Keeping You In Stitches

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Today was a day of hilarity for  us and those that were at Pizza Finca!

Victoria is about 20 days from having her baby and Karen decided we should have lunch together before the big day.  (It’s the 7/31 Club because we were all born on that day.)  What could we do to make it funny? Decided we should go as pregnant women too! Enjoy the pictures and please note the real pregnant person, is the smallest! You just can’t take the fun out of the “older ladies”. Poor Victoria!!!!  She assured us that Ema was going to call everyone when the baby arrives!

Here’s the conversation according to Karen…

Lunch conversation goes something like this….

Table for 3? No table for 6 (please).
Ah, waiting for 3 more ladies? No, why do you ask?
Well, there are 3 of you yes? No, there are 6 of us.
ME: Better make it a table for 7. I’m having twins!
VIC: Hurry I think I’m going to Earl!
NANCY: Earl who? I think I’m having a basketball!
ME: For lunch? And who is this Earl, Victoria?
VIC: I’m gonna be sick, like Earl right now!
NANCY: Suddenly I’m not so hungry, let’s go to the bar!
ME: Works for me, how ’bout you Victoria, you in?
VIC: I’m gonna go take a nap before I go back to work.
NANCY: There’s always one party-pooper in the crowd!
ME: Okay, I’ve got errands to run before I deliver these guys. See ya, same place, same time, next week for lunch gals?
Should we invite our husbands maybe……
THEM: Nah, then we’d need a bigger table…..

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In Costa Rica, most Ticos (at least in Guacimo, where we live) celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve.  This year we expanded it a little and invited Maricela’s Mother, boyfriend, and sister, Lola. We’ve always invited Lola’s boys, Gabriel and Moises.  Maricela, Dimas, Dylana and Nazareth were here too.  It was a rancho full of people.

They arrived Christmas Eve morning and everyone was in a happy, jolly mood.  Especially the boys when they saw the gifts under the tree.  I asked them if they wanted to eat first or open presents….to my surprise, they wanted to eat first!

And did they ever eat!!!! LOL  Nana, Maricela’s mother thought the coffee was so delicious!

After lots of laughing and talking, some in Spanish, some in English and some in Spanglish, it was time to move into the house to open presents.

Nazareth wanted to be Santa!  And a dramatic Santa she was!!!!  I told them this year they were going to open one gift at a time so we could see what everyone gets!  I tried to get pictures of them with their gifts and I’ll be darned if “Santa” didn’t photo bomb almost every picture!

Nazareth, would go “do, do, do do……Gabriel” – and then Gabriel would come up and get his gift and we’re all clapping and yelling Gabriel.  It did get loud but isn’t that what Christmas is about.  It was so fun to watch the boys open their gifts!  Moises will start kindergarten this year, so he even got a new backpack for school; (I’ve always gotten them new backpacks.)

Nana was so pleased with scarf and immediately tried it on!  I thought Lola was going to cry when she opened up her necklace and ear rings!  It really tugs at your heart so see how excited they are.

I’ve gotten so I take the girls to the mall and let them pick out some clothes; better they get what they like, then something I would pick out!  They look forward to this every year!  But, they have to act excited when they open what they pick out….that’s the rule, as if they’ve never seen it before!

The girls both wanted calendar books this year.  I told them every day they had to write “I love Nancy” and that I was going to check on them once in awhile.

After the gifts were opened, it’s quite funny to watch the kids pack up their things to go home.  They cram as much as they can in their new backpacks; and head home wearing them.

I was exhausted when they left!  But it was a good, happy exhaustion!!!

They truly are our Tico family; Nana, always refers to me as the kids’ abuelita (grandmother), but she really is!  The girls are old enough to know that I’m their Gringo Abuelita!

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and will have a happy 2016; I would hope their would be Peace on Earth, but I don’t think that’s going to happen!  But there’s always hope!

Pura Vida!

 

PS:  Mark is known for wearing his shirts inside out – well, he did Christmas Eve too!

 

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flowers

We have the best friends in Costa Rica!!!  Antano’s, Yaddixa and Sandra, invited us to have an anniversary dinner there.  As usual, we were not disappointed.

A beautiful arrangement of flowers on the table.   And a delicious dinner – with special friends, what could be better!

Sandra wasn’t there because she was “under the weather”; she’s better now!

