Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category
While I absolutely love the hub bub of the holiday season approaching, this time of year really drains me, mentally, physically and emotionally.
In our 45 years of marriage, we’ve never lived any where near relatives….however, we’ve lived in 5 different states and have many friends still in those old haunts. And with Facebook, it’s a real treat to re-connect with old friends. Our family is scattered all over the US and it’s virtually impossible to do the family Christmases we had when the girls were little.
The worst part for me is the shopping. I like to do handcrafts and it’s just impossible to find fabric and all the notions, etc. in a one stop shop! Usually, I just get frustrated and head home – ticked that I can not get the things I want/need. Am slowly getting over that, tho’….or else the Pura Vida is slowly creeping in. Or I suck it up and pay the international shipping and then by the time my order makes its way to Costa Rica, I’ve forgotten what I wanted the things for.
Stopped at Payless Shoes yesterday because a friend was going to buy shoes for their “angel” from the angel tree; a pair of tennis shoes for a child was $26!!! It makes me sad, because the Costa Rican people we know and are friends with, can’t pay that for one child, let alone their family of 2, 3, or more children. I honestly don’t know how they do it – but they are so happy!
Am slowly getting used to the grocery shopping – still not quite sure what I’m getting in the meat department because “cuts” of meat here sure look different to me than they did in the Kroger meat department.
With Christmas approaching and it being the giving time of year, it would certainly be wonderful if every charity could spread out their “please give to me at this time of year”…..either that, or I need to learn to put aside a certain amount of money each month for the month of December. Probably will end up being the latter of that previous statement.
Our neighbor girls are excited about Navidad approaching. They come and go pretty much at will at our house – so I’ve really frustrated them! LOL Have started wrapping Christmas gifts so they have no clue who they are for! Mark said he caught Nazareth peeking in the window of the second bedroom looking at the wrapped gifts. This is the fun part for me. We’ve sort of adopted the two girls, Nazareth and Dylana, and their two cousins up the street from us.
Dylana will be graduating from 6th grade in mid-December. She wants clothes for Christmas….so I will take her shopping with the stipulation that she has to act surprised when she opens her gifts! Did that last year when I bought them shoes because I wanted them to pick out the shoes they wanted – and their expressions didn’t disappoint. As usual, Mark has no clue what’s in the packages, so he was the most surprised!
Maricela, the girls’ mother, has been asking me for two weeks, about the arbol de Navidad…she’s quite excited about the trees, yes, trees, going up soon. Last year was the first year the girls “had” a Christmas tree, even if it was at our house. They spent hours helping me decorate the trees. (One inside and one on the rancho.) And are eager to do it again this year.
Since a lot and I mean A LOT of people already have their homes decorated, I guess I’ll give in and get started with the tree decorating. According to Mark, he needs at least a 10 day notice to get all the bins, and boxes down for this endeavor! LOL
I was going to try and wait till after Thanksgiving, but think I’ll just jump on the bandwagon and go for it! Everyone will be happy! LOL And that’s what it’s all about, keeping everyone happy.
One thing that is really super wonderful here, is that all ex-pats take on “being your family”. We have so many wonderful friends here from all over. Disney is right, it is a small world!
Pura Vida for now as I give Mark his marching orders to get the Christmas decor down.
UPDATE: Forgot to mention that the girls and I made the 350 name tags for the Angel Tree Angels Christmas party! They love helping me do things like that!!!
Back in the old country when I was but a wee lass……May Day, May 1st, was a great holiday. We spent the week before May 1st making May Day baskets. Then we would fill them with candy, spring flowers, etc. – on May 1st, you would deliver your May Day baskets, hang them on the front door or your friend’s homes, ring the door bell, and run like hell so they wouldn’t see who was delivering May Day baskets to you! Sort of signified the coming of spring in Michigan (for us, anyway).
I kept up the tradition with our girls for awhile too….of course, by then, people had no clue what was going on…hmmm, perhaps that’s the beginning of dumbing down America! LOL
Here in Costa Rica it’s ”labor day” and most things are closed.
With President Obama coming here on Friday, traffic will be a worse mess than normal; except for the closed roads. We live on the side of a mountain where planes coming in to land at Juan Santa Maria airport, make their wide turn in their approach. We are hoping to see Air Force One make that approach!
I had wanted to go and see the “parade” but decided to heed the warnings of traffic delays, etc. , so we’ll just stay home and watch it on TV.
Welcome to Costa Rica on Friday, President Obama…..too bad you can’t come to Atenas and meet lots of ex-pats!
Maricela asked us to go to her mother’s house last night for ………..never could figure out what she was talking about!
So about 7 p.m. Mark and I trudged up the hill to her mother’s house – smacking my forehead because I can’t remember her name! DUH!
