Monthly Archives: November 2012

Day 11: Beautiful Weather

Click HERE to checkout the days you’ve missed!

It seems a little bit silly to me to be posting about the weather. I mean, that’s what you talk about when there is nothing else to talk about, right?

Well, it may sound silly, but it turned out to be a really big deal to me and Peter. It really is truly amazing waking up every morning and opening up the sliding glass door on our porch to bright sunshine and a temperature around 70-75 F. No matter how bad of a morning I was having or how stressed out I was before heading to school at 7 A.M., once I stepped outside, took a breath of fresh air and felt the warm sun on my skin and a cool breeze through my hair, it’s like all of the bad disappeared.

This was taken in January 2012, not long after arriving to CR for the first time! This is our apartment patio :-)

This was taken in January 2012, not long after arriving to CR for the first time! This is our apartment patio 🙂

We live in a part of Costa Rica known as The Valley. It’s near San Jose is, and it is MUCH cooler weather than the beach. It is actually really amazing how much the weather changes between here and the hour and half drive to the Pacific coast. The coasts are all hot and humid with salt in the air. I love visiting places like that for a few days, but I am so glad that we chose to live in the Valley rather than the beach.

We almost never had to turn on our air conditioning. We just leave a few windows and the patio door open!

Mid December-March is what is called the ‘dry’ season here. I am not exaggerating when I say it did not rain ONCE during those months! I think I even got a little spoiled, because those were my first few months experiencing CR and I remember thinking, “Wow! This is awesome!” and also, “Man, I kind of miss clouds and rain…” There were hardly ever any clouds, either!

I think the highest the temperature got during those months was a few days it hit lower 90’s, and everyone was complaining about how hot it was?!?! lol. Moving from Las Vegas to here…Costa Ricans don’t know what ‘hot’ is!  🙂 Those were some of the days we chose to close the door and turn on the a/c for a few minutes. A ‘too hot’ poker player in the house is NO fun to be around…trust me.

The rainy season hits around April and lasts through November/early December. The worst month of the rainy season is October. During April-September it would be bright and sunny in the mornings, and anywhere between 1-4 p.m. it would get cloudy and eventually rain. I mean, we are talking like clockwork here. You could never judge the weather for the day based on the morning sky outside your window because there was a 98% chance it would rain. Then again, the nice part of that is that it was always predictable. It would almost always rain that afternoon! October was different. You would wake up in the morning and there would be clouds. Even rain some mornings! It was just so different than what I was use to for so long. It also gets really chilly in the evenings on rainy days, like in the 50’s!

I brought a rain jacket with me, but one of my student’s parents ended up giving me and Peter a huge umbrella! It was so nice of them, and came in handy for me many times walking to and from school.

This is an example of a rainy afternoon Taken from our patio in October 2012

This is an example of a rainy afternoon Taken from our patio in October 2012

Another benefit to good weather is mood. Bright and sunny days tend to coincide with better moods and better overall emotions.

As long as I’ve known this sweet and loving man of mine (which is around seven years now) he has dealt with an ongoing battle of depression. It doesn’t occur all the time, but we call them ‘sad days’. In the past, he would be fine and happy for a while, and then for no apparent reason, no trigger that we could think of, he would become really depressed. There was no predictor an episode was about to occur, and I really don’t know that there was anything we could do to bring him out of the depression. I just had to be there for him and we would wait it out together, until he felt better.

Overtime, we did notice that the episodes were occurring less and less (I like to think that was a result of me being in his life… lol, just kidding!), but they were still more often than we liked. We looked into different medications, but neither of us really like the idea of being medicated for emotions, so we moved on to a more natural solution: Vitamins!

Currently, Peter takes vitamins such as Niacin and 5-HTP, which are mood enhancers and help control serotonin levels. We have also both noticed that since moving here, to Costa Rica, having the sun shining almost everyday has affected Peter’s mood in a really positive way. I think in the last year he has only had one, maybe two, episodes. I think they call it Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) when the weather affects your mood.

The difficult thing for us now is to leave here knowing how good things have been for him. I know he is worried that more episodes will flare up when we return home, but I’m confident that he is on a good path. Plus, luckily for us, Las Vegas is a pretty sunny city most of the year! The challenge will be to get him out of the Casino and into the sun.

We have spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks just standing outside, trying to soak in the beautiful weather, and not take it for granted while we have it so nice! I love to go outside in the evenings once the moon is out and just look up and the bright stars and the moon and just be in the moment. We never took much time to do that back home. We were always too busy with other things.

