Moving furniture

When you are forced to stay home I guess it is normal to change things in your house as well as to play on the computer!   🙂

For the 5 years I’ve been in this house I’ve always had my breakfast table at the left or NW corner of my terrace (best mountains vista) and the two rockers at the other end, nearer the driveway, SE corner. Since I’ve gone to sitting in the refinished rockers a little more now, I decided to move them to the left with a better view of the mountains beyond Atenas. Next I will ask my gardener to replace that old-looking plant in the frog pot. Of course I’m old-looking too, but don’t replace me just yet!   🙂

Rearranged Porch or Terrace



You will notice on the photos title I used “porch” which is what I grew up calling it in south Arkansas, while later, by my Tennessee days, I called it a “deck” and now here in Costa Rica it is called a “terrace” or la terraza en español, maybe because most floors are made of tile here? And I evolve with my surroundings!   🙂

Coming eyeball to eyeball with a hummingbird on my terrace is as exciting to me as any celebrity I’ve met . . .

~Lesley Nicol

¡Pura Vida!

Alajuela Coronavirus Adventure

Friday I went to Alajuela early for my appointment at the government hospital to get an appointment scheduled with my Cardiologist in Nov-Dec for my annual checkup (yeah, its weird to have an appointment to get an appointment), plus I had a package to pick up at Aeropost and a couple of items to get at PriceSmart.

Wow! I had not been to Alajuela since the Coronavirus scare hit and it has nearly as many cases as San Jose as the second largest city (and my provincial capital by the way).  EVERYTHING WAS DIFFERENT!

1st, to get to the hospital early enough for shorter lines, I took the 6:30 AM bus, which is usually packed with people going to work, shopping, appointments, visits, etc. There were just 5 of us passengers on the bus – scattered out one to a seat. And at the entrance to bus was a bottle of hand sanitizer.

Empty streets!

2nd, as the bus arrived in Alajuela I could immediately see a difference with fewer cars and people – some streets like a ghost town!

3rd, no wait for a taxi with few people there to use them.

4th, when I got to the hospital, there were few people out front as I was expecting by now, but I wasn’t expecting to be turned away! When I got to the door a guard was stopping everyone and I showed him my cita (appointment paper) and he rattled off several things rapidly that I did not fully understand but I think he was basically telling me “no” that “all appointments not emergencies are canceled.” Bottom line, he would not let me in!   🙂

I got there early on purpose to avoid a long wait, yet I still expected to spend an hour or more. But I spent only 5 minutes there and it was now about 7:20 AM, with Aeropost not opening until 9 and PriceSmart at 9:30. Ugh! Oh well, I drank no coffee at home that morning and had only a bowl of cold cereal, so I took my time walking about 8 blocks to the nearest McDonald’s for breakfast.

5th, I entered the biggest MacDonald’s in Central Alajuela with only one other customer inside! Like the bus, they had hand sanitizer at the counters.  I took my time with ham & eggs and lots of coffee while reading the Washington Post. At about 8:30 I began the 6 block walk to Aeropost, getting there 10 minutes before they opened officially.

6th, at Aeropost I only waited a few minutes before one of the clerks, who recognized me through the glass (I’m a regular), came out with my little package, so I did not even have to be one of their limit of 3 customers inside the store – see sign below. And the bright red & green sign reflected backwards in their window is a MegaSuperMercado, a downtown chain-supermarket across the street! The English translation of their home-made sign:  “Maximum 3 customers within the branch.” In what they call a “branch office.”   That is also the feature photo and the recommended “Social Distancing” to help stop the spread of the virus. Costa Rica is doing its part one little business at a time!   🙂

“Social distancing!” inside banks and businesses.

7th, Because of the time I saved from the hospital rejection, I had about 30 minutes before PriceSmart even opened, so I just walked the 12 or so blocks to PriceSmart which opens at 9:30. This is one way I get my exercise!   🙂   And in so doing, I walked by Alajuela Central Park which, like the one in Atenas, is closed with yellow tape wrapped all around the whole block:

“No large public gatherings” thus all parks are closed in Costa Rica!

8th, at the entrance to PriceSmart (our store like Costco or Sam’s Club) they not only had a bottle of hand sanitizer, but specifically asked me to please use it while the lady wiped off the handle of my push cart. But unlike everywhere else I had been that morning, they were full of people and at opening time! Full with long check-out lines! And still some crazy bulk-buying by the panicked!

I actually don’t like this store which is too expensive, too large a quantity of things, and not consistent in their stocking; BUT they usually have about 5 or so items I cannot get anywhere else – things I really like. (Another option might be at AutoMercado, an American-styled supermarket specializing in American brands, but their location is not as handy for me as PriceSmart, as a bus rider.)

When I got out of PriceSmart it was a little after 10, meaning I had just missed the 10 o’clock bus! In the mornings the return buses only run on the hour (tho every 30 minutes in the afternoon), so I just slowly walked the 6 blocks to the bus stop for Atenas and still had time to read a little of my new mystery book before it left at 11. Oh well, another morning is gone! But hey! I’m Retired in Costa Rica and this kind of virus-influenced inconvenience is simply part of my daily adventure! Its what you do when you are retired in Costa Rica!    🙂

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”
― G.K. Chesterton


¡Pura Vida!



