I decided early in my visiting of Costa Rica to not live in the big capital city of San Jose because I wanted a more tranquil retirement life than most big cities can provide in their, busy, hectic, crowded, expensive and sometimes dangerous ways.
My first choice was always to live in the woods away from everything, but that would require an expensive 4WD car which I early decided I would do without plus in many cases it is actually more expensive, plus generally no where near the needed shopping and medical care a retiree needs.
Thus the “happy medium” or compromise location of the “Central Valley” of Costa Rica within easy bus or other transportation to the best shopping and medical facilities in the country (like most retirees to CR), yet still a somewhat easy trip to escape into the national parks and forests of Costa Rica which has worked well for me. And nature in the far corners of Costa Rica continues to be my focus. 🙂
BUT . . . sometimes there are fun reasons to visit the big city and especially an old, historic and artsy Latin-American city like San Jose (see my Trip Galleries below). Christopher Howard also explains it well in one of his latest blog posts:
And in that article you can see why I love the many parks in the city, plus the architecture, a tour I made of just the old colonial churches, the arts, the many museums, art in general and as shown here, as an example, some of the many public art sculptures in San Jose:
Sit on a park bench with John Lennon
Lots of Indigenous Artwork
Short-term contemporary exhibit in front of the cathedral
From my years in Nashville, TN USA I remember the unique “Bag Lady” she was often called as a seemingly homeless beggar living on the streets of downtown Nashville and always carrying one or more bags full of who knows what? I’m sorry I never got to know her or her story.
I was reminded of her when I first saw Carmelina in downtown Atenas, walking the streets barefoot in what appears to be a very simple and maybe dirty old dress and sometimes carrying a plastic bag. I have often wondered about who she is, how needy, if anyone cares for her, etc. And I’ve always wanted to photograph her but too embarrassed to ask and not wanting to offend her.
Well, I just found this beautiful photo of her on a local Atenas Facebook Page in Spanish (photo by Patricia Salazar) with lots of comments about Carmelina, mostly as an inspiration to people here for years. Check it out and if you don’t read Spanish, right click and then click “translate to English” to see about 80 different comments about Carmelina, one of the most unique persons in Atenas who in her poverty is always helping someone else, attending most services at the Catholic Church, attending all funerals with a little gift for the family, and many other acts of kindness. . . Christlike?
Here is the schedule of Christmas Festivities at Central Park Atenas with the stage being on government property across the street this year with park being remodeled. Lots of music and a lanterns parade at night plus more with vendor booths set up on the outer edges of the park — remodeling not stopping the Christmas Spirit in Atenas! It will be HAPPY, HAPPY as always and I’m sorry I will miss it this year again as I am traveling for Christmas (Which is a very Tico thing to do!). 🙂
And they just added some more activities for Christmas:
If you click the above image it is larger in its original location
And that is the official Atenas Community fiestas. Every church has at least one Christmas Eve service and the big catholic church multiple masses both days. Many Tico families have 1 to 2 weeks vacation and travel to a beach, usually the week between Christmas and New Years (when most businesses are closed).
Expats vary a lot in what they do. Several always go home to the States, Canada or Europe for Christmas with family. Some have family come here. And the “Snow Birds” came here for their Christmas or multi-months escape from snow and cold weather. Our Expat “Men’s Club” (misnamed) went yesterday (the 16th) to San Ramon for a Dinner Theatre Christmas Madrigal Old English Show or something like that. I went this year and reported yesterday.
Then there’s me – like a real Tico now, I’m going to the beach again but will spend most of my time in the forest at and near Manuel Antonio National Park in a private wildlife refuge and resort called Si Como No, which in español literally means “Yes, of course,” or “Yes, why not?” indicative of the positive spirit of life here in Costa Rica! And I will photograph birds of course! ¡Pura Vida!
Considering a move to Costa Rica? If so, and you find online research confusing or overwhelming, then read this Christopher Howard article on All Over the Map Syndrome. Although he is a little arrogant, he still has the best relocation tour of Costa Rica and his tour combined with the ARCR Seminar is one of the best ways to filter through the onslaught of information you may be finding. I credit those two events with properly preparing me for my successful move here along with a positive attitude and an already established love of the Costa Rica Culture and nature places. Before you move here, visit several times (consider the fun Caravan.com Costa Rica tour) and then go on his “Live In Costa Rica Combination Tour” coupled with the ARCR Seminar and you will be much better prepared. People who just come and try to figure it all out when they get here are usually in the 40% who end up going back to the states, Canada or wherever “home” was before. “Be Prepared!” 🙂
That’s my new Kindle Fire HD 8 above beside a real book I’m also reading. It is my second Kindle ever and 1 inch taller which does make the print a little larger and easier to read, but there are some things I don’t like as well as on my old 5-year-old Kindle. First, the cover is simply not as good and does not stand up on my dining table as well as the old one. Inside it is more complicated and confusing to use electronically for this old man – beginning to show my age? But I will get used to it and love it eventually. 🙂
The Strange Juxtaposition of Two Books I’m Reading
Written in 1948, this is the autobiography of a spiritual mentor whose writings I like and who is of the same generation of my parents, Thomas Merton. He describes his “coming of age” as an adult and discovering who he really is from first the adventures of life and then the spiritual dimension of life and at 68% through the book (Kindle tells you that) he is still struggling with what his vocation will be but even more so with his relationship with God. Been there, done that! 🙂
I’m only about a fourth of the way through this hardback book which is also an adult coming of age autobiography of a young man of my generation this time, published in 2001. Not as spiritual as Merton’s, yet more adventurous as American Jon Marañon ends up in southern Costa Rica on the Pacific Coast (where I love traveling) and as a 23 year old buys a tract of land on the coast at a bargain price. Then the problems and adventures begin dealing with government regulations, local farmers, and even a “witch” along with illnesses, injuries, etc. And that is as far as I am in the story now. But it is the kind of thing I too might have done in the 1960’s if I had not been, like Thomas Merton, highly motivated by what I considered a “calling” from God. Young men struggling with who they are!