Make sure you take the time to be present and aware in the moment, wherever you are and in whatever you do. Life will really amaze you.

**Sidenote: Always wear sunscreen! We wear spf 70 on our faces daily, and at least spf 30 if we are going to be out in the sun. No skin cancer for us!** 🙂

~Thanks for reading~

Pura vida!

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Day 10: Cheap Movies

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How much are movies costing these days? The last movie Peter and I went to in the U.S. was in Las Vegas, and if I remember correctly, they cost $9.50 a piece!

The effect of expensive movies is us not going to the movies very often. Oh, and this big guy in our living room…

December 2010, while moving into our first home!

Yea, he loves that T.V…………. I’ll be honest, I love that T.V. too 🙂

Anyway, back to movies here in CR.

For one adult ticket it costs 3,200 colones (~$6.50). Wow, that sounds great compares to $9.50!! But wait, there’s more.

On Wednesdays, there is a promo they run that’s 2 for 1! That’s right, it only cost Peter and myself $6.50 for BOTH of our movie tickets on Wednesdays!!! Also note that this is a Cinemark movie theater located in the Multiplaza, which is the biggest mall in Central America, so it’s a really nice theater. The theaters are also smaller than U.S. theaters, so there’s not a bad seat in the house!

Oh, and speaking of seats, there is this really great thing they do here before you purchase your ticket and that is that they ask you to choose a seat from a screen of assigned seats. GENIUS! WHY do they not do that in the U.S.?!?! I literally get upset thinking about it. You don’t have to show up to the movies super early to get a good seat. Most people buy their tickets, and then just go walk around the mall until the movie is about to start. It just such a great system. Seems like if it works in a 3rd world country then it should be able to work in the States.

The last thing that I love about the movies here that I am really going to miss is the sweet popcorn!! Think about those popcorn tubs your mom use to get around Christmas time that had regular, cheddar, and caramel popcorn. This popcorn at the movies is like the caramel flavor, but better! It’s warm and forms this crunchy outer shell as it cools….mmmm my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Peter and I use to get the ‘mixed’ popcorn with salty and sweet popcorn all in one bag, but we both admitted to secretly trying to pick out the sweet kernels only, so now we just get sweet!!! So good. Just can’t tell you enough.

We actually went to the movies yesterday to take advantage of 2 for 1 Wednesdays and we saw Twilight. I’ll be honest, I’m glad that’s all we spent on that movie..

Me with our sweet popcorn at Breaking Dawn 🙂

There are always two options for the movies here. One, is to watch it dubbed over in Spanish. Two, is to watch it in English with Spanish subtitles.

We have tried to take advantage of the cheap movies here. It’s been a great experience!

~Thanks for reading~

Pura vida!

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Day 9: Cell Phones

Check out the days you’ve missed HERE!

So, it looks like I took the word “challenge” seriously, because I am so behind with my posts! My mom came to visit for five days and wore me out! I’m hoping to do at least two posts a day to catch up though. Sorry about that!

When we first decided to move down here, one of the first things we did was check to see what the cell phone situation would be like. In the States, we have a plan with three other family members through Verizon. We also have smart phones….back in the states.

It turns out that Verizon does not have the capability to carry service to Costa Rica, and we couldn’t break our contract without paying an arm and a leg, and screwing over the other people on our contract with us.

What we ended up doing was suspending our phone service (we still have to pay $10/month for that) and just buying a $30 cell phone in the airport in CR. This little guy is pictured below!

Lit up!

side view

It’s a pay as you go service. There are two main phone services here. One is Kolbi (that’s the one we use) and the other is Claro (they tend to cater to the nicer phones, like Iphones and what not)

This little phone only costs us about $2 per month! We don’t make a lot of phone calls…lol, and we have a land line we try and use too, since it’s included in the rent. It’s definitely a big change from the $90 per month we were paying back in the states. And that was for EACH of our phones!!!

It’s things like this that make it so affordable to live in two places at once. We have our mortgage in Vegas, and our rent here. Although, I think when we calculated what we are spending per month this year (mortgage AND rent) compared with last year (only the mortgage payment), we are spending quite a bit less this year.

