Monthly Archives:

September 2012

Fred, the Expat Costa Rican Landlord — By Jennifer Shipp
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Fred, the Expat Costa Rican Landlord — By Jennifer Shipp

Fred is our landlord here in Atenas, Costa Rica. I won’t give out his real name because I’m not interested in hurting him, but I have to describe this man, not because he is unique but because he is  a character I keep running into in my life.Fred is an expatriate from the United States. He flew airplanes for an airline that went out of business in the 1980’s. He told us his life story as he was driving ...
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Culture Shock and Adopting Kids Abroad

There are five more days left of our Costa Rican experience and every morning right now I wake up with the same thought: I can’t wait to go home.  I have many many other very complicated thoughts and emotions that tangentially relate to this main thought, which has caused me to become…mentally constipated. I honestly don’t know where to start and a big part of me just wants to focus on going home and stop ...
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Lydian – Day 50 – Don’t Trust the Guidebooks

Now that I’ve finally gotten over my cold that I’ve had, and had time to process the whole experience of going to Tortuguero, I suppose I’ll start posting again. So, like I said, we went to Tortuguero. Driving there was bumpy. The roads were horrible after getting close to La Pavona. La Pavona is a small farm, not a town, but there are signs leading to it. You just have to look hard enough.There’s a large ...
Jennifer-Day 49-Lightning, Thunder, Earthquakes, and Insect Bites
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Jennifer-Day 49-Lightning, Thunder, Earthquakes, and Insect Bites

Yesterday around 2:00 PM, the lightning started striking areas near our house. It was sharp lightning and only milliseconds after we saw it flash, the thunder would crash so loudly that I found myself ducking instinctively. Rain started pouring soon after that and the ceiling above my bed started leaking. Moments later, the electricity went out.Three hours later, it came back on again.Last night, when I ...
Green Sea Turtles at Tortuguero National Park — By Jennifer Shipp
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Green Sea Turtles at Tortuguero National Park — By Jennifer Shipp

Our turtle tour was scheduled to start at 9:00 PM. John was coming down with a cold and he was anxious to “get it over with”. He wanted to be there and wanted to see the turtles, but a good bout of a cold is enough to make most people wish for a comfy chair and a good book, at the very least.Our hotel was several paces to the left from where the boat docked. A man was standing at the dock with a sign ...
Tortuguero National Park- Part I (How to Get to Tortuguero National Park)
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Tortuguero National Park- Part I (How to Get to Tortuguero National Park)

Last minute on Thursday night I decided that Tortuguero National Park would be our weekend destination from Atenas, Costa Rica. We were going to try to go to Nicaragua, but changed our minds because frankly, I’m still not sure why we’re going there. Once I identify our destination and the reason why we would go through the ordeal of getting there, then I’ll be able to put together the final details and ...
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Jennifer-Day 42-Sick and Tired

Today, I am irritated. This little desk that I work at every day, for example, irritates me. And how my socks are always just a little damp from the humidity and things stick to the bottom of them. I am irritated by the lack of chocolate and the fact that the seat belts generally don’t work or are non-existent in the taxis here. I’m irritated by the dogs, the bugs, the rain, and the lack of comfort.My ...
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Lydian – Day 41 – The Grocery Trip

Yesterday, we decided to walk to the store, right before it began raining! Of course, my mom decided not to flag down any taxis earlier in the walk, like I suggested, so we became drenched. Note to all you people coming to Costa Rica, bring an umbrella, or buy a good one while you’re here. You won’t be a very happy person if you don’t do one of these things. Either way, back to the story. We were walking ...
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Jennifer-Day 41- Nowhere vs. Somewhere Cool

Today, I am tired. The weekend is coming and I feel like I need to come up with something exciting to do. Last weekend we stayed home and nurtured our colds, but this weekend, I think we’ll be on the mend.So, what do we do? We talked about going to Nicaragua. I have a rough plan for how this could be accomplished, but as I already mentioned. I am very tired today. I don’t think I’m faking it. I think I’m ...
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Dogs in Costa Rica and Elsewhere

I have to say a word about the dogs here in Costa Rica because every single day that I’ve spent here has started with the sound of one yipping. Back home in the United States, I sometimes get weary of the silence. It’s true. I mean, the church bells that ring every hour can seriously interrupt my writing work (especially when they play hymns for 3 to 5 minutes at a time) and the trains that go by about a ...
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Jennifer- Day 39 (Or something like that) – Down with the Sickness