I will report back when I have finished both bios and how I am relating to them then. It is funny how I identify with both guys of two different generations and two different worlds and somehow ended up reading both stories at the same time. 🙂
I guess his translation of the Bible called The Message is the biggest influence he had on me and my life, by far my favorite version of the Bible, but his book A Long Obedience in the Same Directionranks pretty high up there also. My spiritual focus for many years now has been on the spirit of God working inside me and in the lives of all followers of Jesus. It is where we find hope for this pathetically sinful world. Thus the title of my “spiritual page” on this site “His Spirit.”
This Presbyterian minister reminds me in some ways of my favorite Catholic Monk, Thomas Merton, whose autobiography I am currently reading, The Seven Storey Mountain. They are real people allowing “His Spirit” to control their lives as they relate to virtually everyone as Christ would. In some ways it reminds me of my youth ministry days and the simple WWJD phenomenon (What Would Jesus Do?), only much deeper and almost mystical as we are led by His Spirit!
I worked my entire adult working life for Southern Baptists, the largest of the Evangelicals talked about so much today and experienced the spiritual decline of a church, denomination and the broader “Evangelicals” as they became political with a focus on power, money, and the control of other people rather than allowing “His Spirit” to work through them as the voices of Jesus. They seemed to have chosen a self-seeking Republican Party instead and their self-centered leaders. It saddens me because in earlier days I experienced His Spirit working through Southern Baptists. Now they give us Donald Trump and racist Republican leaders. It is one of the reasons I moved my retirement to Costa Rica to avoid such poison that now seems to affect a whole nation if not the whole world. Scary! We need more Eugene Peterson’s!
Translation of the above art: “Give Jesus more room in your life.” And my post title “DiosArte” is simply Spanish for “GodArt.”
My young friend Jason Quesada liked this FB page (DiosArte) and I liked the interesting and youthful art made by a Catholic young person here. Creativity is used in many ways in Costa Rica! Check out his colorful Facebook Page:
By using my new 600mm telephoto lens instead of my usual Samsung Phone Camera for a vista from the hilltop resort Xandari, I zoomed in on the Alajuela Cathedral with Central Park to the right and the bigger surprise, at top edge of photo is an American Airlines plane landing or taking off at the San Jose International Airport in Alajuela! Luck of the timing on the plane and sorry that the blog template crops off part of the plane, not so in my original photo (see in gallery).
Below is another shot in same direction from the same restaurant with my phone camera to help you see how much I was able to zoom in and crop a little! 🙂 The cathedral is on the left side of the city that you see between the restaurant and the mountains. My last day at Xandari, Wednesday, Walter picked me up and we got my internet order package 5 blocks east of the Cathedral, ate lunch 2 blocks north of the Cathedral, then drove 24 km (15 miles) west to Atenas where I live. My small world! 🙂
Or my galleryChurches – Costa Rica The above is my last post from the Orosi trip. And a month before the next trip! 🙂 -o- I’m not a big fan of Nadine, the Happier than a Billionaireyounger girl and her husband who moved here about a year before me and her making money off books about living here, but she has some interesting posts!. The above link is to her latest blog post and a “free” chapter from her next book. It is about “dawn” and includes a beautiful (if oversaturated) photo of a sunrise. Someone considering a move here might enjoy her blogs and website and even the books that are somewhat humorous tales of the couple adjusting to pura vida, changing locations, building a house, etc.
THE TRUMP OF COSTA RICA? SAD!
It is getting harder for us Democrats to get away from Trump in Costa Rica! 🙂 The leading candidate for President here is another hateful Trump-type person, with his main platform being Anti-Gay Marriage and he is an Evangelical revival preacher! Sad!
Political Cartoon in one Online English Newspaper
Sad because Christianity (especially evangelicals) already has the reputation of being bigoted people who hate other people who are different from them. I believe that attitude along with Trump and the horrible Republican Party is destroying the United States from the inside now, with obvious help from Russia!
And yes, I hold NRA-financed Republicans responsible for the school shootings because of their continued refusal to pass basic gun controls and gladly allow a teenager to walk into a gun store and buy a military machine gun (unlike any other developed country in the world). The U.S, is the most violent and dangerous of all the developed countries in the world. No where in the world are people daily in danger of gun violence like in the states, and it continues to get worse. There are more legally owned guns in the states now than there are people! That is scary!
Nor are the immigration rules and attitudes as bad anywhere as in the states. Republicans will have a lot to answer for to God on judgement day! The U.S. is a very broken nation! Sad! Sad! Sad!