I know it’s a bit of a bunny trail saying this, but it really did blow our minds that we were spending so much back home. And we considered ourselves to be frugal! Right now we are able to live between two places at any given time on only one salary (I don’t count the money I made teaching, because it is such a small contribution, and I am paying on my student loans with that and putting most of the rest into an IRA when we get back to the states). This is the sort of thing that people think would be too expensive. In my opinion, it’s totally do-able. It just depends on how bad you want to make it work and figure it out.

Ok, enough of my bunny trail. Back to cell phones.

The last thing I was going to mention was the great technology we have available. And for FREE! Skype is seriously my new best friend. I am able to talk to and SEE my loved ones back home! I even loved utilizing this in the states, because we were living in Las Vegas, but our families are in Texas and Missouri.

It can be tough living without my smartphone attached to me all the time. Most of the time, I just wish I had it for the camera. They take such high quality pictures these days and are so compact! Also, I want to take “sneaky” pictures sometimes, and you can’t really do that with a Canon EOS Rebel

Other than that, it’s really nice not to feel compelled to check FB every second throughout the day, and goof off on the next free app.

I have more time for things like, I don’t know, blog! Or just taking in the experience of being in another country.

~Thanks for reading~ (Even if it’s on your smart phone) 😉

Pura vida!

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Day 8: Costa Rica Sites and Scenery

Welcome to Ticavida!

Click HERE to see what else I’ve loved and learned about Costa Rica, and what I’ve had to adjust to. 🙂

To start with, I am a day late on this post. I had a bit of a stressful morning yesterday and it kind of put me in a foul mood the rest of the day. I was also a bit tired, so after moping around most of the day and a short nap I felt much better.

My mom and I scheduled a tour through Costa Rican Trails  to go to Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Long story short, CRT told me to be at a meeting spot to get picked up at 7:30 a.m. Apparently the van came at 6:30 a.m. so we missed it and the lady on the phone tried to tell me they were probably not going to be able to refund our $200…yea, I was a little upset. We ended up rescheduling for two days later (which will be tomorrow) so let’s hope it all works out! I’ll let you know.

Enough of the bad mood nonsense, I want to get on to one of the most amazing things I have learned about Costa Rica and that is that there is SOOO much to do here! I don’t know how a person is able to pick where they go and what they do when visiting, because I would just want to do it ALL!

It really makes me appreciate that we have had an entire year here to experience almost everything this country has to offer.

Below are pictures of the places we have been and the things we have done over the past year. I will try and put them in order and give stats on each photo.

 

 

Christmas at Jaco Beach

1) Jaco Beach

Location: Pacific coast

Hostel: Hotel Kangaroo, $35 /night

Thoughts: It was pretty underwhelming. It was the first place I went after arriving in CR and I guess I expected beautiful white beaches. What I got was a brown beach with not a lot going on. Plus, there is a pretty high crime rate for this beach. I would not recommend it as a stop on your Costa Rican adventure.

 

Arenal Volcano 

2) Arenal Volcano

Location: Near an area called Guanacaste, north of San Jose

Hotel: Arenal Springs Resort, $165 / night

Activities: La Fortuna Waterfall, Ziplining, waterfall repelling (we did not do this, but our friends did and said it was amazing)

Thoughts: Arenal was amazing. It was the perfect romantic get-a-way. The resort has natural hot springs within the resort with a swim-up bar and is landscaped beautifully! Zip lining was a blast, and you can swim in a beautiful stream at the base of La Fortuna Waterfall. If you decide not to go to the beach, this is the place to go in Costa Rica!

La Fortuna Waterfall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Water Rafting on El Rio Paquare 🙂            (First time going)

3) White Water Rafting

Location: Paquare River, near Limon (Caribbean coast)

Hotel: None, we took the day trip through Rios Tropicales, but there is an overnight option. Day trip is $100 / person and includes breakfast, lunch, transportation, and all your gear! Basically all-inclusive.

Activities: White water rafting. There is also zip lining if you choose the overnight trip.

Thoughts: This was my first time white water rafting, and I LOOOOVED it! We both actually love it so much that we did it twice! It probably helped that this river is one of the top 5 rafting rivers in the world! Worth every penny. I would suggest doing this to anyone who is out to have a great time and a grand adventure!

