Costa Rica and my trip to Ky

PICKING COFFEE IN FIELD NEXT DOOR TO OUR PLACE COSTA RICA

view from patio , costa rica
COSTA RICA

Since the immigration process is long and complicated for the USA we have no idea how long it will take to get Jim’s visa to come home to the states, and my visa is just about out in the UK, we needed someplace we could park and wait out the process.  Our goods from the UK were supposed to land in the USA on Nov. 1, and they say i have to be in the USA when they land to qualify for tax free import of household goods.  So keeping all of this in mind we started searching out places that were reasonable to live in, money wise.  We were also hoping we could get Dylan and Haley to come live with us for awhile so we wanted somewhere interesting, safe, comfortable, and closer to the USA.  We studied everything we could find on the internet and decided on Costa Rica.  After much searching we found a place that looked suitable for our needs and got in touch with the owner.  His name is Frank amd the property is just outside Alaujela, Costa Rica.  Four bedrooms, pool just outside the door (although it is in the process of a redo right now, it will be ready soon), easy access to healthcare, transport to all needed amenities, and gated protected compound.  We got in touch with Frank and he made us a deal on the property for 3 months we got the payments together and then started making travel plans to Costa Rica.

The plane trip over to Costa Rica from London was a real experience.  The plane was pretty much full, and it was a different experience having everything said in spanish first, then translated into english.  That took a little getting used to, but i have to say they did a good job.  This flight was different than any other i’d had so far in that the people were louder, somewhat intrusive, and quite a few had no interest in following instructions.  There were 4 men in the middle isle who came in together, talked loudly, sang songs in the middle of the night , and one of them kept standing up and bending over to talk to the others which effectively put his behind right in my face.  It was the most uncomfortable 14 hr or so trip i’ve had so far.  By the time we got to costa rica we had been traveling off and on for the past 3 weeks and were exhausted.  I had been without my meds for several days and i was swollen and hurting in every bone i had especially my hip.  And sleep was something that i was longing for, but didn’t really expect to get for awhile.  Another funny thing we noticed about these guys beside us, is that they boarded together, sang and talked together, but when it came time to go thru immigration check they were no where near each other and at least one of them got questioned extensively lol.  wonder what they really were???

We landed in Costa Rica late evening on Tuesday Oct 28 2012.   Going through customs and picking up all of our luggage went pretty much without a problem, but we are getting paranoid and always expect problems now.   So it was with a sigh of relief we went out of the airport to look for Frank.  There were taxi drivers standing outside yelling for fares.  Taxi, taxi.    Frank had said he would meet us at the airport and that he was a very tall man and would have a red shirt.  I kept looking but did not see anyone fitting that description or looking like the pic i had seen of him on his rental site.  But we kept looking and then we say him and his girl friend Megalla (unsure of the spelling) with a welcoming smile.  He grabbed the larger cases and we started toward the parking garage.  All of a sudden a young man came smiling and helped us with the luggage,  put them in the car and joined in the conversation.  I wondered who he was and if he came with Frank.  He didn’t , he was just one more person hanging around the airport hoping to make a few dollars helping people.  Frank gave him a tip and he took off to help someone else.

The drive to the house from the airport didn’t take long but it gave us a chance to say hello to Frank and Megalla and him to kind of show us the way home and explain how some things worked there.  The businesses  we passed were mostly small, some very poor looking and some were pretty nice.  There was also a very nice looking park with people still out wondering around , some with kids.   We drove for just a few minutes and started up the hills.  Our place is way up on the mountain slope on a dead end street, Frank opened the gate and drove down the short drive to the house.  The first thing we noticed when we got out of the car was not the house, or the pool, but the view over looking the cities of Alaujela/San Jose.  It was so beautiful.  The lights blinked and shimmered and seemed to be alive in the distance.  The stars and moon were adding their charm and light.  Stars are seldom seen  where we were outside London. We did see some beautiful night skies in Scotland, and the Lake District, but these were totally different.  They seemed to be so close it felt like you could reach out and touch them.

The mountains in the distance added a sense of home, since i am a mountain girl from the hills of Wv and Ky, I love mountains.  They stand majestic and strong and make me feel welcome and safe.  Then we turn our attention to our home for the next several months.  We had seen pics that Frank had sent and the inside of the house was exactly as they were in the pictures.  Immaculately clean, well appointed, comfortable, and yes welcoming.  The pool is just a few yards from the front door, the deck and porch are tiled, there are lovely plants and flowers everywhere.  Frank says they have cut the bananas because they were impeding the view but they will grow back.  The porch has a rocking chair and other chairs just waiting for us to have a cup of tea and enjoy the night sky.  Frank says he will bring down another rocker for us so we can both enjoy rocking on the porch.  He has told us that he likes to keep the atmosphere here like that of a family, and already we feel comfortable with him and Megalla.  They could not have been more welcoming and helpful.

