Keeping You In Stitches

Archive for the ‘Living in Costa Rica’ Category

We spent our first Christmas in Costa Rica in 2011.  Going to the festivities in Atenas was a fun time for us.  Loved the Christmas parade and told Mark that maybe we should go in the business of selling drum sticks!

What really surprised me was everyone was bundled up.  Coats, jackets, scarfs, hats, and I thought the little babies were really over bundled!  There we were the Gringos with short sleeves and shorts on!  Thinking these people are crazy, it’s not even chilly.

Well, things have changed!  This year, I had on a denim jacket!  Guess my blood has thinned or something has happened.  Mark was fine.  But again, people were bundled in jackets, scarves, hats, etc.

I think I’ve become a Tica!

Felez Navidad to all.

Last year on Halloween, one of my bff’s lost her husband unexpectedly.  She was a Halloween nut!!!  I know this has been a tough year for her, and I’m hoping that next year will be a little better.

raymond-ofenbeckLast week, Todd (married to daughter, Amy) lost his father.  He was 94 years old – a Cubbies fan from the beginning.  He had told the family that he hoped to see them win the World Series this year.  Alas, he passed away before the beginning of the first game in Cleveland.  He had mesothelioma – his body was shutting down but his mind was there.  Had to be sad for the family to see that.

As a father-in-law to Amy, there couldn’t have been a better one!  He was at the hospital every day, all day when she was in the Critical Care Unit.  After 8-10 weeks of that, she went to a rehab hospital and he was there every day too.  Not many father-in-laws would do that!  We can never convey what that meant to us.  Of course, we went to FL as often as we could and we were there for every surgery.

When Todd and Amy first moved to Fort Myers, she was an anchor for the ABC station. Todd worked for the NBC station.  Ray would always call her and tell her if hair didn’t look right, or if he didn’t like what she had on that day!  That cracked us up!

Ray was quite the entertainer all the hours we spent in the hospital!  Especially with the nurses!  Always had a smile and joke for them.

Hugs to all the Ofenbeck family and we are so so sorry for your loss.

One disadvantage to living in Costa Rica is we can’t get to events like this.  RIP Ray….you and Todd’s mother have a lot of catching up to do…..please let her talk too! LOL

bikerbabeHaving had 2 friends husband’s die on Halloween, and now Ray will be buried on Halloween, I have come to a decision.  When my time on earth is done, if it’s 5 days before or after Halloween, I want my funeral to be a costume party.  And believe me, I’ll know if you’re not in costume!

 

 

santajeanmarienancy

Yesterday, a friend, Jean Marie and I decided to go shopping and take a break from knitting.  I have finally found someone down here that loves Christmas and all the decor like I do.  So we decided this would be a “check out Christmas stuff shopping trip.”

Universal, which is a large department store in Alajuela, moved into the new City Mall, the largest mall in Costa Rica.  We decided to check out the old Universal because everything Navidad was discounted!  We had a ball.  Most things were 50% off and some were 30% off.  She shops like I do, check everything out and then make a decision!  By the time we were finished shopping there, it was noonish.

So we headed to  City Mall, with plans to hit every store with lots of Christmas decor.  Checked out the Universal store there, prices at the old store were much better.

Then we headed to Aliss; beautiful things there and we oohed and aahed!  By then we decided it was time to eat.  So we headed to Subway.  Finished eating and then we headed to Oxygen, we love their clothes and prices.  Tried on a few dresses but nothing hit me just right!  Then we headed to Cemaco, a department type store that doesn’t carry clothing.

O.M.G.  They have 4 different villages set up under glass in the front of the store!  I loved everyone of them.  One was like an amusement park with rides that we both used to ride at county fairs.  One was a village and I fell in love with the Pet Store and Shoe Cobbler store that was actually shaped like a shoe. The whole set up was beautiful!  Then there was a snow scene, and another scene with Santa flying around with the reindeer; ice skaters skating; let’s just say, we were both in “Christmas Heaven”.

Left there and decided to sit down and get our purchases arranged to head to the car.

I think my heart skipped a beat!  My phone was missing.  So Jean Marie stayed there trying to call it, and I tried to retrace my steps.  Maybe it fell out of my pocket in the rest room.  As I was headed down that hall I saw a female security person.  So in my best Spanglish, I tried to explain what happened.  She patted me on the back and said she would call her Jefe (boss).  So we stood there waiting for the Jefe of Security to show up.  They arrived shortly.  Kept asking me to describe it.  Kept saying is was “pink, cover was like a book with a giraffe on the front and a giraffe on the back.  Every time I said giraffe in Spanish, they smirked….I’m guessing they figured an old lady shouldn’t have a phone with a giraffe cover!  Then a guy came by and said do you need help?  So I said yes, that if I went home having lost my phone, I would probably be beheaded!  So he asked me the same questions that the security officers asked me.  The whole time the female security person was patting me on the back.

