Other organizations & universities have listed “happiest countries” similarly and always Costa Rica is in the top 3! It is nice living where people are happy and not complaining all the time like in states. It adds to me being healthy as does the universal healthcare here! “What? Me Worry?”
Funeral Train in downtown Atenas seen from Central Park
I walked downtown for a light lunch around 1:00 and saw that a funeral was in process, leaving the Atenas Catholic Church facing the central park. Street width for a block+ was shoulder to shoulder people walking behind the flower-covered hearse. A big funeral this time!
The whole traditional process can be read about at Death in Costa Rica or a quick summary by me: Someone dies and within an hour or so every family member and friends knows at warp speed. The body is dressed and prepared for burial while another family member arranges the funeral mass for that day or the next morning if death is late in day. There is no embalming (available but very expensive). There may be a brief wake or visitation before the mass. After the mass is when the above “Funeral Train” begins as a hearse, covered in flowers, slowly drives to the cemetery with everyone following on foot, family members first. There is sometimes some low moaning or crying as they slowly walk to the cemetery.
This is the second funeral train I have come upon. I also posted a photo of the first which was much smaller and in a residential neighborhood.
We received a huge shock this morning. Phons von der Bom, from Holland, the owner of these apartments, Hacienda La Jacaranda, living in the big house on the property was found yesterday by the grounds keeper dead in his big house of an apparent suicide. Police were here most of the day they said, while I was at church and the potluck lunch. He was quite depressed from the death of his wife to cancer followed quickly by the death of his father in Holland and missing his children who are now back in Holland. The holidays were especially depressing and lonely for him and he was drinking heavily. I had not seen him in a week or more. Some have said he is an alcoholic. Regardless of all the reasons, it is so very sad when someone takes their life. Rudy, the caretaker, and Patricia, the secretary or practically the manager are devastated and of course don’t know what will happen. I saw two men who looked like business men or lawyers in the office with another woman today. She might be the daughter who I think was already scheduled to arrive today. And of course those of us who are renters could be in limbo for awhile, expecting that the place will be sold. For us, that could be the silver lining to another cloud, since Phons was the reason for poor management and maintenance. So we who live here are both sad and hopeful for better management – but have no idea of what will happen now. Your prayers appreciated.
For a happier note, I photographed my bowl of cereal with pasas y manzas (raisins & apples) which I topped off with a banana and strawberries – much like my breakfasts back in the states.
This was followed by a cup of green tea and receipt of the bad news about Phons’ suicide. Then I walked to town with Camella to Su Espacio for my first Spanish Class and her signing up for Zumba. The class was an excellent beginning with 11 students for the young enthusiastic teacher David – pronounced “Day-Veed” here. He is going to try and split our class for more personal assistance. We will know by Wednesday, which is the second of the two days a week class. Then I walked around town exploring again and had an early lunch at La Caretta, desiring some Gallo Pinto, Costa Rica’s special black beans and rice with onions and peppers. Been here nearly two weeks and had none! They only served it with breakfast, so I had Gallo Pinto con huevo y bacon (with eggs & bacon.) While eating, my neighbor Jean Pierre showed up without his wife Elizabeth and joined me at my table. He had a steak! While I added Tres Leches y cafe negro. Another pleasant morning in Atenas except for the Phons shocker! I walked home via Coope for a few grocery items and there ran into one of the ladies from church. It is beginning to feel like home!
You possibly saw the latest thing going around on Facebook about Costa Rica as the Happiest Place on Earth or in the top 2 or 3 or 93% depending on which survey. One of the writers for Tico Times gives her take on it with a nod to the MacGyver TV show which I don’t think I ever saw. It is titled: The real secret of the world’s happiest country: grapes and MacGyver . All this relaxed, easy-going happiness is in addition to living in the town with the “Perfect Climate.” It is always nice to have your decisions confirmed by other people and research! 🙂