How bad is the crime?

This is a topic that everyone likes and doesn’t like to talk about.  Crime happens, it happens everywhere.  The more people you have in an area, the more crime that is going to happen.  That is just a fact of numbers.  Have I been robbed?  Yes.  I was also robbed in the US.  The person, or people, who robbed our house knew us. That much we do know.  We just couldn’t prove it, but we knew who it was.  The night we got robbed at our home there were about four other houses that got robbed that night.  All of this was planned by someone.  We live in a small town with only a couple of police officers.  So, while the cops were at one house taking a statement of what happened the people were onto another house robbing that one.  They knew the cops would be at the last house taking the statement so they knew they had time to rob another house.  It was very well planned.  It really brought our community together though.  It made us to be more aware of each others home, even letting neighbors know that they would be gone.  We make sure to keep our bushes on the side of the house cut down so our neighbors can see our house and we can see theirs.  We also have a couple of dogs now.  A lot of people won’t go near a house with a dog because they will bark and wake up the owners, or fear of being bit.  We have a small chihuahua mixed dog, she is the alarm system, and we have an American Stafford, he is the Calvary. It’s a good mix for us.

When we go out in town, I always carry my purse across my body, this prevents someone from just snatching it and running off.  Locally, my husband will keep his wallet in his back pocket, but when going to San Jose or another big city he carries it in his front pocket.  Petty theft is the biggest thing to really worry about.  Documents and credit cards can be replaced, so I don’t recommend carrying around a bunch of cash.  Don’t be flaunting your cash either, that just makes you a target and look arrogant here.  Expensive jewelry, leave it at home.  If you want to wear something that looks nice, just get some costume jewelry, no one here is going to really know the difference.  People here don’t really care what brand your clothes are, what brand your phone is, if you have the most high fashion purse, they care if you treat them well.  They also don’t care if you have the biggest house or the nicest car.  They care more about the kind of person you are.  But that is another topic.

When in the city, just be aware of your surroundings.  If something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t.  And never let a taxi driver tell you the meter is not working.  They are lying.  Just get out of the taxi and get a different one.  Pure and simple.  In the city, only use official taxis, they are red with a yellow triangle on the side.  Be street smart, which I know for a lot of people is very difficult.  This is a foreign country with different laws and a different language.  The court system can be extremely slow and hardly any results for petty theft.  Always file a report though, even though it will take a while to do so.  Most of this goes unreported by the locals.

I will say about the night we got robbed.  The police came out to our house at 2 am.  We filled the report with them.  They told us that the OIJ will be out later in the day to investigate and for us to not touch anything.  The OIJ is like the FBI in the US.  Well, they did actually come out to the house and dusted for prints, found nothing.  I do believe that they went to the other houses as well and did the same thing.  They called me about a week later to ask if I knew anything else or had anymore information for them.  I had nothing.  Then one day, about two weeks after the break-in, someone showed up at my gate telling me they found my purse.  We followed him to his house, I think he was drunk at 10 am, and he had my purse with all my documents in it.  The cell phone, camera, and MP3 players were gone though.  But the IDs were more important.  Also, the turtle eraser and gorilla key chain was gone.  I was most upset about the turtle, long story.  I went back to the OIJ and told them what had happened, they were shocked.  Then about two months later they called me again to do a follow up.  Still nothing new.  I feel this is one of the advantages to living in a small community.  More people seem to care.

I have gotten to know several police officers in my town, they get rotated out every so often.  I was taking my dog to the vet and one stopped me to ask about him.  He was very impressed with him.  He was very nice and respectful to me.  One cop I gave a puppy to, since we had 5 that needed homes.  He looked like a kid at Christmas when I finally gave it to him.  This guy was over 6 feet tall and had a lot of muscles and he was just glowing with joy over this little pup!  It was so cute.  I have never had a problem with the cops in my area, many have stopped us just to talk about where we are from.  We have never been asked for ID.  It’s good here.  I know a lot of people have had very bad experiences with cops and the justice system down here.  But that to happens everywhere.  Well, if you have any questions just ask.  Until manaña, Pura Vida.