As we were arriving, a car with 4 men in it was arriving; they each had a guitar and one had an accordian. There were lots of people that had already arrived.
Unfortunately, we did not take a camera. Bummer!!!
It was some kind of ceremony signifying that Navidad was over and the nativity scene could be put away for another year. A priest was there to perform this, one of the guitar players. The four men faced the nativity scene and began playing their instruments, singing and the Padre was saying whatever it is he was supposed to say. Mark, Tonya and I were the only clueless people in the room.
After about an hour of this, the ceremony was over. Then the food started…..yum! Homemade bread, tortillas, and the wonder “potato hash”!
Then the musicians began playing and the kids began dancing. Nazareth cannot stand still when there is music!! This child desperately needs to be in a dance class….she has rhythm from the tips of her toes to the top of her head! Her mother convinced her to get me to dance with her…..what an uproar from the crowd; then Maricela convinced Mark to dance, and another uproar erupted.
It was so much fun!!!
Maricela is having a ceremony like this next week at her house! Oh boy!!!
We will have cameras this time.
When we were walking home, Mark said, remember when we did our due diligence tour here and we were told we would never be invited to a Tico’s house…..well, I think it all depends on the person! We’ve been invited to Maricela’s many times and now to her mother’s…..
We had so much fun…..Tico’s know how to have fun!!! We can never thank them enough for including us…
Our second New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica! Can hardly believe we’ve been living here for over a year and a half! And lots and lots of things have happened in that year and a half.
We really do enjoy it here; what’s not too like – while my friends in FL, yes, FL, and KY are freezing, we have the windows and doors open with a balmy breeze blowing through the house; yesterday was a “bad” day with the December winds – we’ve got more dirt, leaves, etc. than ever – IN THE HOUSE! LOL Sure hope Maricela shows up today to clean.
In early December, I saw the dermatologist. He “froze” 26 spots on my face and upper chest. I’m telling myself that for a week or so I looked like I was covered with beauty marks, ie: Marilyn Monroe style. Hey! It’s my mind and I can tell myself whatever I want.
Back in the old country when something was removed by a medical professional, we had the understanding that things would be removed by pounds; 1 lb. minimum; preferably by 2 lbs. at a time. I’m sad to report that these 26 beauty marks only removed .1 pounds. I see him again in February and we’ll be having a discussion regarding this.
Lots of resolutions for the upcoming New Year.
1. I am truly giving up Pepsi! This will be difficult but I know I can do it….the past couple of months I could go without it for a week or so; and then I’d cave in a buy Pepsi. It’s a big acid reflux cause for me! Altho’ I’m happy to admit that my 1820 coffee doesn’t cause any reflux problems; am afraid to try any other coffee because I’m happy with 1820.
2. I will definitely get a least one Christmas present made or purchased a month for Christmas 2013! None of this stress and panic like I felt this year. And I still haven’t completed my shipping or purchasing for Christmas 2012! Hmmm, maybe I could just ship stuff now and say “Merry Early Christmas 2013″ – keep this till December and put it under your tree. Just a thought…
3. Get my sewing room organized! Maricela is a good organizer so I think when the girls go back to school, she and I will get in there and tackle this.
4. I’m going to keep count of the people that I give rides to into town; that’s just part of my “Pay it forward”.
5. We will go visit some sites in Costa Rica – need to find someone to come to the house and stay with the dogs; it will be easier on them and us! LOL
6. Work on my Spanish…I know the words, I just can’t get them into sentences! Anyone that has young kids in their lives, have them learn Spanish! It’s so much easier when you’re younger than at our age!
That’s enough for now….but I might add some other resolutions later.
Took a break and fixed Maricela and the girls some breakfast. Dylana, Nazareth and I are headed into town in a few minutes. They are so good when I take them to town! Don’t beg or whine for a thing!
Adios for now and Feliz Anos Nuevo!
We stopped at Coope and they saw a “stuffed” Santa so I snapped a picture of them!
Mark made a quick trip to the old country a week ago on Saturday and returned on Wednesday. Daughter’s father-in-law was in the hospital; I had the Costa Rican crud and there was no way I could fly with a stuffed up head and chest – (in fact, I’m still coughing!) Happy to report he’s doing well!!!
Mark returned on Weds. around noonish; we were at Dumas’ school graduation at 3 p.m.; I had a dermatology appt. at 4:45 p.m. and then we were at Maricela’s for chichirrones to celebrate the graduation! Yep, one friggin’ busy day!
Then on Thursday, was our second annual 12 Days Before Christmas Party. Lesson learned, make more Sangria, lots more Sangria! LOL Lots of good snacks but as with any party, it’s the friends that make it.
