blue Morpho butterfly with it’s wings open.  That is the national butterfly here.  The waterfalls are beautiful, there are four of them.  We also got to see the big cats, monkeys, other species of birds and butterflies, and reptiles.  There was so much to see there.  We did notice also that the cages the animals are in, were very clean and they had a lot of their natural habitat in there.  There are around 500 steps to take, which just about killed my back.  I would do it again in a heartbeat, though.  I am paying for it today, but worth it.  We were able to get a discount there since we have residency here, it was only $20 per person for us.  Foreigner are $36 a person.  This does not include meals.  I really didn’t mind paying high prices for meals because I know it cost a lot of money to take care of the animals and to pay the workers.  They do have beautiful rooms, but they are very expensive.  Out of my price range.  I highly recommend this as a day trip for anyone considering coming to Costa Rica, it is well worth it.  One of the nicest places I have been to and many of the employees speak English.

Couch surfing

I signed up for this group on the internet called couchsurfing.  I wasn’t too sure about it at first, but we have had some pretty cool people stay with us so far.  Basically what it is, people who are traveling around the world and need places to stay for a few nights and instead of getting a hotel room, they look for people who has a couch that they can sleep on.  It’s a neat way to meet people and learn about other cultures.  The first time we had two girls stay with us from Norway. They were so nice and a lot of fun.  Right now we have a lady staying with us from the States, but she was originally born in Israel.  Very nice woman.  I can’t get out much these days, so it is nice to have people come here.  I didn’t know anything about this until I seen an article on it from one of our local papers about it.  They had posted it on Facebook.  Next month we are supposed to have a couple stay with us from Canada.  Looking forward to meeting them.  You can end up in some really nice places and I know you can end up in some not so nice ones.  But at least you always get a place to rest your head at the end of the day.  It’s a great way for people to travel who have a very limited budget, plus it gives you money to do other things.  If you are interested it is http://www.couchsurfing.com

The cone of shame

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My poor baby.  She got fixed at the beginning of March and hated the cone.  I felt so bad for her.  Luckily though she didn’t have to wear it all the time.  I did have a big problem though when I got her home.  My other cat, Spot, who was her best play mate no longer recognized her.  She had to stay over night at the vets.  She came home with all these different scents on her.  It took him several weeks just to get close to her again.  It was so sad.  She couldn’t figure out why he was being so mean to her.  He would walk up to her and hiss, growl, spit and then hit her on the head.  The look on her face was that of total sadness, I do believe she was crying.  But now they are doing better, still not like they used to be, but better.  Spot is still a little stand offish with her, but at least they are playing together again.  Arainia is our little Princess Purrs a lot.  I am so glad that I found her that fateful day back in November.

Soft spot for animals

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So, I have this really soft spot for animals that need help.  This is Duke.  He literally showed up at my front door last month.  He was very emaciated.  We didn’t know what to think of each other at first, we both jumped when we saw each other.  I took a chance and put my hand out…he licked it and wagged his tail.  I called to my husband who came around to the front of the house and Duke went to him and just wanted some lovin’s.  I don’t have the dog from before, I found him a great home with a great kid.  I didn’t have any dog food so I gave him some cat food.  I think that is why he came to our door, he smelled the cat food.  He showed up on a Friday, the day before I was telling my husband, “I wouldn’t mind having a dog, if he was a little older, used to being outside and didn’t bark at everything.”  I got exactly what I asked for.  He rarely every barks, but when he does the whole neighborhood knows.  He has put on at least 15 pounds this month already!  He has been to the vet and is getting his vaccinations.  He is a big lover with us, but very protective.  He is mostly German Shepherd.  I will say though, that he hates weed eaters!  He almost ripped the leg off the guy that cuts our yard, luckily we got there in time to prevent any damage.  He listens very well to us and is very intelligent.  I feel a lot better having him here.  We hardly ever have to chain him up, he stays right around the house.  I even learned how to bake homemade dog biscuits for him and he loves them. I do believe that this dog had a guardian angle, guiding him to our house.  I had never seen him before in our area, we have a lot of stray dogs around.  He is a very good boy and I already love him.