The Bus

Taking the bus, you either love it or hate it.  Taking the bus can be a very good thing.  After all you can go anywhere in the country for very cheap.  You let someone else do the driving while you take in the sights.  A lot of people ride the bus so it cuts down on how many cars are on the road so it cuts down on emissions.  It’s a really good thing…most of the time.

Now, remember this is just my personal experiences so I can’t say what everyone else goes through.

Waiting for the city bus, even in San Jose, you need to flag them down like a taxi.  Just because you are standing at a bus stop, doesn’t mean they are going to stop for you.  I have seen people sit at a bus stop for hours not wanting a bus.  Why?  I have no idea.  I think they just wanted out of the house and probably away from the kids.  You really need to pay attention when waiting for your bus as well, otherwise they are going to pass you by.  Make sure you read the front of the bus to know it is the right one or not as it is approaching.  Wave that arm until they stop, or you see them put on their turn signal to pull over.

Waiting at the bus terminal can be a real bear at times.  They start lining up about 30 minutes before the bus is scheduled to leave.  We always got in line then so we could get our favorite seats, way in the back with leg room and no one kicking you in your back or the person in front of you reclining their seat into your lap.  Some buses are much nicer than others.  You have your typical city buses that do short routes, then you have your bigger buses that do the longer routes.  Those are usually the 2-4 hour rides.  Some of those have A/C, but not all of them.  Oh, and we do have some double-decker buses down here too.  I have seen those going to and from San Jose and Limon.  I was always very happy to get on a bus that had A/C.  When they first started these buses in our area people didn’t realize that they had A/C and always tried to open the windows.  The bus driver would yell at them to close it, they finally got the hint about it.

So, we do have some really nice buses here.  Not the chicken buses like you used to see in the movies, not an old school bus, but real buses.  The old school buses are usually used as work buses for pineapple farms and such.  Also, in my area we don’t have real school buses.  We have the 15 person passenger vans that pick up the kids.  The parents are responsible for paying or the transportation also, not the government.  I have a friend that drives one of these.  They are trying to get it changed to where the government does pay for the transportation, it would really help out a lot of the families who are poor and don’t live close to the school.

Well, some days are better riding the bus than others.  My husband and I would do our best to not take the bus on a Friday, that is when everyone gets paid.  Also, never go to a bank on Friday because it is packed.  There were times that there would only be a few of us on the bus at a time, then there were times it was standing room only.  Imagine taking a two hour bus ride through the mountains while standing.  Done that before.  I have seen it so crowded that the bus driver will get up and tell people to keep moving to the back of the bus to make more room.  Then you have someone who needs to get off the bus through this crowd of people.  It can take them several minutes just to try to make it to the door.  This makes the ride that much longer.

The bus is very reliable though.  It is cheap too.  It can just take a while.  We finally did buy a car.  My back was getting to the point that riding the bus was extremely painful.  Standing and waiting and then sitting for a few hours without getting up, after that I am in a lot of pain.  I have to be able to get up and move every so often.  I have included a link to a youtube video that I think you will enjoy.  It does help to explain how the bus can be at times. It is not always like this though, but it does happen.  Until manaña, Pura Vida!

http://amzn.to/1VvxQcR

Losing friends along the way

It has been just over four years since my husband and I moved to Costa Rica.  We packed up our two cats, lots of clothes, and a few nick-nack items and away we went.  We had three suitcases, several large duffel bags, and a couple of hiking backpacks (those have really come in handy here, they are great for going to the farmers market and loading up with goodies, makes it much easier to carry everything) and away we went.  Within those four years I have been back to the US a total of three times and my husband has never been back.

Before the big move you will have a couple of types of friends and family.  You have the ones who say they are happy for you and can’t wait to come and visit you.  Then there are the ones that say you are being selfish and only thinking of yourself.  Still, there are some who say you are going to hate it and be back.  You also have people who will tell you that they will keep in touch no matter what.  Now, we do have a US phone number through Skype.  I pay $30 a year for the number and $20 every three months for the service.  We get unlimited calling to and from the US.  I had one friend that I really kept in touch with and she kept in touch with me.  She has since passed away this year from cancer.  I had best friends who said they would call and never have.  I have called them and they never returned my calls.  This will happen to you also.  Be prepared.