We settle in for the night,  set up the computer to check in with the family,  had a drink on the porch, and settled in to our new home.  The beds are very comfortable and the place is very quiet.  I slept longer than i thought i would since i was hurting so much but was still up around 4 am.  This was going to be a busy day for us, we had to get things in to stock the kitchen, find a doctor to prescribe my regular meds that I had been without for days, and get ready for me to fly out again the next day.  This time we will be separated for the first time in a year.  We are both not looking forward to that.  We are two people who really enjoy being together.  No matter if we are going out and doing something, or just sitting around chatting, we enjoy each others company.  So time apart is not something we are looking forward to.  The immigration department doesn’t care about that though and won’t allow Jim to go in the USA yet and i have to be there to accept the goods when they land, so I am off alone.  I am looking forward to seeing the family .   I have really missed them, but then again so has Jim.  Even though we were only there 3 months he fit in so well and was accepted so well by everyone and it makes me sad that he can’t go with me.  But,  today we have to get things done.

True to his word, Frank comes down to take us into town.  We notice there are many different types of shops and businesses to choose from.  He points out the small little mom and pop corner stores with a little bit of everything for sale.  small restaurants, and bigger places.  There are places similar to small malls and Costa Rica has several of the stores from the states.  There are Wal Mart, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s.  But for right now we are headed to a super market to pick up things we need.  Jim used the ATM to get money and he got 150k colones.  Said he felt rich but translated that is about 300. dollars  Some things are really reasonable such as fruit and veggies, but some things are really expensive.  Anything imported is real expensive.  I was shocked when  i realized how high frozen meals or good were.  Frozen fish ended up being about six dollars for the same thing i could get for three in England or USA.  But food they make or grow there is really cheap. Bananas about 10 cents a pound, ice cream about a dollar a quart, etc.  Coffee is still kinda high but after we got home we saw why.  Frank called us over to look over the fence and there were men picking coffee beans by hand.  Seems it has to be picked by hand because the color has to be just right and no machine can differentiate the color.

After we got the groceries unloaded we took off again to find a doctor, most doctors in this country are educated in the United States or UK, but the one we found spoke very very little English.  Thank God Frank was there to interpret for me.  It is totally different atmosphere.  The doctor lives in the same house that his office is in.  There was no big waiting area, or receptionist out front.  The closest we came to receptionist was the men working on the outer room,  they stopped what they were doing and one went to find the doctor for us.   Finding the equivilant for my meds was a challenge and i didn’t get all the ones i needed but i did get the ones i had to have especially my blood pressure meds.  The whole time we are out Frank is telling us about how things work here, and showing us places  of interest or that we may need later.  Driving seems interesting, very few signs are seen on the roads.  Occassionally you see a stop sign in the same shape as the ones in the US only it says ALTO so i am assuming that is spanish for stop.  Road and street names are glaringly absent.  When we got our address to the house it went something like,  300 meters from san isidro, dead end street,  brown fench with black gate, lol.

After we get back to our house we fix something to eat and settle in, relax, and discuss all the new things we’ve seen and the upcoming trip.  Again, we are struck by how difficult it will be for us to be separated.  Thank God for skype and the internet.

My plane takes off at 7 am which means i am to be at the airport at or around 4 30 or 5 am.  I ask Frank which cab company would be best to call and again he is accomodating and insists he will take me to the airport.  I believe that God leads us to people, places, etc.  If we are open to following his will.  It is our firm belief he led us here and to Frank.  He has property in America and Costa Rica and is fluent in both languages.  He knows the people, the places, and how things work here.  He also knows what we are used to , so he can tell us the differences.  Once again, we are blessed.

The process for leaving Costa Rica is a little different than any i’ve seen so far.  I had to pay a 28.00 dollar fee to leave the country.  If Frank hadn’t told me about that process, i would have gone through the line for check in, only to have to go back and do that. But since i knew about it, it went smoothly.

I have a pacemaker so i can’t go through many of the xray machines at airports.  This means i have to get patted down.  So once again i am patted down, bags are checked and i’m on my way.  I arrive at the gate where i am to board for the flight to find about a dozen customs officers.  I don’t really know why but everyone boarding this plane had to go through another more thorough search.  They looked through bags, our shoes, and i got patted down again.  Finally, they decided we could board.

