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jennifershipp

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Where to Go Next

I don’t have to go anywhere. But I want to go.  When I go, I don’t have any particular place that I have to visit. Our family has worked hard to create a lifestyle that can accommodate this sort of travel-oriented flexibility. John (my husband) and I have always wanted to travel and it seems that Lydian has already caught the travel bug as well (she’s 12). But sometimes, especially when it’s time for me to ...
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Lydian – Day 56 – Tortuguero National Park: The Turtles

It’s been a little bit of time since we went and saw Tortuguero, but the time has given me the opportunity to process the whole thing (It needed processing, trust me). The whole turtle seeing thing felt a little scary to me, to be honest. We were in the middle of no where, and we were being led off in the dark to some unknown place far away from far away from civilization.We started in the town, which ...
The Problem with Writing Reviews on Vacation Rentals — By Jennifer Shipp
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The Problem with Writing Reviews on Vacation Rentals — By Jennifer Shipp

Since we’ve been to Costa Rica, we’ve stayed in two different vacation rentals, one in Alajuela, one in Atenas, and a small hotel in Tortugero. I have opinions about all of these places, but I can’t seem to bring myself to rate any of them. I have an ongoing moral dilemma that plays out in my mind about writing reviews about vacation rentals. I know it would be potentially helpful to people to hear our ...
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My Opinion of My Opinions…Regarding Dogs and Other Things

Yesterday, for the first time, I got to see the dog next door that has awakened me every morning and often throughout the night as well as interrupting and disrupting my days ever since we’ve been here in Atenas, Costa Rica. I have envisioned a Chihuahua. An ugly, stupid little dog that’s completely annoying and lacking in personality. I have pictured myself kicking this annoying, stupid personality-less ...
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Lydian – Day 51 – Okay… I’ve Had Enough of the Whole “Little Bugs Are Crawling All Over Me” Now.

I’m serious. I’ve had it. As I write this I feel like I have various bugs of all different shapes and sizes crawling on me. My mom got bitten by a creepy-crawly yesterday (Ick!). They all hate me, and they all want to kill me, and they refuse to go away. I want to go home to my bug free environment, and that’s just what I’m going to do in seven days.Yesterday night, I came across a bunch of ants that were ...
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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