2nd time rafting through Rios Tropicales. Such a blast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cahuita Beach

4) Cahuita

Location: Limon, Caribbean coast, North of Puerto Viejo

Hotel: Casa del Mango (a house we rented) $225 / night for 6 people, 4 rooms with their own bathroom

Activities: Snorkeling, beach time

Thoughts: Not a lot of great options to eat, but some great drink specials! We loved the place we stayed at, but one drawback was that it was a little over a mile from town which made it difficult to just “run into town” if you needed something. There weren’t cabs around to take us into town either due to the rural feel of the town. Also, the beaches were not the greatest, but it was still fun plating in the waves! The house we rented made up for a lot of the downfalls, though.

Snorkeling near Cahuita National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the canals to Tortuguero

5) Tortuguero

Location: Limon, Caribbean coast

Hotel: Miss Junie’s , included in the tour price through Fran and Modesto’s riverboat tours. The tour was great and we LOVED Modesto and Fran! Great people.

Activities: If you head to Tortuguero during nesting season (July-October) you can go on to the beach at night and watch them lay their eggs! By far one of the coolest experiences of my life!! Also, a boat ride through Tortuguero National Park where you can see wildlife like birds and monkeys.

 

Jesus Christ Lizard

Thoughts: The ride out to Tortuguero can be quite a tough one. From San Jose, it’s a 2 1/2 hour drive, then you get on a boat for 3 more hours. It is all water canals, no streets, so the only way around is via boats! Your butt is pretty sore by the end of the trip. Also, if you come here, make sure you eat at Wild Ginger! Overall it was a great trip. Totally worth it if you are into a more “wildlife”, non-fancy trip to Costa Rica.

 

 

 

 

We saw so many HUGE crocs on the boat ride through the canals!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volcan Poas

6) Poas Volcano

Location: Alajuela, just north of San Jose

Hotel:None! You can take a day tour to here and La Paz Waterfall Gardens (day trip for both places plus meals and entrance fees from San Jose is around $100 / person)

Activities: Volcano and Lagoon

Thoughts: Excellent day trip. It is absolutely breathtaking here. Great if you have an extra day to ‘waste’ in San Jose.

 

My babe and I near the Lagoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful views

7) Manuel Antonio

Location: Pacific coast, past Jaco

Hotel: Hotel Flor Blanca (not to be confused with Flor Blanca Resort), $40 / night for both of us! It’s more like a hostel

Activities: Manuel Antonio National Park, great restaurants

Thoughts: $8 / person each way for the bus ride from San Jose to Manuel Antonio is totally worth it. There is also a great local bus system once you get there that will take you to the beach and entrance to the park for cheap! Going to the park is a must. Pack a lunch and bring some water because you will want to spend all day on these beautiful beaches!

white sand beaches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

monkeys!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Titi Monkey! Peter took this pic.

 

All of our trips have been amazing. Like I said, I am just so thankful to be able to do all of the fun things we do!

We are going to Monte Verde Cloud Forest in about a week, and after that the only place we will have not gone is the Nicoya Peninsula (which I have heard is absolutely gorgeous!)

 

Hope there was some helpful advice in here! There is so much we are going to miss about this country, and these are just some of the reasons why. I never know there was so much to do in such a tiny country.

If you chose to visit Costa Rica make sure you do your research and know what kind of trip you want to have. Manuel Antonio vacations are geared more toward luxury and relaxation vacations, while more of an adventure vacation would include white water rafting and zip lining, and an eco-friendly vacation can be found in Tortuguero.

So many options, which one would you choose?

~Thanks for reading~

Pura Vida!

 

 

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Day 7: Pool with a view and a hot tub to boot!

Welcome to Ticavida!

Click HERE to see the rest of my 30 Day Challenge.

Oh man. One of the things I KNOW we will miss is the beautiful pool/hot tub/restaurant area with a view.

It’s at the top of the hill in our apartment complex and has a great view of the valley. We went up here to watch the TONS of firework displays that went off throughout the valley on New Years eve. Apparently, fireworks are not illegal here in certain areas like they are in the U.S.

Peter has even said that the next house we live in he wants to have a pool. We decided that it would be too much to take on in the first house we bought. But now we are experienced home owners, and we have experienced having a pool around over the past year, so I think the next house maaayy have to have a pool. 🙂

Imagine getting to experience this everyday. We are so going to miss it.

Pool area. That’s my mama on the right 🙂

 

Other side of the pool.

Fountain, with the restaurant in the background.

The view.

 

More of the view.

 

The edge of the pool allows the water to wash up a little. Nice if you want to “test” the water temperature.

Beautiful blue water! I was so relaxing with the sunshine and breeze.

 

Covered area by the pool. For those who don’t want skin cancer. It’s also great for get-togethers with friends or family!

