Adventures in linving in Costa Rica

It can be an adventure to just live here on a daily basis.  I am not talking about going out and exploring the jungle kind of adventure either.  I am talking about trying to figure out how to get stuff paid kind.  Today was one of those adventures; and a long one too.

We started off going to the clinic to get a prescription filled.  I got the prescription last week and they didn’t have it at my clinic so I had to go to another one to get it.  I went on a Saturday to get it filled.  They wouldn’t fill it on a Saturday because it wasn’t an emergency, they told me I had to come back Monday through Friday.  So, I went today on a Tuesday.  It wasn’t that bad there, I think we only waited 30 minutes and there were a lot of people ahead of me.  So I finally got it and then we decided to go to the bank…that is where the adventure begins.

We get to the bank and take our number.  We note that are number is way down the line.  OK, this could take a while.  It took a very long while.  We waited two hours before being called up to the window!  By this time the husband is getting hungry.  Hungry husband means grumpy husband.  It’s normal and I still love him.  We get to the window and show the guy what we need.  It was written down for us on a piece of paper from the immigration office.  The guy looks at me and has no idea what we need.  I explain the best I can that we need proof that my husband’s pension comes here.  He finally gets it.  I ask him if he can just print out a list of the deposits, nope.  He can only print out all of the transactions.  Freaking really!?  OK, fine.  Print everything out for the past six months and stamp all the pages.  (We used this last time we renewed our residency and they accepted it, we will see if they will accept it again.)  Of course there was a charge for this.  Next, we need to pay for our declaration for our property.  That was actually very easy.  Cost for that was around $5 each.  The guy was very nice to us and felt really bad for how long we waited and apologized.  I was going to ask about doing the online banking, I think you need a special number to be able to do that here, but after being there for two and a half hours I just wanted to leave.  We take our paperwork and leave.  Next stop is the municipality building to file the declaration.

I always forget about having to fill out the one document before turning our paperwork in there.  We get to the front desk, I show the lady the papers and she helps with the other document; she was very nice.  She asked me if we needed to pay and I told I wasn’t sure but I didn’t think so.  She pulls it up on the computer and tells me that we owe for the garbage pick up.  Oh, we’ve never paid it before, but OK.  She told me we owed for the last three months of the year and it was about $16.  OK, not too bad.  So we then go and wait in a very long line where we play musical chairs.  When one person goes up to the counter, we all move forward one seat.  We were waiting in the very back when a lady at the desk looks at my husband and says something along the lines of, “Older gentleman, you are next.”  There actually is a law here that elderly and disabled are supposed to go first.  My husband is 65, so he can go first.  The lady seemed a bit rude at first, but then she lightened up and smiled.  I think she may have been having a bad day, we all were.  She puts everything through and said we were done.  But I had to tell her that we needed to pay for the garbage service.  She seemed surprised that I mentioned it.  She said we could go ahead and pay for all of this year if we wanted as well, another $60.  Why not?  This way we don’t have to worry about it.  Got that paid and we were finally on our way home for a very late lunch and some coffee.

Nothing is easy to do in this country when it comes to property and certain bills.  In many places you will notice that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.  It can be very frustrating at times.  Sometimes it takes multiple trips to different places just to get one thing done.  But it makes you feel very relieved when it is over.

So, be prepared that you may have several people tell you something completely different for the exact same thing.  It happens a lot.  The laws are always changing and everybody may not be completely up to speed on what you need.  Patience goes a long way here, especially with a friendly smile.  Until mañana, Pura Vida!


My town

The town I live in is a small town.  I think there is just over 8,000  people here.  I love it, but it is not for everyone.  We are not close to the beach, we do not have a lot of other gringos here.  It’s local, and we like that.

Yesterday when I got up my not-so-smart phone decided to not work.  I did the  normal things; turned it off and on, took out the battery, and so forth.  It still wasn’t working.  So, we go down to our local internet store where my computer guy is.  I show him what the phone is doing and told him what I tried.  I haven’t even had this phone for very long.  He pulls out the SD card for me so it doesn’t get erased and then does a hard reset on it.  Wipes everything clean, there was an error on the phone.  Puts it back together and said here you go.  I asked him how much and he told me nothing.  That wasn’t acceptable to me.  I gave him 1,000 colones and he was very happy with that.  Wished me a happy new year and I was on my way.

My clothes dryer quit working…again.  This time we called up a local guy, last guy was from Colombia, to come out and take a look at it.  He took the dryer completely apart, cleaned out the whole inside of it, replaced the parts with the proper ones, put it back together, and charged us 15,000.  Dryer hasn’t worked this good since we bought it.

Walking around town the other day and I decided to go into a hardware store.  My husband is looking at me wondering what I am looking for.  I really didn’t know, just wanted to look to see if they had anything new.  They did!  Finally found the perfect ceiling fan for our dinning room.  Our rooms are very small so we had to find something with small blades on it and it had to have a light.  Not the easiest thing to find where we are at.  Turns out the guy we were working with used to live in Atlanta and knew some pretty good English.  Ended up giving us a discount on the fan.

When we first moved here we didn’t have anything and got a lot of stuff given to us when we moved into a house that wasn’t furnished.  Slowly over time as we have been getting new things we have been taking everything that was given to us and giving it to someone else who may need it.  We did that again today, had a friend come over and pick up some stuff to put it to good use.

We feel that we have been very lucky and blessed to live in the community that we live in.  We have great neighbors and great friends.  It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect for us.  That is what you have to find for yourself.  What you may like, want, and need will not be the same as the next person.  Remember that when you are looking to move here, or even visiting here.  Everyone likes something different.  Until mañana, Pura Vida!