It is one thing to have them on Facebook and for them to comment on something you post.  It is a whole other ball of wax to even get a simple message from them.  I get very few.  But it is OK.  I know they have their lives that they have to live, they have work, they have kids.  My child is an adult now and moved out.  We are retired.  But do prepare yourself for this if you move to a foreign country.  I pretty much knew it would happen.  I have made more friends along the way, some have become like family to me here.  I am grateful to be here in this beautiful country.  But never believe someone when they tell you that they will come and visit you after you move.

Oh, and don’t forget about the guilt they will put on you for not going and visiting them in the US.  Hello!  We moved down here for a reason.  I really don’t want to go back.  My husband doesn’t either.  You will get all sorts of people telling you that you need to go and visit them.  They will try to lay a guilt trip on you about not seeing your family, not being there for a special occasion, or something else.  Don’t let it get to you.  Seriously, if they wanted to see you in this beautiful place they would.  Now, I do have many friends that I know can’t afford to come down to visit.  They have kids and can’t afford to fly all of them and take a few weeks off work.  This I do understand.  But they need to understand also that we are on a fixed income and can’t just pack up and go back whenever they want us to.  We are still investing in our little home fixing it up.  Are we being selfish?  Maybe.  Do I care?  Not really.  I spent years working two and three jobs at a time getting nowhere fast.  This is my time here.  If you want to be a part of it, great!  If not, that’s OK too.  Until manaña, Pura Vida!

On a side note I will say that I have made many wonderful friends along the way, many who have become like family.  I do not regret moving here at all and love it.

http://amzn.to/1Vlvugx

Important decisions

The husband and I had been trying to sell the house.  We were thinking of going to either Nicaragua or Panama.  Our main reason for this was the cost of living.  It is high in Costa Rica when compared to other countries in Central America.  But we sat down and really talked about things.  We aren’t getting any younger, we had to have one of those conversations that you hate having when you get older.  At our age, why would we want to go through this whole process again of immigrating to another country.  That is a lot of time and money right there.  Plus, getting all the paperwork to take the pets and take them on the long trip.  The main thing that got us is that we bought this house.  Yes, we do still have a mortgage, but it’s not that much.  If we move to another country we would be going back to renting.  Again, at our age that could be a problem.  If something happens to one of us, the benefits are going to be cut down and it will make it difficult to afford rent with everything else.  If we stay here, the house can be paid for and the other one will always have a place to live.  So, we took the sign down today.  We figured why not just stay here?  We have great friends, neighbors that treat us like family, completely covered healthcare, and it is a great town that we live in.  I asked our neighbor the other day if he would cut down a tree for us in the yard; it was really in the way and causing problems with the car.  My husband and I both asked him how much to cut it down and he told us nothing.  His son even came over and helped him remove it from the yard. I think I need to bake him a cake or something for this.  We have planted other trees in the yard.  This tree though was going into our power and internet lines, the leaves were very small and falling into the car clogging up the vents also.  So now that it is out of the way we can also build our car port; if it ever stops raining.  We have a lot of plans for our little home.  We have been slowly adding to it since we bought it, it was an ugly little house and now it is a beautiful little home.  My new cleaning lady started today and she did an amazing job!  Very happy with her right now.  So, here we are and we aren’t going anywhere.  Until manaña, Pura Vida!  (Oh, and if you can’t tell…I love the color purple!)

When we first bought the house.

When we first bought the house.

The house after a lot of work. ( The roof is now green though.)

The house after a lot of work. ( The roof is now green though.)

Not doing a whole lot

It has been a pretty laid back and boring sort of week.  Not a whole lot going on for us.  I am actually looking at some sunshine right now though!  We need it after all this rain we have been having.  We have had crazy amounts of rain for this time of year.