Spanish class on Friday morning….can you say, Spanish wasn’t really on my mind. Georgia wasn’t either! LOL
Sunday, Lee and I ventured to Cemaco – all I’m looking for is a pastry blender; I’ve seen one down here but I can’t remember where! Nothing irritates me more than to need something and not be able to find it! Sheesh!!! And I’m still looking….
Today Maricela came to clean and it had already been set up that Dylana and Nazareth and I would go Christmas shopping in town. Because the girls are girls (LOL) and we’ve raised 2 girls, it’s evident that they know exactly what they want; so off we went in search of a Christmas gift for them.
I have NEVER EVER shopped with such patient girls in my life! Nazareth thought she wanted a toy – we went to three or four stores and she looked and looked; Dylana knew she wanted shoes; all of a sudden Nazareth decide she wanted shoes too. Of course, she wanted heels (she’s 7, and there’s no way I was going to buy her heels because I know she’d break a leg, ankle, etc.) She picked out some cute flats; Dylana picked out a pair of tennis shoes….and the whole time I’m reminding them – they cannot tell their mother! LOL They even picked out a pair for Maricela!
Heading back to the car I asked them if they wanted to buy their mother a gift; their eyes got real big and then grinned and nodded yes! They were so excited!!!
We went to Antanos for lunch; such well behaved girls!!!
All the way home they kept saying how they had to come to my house to wrap their mother’s gift!
It’s funny because I think they visit our house daily to see if there are more gifts under the tree!
Pura Vida for now…..it’s such a fun time of the year with kids!!!
Unbelievable, I know! I’ve just finished the last 2011 Christmas gift! But hey, it’s before the end of January….Christmas happened upon me too darn quick with everything going on here with the move, construction, etc. It won’t be a surprise when she sees it here, but maybe, just maybe, when I give it to her, she’ll act surprised! LOL So, if you know anyone named Pat that built a cathedral, it’s yours!!!!!
Another gorgeous day in the Central Valley! Nice breeze blowing and it’s 85 degrees. Doesn’t get better than this folks.
We love living here and meeting new friends every day it seems.
Pura Vida….Adios for now!
Wow! Can hardly believe we actually live here – and Christmas is almost over.
Since I still don’t have window treatments yet in the bedroom, and the window wall that faces the valley; let’s just say it was way cool to lay in bed and watch the fireworks from the other mountain range we face! Costa Ricans celebrate Christmas on Dec. 24 and Dec. 25 is just another day to them.
We were invited to Bruce and Frances’ for Christmas dinner; it was unbelievably delish! Turkey!!!! Dressing, homemade green bean casserole that was way better than the mushroom soup version! And a host of other food….I don’t think we’ll eat again till….well, maybe sometime late tomorrow.
After dinner we wandered out onto the rancho and as if on cue, there were toucans in the trees. They are so colorful! And really interesting to watch as they flew from tree to tree.
As I’m writing this, it’s about 7:15 p.m. and 73 degrees. Christmas was wonderful – being able to have windows open, priceless!!! $$$$$ saved…..
We had a very nice Christmas with friends and hope everyone else had wonderful Christmases too!!!
For the last time this year….Feliz Navidad!
Last week a friend, Pat, said she was going to Dinia’s to make Tamales, which is “the Christmas food” in Costa Rica. I immediately said – “oh ask her if I can come too”. Like the friendly people here, she said “of course”. It was fun! That’s all I can say…..and I wished that my friend, Terri, could have been here. She would have absolutely loved doing it too!
You use a couple of banana leaves, put a hefty spoonful of masa in the middle – then the fun begins! You add a spoonful of steamed carrots, some rice (arrozo), some stewed pork (cerado); a strip of sweet red pepper; a few peas – it was told to me that different families use different ingredients – ie: onion, olives, etc.
After this is done, you roll up the banana leaves and then fold the ends in to meet in the middle; make another one and then put these 2 together and tie with cotton string.
Then you boil them in a huge pot over an open fire for about an hour. I cannot tell you how much I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to be able to partake of this!
Dinia spent all day yesterday making the “innards”; her father made the masa (ground corn, Lizano (a salsa like topping), and pork/chicken broth, whichever you want. Dinia’s mother and sister-in-law were also making tamales; her father was the chef for boiling them and the string man (tied the string on the tamales). At one point when I was taking pictures of him removing some cooked tamales from the huge pot, he wanted to know if I wanted to remove some. I did not do that because I could see an emergency run to Doctora Candy!
Today was the culmination of all of yesterday’s work!
I am so enjoying learning new customs and being able to do them.
Partied 3 nights in a row this week and on Friday night we both crashed! Can’t decide if we’re too old to party 3 nights in a row or not. LOL
Saturday afternoon we ventured back into town to partake of the Christmas festivities being held in the park. There were a few booths set up with things to sell….hmmm, maybe I should work on getting stuff made and have my self a little table of goodies for sale next year.
