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Seasons Here (in Costa Rica) and Abroad

It doesn’t actually get cold here, but sometimes I do feel cold. The reason why I feel cold, especially at night or during a major rainstorm is because of the unbelievably high humidity. I can put on a long sleeved shirt and still feel just as cold as when I was just wearing a tank top because the humidity is all-enveloping. It wraps around the body and bathes a person head to toe. Everything is just a ...
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The Uncomfortable Relationship between Low Probability and Possibility

We are nearing the halfway point of our travels here to Costa Rica. We’ve just moved to a new house where we’ve been for 5 days now. Last weekend we went to Volcan Poas and Manuel Antonio National Park. And today, we’re supposed to go visit the orphanage here in Atenas to see if we are “good enough” to volunteer.I have a generalized feeling of stress and I believe it is coming from the interactions I’ve ...
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Jennifer- Day 32- Working Online in Costa Rica

It is September when kids return to school and parents begin the arduous transition back to a busy schedule that includes very early mornings, homework, and extracurricular activities. Traditionally during this time of year, we tend to have less work. When we owned the web development company, our sales would drop back precipitously for at least 6 weeks into the middle of October. Now that we work online as ...
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Jennifer-Day 31- The Smell of Arrogance and Conceit

We stopped at the orphanage yesterday to talk with someone about doing a little bit of volunteer work. The woman in charge, luckily, speaks English. She’s American but grew up in Papua New Guinea with missionary parents. Her story is strikingly similar to the tale told by the vacation rental property manager in La Fortuna. He had grown up in the Congo with missionary parents. I’m not sure which place would ...
Costa Rica Destinations — By Jennifer Shipp
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Costa Rica Destinations — By Jennifer Shipp

This morning when I woke up, I felt as though I were sleeping in a hamster ball. My mattress must have been used by a very large person for a very long time and it felt as though I was sleeping in that person’s giant body-print. John is sleeping in the other bed because there is only one flat-ish lump in the middle of it for one thin-ish person. Very large giants must have slept together in his bed because ...
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The End of the World is Coming…

I have a habit. I flip through yahoo gossip stuff that is almost always stupid on a daily basis. Sometimes, this stuff pays off, and there’s something interesting. So, y’know how we were in an earthquake a couple of days ago? Well, now the Yangtze River in China is turning red. Seriously, check it out. I don’t know if this plays into Armageddon at all, but I’ve been dropping my phone on a daily basis. This ...
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Jennifer- Day 28- Tiny Living Nightmares

Moving to a new house or accomodations is stressful even if the move isn’t “permanent” or long-lasting. Yesterday we moved from our uncomfortable house with the hard furniture in Alajuela to a new, much cheaper house in Atenas with soft, but smelly furniture. Settling in is always an ordeal and this is especially true for places in the world where there is no winter. No winter means that there are lots of ...
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Lydian – Day 28 – The New House

So we moved to the house. Things are a okay. Tonight me and my mom are going to go to belly dance class in town at Su Espacio in Atenas… It seems like a nice place as far as I can tell. This morning, regarding the topic of exercise, we ran up and down the street, which is MUCH easier said than done. There’s a GIANT hill outside that we ran up and down about five or six times, and then there was another hill ...
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Lydian – Day 25 – Two Day Countdown to Comfy Chairs

So. In two days, we’re moving to a new location. I cannot wait. No longer will I be required to listen to the mournful yowling and yipping of the neighbor's dog. No longer will I be required to watch bad children’s programs of TV with the neighbors. No longer will the lawn chair I call my own be of great matter. No longer will these things be. And, at least after you walk down the hill from this new ...
Costa Rica Earthquake 2012 — By Jennifer Shipp
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Costa Rica Earthquake 2012 — By Jennifer Shipp

It was a beautiful morning for an earthquake. The past two days it's been extremely foggy and overcast here, but this morning when I went outside, the sun was shining brightly and the sky was blue. It's the rainy season in Costa Rica right now and I expected the thunderstorms, the lightning and torrential rains. But one thing I didn’t expect when we decided to go on a trip here was an earthquake.I ...
Our Costa Rican Earthquake – September 5, 2012
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Our Costa Rican Earthquake – September 5, 2012