Last week our clothes dryer decided to quit working.  Not happy, especially with all the rain, I can’t even hang them out to dry.  One day my neighbor came over and asked if she could use it. That is the first time she has ever asked to use it.  I think she wants one now but they are very expensive here.  Well, the husband went out and found someone to fix it for us.  He came out to the house and spent about 4 hours trying to figure out what was wrong, went and bought the parts, and fixed it.  Total cost was under $80 for parts and labor.  I will take that.  He also gave us a three month guarantee for parts and labor.  That was on a Monday and it worked fine that day.  We use it on Friday and the clothes come out super hot.  I had a feeling something was wrong.  Saturday, it didn’t do anything.  So, I call the guy back.  He came right out and took it apart again, found out what was wrong…again.  Had to wait so he could get to the store to get another part to replace it.  He told us he would be here Monday; I called and he wasn’t able to get the part and is supposed to be here today, Wednesday.  I really hope he gets this thing fixed today so I can do laundry; it is starting to pile up.

My cleaning lady quit.  She got another job in San Jose.  I was really sad to see her leave, but very happy for her at the same time.  After all she has three kids and this new job pays her a heck of a lot more.  She is trying to save up money to buy a piece of property and build a house.  Really smart lady.  She was so good at cleaning, very nice too.  We already miss her.

We also have some people staying with us from Spain right now.  They are going to be here for two more nights.  Very nice couple and easy to get along with.  We have hosted a lot of different people from a lot of different countries here in our little home.  It is a lot of fun getting to know them.  Sometimes there is a language barrier, we had one couple stay with us that knew very little Spanish and very little English, they spoke French.  We had a guy stay with us for so long that he started paying rent!  He also started calling us mom and dad.  We enjoyed having him here a lot.  He became part of our family.

I think the only other thing that has been going on is me trying to find an air cast.  I live in a very small town and this is not something that is used often here.  I have been to every pharmacy around and have been told that I will have to go to one of the bigger cities to find it.  I have tendinitis in my ankle and it is just not healing up this time.  I had an air cast before and used it for a couple of weeks and was good after that.  So, it looks like we are going to have to make a small trip one day soon.  I miss taking my dog on long walks.  It is good for him and me.

So, that is about it for right now.  Just a normal week in my little life, in my little house, in my little country, in my little town.  Until manaña, Pura Vida!

Animal welfare

This is a topic that really bothers me at times.  Most of you have already seen my post about Bruno, the American Stanford that we adopted.  Now, I have a huge soft spot for animals; I like them more than most people.  Animals, dogs and cats, have this way of giving you unconditional love.  They don’t care if you are rich or poor, if you are fat or skinny, if you have a big or little house, what kind of clothes you wear, whether or not you have the latest technology.  They will love you no matter what.  All they ask is to be loved and cared for and they do the same in return.

The first dog we had here was a street dog that came up to our house one day.  He was a beautiful German Shepherd and we named him Duke.  He was very emaciated and sick.  He was also under a year old.  We fed him, took him to the vet, and he stayed around for a long time.  He protected our house, and our neighbors house.  He was a beautiful dog.  But one day he up and left.  We seen him several months later walking with a little boy.  The boy loved the dog and you could tell Duke felt the same way about him.  Long story short, we let the kid keep him because we could tell they were happy with each other.

Then there was Grace, a black German Shepherd that showed up one day in our neighborhood.  She was very skinny and sick also.  She kept hanging around the neighborhood so I tried to get her to come to me.  I would throw out little bits of food for her to get.  It took me three days, but I finally earned her trust and she let me pet her.  That was all that it took.  She had so many problems it wasn’t funny.  She was anemic, a very low blood platelet count (so we couldn’t get her fixed any time soon) and she also had ehrlichia, which is a tick disease, and something else I can’t remember.  We had all sorts of blood work done, including an ultrasound.  She was a mess, but she turned into the sweetest dog.  We were waiting for her to fully recover before getting her fixed, then she went into heat just as she got better.  She got out on us and ended up pregnant.  Poor thing had to have a cesarean section to have the puppies and my vet spayed her at the same time.  Just over 4 months later she died of a heart attack.  She was still very young, maybe three years old, but we believe it was because she had the ehrlichia before.  It can have side effects that last a lifetime.  I cried my eyes out over her.