Watched kids from probably 3 years old to maybe 10-12 doing different dances. The first group was a “dance” telling the story of Jesus’ birth. When Mary and Joseph wandered into the town, it was hysterical….Mary actually had a little baby bump! Then when they made their way to the stable, Joseph held up the blanket for the newborn babe, while Mary pulled the baby bump out! Talk about a great chuckle! Not everyone could see it, but where we were, it was very obvious. Watched other kids dancing and it’s just darling!!!
Wandered over to Don Tados and had a bite to eat to waste time before the Christmas parade! And what a parade it was! Nothing compared to the parade at Disney World, but for little ole Atenas it was absolutely awesome! Some floats were really detailed. Lots of bands – some from Paos, Naranjo and other areas. When these bands march, it’s not just a march, they’ve got a little jive in their steps, bopping and weaving! And the drums! I’m thinking that a “drum store” might be a good business to start up! They do like to pound their drums!! If you looked around at the crowd, everyone was moving to the beat of the drums; even the little kids! Some of those 3 years little girls know how to swivel their hips already!
There was a group of kids that specialized in belly dancing! Brought back some great memories of when “our gang” took belly dancing classes. They were so cute….and of course, I love their costumes! Maybe next Christmas, I’ll dress up in my belly dancing outfit, including my coin bra! Tee Hee!
If was a great evening…..felt like it was a Christmas Fiesta/Celebration. If you weren’t there, you missed a wonderful time!
Adios, and Feliz Navidad!
Tuesday, December 13th, we hosted our first annual First Day of Christmas get together! Even tho’ the weather was gloomy, everyone’s attendance certainly brightened it up! And neither of us happened to get pics!
I don’t quite understand, but people were marveling over the fact that I brought Christmas decor with me; my feelings were, December 25th is Christmas and always will be for me. Yes, I most definitely brought too many “things” with me, but my Christmas decorations, etc. are important, and there was no way those were getting left behind! Even tho’ I still haven’t found all I brought!
Perhaps two full sized decorated Christmas trees within 6 feet of each other was a tad much; but one is inside and one is outside.
Had 16 new friends attend from all over the U.S. It was a nice group of people and according to comments, “we had such a nice time.”
Lots of drinks and snacks – and yes, it was all dietary and good for you….well, at least it was good! LOL I bought some bread-like-cake dessert and made a whiskey sauce to put over it; it reminded me of being in New Orleans and having bread pudding! It was delish!!!
We were a little nervous about how the dogs would react with so many people wandering around. They were perfect!!! No growling, etc. Of course, Sofi’s feet hardly touched the ground! But everyone made over Derby and Sedona too. At one point, Sedona walked into her crate and laid down and began munching on a chew toy. Her crate was right in the middle of all the hub-bub. She has her “bitch moments” as we all do, but she sure was good on Tuesday evening!
All of a sudden we started hearing mooing…..yep, the cows got loose! Guess they felt left out because they weren’t invited! And there was a horse in the lot next to us wandering around. I, of course, thought it was hysterical….I’m sure other people were appalled, but come on, this is Costa Rica, Pura Vida, everything that happens is OK! I love watching the cows wander when they are loose; they are huge and oblivious to their surroundings.
This was the first time a lot of people had been to our house….as they are getting out of their vehicles, the comment heard was “how in the world did you find this place?” But we had lots of nice comments on our addition.
Yes, I miss my friends in the U.S., but you know what, this is starting to feel like home! I can’t wait till people start coming down to see what living in Costa Rica is like! First group arrives in January! I’m so excited, I can’t stand it!!!
Weds. we drove to San Jose to pick up a box of dog pill pockets, etc. Guess it got flagged because the box was from Drs. Foster and Smith, an animal place….pill pockets are unheard of in Costa Rica. And we had to pay a customs fee of 800 colones (approximately $1.60 in US money). Got home a little before 5 p.m. and had to hurriedly get ready to go to a wine tasting. It was fun….lucky for us, we were at a table of 3 young couples; the three men were involved in a school where rich parents send their kids who are “lost”. Some have had multiple parents, gotten mixed in the wrong crowd, etc. We were with Pat and John, and the new school they are building is very near them! One of the couples inquired about this house when it was for sale and were told “it’s been sold.” Yippie for us!!!
Tonight is another big to-do hosted by our attorney. Something going on 3 days in a row, is a bit much for us to handle (LOL), but we’re trying our darndest to stay awake for all these things!
Still kind of hard to believe it’s almost Christmas with doors and windows wide open! We love it!!!! No a/c bills or heating bills….
Wishing all my readers and friends have a wonderful Holiday Season!
Adios for now and Pura Vida!