All of a sudden, one of the security guards pulled my phone out of his shirt pocket.  I got really excited and gave him a big hug (am sure he thought another loca gringa); so then he wanted some ID.  So I said we had to go where my amiga was sitting.  I pulled out my Cedula (national ID card) and he turned on my phone, laid it on the settee and took a picture.  Then gave it to me with a big grin.  I again hugged him and the female security person.  Keep in mine we’ve walked a five story mall and this was probably a 2 hour deal!

Took Jean Marie home; and since the story had a happy ending, I did end up telling Mark.  Who just stood there shaking his head! I found out he had turned on “Find My iPhone” since I had my iPad with me, I could have located it via the GPS.

Then off to Don YaYo’s for Huesos (Bones) Night with Mike and Karen Elder.  They kept us up way past bedtime! Huesos are the pork bones with hunks of meat still attached. Mike and Mark enjoy them from time to time. I had chifrio and Karen had fish and chips!

Early this morning, I’m guess it was early, Jean Marie called and woke me up and said I left my knitting in your car.  I said “no, you stuck it in one of your bags”.  She said OK, I’ll check.  Then I pleasantly went back to sleep and didn’t wake up till 11 a.m.

But I keep thinking about all the gorgeous Christmas things we saw, and the phone story ended up OK, so it was a great day!

I don’t know what it is with men drivers! And it’s also motorcycle drivers! They drive with the turn signals on….makes me nervous because I’ve been behind drivers with a L turn signal flashing and they turn R. YIKES! Wonder how many accidents have been caused by that?

I’m guessing they can’t hear the clicking of the turn signal. I would like to propose that car manufacturers either turn up the sound of the turn signal or have it respond, you’ve have now turned, please turn off your turn signal!

Pura Vida….makes no difference what country you are driving in!

Derby has been on special dietary dog food for months! He needed to go for a weight check this morning. Dylana and Nazareth rode into town with me. Normally, if the girls are with me, the dogs are all over them; but not today. Derby decided to ride on my lap. However, he was on the controllers to open and close the windows…..between him stepping on the controllers and me trying to get him off, his nose got caught in the window. Poor baby, even whimpered. While this is going on, I cannot see a thing but knew I should be braking……when I finally got him off my lap, we were pretty close to kissing a tree! Derby rode in the backseat with the girls the rest of the way….of course, they fussed over him.

Good news, he’s lost 3.5 lbs.; has a few more to go tho’.

Better news, he rode in the backseat all the way home. Let’s hope he’s learned a lesson to not sit on the driver and try and control the windows!

What an exciting morning…..I think I should take it easy the rest of the day.

Pura Vida!

Iamwoman

It’s been quite a stressful 10 days around our house trying to stay legal living in Costa Rica. All because of one man at the CAJA office who is on a power trip! For those not in the know, that’s our country-wide health system that we have to belong to, whether you use it or not.

Well “the Don” as I will refer to him, has decided that when you renew your carnet (the ID card for the health system) you now need to have your marriage license re-certified that Costa Rica Immigration has already certified as legal. Now “the Don” wants it apostilled. This requires sending it to the State of Michigan, where we were married, and haven’t lived for 44 years, to put this stamp on it certifying we are still married. We have lived in 5 different states and frankly, the State of Michigan has no clue if we are truly still married!

We met with our attorney here this morning and came up with three options.
1. Go back and try again and see if “the Don” is in a better mood.
2. Our attorney would type up a letter certifying we are who we say we are and are still married.
3. He could marry us here in Costa Rica and it would take up to 3 mos. to get listed in the National Registry. Our attorney said would require a new diamond ring!

We get a group rate through ARCR and it gets paid automatically, I could let it expire and buy my own medication here at the pharmacy. Most medications you can go in and buy over the counter without a prescription! Novel idea, huh?

On our way to CAJA, I had the crazy idea that since Mark went in last week, “the Don” may remember him so I would go in and try.

There was a Tica ahead of me trying to do the same thing and he sent her away with the paperwork that he gave Mark last week.

Now it’s my turn. I acted like I knew what I was doing – no small talk, etc. After all, a gal from Kentucky with “sweet southern charm” can explode too! I gave him Mark’s new cedula and old carnet and my new cedula and old carnet. I explained I needed the expiration dates on the carnets to match the dates on cedulas. He said absolutely nothing to me and began to process the paperwork.

Yep, I got the new carnets! Mark’s is good for 2 years, which matches his carnet; mine is only good for 1 year and does not match my carnet. I will wait till “the Don” is on vacation and go to the termporary person and explain that the date is wrong on my carnet and try to get it for 2 years.

Yessiree folks, I am woman, hear me roar!

MadNancyOr perhaps he didn’t feel like messing with the woman who looks so disgusted in the picture on her new cedula.

Seriously, I think you need to act like you know what you’re doing; not be trembling, etc. By the way, I was going to ask to speak to his boss, if he told me “no”. The ARCR group rate receipt for paying for this healthcare, states, that we have the same rights as Ticos do. So I was ready for a fight.

Luckily for Mark, it didn’t come to that – otherwise I might have been deported.

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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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