Before all of this was Spot the cat.  He was a stripped kitten with a little spot on his nose.  He was about 4 weeks old when he came to us.  He was thrown out of a plastic garbage bag at our front gate!  He was so tiny, his eyes were still blue.  We took him in and our older cat took him under his wing and helped him every step of the way.  I had never seen an adult male cat care for a kitten the way Boo-Boo did.  They even napped together.  Boo-Boo was from the US, we brought him down with us.  He was a rescue too.  He had been hit by a car when he was found and brought to us when we were living in Ohio.  Boo-Boo passed away just over three years ago.  He was a very good boy and is still missed.  Spot passed away about a year and a half ago.  They both passed away from the same thing, a urinary track blockage.  My vets tried their best to get them unblocked but couldn’t.  There was nothing they could do.  With my medical background they even showed me what was going on, let me in and explained to me what they had tried to do.  I cried like a baby.

Now there is Arainia.  I found her as a kitten at a bus terminal.  She was severally emaciated, I held up her leg and could light coming through because there was no muscle tissue.  She was about 7 weeks old and weighed 500 grams, 1.1 pound.  I got her onto the bus with me and took her home.  We made some soft food for her to eat that night.  She was so weak that she couldn’t even hold up her head.  I was afraid that she would be dead by morning.  I got up the next morning and went into the bathroom and got the carrier I had her in.  She was meowing at me.  I got her food and she dove into the bowl, not even giving me time to put it on a plate!  We knew we had a fighter here!  We rushed her to the vet and got her checked out.  My vet about cried with how small she was.  One month later she had tripled her weight!  She has grown into a beautiful cat now.  Very sweet and loving, she just still doesn’t like Bruno.  But my other cat, Coal, likes Burno and even puts up with getting dog kisses!  (Coal is from the US, and is 7 years old now.  We adopted him when he was only four months.)

Well, that is the background on our babies and some of what we have been through with them.  That is not even close to being all of it.  I am writing this today because of what I saw yesterday at one of the vets I go to for cat food and cat litter.  The kind I use I cannot get here in my town.  It is a small town and cats are not that common to have as an indoor pet.  Yesterday I saw three of the tiniest kittens, their eyes were just starting to change colors.  They should have still been with their mother, but they don’t know where she was.  They were very dirty, their ears were a nightmare and their little bums needed to be cleaned off, something their mom would have done for them.  This is not even the worst part.  Outside the door they found a bag, similar to a big burlap bag, with three cats inside it.  Someone put these cats inside this bag, tied up the bag, and then just dumped it off!  They were so beautiful.  I think the one was the mother of the other two.  They were very hot, as they were panting, and you could see the confusing on their face.  I wanted to bring them home, but there is no way I could have.  We already have two cats and two dogs and are on a fixed income.  But things like this happen more than people realize.  There are plenty of dog rescues around and people that work with dogs, but I have not found any that work specifically with cats.  I want to do something about this.  But it would take a lot of money and time.  It would also take convincing the husband.  (He is a good husband.)  I would like to build a catio and take in up to five cats at a time and adopt them out.  This way, I could continue the work of saving these precious creatures of God.  But it all comes down to money.  I would have to build a wall around my yard first, put in drainage ditches, put gutters on the roof, and then build the catio.  There is only one place that I could build the catio and that is on the front porch and when it rains it gets a lot of water on it.  So there is a lot I have to do to keep the water off of it.  No easy task.  Then there is the problem of coming up with the money of feeding them and getting litter for them while they are here.  We would have to have donations.  I feel like this is something that is worth while doing and I feel that it is a good cause.  If anyone has suggestions, please let me know.  You can always comment and I will get it in my e-mail first.  If you don’t want me to publish your comment let me know first.

Looks like he was laughing.  This was when we first found him.  He was still thin.

Duke-Looks like he was laughing. This was when we first found him. He was still thin.

She was so sweet.  This was when she was still sick and we had to keep her close.  Hated having her on a chain, but we spent a lot of time outside with her.

