Sheri Walker, in her last email, asked how I was doing exactly, and it started me thinking….as with living anywhere there are good times and not so good times. Luckily most of the time is good. Living in this apartment that we prefer to call, The Oven, hasn’t been the most comfortable.  As the nickname implies it has no air flow and is HOT. We went two days in a row without water and one of those days without electricity. We were able to haul water from across the road at the La Sirena Hotel as they have a backup water supply. Certainly was nice of them to share. Their swimming pool was also a lifesaver during those “dry” days. The electricity usually goes off every few days anywhere from a second to hours. You really learn to appreciate the basics that are needed in living.


We have no running hot water, so we boil water on the stove to wash the dishes. But before we can do that we have to light the stove by hand which is fueled by a propane tank.  At first we just washed with cold water, but then when Jennaka ended up having to go on antibiotics to recover from a sinus infection, I decided to try and prevent her germs from spreading through the family, so now we boil. It feels like camping at Faria Beach. Such an accomplishment when those dishes are done! The shower used to have a heating system hooked up to the shower head that did a nice job of taking the edge off the coldness, but when it started to smoke one day we decided to unplug the thing. The electrical cord was corroded. Our friends have a nickname for these showers, The Suicide Showers. How appropriate!


Since we have been here it has rained everyday except maybe two. Most days are usually sunny, hot, and humid until around 3:00-4:00 in the afternoon and then the most amazing lightening and thunder storms roll in. You can almost set your clock by it. And man it can rain!!! We are so amazed that the land here can absorb as much as it does. Of course this is only the beginning of the rainy season, so we will have to see how it handles the heavy months of September and October. So far we love it and look forward to it cooling things off even if it is only for a few hours every evening. 


After much debate, between ourselves and our helpful friends, as to how to go about looking for a car to purchase in San Jose, (drive our rental car, take the bus then rent a car, take the bus then hire a taxi driver, etc, etc,???) we ended up saving our marriage and hiring a guy to drive us from here to the big city and around to the various car lots for the day. Our trilingual (Hebrew, English, and Spanish) friend Andres booked a room for us at the Hemingway Inn (once the home of Ernest Hemingway) in downtown San Jose, just in case the transaction of purchasing a car took more than one day.


Our driver, Jorge, ended up being such an asset that day. Not only was he familiar with the area, but he was also fluent in Spanish and English and went beyond his role as our driver in translating for us at the various lots. We actually ended up purchasing a vehicle from a friend of a friend’s lot as he had called around asking if anyone knew of an Isuzu Rodeo for sale because that was what we were looking for. So by noon that day we had found our car, a 1997 green Isuzu Rodeo S. While Kurt, Jorge, and the owner of the car lot went to the bank to get our money, the girls and I dined at….McDonalds!!!!   Needless to say, it was a great experience!


After following Jorge in our new purchase to the Hemingway Inn we said our goodbyes and thanks, and then were left to navigate around the city alone! Not wanting to drive amongst the madness of no street signs, no building numbers, one way streets everywhere, and drivers that start hooking as soon as the light turns green (the traffic lights just dangles from a wire at the intersections, it’s amazing that anyone can even see them) we hit the streets on foot to see what this city held, or at least this neighborhood. To our surprise we discovered that the famous Museo de Jade (Museum of Jade) and a small national zoo (Parque Zoologico Simon Bolivar) were just walking distance from the Inn. So the next morning, before our noon check out time, we found a little hole in the wall for breakfast and then witnessed the world’s largest collection of American jade (Kurt and I thought it was quite amazing, the girls found it to be a little redundant) on the 11th floor of the Instituto Nacional de Seguro. What views! Then after having to ask directions only once (remember there are no streets signs!) we found the zoo and enjoyed the few hours that we had left strolling the lush tropical grounds and the watching the animals that are tucked away in this little mini rainforest in the middle of the city.  We felt proud to have found such a treasure!


With our map spread open and ready in my lap and Kurt behind the wheel we somehow managed to maneuver ourselves out of the city. Now looking back I can say that getting out of the city was actually the easiest part of getting back to Esterillos that day. Once outside of the city it is all mountains until you hit the coast. This means 1 ˝ hours of dealing with only two lanes, tight curves, cliffs with no guard rails, one lane bridges, and on this particular day a section of the main paved road was closed, so part of our drive home was on a gravel back road. Good thing we had our new Rodeo with its big fat tires!


So how am I doing exactly? I am doing it. My family is doing it. We are discovering how to get what we need when we need it. We are learning how little we can live without and still feel the richness of life. For the most part, we feel blessed no matter if it’s a good day or not. We are living life!


Pura Vida!