We met Sandra and Yaddixa the first time we came to Costa Rica.  We were staying at Frances’ and Bruce’s Lighthouse Animal Rescue in 2011.  They took us to Antano’s to eat, and the friendship blossomed from there.

However, when we moved here, I was beside myself, beause Antano’s wasn’t where it was 6 mos. earlier….panic set it; but I found where they moved!!!

Whenever we’ve had guests come, we always take them to Antano’s…..because you know your food is good!

A big thank you to the Yaddixa and Sandra and the staff at Antano’s for making our 47th anniversary special!!!

OMG!  47 years is a life time!!!

Pura Vida…..

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Animales Atenas had a different kind of fundraiser. It was called Dinner for Two; or Four or Six! Basically, volunteers  cook a meal and deliver it to the winners of the raffle.

I thought this was something Maricela might like to do. So in my Spanglish, I finally got the message through that this was a fundraiser. I would buy the supplies and “we” would cook in my kitchen. She was in 7th heaven!!! Not sure if it’s because she was cooking in my kitchen or she just likes to cook! Anyway, we came up with a typical Tico dinner:

  • empanadas with chicken, beans and cheese (empanadas con polo, frijoles y queso);
  • arroz con pollo (rice with chicken),
  • Picadillo de papa(a potato concoction, I think I could eat this once a day!),
  • ensalada de Verde (green salad).

We grocery shopped on Monday and after checking with the winner of our meal, decided to cook it on Wednesday – the girls had no school on Monday and she wanted to cook without the girls around, I guess. So Wednesday morning comes and Maricela, Nazareth (no school that day) and her 17 year old son, Dimas showed up.

Nazareth may only be 9, but she sure was a great help. She washed dishes, peeled potatoes, etc. At one point I caught her at the kitchen sink eating a mouthful of potato peelings! LOL

I told Mark I felt like I was fixing a Thanksgiving dinner. I do confess that I bought enough of everything, so Maricela’s family and Mark and I could eat too! LOL

When I was in the states, I bought a bunch of wooden Christmas ornaments because I decided to give Maricela one of my three Christmas trees – they’ve never had a tree before. So during a slack time of cooking, I pulled those ornaments out and Nazareth began coloring them; the next thing I know, seventeen year-old Dimas is in the kitchen sitting beside her coloring them too! LOL Next day, thirteen year old Dylana colored hers.
Naza_Dimas_Christmas

Dylana_ChristmasOrnament

Dimas_Nazareth_ChristmasOrnaments

Naza_Ornanments_Nativity

Our kitchen smelled so good…..had intended to cook the meat for the Picadillo de Papa in the crock pot overnight, but mother nature provided us with a storm that took out the electricity; so we ended up cooking that on the stove.

Actually, my contribution to the cooking, besides paying for the food, was stirring.  I’ve learned, I’m a “great stirrer”!

Maricela, Nazareth and I delivered the food and heard from the winner, complimenting the chef!!!

It was a really exhausting day for both of us…..and Maricela was here bright and early to clean on Thursday morning.

I do think I might try making the empanadas myself!  Maricela’s were perfectly round and then folded…..there is an art to it, no rolling pin involved, all hands-on!

All in all, it was a great fund raiser, about $2500, which goes to support the animal spay and neuter and rescue.

We celebrated Valentine’s Day with friends Mike and Joni, Pat and John, and of course Mark and I. We had dinner reservations at LaTrocha……because Joni discovered they were having a chocolate fountain for dessert. Chocolate, which has been confirmed as a health food, and skewers of fruit, well, with one marshmallow, which probably isn’t the healthiest of foods…..let’s just say we took a vote and it was decided it was a healthy dessert!
For the most part, everyone was pleased with their food and the dessert.

We had ordered our food and someone at our table was quite concerned that the fountain was flowing yet.  I will not divulge that name!
We had ordered our food and someone at our table was quite concerned that the fountain wasn’t flowing yet. I will not divulge that name!  Soon after the “panic”, the fountain was flowing with yummy HEALTHFUL chocolate.

Mark couldn't wait to try out the chocolate and immediately took a turn.

Mark couldn’t wait to try out the chocolate and immediately took a turn.

Joni was debating which skewer of mostly fruit to start with....she has what most people would call a "decision making disorder".

Joni was debating which skewer of mostly fruit to start with….she has what most people would call a “decision making disorder”.

