THE TWO OUT OF THREE RULE

Wildfire In Costa Rica

Costa Rica Cost Of Living Update: 1 Pound of Kiwis— $2.81

It’s a rare occurrence when we have all three of our utilities (electric, water and phone/Internet), working at the same time. We just survived a month without the Internet due to a wildfire that came uncomfortably close to our house. Thankfully, a new line was installed and it started working again. And when I mean working, I mean my upload speeds are equivalent to the World Wide Web circa 1988. While others are enjoying Google Glass, it takes ten minutes to open my inbox. If you gave me a spiral perm and a few floppy discs, it’s my freshman year in college all over again.

Now, it’s not my Internet but my water that is off. This creates anxiety since dishes pile up, dirty laundry accumulates, and anything that gets sticky stays sticky. And since my husband is currently on a mango kick, he seems to get the stickiest of all. Continue reading “THE TWO OUT OF THREE RULE” »

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BUILDING UP AN APPETITE


Costa Rica Cost of Living Update: Misc. PVC parts and glue to fix a garden faucet that exploded outside—$26 (Rob said men would like to know this.)

Our first episode of Building Up An Appetite is almost finished! Here is a sneak preview of the cooking segment. This clip was shot in a gorgeous house, Villa Bougainvillea, with a ridiculously beautiful pool and view. I could have filmed there all day.

It’s also the place where Rob periodically yelled out, “Stop sounding so Jersey.” I’m not quite sure what that meant. I didn’t say, “Badda Bing” once throughout the shoot. Nor did I tease my hair or discuss waste management.

I did wear lipstick, as per my mother’s advice. She had also advised me not to talk about monkeys, since according to her, “I’m heavy on the monkeys.” Apparently, my mother has become my publicist. My sister just told me not to say anything stupid. It’s the same advice she has given me for the past 20 years.

Thanks for watching. We can’t wait to release the entire episode . It was so much fun and I’m already teasing my hair for another segment… FuhGetAboutIt.

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MORNING MOMENTS OF ZEN


Costa Rica Cost Of Living Update:  Yummy Avocados— 72 cents Per Pound

My mornings are a lot different than when I was working. There are no more alarm clocks, snowy cars to brush off,  traffic, or stopping for a quick cup of coffee at a gas station.

I’m not rushed, aggravated, anxious, sad, exhausted, or any of the many things I felt during that forty-five minute drive to work. Now I wake up and can’t wait to start the day. Somehow, someway, I fixed what was ailing me.

I don’t have the perfect recipe for happiness, but I think it might have something do with being awake… wide awake. Present for all the good and the bad in one’s life. The recipe might also include watching a bunch of monkeys outside your window every morning. They never look rushed, aggravated, anxious, sad, or exhausted during their morning commute.

Monkeys can teach us a lot, one of which is we’re going to have to hang upside down to reach the sweetest flowers. I know exactly how that feels. It was when I stretched the farthest that I finally found what I was looking for.

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COSTA RICA OR BUST

Costa Rica or BustCosta Rica Costa of Living Update: Cost to get my oven fixed—I don’t know, the repairman never came back

This was the temperature one morning in New Jersey. It was also the temperature when I decided to help my parents by shoveling their driveway.

It was then that I felt a sharp pain and proceeded to get a Charlie Horse in my butt. I wasn’t aware this could even happen. But there I was, frozen in pain next to their Nissan Sentra. It would have made the perfect Christmas card.

When I was finally able to stumble my way back into the house, my mother instantly went into motherly mode by yelling at me for not wearing boots.

I died a little inside that day. I am happy to be back in Costa Rica and looking forward to blogging more and getting my third book out. As for my oven… I think it’s dead for good. But I’ll take a broken oven over shoveling snow any day.

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A HAPPY COSTA RICAN APPLIANCE THANKSGIVING

Costa Rican Toaster OvenCosta Rica Cost of Living Update: Hamilton Beach Deluxe Toaster Oven— $170

My oven is not working. In fact, I think it might have exploded. Rob turned it on and heard a loud bang. This isn’t uncommon: most of my appliances expire with this type of fanfare. They never just stop functioning, but instead go out like a Chinese New Year.

But I shouldn’t worry. A repairman came to our house and ordered the correct part. He said it would arrive in a week. That was four months ago. Perhaps I should have asked what week he had in mind. A week in mid-December? Maybe the week the next Explorer lands on Mars? These pressing questions always slip my mind.

So I gave in and splurged for a super duper Hamilton Beach toaster oven. “Horno de Mostrador!” it states on the box. How can I resist an appliance with that kind of advertising? “Maxima versatilidad,” it promises. I have to agree, when it comes to choosing a toaster oven, maximum versatility is prominent in one’s expectations. To think, I would have settled for it to just cook things.

It even includes a rotisserie. That part got shoved in the back of my cabinet… who am I kidding.

I’m happy to say that I’ll have a warm meal this holiday, and I wish a warm Happy Thanksgiving to you as well. It doesn’t matter what we eat, as long as we enjoy the people we are eating it with. And I’ll be enjoying mine with my husband and a bunch of howler monkeys, and doing it all with maximum versatility.

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ROB RESCUES A TURTLE


Costa Rica Costa Of Living Update: 15 oranges— $2.50

Rob and I took a road trip the other day and visited Playa Ostional. The “arribada” was occurring and we didn’t want to miss the chance at seeing tens of thousands of Olive Ridley Turtles make their way from the sea to lay their eggs in the soft sand. It’s such an incredible sight that no matter how many times I witness it, my heart expands like a confetti ballon of happiness.

Even though we saw hundreds of turtles lay their eggs in the sand, we were one day too early for the official “arribada.” “We’ll come back next year,” I said to Rob as we were taking our last picture.