HOT TUB! YEAH! This is our go to spot after 2 for 1 margarita night.

 

One of the tables in the restaurant area. Such a great place to eat dinner in the evenings!

More of the restaurant area. There are even more tables to the left.

 

And here’s mom again, enjoying her own margarita poolside! She definitely knows how to vacation. 🙂

I think we are going to have to find a new normal when we get back to Vegas…lol.

~thanks for reading~

Pura vida!

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Day 6: Holidays

Check out the days you’ve missed HERE!

Today is Thanksgiving, and boy is my cup overflowing with thanks to give!

I have spent the past (almost) year living a tropical life with the man I love, and last night my mom flew in from Dallas, Texas to spend Thanksgiving with us!!!

I kind of feel bad, though, because my mom has only been to three countries outside of the U.S. which includes Mexico (and, let’s be honest, if you live in Texas that’s like almost living in Mexico anyway), Canada and, that’ right folks, COSTA RICA! So instead of going somewhere new, she came back to this tiny country in Central America to see me. What a great mom, right?

Aqui es mi mamacita bonita!
Here is my beautiful mama!

When moving to Costa Rica, I flew in December 23, 2011. Christmas Eve, eve! We were off to Jaco Beach the next day to spend Christmas somewhere special, and not in our un-festive apartment.

It felt strange, though. We usually try and go to Missouri for Christmas, where Peter’s family is from, and it gets COLD there! We do fun traditions like watching the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, eating homemade pizza, riding four wheelers, and even cutting down a Charlie Brown-esqu Christmas tree from the yard and decorating it on Christmas Eve!

His family has so many great traditions that I love (and I KNOW Peter loves) that it was difficult being in a warm climate for the holidays. December is actually the first month of “summer” for Costa Ricans. The skies are blue every day without a drop of rain all month. Much different than the December we are use to.

Most Costa Ricans also take almost  the whole month off of work. Christmas is a big deal in this strong, Catholic country. Everyone heads to the beach for a week or two to enjoy the beautiful weather!

We stayed at a little hostel called Hotel Kangaroo. They even left a stocking on our doorstep Christmas morning filled with coffee and chocolates! How sweet!

I know, I look terrible, but how sweet of the hostel?!

Below are two pictures

of one store in Santa Ana to give you an idea of what Christmas is like around here now. These decorations have been up since the first of November…lol.

Christmas decor around town.

Truck full of Christmas trees!

Mom and I walked around downtown Santa Ana today. We stopped in the old Church in the center of town and said a few thankful prayers.

They had really cool doors!

Say a little prayer. My mom is Catholic, so this is about right.

At the church entrance.

Right now, we are just sitting here watching some football, about to start cooking our own version of Thanksgiving meal. It’s really starting to feel like home. 😀

We had breaded, baked chicken from what we picked up at the butcher that morning, fresh cut raw veggies, and instant mashed potatoes.

Cheers! Happy Thanksgiving!

Peter was nice enough to take this pic of us. 🙂 And the weather was so nice. Maybe 75 F.

Now, time to relax and finish up watching the Cowboys play! They’re home this year, in the town of Arlington, TX where I was born!!

I hope everyone out there had a restful and full Thanksgiving. This is the time of year that we should all feel appreciative of who we have around.

It has been a tough year for my family. Two members passed away, but that will all be in another post.

~Thanks for reading~

Pura Vida!

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Day 5: Haircut

If you are visiting Ticavida for the first time, click here to see Days 1-4!

If you are a lady visiting today, then you may be able to relate to me. How GREAT do you feel after you get your hair cut?!

The last time I got my haircut was right before my girlfriend, Kelsey’s, wedding. This was also the last time I had my hair colored in any way. I got some highlights.

Here’s a pic!

I’m the one on the left and the beautiful bride, Kelsey, is on the right!

This was July 3, 2011.

I have not colored or cut my hair since about two days before this picture was taken. Today is November 21, 2012.

I will save you the trouble of doing the math and tell you that it has been a year and almost 5 months since I have done anything to my hair.

Part of that was out of choice. I’ve had long hair most of my life and while I loved the change up of a short do, I missed my long locks.

The other problem is that I was too scared to get my haircut here in Costa Rica. It would be really difficult to explain what I want. I mean, I’ve told English-speaking hairdressers in the States what I want and they don’t get it right all the time. You know the ones…you say “Take off an inch.” and they take FIVE! I’m not trying to knock hair dressers. I’m glad they exist, because Lord knows I could not do my own.  They can also be miracle-workers sometimes!

