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Week 1: It’s On!

It’s on like Donkey Kong. 

It’s our first day without a car and settling into “real” life in our new place, and it feels like Costa Rica is a big bronco trying to buck me off.  Bring it.

The first week has been great – all sorts of ups and downs.  I’m sure my posts will reflect the roller-coaster of experiences and emotions (read: I’m not bipolar, in case you start to wonder).

Just to fill you in a little, on Saturday we drove out here to Playa del Coco to look at a studio apartment.  Coco is a cool little beach town, and the apartment is about 2 blocks from the beach.  Amazing.  We flagged down a guy on a bike to use his cell phone to call the property manager so we could take a look at the place.  Despite efforts on our first day to get prepaid cell service here, we’re still without a cell phone.

The place was as perfect as we could imagine, so we got signed up for a six month lease.  There were only a few hiccups at this point: the unit we looked at is promised to the lady next door who beat us by a week.  It’s definitely a superior unit, so it’s no wonder she wants it.  So here’s the plan: we move in for about a week, until the owner gets here and we will stay  . . .we don’t know where . . . while the owner does a couple day’s worth of remodeling in the unit and installing a full-size fridge, then we move back in for another week or so, then we switch places with the woman next door at the beginning of December.   

We decided not to bother unpacking, but we did go and get some groceries (lots of produce) so we could start cooking our own meals.  A few hours later, we discovered the fridge didn’t work at all.  We also realized we had lots of animals living in our place with us (mostly lizards and huge red ants that don’t die), probably due to the broken window screen.  Trying to feel settled in was not going very well.

But that didn’t bother us much for the first several days.  Brad put up a great post about what we did with our last three days of having our rental car.  Going to see those volcanoes was awesome.  It was so nice to get out and see beautiful parts of the country without the stress of not having a place to live.  It was so nice to do things we’d normally do on a vacation.

Today we’re settling into everyday life here.

It’s noon.  We haven’t had water to our place for over two hours.  According to our neighbor, Hurley, this isn’t unusual. 

According to everyone, it’s only beginning to get hot here, which is hard to imagine.  The rainy season just ended as we arrived.  Enter dry and hot season.  As I’m typing we have all windows and our door open and our ceiling fan going, and let’s just say I’m not dressed for company.

Now it’s 1:30, and still no water.  We’re honestly – and I’m not kidding – about to drink the ice cubes.  Oh yeah, our fridge / freezer just died again for the third time since we got here, so it’s a good idea to drink the ice cubes.  They’re going to melt soon anyway.

It’s 7:00.  We just finished an awesome meal (thanks, Brad) of rice, beans, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, avacadoes, and fried eggs.  Unfortunately we lost the broccoli, squash, and some other produce that didn’t survive the weather outside the fridge.  I made an attempt at fried bananas (in coconut oil), and they were a great dessert. 

It’s 2:00 in the morning.  I woke up a couple hours ago because it was so hot, despite running some air conditioning for a little while before we went to bed.  I opened the windows back up which helped alleviate some heat, but I still can’t sleep.  As soon as I opened the windows, the smell of burning foliage flooded our apartment (the locals here burn piles of downed palm leaves and whatever else is lying around; sometimes it’s so strong it make me think of what it would be like to wrap my lips around the exhaust pipe of one of their trucks here).  We have great insulation here but you can hear everything through open windows.  Everything. 

We did end up drinking the ice cubes, and shortly after that we had water again.  I was so happy I was able to do laundry.  As we got ready to go to bed, we noticed a resurgence of the huge red ants.  I mean they are everywhere – all around and in my suitcase, all over my nightstand and lamp, all over the floors and walls. 

So, today living in Costa Rica felt kinda tough.  But I’m not going to let that win.  At the end of the day, even a day like today, I really like it here.  This was my workday today: take a walk on the beach, work with Brad on our web pages, take a swim in the pool, work on the computer a little more, and walk into town to explore where we live and enjoy the most gorgeous beach, ocean, and sunset.  Follow that up with a great meal. 

And then there’s Brad.  By far the most important thing I brought with me.  Among many other things, I’m really appreciating his optimism and humor.  In a completely serious but cheery tone he’s saying stuff like, “Good thing it’s not hot” (as our fingers sweat onto our computers), and “Good thing they’re so cute” (as the huge red ants are crawling everywhere while we’re turning down the covers).

And I finally have that naturally wavy hair I’ve always wanted.  Yep, things are looking up. 

Here are a few more things I’ve learned: 

Yes they do make sheets in a thread count of 25 (special see-through edition); if you turn on a hot water handle and no water comes out, there is no hot water – try the cold; it can actually get too hot to wear ear plugs; cell phones and almost everything else is more expensive here than in the US; hold the flush on the toilet about 10 times longer than you’re used to; Sprint plan cell phones do not come with SIM cards nor do they have the capability to place SIM cards in them; apparently it is customary for a repair man to eat some of your food and leave his dishes in the sink when he works on something in your home, even if he didn’t get it fixed.

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  • Leah Klein November 21, 2010, 5:01 am

    I love this blog. Makes me grateful for my army of tiny black ants that do actually die. Looking forward to reading more. 🙂

    • Brad November 21, 2010, 7:50 am

      Thanks Leah! I’m sure we’ll have plenty of adventurous stories to put on here to entertain young and old. These ants seem to be smarter than the average breed. They’ll sense you coming and then start running for cover. If you do manage to get a foot on them they’ll look up at your shoe and jump for a gap in your tread. Then when you pick up your shoe to see if you got it, they start running again. Smart ants.

  • Karen Ripley November 21, 2010, 10:11 pm

    We are foaming at the mouth jealous. Can you hook us up with an apartment there? Wow! Wow! Congratulations. Sounds like the best adventure.

    • Kelli November 22, 2010, 2:51 pm

      Thanks Karen! It really has been a great adventure, and I think it will just keep getting better.

      You guys would love it here – and we’d love to have you! Let us know when you want to come. 🙂