Grace-She was so sweet. This was when she was still sick and we had to keep her close. Hated having her on a chain, but we spent a lot of time outside with her.

The Princess Arainia.  Precious kitty.

The Princess Arainia. Precious kitty.

My favorite picture of Spot and Boo-Boo.  They were a pair!  Always playing together.  Now they are together across the rainbow bridge.  I miss them both so much.

My favorite picture of Spot and Boo-Boo. They were a pair! Always playing together. Now they are together across the rainbow bridge. I miss them both so much.

My Coal kitty.  Been with me for 7 years now.  Loves to give me kitty kisses on my nose!

My Coal kitty. Been with me for 7 years now. Loves to give me kitty kisses on my nose!

Owning a Vehicle

Back in March we finally bought a car.  It is an older car, 2002 Hyundai Accent.  Only had about 65,000 kilometers on it.  Car was imported directly from South Korea.  We even found a 10,000 Won bill in it.  I will tell you that cars here are not cheap by any means.  We have a very high import tax and they hold their value over the years.  If you are looking for an SUV or something with four-wheel drive, you are going to pay for it.  Cars can cost twice as much as they do in the US.  I have seen used cars here that you would pay $3,000 for in the US cost around $7,000 here.  No joke.  Not to mention the price of gas as well.  For regular unleaded you are looking at just under $5 a gallon, diesel is a little cheaper.  But we don’t produce any of our oil and it all has to be imported.  I can tell you that we are not the most expensive in the world, but we are definitely not the cheapest either.  We do have the highest gas prices in Central America, and the worst roads.

The roads here can tear up your car pretty quickly if you are not careful.  In the city it’s not too bad, but once you get out into the country side and find those roads that aren’t paved, it can get pretty rough.  The street I live on is not paved.  We have a hole so big down the road that the neighborhood kids could use it for a kiddie pool.  Plus with all the rain we have had lately, even the good roads have holes in them now.  When we go out we get to play my favorite game while driving, pothole dodging.

Driving here is another adventure.  The Ticos are the  most laid back and relaxing people in the world, until you put them behind the wheel of a car, or on a motorcycle.  They drive like maniacs.  The speed limit in our area is right around 60 kph.  We will go 80 kph and still get passed like we are going the opposite direction.  I think they believe the speed limit is the slowest that you are allowed to go and anything over that is fine, the faster the better.  A stop sign is for decoration only, it has no meaning.  Just make sure you look before pulling out, not everyone does.  A double yellow line is to make the road look pretty, it has no meaning either.  I have had people on motorcycles pass me on the right without a second thought about it also.  Stopped in traffic, people on motorcycles will just cut down the middle in between the cars, why not?  They are small enough to fit through there.  Out of the city also, it is not uncommon to see a family of three or four on one motorcycle; and that little 125cc is really struggling.  It doesn’t matter if it is raining, they are still out on the family bike.

Now for the maintenance.  We have had a couple of small problems with our car, after all it is older.  We had a leak under the dash that was pretty bad actually.  My friends step-son is a mechanic and works at their house.  We took the car over to have him check it out.  He found where the leak was coming from, had to take the corner panel off the car to get to it, had to put silicone around a cable to stop it, and did a tire rotation for us.  Total cost was under $16.  The door handle on the passenger side broke.  We bought a new one for under $10 and are having it installed for under $6.  My husband used to be a mechanic in the US, we just don’t have the tools here for all of this, and said that one of the places he worked at charged about $150 to replace the door handle.  He took the car for an oil change a while back, they checked everything on the car, even the suspension, and he was charged about $30 including the oil.  (Oil is expensive here.)

So, always find a mechanic that you can trust, it can be difficult to do.  Make friends with the locals and you won’t have any problems finding what you need.  Until mañana, Pura Vida!

 

Just found this a few minutes ago and wanted to add it in.  These are the fines for traffic violations.  Don’t use your cell phone and drive.

