“And now you know…the rest of the story.”

Only people my age remember Paul Harvey and his feature news stories he called “The Rest of the Story.” And just like then, sometimes there is more to a story than what you first read . . . including my stories and blog posts.

On October 9 I had a post titled Progress? (my second time to use that title I realized later.) And the premise both times was that big business is coming into our quaint little farming town, tearing down family houses to build modern, commercial buildings, ruining the character of our little town. Well . . . I deep down know better than to make assumptions like that when I don’t know all the facts, but trying to be idealistic I did it anyway and was wrong.

WHAT I DID WRONG: I posted my photo of the nice new modern office building between two family houses and declared that the house that had been there probably raised several families and now that family thing is gone and made more difficult for the two houses left on either side of the big new modern office building. Much of that I just implied.

MY HAND WAS CALLED: A few days later I received a friendly but firm correction to my story from a lady whose husband was in the second generation of children to grow up in that house they just tore down to build an office building for the business she and her husband started when they were married. She explained that the house was old and riddled with termites and was going to have to be torn down anyway, plus (as I did say in my story) that whole street is rapidly becoming commercial anyway. She went on to say that if the grandparents were still living they would be very pleased with what their grandchildren decided to do with the old house they had built and keep the property in the family.

After I apologized, she gave another very kind response to my response. But the best way to see is read the comments at the end of the post Progress?

Me and my big mouth! Maybe I will be more careful in the future, at least for awhile! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!


Is that a word?   🙂   Well, anyway, I finished my week of Spanish Language Immersion and can say that it was very good or helpful! The most effective language immersion class/living is when one does it for two months straight or longer, then you are more or less fluent, people tell me. If I had my move to Costa Rica to do over, I would have scheduled the first two months in language immersion, but I didn’t – so I will keep up my plodding along here in Atenas with a tutor two hours a week along with relating to locals in Spanish and I may go back to Heredia for some more one week experiences in the future. We will see. It is not as expensive as my birding trips but nor is it as much fun!   🙂

The featured photo is from my breakfast table back home in Atenas this morning (got in last night) with that pretty pink-blooming tree on the horizon. It is always good to “get back home” after a trip. And in a lesser sense, I still have a type of language immersion living in Atenas, just not in my house! Though I guess I could talk to myself in Spanish!   🙂   I use only Spanish here with taxistas, at the supermercado, mostly in restaurants & other business and with my tutor – so not bad – but still not quite like the full immersion of this past week.

I recommend the experience and really liked the folks at Tico Lingo which I recommend, though I can’t compare it to any of the many other such programs here or in other countries. My uncle and some friends had good experiences at a similar program in Antigua, Guatemala while I have known others to do it in various places in Mexico – thus there are many opportunities if you are interested! And remember that living in a local home that speaks only Spanish is maybe just as important as the several hours of class work in the school.   🙂   AND using the language when you leave!  🙂  And I just now found one website that compares 18 such schools mostly geared to youth also wanting a beach experience and it doesn’t even include Tico Lingo, but if interested check out: Language Schools. My relocation tour stopped at two of these schools for quick introductions and there are more than these!

Speaking in Spanish with other students was also helpful. I was at a lower level than the one group class during my week, thus I had a solo class or 3 hours of personal tutoring each morning which was definitely best for me, but I did go out to lunch with some others and practiced with them a little, though it’s too easy to relapse into English with other Americans!   🙂

They have “Graduation” every week! Me with my certificate & Profesora Ana.

And as I left my home for the week 4-year-old Daniela said “adios” to me!


And of course I have a “Trip Gallery” of photos from this week, titled:

2020 February 22-28 — Heredia for Spanish Immersion


“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”
~Ludwig Wittgenstein

¡Pura Vida!



Tico Casa & Heredia Central

I had a great dinner last night with Vera and Daniela off and on with others out – it was arroz con pollo or chicken and rice with a typical Tico breakfast this morning of Gallo Pinto or beans and rice with egg and coffee and bread and a big plate of fruta and glass of juice! I ate breakfast with Jose, I neat young guy from a little village an 8 hour bus ride south of here near the Panama border. He works for a robotics company and goes to the university in night school for more robotics skills. Lots of different things are manufactured here in Costa Rica and there are some really sharp young people here!

If there is any downside of a boarding house it is sharing the bathroom with many other people. No wait for my shower this morning, but after breakfast before leaving for school I could not brush my teeth because it was occupied. It is all part of “being family” or sharing which is ultimately a joy!   🙂

I had a good morning at school today followed by a tour of downtown Heredia with lunch at the Central Mercado, a typical lunch plate called a “casado” which is your choice of meat and an assortment of vegetables, rice and salad served for lunch everywhere in Costa Rica, like what Mamma would serve you at home. The word “casado” literally means “married” and implies that if you are married this is what your wife will serve you for lunch.  🙂  I will report on the school tomorrow and Wednesday I’m going to the Toucan Rescue Ranch for another interesting experience. Never a dull moment! Even when learning!

Casa de Garcia

A 4-bedroom Boarding House Apartment


Heredia Central


And of course I have a “Trip Gallery” of photos from this week, titled:

2020 February 22-28 — Heredia for Spanish Immersion

¡Pura Vida!