At last the decision was made! YUM! YUM! YUM!

At last the decision was made! YUM! YUM! YUM!

Mike thought if he didn't look at the plate of skewers, he wouldn't be eating them.....but I can assure you he's "busted".

Mike thought if he didn’t look at the plate of skewers, he wouldn’t be eating them…..but I can assure you he’s “busted”.

And this is what the tablecloth looked like after 6 gringos were done!

And this is what the tablecloth looked like after 6 gringos were done!

It was a really nice evening with good friends and good times.  It’s what I would call a nice little fiesta!

Tonight is another fiesta!  For those of you thinking about retiring, remember, there are lots of fiestas and that’s what makes retirement so difficult!!!  (Sort of like living in a college dorm.)

Pura Vida from Costa Rica – the pool is calling my name!

Dylana waiting1Today Dylana graduated from the English class she’s been taking since last July.  She would board the bus at 6 a.m. and ride into town on Saturdays. Then walk to Sabana Larga to take the English class. I can’t thank my friends enough that “donated” money to give her this opportunity! It does take a village to educate!  She enjoyed the class; however, Mark and I think she spoke more English to us before taking the class! LOL

Graduation “season” started with her 6th grade graduation from the Central School of Atenas on December 12…then followed many fiestas to celebrate and it’s culminated with today’s graduation.

This graduation was held in the building next to the police station. It included kids from age 8 up to maybe 15-16 years old.  There were two young male instructors for probably 50+ students.  Different classes met at different times of the day on Saturdays.  When they were calling the names of the graduates to go to the stage to receive their diplomas, they announced to please applaud for each graduate.

I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of the girls received a kiss on the cheek (a greeting in Costa Rica) when the instructor gave them their diplomas.  What a change from the “old country” where heaven forbid you touch a student.

They would call up maybe 15 students for diplomas then there was a break in the “action” to call numbers for door prizes….ie: free classes, dictionaries in English, more English instruction books, etc.  I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of the same families won multiple times.  The family sitting at the end of the table that we were at, won 5 different prizes.  Reminded me of Bingo!

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Dylana and her teacher

After all this was over, then it was time to eat.  They served a meal of arroz con pollo, ensalada, papas, and arroz con leche for dessert. (rice with chicken, salad, potato chips and rice with milk).  It was pretty tasty!!!  But I think anything I don’t have to cook or clean up after is pretty tasty!

School will start again for Dylana in February and she’ll be off to Collegio (what we would consider high school).  She’ll be learning French this year.  Her Mom told us she’ll have 20 teachers….whew! Can you imagine keeping all of them happy? She’ll then graduate from Collegio in 5 years and hopefully going to the University will follow.

While we were waiting for graduation to begin, her mother, Maricela, leaned over and said “you’re the only Gringo here!”

Since this was a class where the students learned English, silly me, thinking that maybe a little English might be spoken.  There was none, nada spoken!  I could follow some of what was being said, but I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to jump up and request “por favor, despacio” (please, slower)

Been a great experience to see these events take place….even if I am the “token Gringo”!

Headed into town shortly after noon today to go to the Post Office and a few other places.

Stopped at the P.O. and voila!  I had a small package…..so exciting!  There were 4 males and one female in the P.O. laughing like crazy.  Two of the men were laughing so hard, their shoulders were shaking – you couldn’t help but giggle at them. I have no clue what they were laughing at; but, it was infectious!!!  Smiles were all over in the P.O. this afternoon.

Then I headed to Dra. Victoria’s to get my glasses adjusted. She was really busy!!!

Saw Julie and Norman next door at Dennis’ and Gerardo’s….said they had finally recovered from Bunky’s party on Monday.

Then on to Coope…as I was checking out, the checker grinned and acted like she was sniffing the air – you could hear raindrops on the roof; not enough to get anything wet, but they were raindrops.  She broke into a broad grin and explained that when she was pregnant, she loved smelling the rain because everything smelled fresh!  Yep, I understood what she was communicating!

When you go into town, everyone is happy!!!  I remember when Terri came with me to house hunt. We were sitting at Don Tadeo’s and watching people in the park.  She remarked “look everyone is happy, everyone is smiling, no one is walking hunched over” – Costa Rica, or at least Atenas is “home of the happy people.”

A Pura Vida day for sure!


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