 

http://www.costaricalaw.com/Driving-in-Costa-Rica/costa-rica-traffic-fines.html

Baby Bruno

I woke up this morning to my dog telling me that he needed out.  He is so funny about it as he just looks at me and I can feel him staring at me from the other room.  I will hear him shake his body when he stands up and then feel the stare down.  He is a rather big boy, about 60 pounds and we adopted him two months ago today!  We had to drive all the way down to San Jose to get him, just over two hours each way.  He was in a foster home for less than a week when we picked him up.  He had been beaten and left without food for a long time.  He was very sick and emaciated.  The people who rescued him had to get the police involved to get him removed from the home.  They took him to the vet and got him on a couple of different medications for infections.  On the way home, I rode in the back seat with him and he sat in my lap almost the entire way home.  All he could do was just smile.  He even gave me a couple of kisses on the way home.  This poor dog had the worst case of diarrhea that I had ever seen in any animal, it was straight up water.  We were so afraid of him getting dehydrated it wasn’t funny.

We brought him home on a Saturday and that Monday I took him to my local vet to get checked out by  him.   My vet immediately fell in love with him.  He couldn’t get over how sweet he was.  He got me some vitamins and some anti-diarrhea medication to go with his other meds and home we went.  He started doing better the following week, but then he started again.  This time I took him to my other vet that speaks English.  Her office is much farther away from us and I only go to her if I need to communicate really well or I believe there is a major problem that needs to be tested for.  My local vet is wonderful, but his office is very small and doesn’t have a lot of the equipment that she has.  We did so many tests that day, poor thing was starting to get frustrated with us.  He was so tired of getting poked and prodded in places that should not be prodded.  Every test she ran kept coming up negative, which is really a good thing.  From there we decided just to try switching his food.  Wouldn’t you know it, that worked!  He started getting so much better, then we gave him a bone.  A real bone from a cow and he started getting sick again.  He didn’t want to walk very far, he didn’t want to play, he wasn’t eating very much at all and not drinking a lot either.  Back to the vet.  I take him back to my local guy.  Too much fat on the bones, his body can’t handle it.  It caused him to get dehydrated.  Thank God this guy is awesome because I didn’t actually have the money at the time for this.  He told me not to worry about it and pay him when I could.  (Love living in a small town.)  It took me two weeks to finally be able to pay him as they had moved buildings and didn’t have their credit card machine working yet.  I think I went in four different times to try to pay and they phone company kept telling them mañana, so that is what they had to tell me.  We actually got a good laugh out of it.  (It is easier to use my card here as credit than to pay the ATM fees as it is still in the US.)  Finally when my husband was with me he said chuck it and used his card at the ATM to pay them.  His account is here though.  By the time I paid the bill I had several bags of dog food on it, flea medication, and the cost of the vet bill for the IV and treatment.  I think it was right around $70 for everything.  Not a bad deal.

So today I take Bruno back to the vet to start his vaccinations, as I have no idea which ones he had or when.  We walk in and my vet just smile ear to ear!  He couldn’t get over how beautiful he looks.  He has put on a lot of weight and muscle and has turned into a really handsome dog.  He is so sweet and gentle, as long as he knows you.  When I get him in the morning to take him out he gives me a little kiss on the side of my face.  If I let him he would curl up in my lap, which he has done before.  All he asks is to be loved.  I am so glad that he is a part of our little family here, he has been a wonderful addition to it.

This is the first day we brought Bruno home.

Burno1

At the vet, he just fell in love with him.

bruno2

Getting his IV and medications.  He was so good that day.

bruno3

This was under a month ago.

bruno4

This was not too long ago.  He looks so much better now.  After his vaccinations he will be getting fixed.  He is our big baby Bruno.  He is an American Stanford.

bruno5

Small town life

There are so many things that I truly love about living in a small town in Costa Rica.  But today was awesome.  The area I live in, Sarapiqui, has been having lots of rain and flooding.  Many people are displaced and in need of help.  The husband and I went out today, I really needed to get out, and took a drive.  We were mainly on a mission to go to the eye doctor for a quick exam.  We had to travel a few towns over for this, not a big deal really; but along the way we could see the river was receding in our area.  We could see lots of trees washed up along the river banks, even saw a huge tree on its side in someone’s yard.  But you could also see people sitting at a soda having lunch and taking it easy.  People sitting on their porch with their family relaxing.  It was nice to see.  We got down to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, driving through town we noticed the Red Cross, there were so many people there working.  More ambulances than I have ever seen there, more people in uniform than ever before. Looked like everyone was working a double shift.  Police were out in full swing patrolling the streets.  You could see aid packages being unloaded from trucks.  It looked as if everyone was working together.  Police were talking to people on the streets, no one looked like they were in any confrontation with them either.  It was a relaxing atmosphere.