I have also not used a blow dryer in the past 4 months, and only used a curling iron once!

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I hardly ever brush my hair either. When I get out of the shower and let my hair dry naturally (without brushing it) the waves have so much more volume and hold up nicer! Anyone else out there feel me?

Below is a pic of how long my hair had grown between July 2011 and New Years 2012, when I had only been in Costa Rica for about a week. My original plan was to get a haircut once I got here because it would probably be cheaper anyway. Obviously, that never happened, lol.

We were under the impression that where we lived there would be more English-speakers so it wouldn’t be a problem to go get my hair cut somewhere around here. Well, as usual when you travel, things are not always as they seem (just spoke last night with my sister-in-law who lives in Taiwan about this!). It’s not a bad thing, though. It’s a huge part of the fun and adventure!

Looking back, maybe I should have just gone and tried to get a haircut because I’m sure that would have made an interesting story. Oh well!

Me and Peter on New Years Eve 2012 in our CR apartment.

Here’s a side-view of my hair length. I had a tapered bob style when I got it cut. It kind of grew out a lot by this point.

We were cheersing in the new year! I love Champagne. Makes me want a glass right now!

And here is the best picture I have of my hair length now.

This was taken early September.

This is me and Peter at dinner with some friends, and was taken just a couple of weeks ago. This was he time I used the curling iron!

As you can see, my hair is getting nice and long, and the sun here has helped my color stay really pretty, in my opinion. 🙂

I have to admit though that the one thing I can’t wait to do when I get back is go and get a fresh shampoo and haircut.

There is an Aveda School in Vegas that I like to go to. It’s cheap and they do a great job!

Looking forward to that in a few short weeks. Can’t believe we will be state-side in less than a month!

Oh, and I think I need some suggestions on hair cuts. Let me know what you think would look good on me!!

~Thanks for reading~

Pura Vida!

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Day 4: No car

Check out the days you’ve missed HERE!

Today, Peter and I went around to run some errands. The list included Peter getting his hair and beard trimmed (which looks AWESOME), buy a gift for a friend’s birthday, get a few groceries, pay our electric bill (you can do that at the grocery store…I know, crazy! We thought people were making it up when they told us to go there to pay bills..), and stop by the butcher to get some pechuga de pollo sin huesos (boneless, skinless chicken breast).

It is definitely days like these when I wish we had a car.

When we have days like these, where we need to run all over the place, we usually plan everything out to a T. Where to go first and what’s the least number of bus trips we can take to get everything done. And if one place doesn’t have something and you need to go somewhere else, then it can become quite a hassle.

Here is my baby back home that I can not wait to get back to!

This is my first picture with my baby back in 2008! Gosh, I was just a 21 year old baby myself back then 🙂

At the Continental Divide in Colorado, driving from Dallas to Vegas! 2010

Like I said in the Day 1 post, I love that there is public transportation available to us and I am so thankful for it most days, but some days it’s just nice to be able to hop in your car and go wherever your heart desires in your own time!

A goal of mine for when we get back to Vegas will be to ride my bike whenever possible. We live less than a mile from so many things (grocery store, dollar store, gas stations….oh, wait..).

It will be tough on those hot days. I mean, we do live in the desert.

I believe in me, though! So much we want to alter about our life together when we return to the states. But you will have to keep reading in order to see what the other changes will be 🙂

Pura Vida!

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Day 3: The Feria

First off, if you haven’t checked out Day one and Day two yet, click here!

Day 3 we are going to talk about how much I am going to miss the feria (street market)!

It only happens once a week, on Sundays, from 5 a.m. – noon in downtown Santa Ana and it is so cool. Well, it’s actually pretty hot in the morning/early afternoons. I usually come back with pink shoulders.

You can find all sorts of fruits and vegetables at really good prices. Peter and I can buy enough for both of us to last a little more than a week for around $9-$12!! I think it may be even less for locals, because they know how to barter in Spanish. I could try it, but I’m sure I’d get some dirty looks and bad-mouthing behind my back..

I love getting the carrots there. They are HUGE! I’ll have to take a pic and then come back and update this post. Also, the cucumbers are almost sweet tasting they are so good. I already loved cucumbers, but Peter doesn’t really like them, so when he started asking me to get some on Sundays I knew there was something special about them.