Home Business Signs: Cakes

Cakes for Sale at a house up the road from me towards town
Atenas, Costa Rica

Note the interesting mix of Spanish and English on this sign, showing a local custom. Of course the first part, Se Vende: Queques is pure Spanish saying “For Sale: Cakes” but then she adds the English name of Cup Cakes! I cannot speak for all of Latin America, but for Atenas, Costa Rica, they often prefer the shorter, catchier English names for items than what sometimes becomes a long and complicated Spanish name. Thus cupcakes, jeans, shorts, cellphone, and a bunch of other names I can’t remember right now. And of course “proper names” are not suppose to be translated, meaning Coca Cola, McDonalds, KFC, Taco Bell, Subway, Kleenex stay the same here, just like my name Charlie! No one tries to make me Carlos or Carlito. And to show you why, the dictionary says that in Spanish “cup cakes” (two words) is tortas de la taza or “cupcakes” (one word) las magdalenas. I have never heard anyone here use either for cupcakes here. And on the culture goes! ¡Pura vida!

See my new photo gallery: Home Business Signs

Interesting video of Toucans somewhere in Costa Rica.

Home Business Signs: Corner Grocery

El Pingüino is a landmark on my side of town.
It is a very small corner grocery store called pulpería or mini-super
It looks like a store in front but it is also their home, living in the back.
Atenas, Costa Rica

How cool is it to have a little corner store called “The Penguin” in a tropical climate country where no native has ever seen a penguin? And it is the front part of their house! Or attached to their house. Plus it is 2 blocks from one public high school/middle school and 1.5 blocks from one public elementary school. Needless to say they have more student customers than anyone, selling lots of cold drinks an snack food! But they are better stocked for real food than another similar home store closer to me, though I still prefer the supermercado! There are many of these little corner stores all over town and probably many are in homes. No strict zoning codes or laws here!  🙂  Atenas is a really cool place to live!

El Pingüino
Store entrance on corner. White addition on right is a rental apartment.
The owner’s home is also attached to the left, seen in next photo.
Also notice a mother walking daughter home from primary school.
Atenas, Costa Rica

El Pingüino
Owner’s home is light green, attached to left behind white metal fence.
These boys are at a school with a “no uniform day” today. Rare!
Or out of school, especially the boy in shorts! No shorts in school!
Atenas, Costa Rica

See my new photo gallery: Home Business Signs

Home Business Sign: Seamstress

Clinica de Ropa
In Boqueron, 3 blocks from Roca Verde
Atenas, Costa Rica

“Clinica de Ropa”
(Clinic for Clothing) is the common name for a seamstress (la costurera) who probably does more repair work on clothing than making new clothing, although she does both. This particular seamstress is the closest one to my house and I have used her twice. The first time she put a patch over a little hole in one of my several canvas shorts I wear every day. She did a good job with fabric on both the outside and inside and it does not show or is not noticeable.

Recently I was motivated to do something with my front right pockets where I keep my cellphone and believe it slid out of the pocket in a San Jose Taxi. I asked her if she could sew velcro on both sides of the top of the right pockets. She said she could do that but, a zipper would be better and safer. So for one mil, the equivalent of about USD $1.75 each, she sewed a zipper in each of my 6 pairs of shorts, the only pants I wear here. That included the zipper! I think it would cost a bit more in the states! 🙂  I think the patch was about the same price, though don’t remember for sure. Labor and services are cheaper here! Imported U.S. products are not. It was most likely a Chinese zipper which would be cheaper here than say one from even Mexico or Columbia. Interesting!

New photo gallery: Home Business Signs

Home Business Sign: Tortillas

Homemade Tortillas by Ana that I pass every day walking.
She sells them out a window of her house.
People walk or ride a bike to her house to get morning or evening bread.
Atenas, Costa Rica

For first-timers, this is the second in a new series of posts with photos of interesting signs people in Atenas hang outside their homes for their home business. With two photos now, I have also started a new photo gallery: Home Business Signs

All Day with Church Folk! Wow!

Phone Shot of 10 AM Worship

Mark and Tina let me walk to church with them this morning around 9:30 for the 10 AM service. In the future I will probably go to the early service but this was good on the first Sunday, since every first Sunday the expats get together after church for a potluck lunch.

The worship was all in Spanish with an English interpreter for the sermon which was on submission to God and we had the Lord’s Supper which they call Communion. The praise band and music was similar to what we had at First Baptist Nashville in the alternative service in the chapel, EXCEPT the choruses were all in Spanish and were mostly different songs. My favorite was urging us to swim in the river of God. There were more Ticos than expats which is good! Gringos don’t need to take over! But more expats today because of the potluck lunch. Lunch was at one of the expat’s huge, beautiful house, maybe 15 miles away with a more gorgeous view than our apartments. They love to entertain and we had lunch outside by their pool in a covered outdoor kitchen area called a “rancho” here. After another hour or so of visiting on their big wrap-around veranda, most of the people left. But the four of us whom the host had to drive over stayed until evening when he went out to get pizza and we ate absolutely wonderful pizza around their long dining room table with four of their 6 kids included. Quite a day! We were brought home at about 8 PM.

This week I will try the 6 PM Wednesday expat English service. Then I will determine how much I’m going to be involved. It is a good group for networking and I got some leads on houses closer to the center of town, if I decide to move. One of the lady’s in the late group lives near the center of town.

Whew! I’m tired!