Architects have forever been changing the look of our world, all around the world, including in this little coffee farming town of Atenas, Costa Rica. The other day I snapped this photo as just one example of many modern buildings coming up in Atenas. Some, like this one will, soon sit adjacent a “historic” or “antique” building providing the continued contrast of old and new across Atenas and around the world. My response is to just “go with the flow” and find beauty and joy in everything! ¡Pura Vida!

“You can’t stop the future
You can’t rewind the past
The only way to learn the secret
…is to press play.”
― Jay Asher

For more images of Atenas, see my gallery  Atenas.  Check out other galleries to see how I have adapted to “change” – old age, retirement, loss of family and work and encroachment of the future by embracing nature in this beautiful country dominated by nature.   ¡Pura Vida!  Retired in Costa Rica!

A Pleasant Evening in Atenas, Costa Rica!

Overlooking my house on a cloudy sunset around 5:15.
 “And all is well on the western front!”  🙂
Yep, the sun shines from between 5 & 5:30 AM to the same in PM
Every day, year around – 12 hours of dark & 12 hours of light! Nice!
That’s because we are close to the equator. Same sunrise/sunset daily.

And to my fellow Americans, forgive me for saying I was ashamed last night. The election did not go the way I thought was best, but God just may have something much better in store for us! So today I posted on Facebook the following quote and Scripture verse that better reflects my faith:

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come and
the mountains crumble into the sea.” Psalm 41:1
¡Pura Vida!

“We are changing the road map of Costa Rica.”

‘Men At Work”
From dirt ditch to a new spillway from road down to our River Cajon,
a new waterfall for us during rainy season.

Moving on past the apartments

“We are changing the road map of Costa Rica” is what one of the construction work signs says on the road in front of our apartments. Or actually “Estamos cambiando el mapa vial de Costa Rica.”

They have been repaving the road, improving the drainage ditches and other infrastructure for weeks now between us and downtown. So my sandals and shoes have sticky tar and my face wrinkles from all the smiles as I walk past the stopped cars waiting their turn through the one lane of traffic. I smile and say “Buenas!” which is the new shortened version of “Buenas Dias!”

Well, today it begin to pass our place and will soon be up the hill toward Mercedes and we will be less aware of the “changing road map!” But I really like the improvements and especially the big concreted drainage channel by the bridge to the river along side our apartments! In rainy season, a fifth waterfall for us!

There are too many cars for such a small town – the price of progress I guess – and that makes me even more glad I am walking!
Live simple and enjoy life! – My new mantra!

All photos by my cellphone. Click on the image to enlarge. 

Why Do “Easy Jobs” Get So Complicated?

Sunrise at Tortuguero by Charlie

In addition to continuing to sell things and/or arrange for the pre-sell of items like the washer/dryer (Sold!) and the car (Sold!), I have to deal with car dealers for appraisals and struggle with unanswered phone calls, etc.

BUT the biggest issue this week was the simple email that said “click here” to upgrade your system to Windows 8.1 (from just 8). Wish I had never clicked! I spent a good bit of two days dealing with all the problems like the sound not working, all drivers needed to be updated, by me of course! Why can’t they make that a part of an upgrade? Then I googled for help on the sound first and some company, implying they represented Microsoft, wanted $200 to get my computer working correctly again. After an hour of “Live Chat” I canceled and found a true Microsoft fix for the sound and downloaded the needed drivers myself. Grrr.

Then, knowing that the address the apartments gave me in Atenas may not be permanent and will not work for internet ordered packages, I spent several days signing up for an Aeropost mailbox and street address in Miami. ARCR would have handled it for me if I wanted to go to downtown San Jose to pickup my mail and packages, but they recommended that I have them delivered to a pickup station closer to where I live, which is the Aeropost Office in Alajuela (near airport). That meant working with the spanish-speaking employees of Aeropost, Aerocasillas in Espanol. After most of a week, getting a USPS Form 1583 notarized today, I now have everything done for my two Miami addresses, except for hand-delivering the notarized form and copies of passport and driver license to the Alajuela office on my first visit.

It is too early to give these addresses out right now, but I will publicize them by the first of December and send change of address cards for Christmas Cards. And make them pretty too!   🙂

And in Spanish Class we are trying to memorize the many versions of the verb “to be” -ser. My head is spinning, but for a good reason!  🙂 And at school yesterday, my tutoring was interrupted with an awards ceremony assembly to recognize perfect attendance and good citizenship, while my kindergarteners are still learning how to write their names and the sounds of the alphabet. Slow progress everywhere this week – but good and important progress! I feel that a lot of things are starting to “fall in place” (with a lot of help!).


A Grand Exit or Powerful New Start?

That’s the name of today’s post in my His Spirit Blog which again today relates to my decision about Costa Rica. Today’s sermon was a stretch to relate to my decision, but in my mind during the service I was doing that. As Elisha ripped his clothing to pieces I thought about how hard it was going to be to get rid of all my stuff. But also like Elisha, to not change will keep me in my old unproductive rut. This post is based on 2 Kings 2:1-12.