There are a couple of items that are imported. I know the “pretty”, white garlic is from China (you can buy locally grown as well, though. It’s brown.) and the small, crisp apples have a sticker on them usually, and I think they are from Washington!

We typically buy at least some of the following on any given Sunday: apples, cucumbers, strawberries, onions, pejiballe, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, cilantro, bell peppers, garlic, fresh squeezed OJ, mamon chino/rambutan fruit, avocado, mango.

Oh! And I can’t leave the feria without a freshly juiced drink. It’s $1 for a large cup of either carrot, sugarcane, guanabana (claims to fight cancer cells), and one other juice that is white and has a nutty flavor to it (I can never remember it’s name). There is also street food that is SO yummy! I’ll have to update this section as well with photos and more info on the food!

Things that I’ve seen that I haven’t tried (I know, you are wondering why I haven’t tried something?! Well, I ask myself that same question, and the answer is normally because I don’t have a recipe. But really, I should just woman up and look up a new recipe and just do it!) include: lettuce, cabbage, eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, pineapple (these are just too heavy for me to carry back, so I get them from somewhere closer to our house. More on that in another post), bananas (I get these closer to home as well because they get squished by the other fruits and veggies), dried beans, coconuts.

Things that I haven’t seen there that is common in the U.S.: grapes, oranges (ironically, because they have oranges that are juiced.

I have mentioned before about how we learned that the banana crops seen near the coast and are exported are covered in pesticides pretty much until they’re shipped. Well, we also learned that if you buy the “finger” bananas (tiny bananas just a bit longer than your finger), then they are usually grown naturally with no pesticides.

Yay! Because I love bananas and I was going to be really sad to cut them out of my diet when I found out about the pesticide issue.

On to the good stuff. Pictures! Here are a few pics we have taken from the market.

Some weekends they will have a festival or something going on, so there will be another street covered in tents with arts and crafts and what not for sale. There is also almost ALWAYS music blaring out of a large speaker in the center of the market’s strip. Oh, and if you go later, you can catch the old church’s last service music from the street before they let out. Ok, now on to the pictures. 🙂

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Oh look! I did have a picture of a carrot 🙂

Pura Vida!

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Day 2: Laundry

If you want to see all of my other posts for this 30 day challenge, click here!

Laundry. Something we all have to do (usually on the weekends). Well, it’s the weekend, and guess what I’m doing today? That’s right, you guessed it!

Here, in Costa Rica, when I think of laundry there is a whole different process to it.

I know I probably shouldn’t even be complaining, because at least I have a washer. It’s actually a washer and dryer in one! Crazy, huh? When we first realized it was 2 in 1, I thought, “Why don’t more Americans use this? It would save time switching clothes from washer to dryer, as well as effort.”

Also, I know I’m not the only one who has put a load in the wash and then started doing something else and totally forgot about the laundry, then you have to rewash it to get the musty smell out….am I?  Ok, you don’t have to admit to it. I understand.

I’ll start with a pic of our washer/dryer combo machine.

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Not too shabby, eh?

I’d like for you to note Peter’s shoe (size 10) on the floor next to it as a reference to the size of the machine. Yea, not very big. Which means I can’t put as much in it as my one back home. I end up doing many small loads instead if a few large ones.

OH, and I did try out the dryer early on and it only takes a mere 2 and a half hours to dry something! AH!!! We decided to save some energy and hang dry almost all of our stuff instead.

Here is a picture of our apartment this very second!

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We had to wash sheets. Also, normally we dry our things outside, but since it is the end of rainy season the weather can be a bit unpredictable and I don’t want everything to get rained on!

There is one thing we do take the time to leave in the dryer and that’s our towels. Who doesn’t love a warm, fluffy, good-smelling towel?! Totally worth the wait. And the extra colones on the electric bill.

I should mention that the washer we have is different than most typical washers here. I don’t have a picture, but I think they are semi-automatic.

Going home will be weird for me. Part of me will be happy to throw all my clothes in one load. Woo hoo! There is another part of me that will want to hang dry EVERYTHING!

One reason, the hippie in me that wants to save the planet will come through. A second reason, it will save on our energy bill. Plus, Las Vegas has such a dry climate, everything will dry in no time at all!

My only problem now is that I have the tiniest laundry room ever back home.

Where to hang it all…?

Hope you enjoyed this post and be sure to check in tomorrow for Day 3!

Pura vida!

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

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