Today’s 7.6 earthquake in Costa Rica was my first. My virgin earthquake. I have never in my life experienced anything like it and we were even 95 miles from the epicenter. I've always wanted to experience what an earthquake felt like (without dying, getting injured, or watching others die or get injured) and today was my big day. I feel like I should have a very dramatic blow-by-blow of the whole experience ...
The Earthquake — By Lydian Shipp
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The Earthquake — By Lydian Shipp

So, at about…. 8:42 or so, there was an earthquake here in Costa Rica. We’re currently located just outside of Alajuela, a city located just outside of Costa Rica's capital, San Jose. The earthquake's magnitude was originally a 7.9, but now the Internet is saying it’s a 7.6. It was somewhere around there. So far we’ve heard some helicopters flying overhead and some ambulances going by, but it’s hard to tell ...
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Jennifer-Day 23-Kittens, Cookies, and Craziness

If I only had a kitten, I think I’d be okay. I don’t want to admit that I’m homesick (Is that even possible for someone who's lived in 30 different places {+/-} in the past  15 years?). The word makes me think of summer camp and immaturity, but it also makes me feel less like a total loon and more like someone going through the very normal process of cultural acclimatization or whatnot.“Home” is a ...
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The Right Thing to Do at the Bus Station

I have seen the man in the wheelchair making his way through the middle of the Alajuelan streets begging for change. His legs are withered and he seems to have a death wish hanging out in the very center of the streets amongst the crazy wreckless drivers like he does. It seems like a hard life, to be disabled and to have to beg in the middle of a Costa Rican street.I am soft when it comes to situations ...
Bus Stations in Costa Rica — By Jennifer Shipp
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Bus Stations in Costa Rica — By Jennifer Shipp

We went to visit Atenas for the first time today, to see the new house that we’ll be renting for the rest of our time here. Atenas is, apparently a big expatriate place, but it felt a lot different than La Fortuna (also a big expatriate place). The house looks nice, with a big backyard and soft living room furniture, which was one of the most important features we were looking for after spending the past 21 ...
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The Perils of Eating Costa Rican Fried Chicken and Chocolate — By Jennifer Shipp

I know that rice and beans is a staple here in Costa Rica, but what I wasn’t expecting to find was a fried chicken stand on every street corner here. And it smells really good. We don’t eat the fried chicken because it’s probably fried in lard (and John is allergic to beef), but we do try to soak up the aroma when we go into Alajuela because it is positively intoxicating in a comfort-food sort of ...
Jennifer-Day 21-More Things to Do in Alajuela Costa Rica
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Jennifer-Day 21-More Things to Do in Alajuela Costa Rica

Last night we went to our second private Latin dance class and our first group Latin dance class in Alajuela. Randall, our private instructor does a great job, in my opinion. He speaks English quite well, which makes the classes less painful for us and he’s very patient. Though he teaches at the Merecumbre studio, he also teaches privately at people’s homes and is willing to travel.Below is the contact ...
Jennifer-Day 20-Welcome to the Jungle
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Jennifer-Day 20-Welcome to the Jungle

I am uncomfortable. The chairs are hard and the rice is…well, bland. I miss soy milk, the Prius, and wind. I am in at least 50% denial about these things most of the time. My emotions are like a heavy fog that lifts only momentarily before descending again to cloud everything up and give every item in my world a cold, wet, slippery feeling. Yes, I put myself in this situation. It’s like I sent myself to ...
Lydian – Day 20 – It’s Almost Been a Month
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Lydian – Day 20 – It’s Almost Been a Month

Last night was our first dance class in Costa Rica together as a family. It was a private dance class consisting of basic Merengue and Salsa dance steps, and surprisingly, I enjoyed it, though I didn’t think that I would. I was exhausted and sweating afterwards, much like my parents, and did suppose that when we went home now that I would finally be able to enjoy the “comfort” of my chair. Instead, we went ...
Initial Thoughts on the Costa Rican Orphanage — By Jennifer Shipp
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Initial Thoughts on the Costa Rican Orphanage — By Jennifer Shipp

I have been putting off writing about the orphanage, but I know I need to do it before my initial impressions wear off from the weekend. It was the first orphanage I’ve ever seen abroad and I'm hesitant to romanticize it. There are some things that we encounter that produce an immediate and striking emotional response. Usually, when I write about these things, my initial impressions are somewhat different ...
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