For the past five days, I’ve had a fever and cold symptoms and haven’t written anything down because frankly I couldn’t put my thoughts together and didn’t care. Lucia, from the yoga place, invited us to go with her to San Jose to see some of the health food stores there, but we had to decline because we were ill. That sucked a little, but I didn’t really care because I was sick. Now I care though, because ...
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Jennifer- Day 38- Escape from Regret

Today is the Costa Rican Independence Day (September 15th). I could go out, or I could stay home. I could walk to the park or I could take a bus to San Jose. I could read, I could write. It's my choice, which fits well with the theme of the day. But I'm not sure. What should I do?Our trip to Costa Rica has not gone as planned. To be honest, the plan was very sketchy when we boarded the plane to come here, ...
Atenas, Costa Rica Dance, Language Classes, Taekwondo, and More… — By Jennifer Shipp
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Atenas, Costa Rica Dance, Language Classes, Taekwondo, and More… — By Jennifer Shipp

We have tried working through Su Espacio in Atenas, Costa Rica to do things like dance and yoga classes. The place is even owned and operated by a woman named “Tina” from Oklahoma. But alas, it's no use. The native Costa Ricans working there have been nothing but pleasant to talk to and work with, but Tina herself has been rather stand-offish. Unfortunately, her behavior toward us has been very similar to ...
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Dia de Independencia en Costa Rica

In truth, today is not yet the Costa Rican Independence Day. That happens tomorrow. Tonight the big event happened at 6:00 PM, approximately 26 minutes ago. The Costa Rican national anthem played on the speakers all over the country and patriotic Ticos were supposed to stop what they were doing and sing along.I’ve read about the Costa Rican Independence Day in guidebooks and they sensationalize the ...
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Jennifer- Day 33- The Costa Rican Comfort Zone

Today was a very normal sort of day. I did what I normally do. All day. There were only a few things that were different from my regular routine at home in the United States. First of all, I went for a 4 mile jog UPHILL. This uphill jog was extreme. I am used to running on flat surfaces. There is much huffing and puffing while John and I jog and it isn’t entirely meditative like it is at home, but I’m ...
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Lydian – Day 30 – Poas Volcano, Sweet Treats, and Milkshakes

I woke up that morning to the sound of the door closing as my dad went out to the car to get it for another day. The night before, I had decided that I wanted to go with, but I had just gotten comfortable on my paper thin mattress that allows my butt to hit the wood holding me and mattress up. It’s not comfy. But, anyways, I heard him pull out, and figured that I couldn’t get out there in time. I found out ...
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Grateful to Be Complaining

There is nothing in the world as important as a comfortable place to sit when you don’t have one. Or warmth when you can’t get out of the cold. There is nothing like a really good book when you only have five minutes to read. And there is nothing like warm food when you’ve been eating Power Bars for every meal.I complain a lot in blog posts because I’m trying to keep our experience “real”. I mean, I do ...
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Poas Volcano vs. Reading Rainbow

Volcan Poas. What can I say? It is a major tourist attraction in Costa Rica. It’s near where we live. We had to go. Maybe I sound like a poopey-butt, but I didn’t want to go. The day before we returned from Manuel Antonio National Park and frankly, we were tired and all of us kind of wanted to stay home.But, we had rented a car and it was just too easy to go see Volcan Poas. We felt guilty staying home ...
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Lydian – Day 29 – Manuel Antonio National Park

We got to see a sloth. The likelihood of getting to see a sloth at any national park, anywhere, at any time, is a rare occurrence. I suppose that we’re very lucky people. Actually, I think that we got to see two of these rather adorably ugly creatures. We also got to see some crocodiles alongside a river on the way to the national park. They were HUGE! They were probably 10 feet or something like that. We ...
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Manuel Antonio National Park

It's a major tourist destination in Costa Rica. What can I say that has not already been said in guidebooks? It’s so hard to write about tourist destinations because they are a little bit “canned”. The experience of going to a tourist destination is a lot like riding a train. There is never any question about where the train is going or where it will end up. There are no digressions along the way. The only ...
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