That’s when we noticed a mama turtle wrapped in a net. She must have swam into it years ago, the threads strangling her front limb. No one had a knife so Rob started tearing the net with his bare hands. He wouldn’t give up, and finally was able to free the poor animal.

When you are married, you can often forget the great qualities of your spouse. While watching Rob save this turtle, he once again became my boyfriend. The man I hopelessly fell in love with. The one who promised that even though he didn’t have any money, he was going to do big things with his life.

I’m glad we missed the “arribada.” By going a day early, we had the opportunity to take some suffering out of this world. And unexpectedly, I also got the chance to revisit my boyfriend… the one who, without a penny in his pocket, promised me the world.

(read more about Playa Ostional in one of my previous posts “The Turtles Are Coming” )

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EATING GOOD IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Costa Rican GroceriesCosta Rica Cost Of Living Update: Produce Bill for the Week—$18

When not smashing his scooter or getting stitches, my husband joins me grocery shopping. This is our score for the week: eighteen dollars’ worth of fresh produce.

It’s easy to see that the food in Costa Rica is affordable if you choose healthier options. You’re going to pay a lot more if you buy Trix Cereal, Doritos, or any other imported American products. I love that I’m enjoying a healthy lifestyle while sticking to my budget.

And you’ll save even more money by loading it all on your fuel efficient scooter. That’s if you don’t factor in the medical bills after your husband smashes it—and his hand—into a ditch. But even that was a bargain.

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EMERGENCY IN COSTA RICA

Costa Rica Cost Of Living Update: 9 Stitches $80. Tetanus Shot $35. No wait time… priceless

It’s not every day your husband flies over his scooter after picking up a stool sample kit. Please, let me explain. Yesterday morning, Rob left to pick up a stool sample kit from the pharmacy to help access why I have been having stomach trouble for the past few weeks.

About an hour after he left, I hear yelling at our front gate.

“NADINE!”

“Hmm… Is someone outside calling my name? That’s peculiar,” I thought to myself before peering out the window. Continue reading “EMERGENCY IN COSTA RICA” »

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CATCHING THE BIG ONE


Costa Rica Cost Of Living Update: Fresh Mahi Mahi— $4.54 per pound

In the distance I see Las Catalinas’ Islands; it’s one of our destinations today. The Costa Rican captain of our vessel, WetAssII, navigates each wave with precision.  He anticipates each swell before effortlessly maneuvering the boat so that we barely feel the dips that can often lead to seasickness. This is actually turning out to be a smoother ride than most roads in this country.

As we race across the sea, a pod of dolphins leap out of the water and play along the side of our boat. They turn their heads to look up at us, and I’m tempted to reach down and touch their fins. As I lean in closer they all dart away. If we weren’t planning on fishing, I would jump into the ocean after them.

Fishing in Costa Rica is so much more than just catching a big one. Once you are a mile off shore, the view is breathtaking. The early morning clouds kiss the mountaintops before the unforgiving sun rays chase them away. This is my favorite part of the day.

The owner of the boat, Vicky, supplies us with a cooler of drinks, munchies, and sashimi straight out of the ocean. Our goal is to catch enough fish for dinner and to also share with the caption and crew. I’ve learned from living here to take just what I need. I find that the more I apply that principle, the happier I become.

Before heading back to shore we stop at a remote beach to snorkel. The coral is home to thousands of fish, all of which don’t seem surprised to see us. I’m always amazed to find that there are still unspoiled spots left on this planet. My husband is careful not to touch any coral while he takes pictures of this underwater Shangri-la.

Mankind spends much of its energy trying to obtain the unobtainable: lost treasures at the bottom of the sea or hidden scrolls in the deepest caverns. We search for the connections to our past as a way to explain our present and predict our future. I find many of those answers are hidden in the perfect day. And I just had one in Costa Rica.

www.wetasssportfishing.com

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STOP THE PRESSES… A ROAD IS GETTING PAVED

photo 1Costa Rica Cost Of Living: Head of lettuce (non-wilted)— 41 cents

There are many exciting things to do in Costa Rica like zip-lining, snorkeling, or horseback riding on the beach. However, nothing will elicit a bigger reaction from locals than discovering their road is finally getting paved. It’s not often this happens, but when it does you can all but hear your neighbors holler “hallelujah” from their porches.

 The dirt road from Surfside to Playa Danta is getting paved! For someone not living in this part of the country, it may be hard to understand just how significant of an event this really is. When I lived in the United States, I took for granted the fact that plenty of tax dollars were set aside to repair roads when necessary. Not always so in Costa Rica.

Costa Rican streets can quickly wash away during the rainy season, and turn into dust bowls during the dry season. Often times you will see people hosing down the road in front of their homes in a small attempt to prevent dirt from entering their residences.

Unfortunately, parasites and bacteria are deposited in these dirt roads by stray animals. Aside from the mess this makes, it also becomes a health issue for small children and the elderly as passing cars cause pathogens to become airborne. This project should affect many lives in a positive way. It’s great to know that this water—once spayed onto dirt roads—will be saved for Guanacaste’s water table.

Getting a road fixed is not the easiest thing, and often times it can take years of pleading with a municipality in order to get funding. Protests have been staged and sometimes a community may even close down a street in an attempt to raise awareness.

Workers have already brought in dump trucks full of stone and from the looks of things, it’s only a matter of time before the road is finished. The community is even starting to rally in an attempt to meet the needs of workers who have traveled from other parts of the country to make this happen.

I can’t wait to drive down to Sugar Beach or Playa Danta for boogie boarding and drinks by the sea. It’s going be a smooth ride folks.

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