Well, we stopped by the post office and checked the mail.  Still didn’t get my package, it was probably confiscated.  Too bad, I was looking forward to making some really good chili with those spices.  After that we went to the eye doctor, she was supposed to open at one after lunch, it was 1:20 and she still wasn’t back…Tico time see previous post.  So we stopped into a soda and got a very yummy chicken empanada and a Coca-Cola.  Decided to check the eye doctor again; yup she was back.  We walk in without any appointment and ask about getting the husband and eye exam.  No problem, what’s his name and have a seat.  We wait a whole ten minutes and he is taken back and of course I have to go with him.  Poor hubby has hearing problems and hasn’t been able to learn Spanish no matter how hard he has tried.  He has really tried too.  I tell the doctor what has been going on, he had been getting headaches and thinks it is the glasses.  Well, we were right.  The doctor was very awesome, super friendly, constantly smiling.  She knew very little English, but we got through everything.  We discussed our options with the glasses and which type of bifocals he wanted.  I let her know that he really loves the frames that he already has because they actually fit him perfect and are in great shape.  No problem using them again and just getting new lenses.  The cost of the eye exam was 2,000 colones, under $4 right now.  Cost of the new lenses for lined bifocals, 17,000 colones, under $34.  We will take that!  For no line bifocals it would have been 34,000 colones, under $68.  But we are trying to save a few colones here and there.  (Last time we got our eyes checked we were in a bigger town and the cost was 5,000 colones.)

I don’t think this eye doctor gets very many gringo patients because she seemed super excited to work with us.  She has a very simple office, nothing fancy, could definitely use a paint job.  But her professionalism was above and beyond what I expected.  She used the old glasses type apparatus to get your prescription, so she is manually picking up different lenses to insert into the glasses instead of just flipping them.  This is a much harder and longer process.  Hubby loved the prescription and was reading things perfectly clear.  No shadows or blurs when she was done.  I will be going back to get my eyes checked with her soon also.  I would also recommend her anyone in this area.  She was an absolute joy to be around.  Pura Vida!

Tico Time

Now this is something that really took some getting used to because where I am from everyone is always early.  Here, we have what is called Tico Time.  Tico Time is getting things done and/or being somewhere whenever they get done or whenever they get there.  It is no specific time, they are always late.  If you invite someone to your house and you want them there at three, tell them to be there at two and they might be on time.  Ticos are never in a hurry to get things done, unless they are driving.  They are the most laid back and relaxed people I have ever met, unless they are driving.  That is a whole other blog post.  Also, when it comes to having something installed, like internet, just be patient and be prepared to wait.  They will eventually get there, don’t plan anything for the week of the appointment and plan on being close to home so you can get there when they show up.  Another thing, they will tell you mañana, which literally means tomorrow, but here that could mean next week.  Sometimes it can mean next month, or I will eventually get to it when I can.  It is almost as if time does not exist or is even important to most people.  Things get done when things get done.  You have to learn to be patient and go with the flow.  Now, there are times when this can be a serious problem like in cases of an emergency.  But don’t get angry, just relax and be nice, this will get things done much easier.  If you are unpleasant with them, they will not want to be around you and will push you away and make you wait even longer.  You can kindly let them know of your disappointment in the situation, but don’t yell, scream, or cuss them out, that will just get you kicked out of somewhere.  I have met some of the sweetest, kindest, and wonderful people since moving here.  Friends that I consider to be my family now.  You just have to remember to be patient and kind.  Every time I go out I am smiling, and they smile back.  So, until mañana, Pura Vida!