Thank God this flight is not as long as the trans atlantic one,  I am tired, hurting and a bit swollen.  I just want to get home, see my babies, and go to bed.  I am so accustomed now to sharing everything with Jim that i really feel the loss of not having him with me.  It hurts to know that he wants to see the family and friends as much as I do, but the immigration department has still not given us a visa for him.  They returned it again , this time said there was no fee with it,  i think they just are nit picking because there was a form filled out with the credit card details on it paying the fee still in the packet when they sent it back.  I will write a check and mail it out one more time tomorrow

This flight is basically uneventful after boarding but there was an interesting thing happened in Houston, Tx while i was waiting for my lay over flight to Charleston, WV.  There was a flight scheduled to Nashville, TN boarding at the same gate as my flight only ahead of us.  I had about 1 1/2 hrs to kill so i decided to just wait and read for awhile at the gate.  I heard the Nashville flight being boarded and I happened to notice that they never changed the board to read Charleston, WV and looked out and the plane was still sitting there and it was probably 40 min or so after it boarded.  Then i heard the people at the desk saying they couldn’t find the pilot,  had no idea where he was.  Those poor folk were still sitting there  after 1 1/2 hrs,  they moved our flight to board at a different gate, and the plane finally took off just minutes before us.  Now that would have been a bummer.  I felt sorry for them.

I was so glad to see the hills of West Virginia and to know that soon I would be with my family and able to relax for a while.  Turns out that Judy, Bj, Travis, Ralph and little Devon were on their way to get me,  and got stuck in traffic jam,  ended up being about 40 min late and i was worried about them but i talked to Marcy and found out they were just running behind.  It was wonderful to see them and to hold Devon in my arms.  He was asleep but reached up and rubbed my hair just like he always did when he was sleepy.  When he woke up he looked up at me and just smiled.  Then we played a game we have always played where i nuzzle his neck and then act like i don’t know which side to get next and surprise him. He loves it and still giggles when i do it.  The only thing different now is that he holds my hair and tries to guide me the way he wants me, lol.

Got home to Judy’s and the hugs and loving were awesome,  It strikes me how much they grow and change every time i am away for a while.  I really hope we can get to come home and stay soon.  I feel I am missing so much of my babies growing up, especially the younger ones.  Even Mom and Joey came over and it is so great to see them.  Maybe soon I can see Missy and her kids too. The dogs too are glad to see me,  my Jazzy is so excited.  She is the sweetest dog, just like her mama Ginger was.  Guess she has been following Travis around since i’ve been gone, but he will have to share now.

The first few days flew by, so much to do.  Mailed the immigration papers back out, paid billls, took car of business, planned a early Thanksgiving/birthdays dinner, etc.  But finally a couple days to just relax.  That is when it really hits how bad i miss my baby back in Costa Rica.  We have tried video chat but for some reason he doesn’t hear us well with my camera as a web cam.  Finally, Dylan reminds us,  “why don’t you call us, Jim”.  Duh.  We use skype to call everywhere and sure enough it works just as well to call from Costa Rica to Kentucky.  Now we talk several times a day as well as chat on facebook.    Trip turns out to be a little longer than i expected, had to wait until the passports for Haley and Dylan came through before i could book tickets back, and everyday you wait the tickets get higher.  Finally they came and I decided to drive to Atlanta and board the plane there to save around 1200 dollars.  kinda crazy but that is how it is.  I booked the flights, paid for them and got up the next morning to find the credit card had been declined.  I called the bank and found out there was a 1k a day limit on my debit card so i got that increased and notified the booking company to resend payment.  Next thing i know there is an email saying the tickets had been released for non payment but they still have similar tickets,  at an increased rate of 264 more dollars.  I booked them only to find out the take off is now almost 7 pm instead 7 am.  This of course changes everything again.  Instead of being able to turn in the car after one day, i will have to stay somewhere overnight and turn it in the next day.  So this small change ended up costing another 3 or 4 hundred dollars.  Seems as if it never ends.  But we have tickets, and now a hotel room, and a rental car reserved and I can’t wait to take these two fertile minds to a new country and new experiences.  We have decided to do homeschooling with them and have many ideas of things to share with them.  Not the least of which will be a new culture, language, natural sciences, geography, etc.  We will have fun and all of us will learn a bit i’m sure.

I am very glad we ended up having our dinner here together early.  Even though the day was rushed because i had appointments, and Missy and Terah had to wait till after practice to come up.  It really all came together really well and we had an awesome meal.  My daughters have become very good cooks, and work like clock work in the kitchen together.  So with their help, the older grandkids help and a little of mine we ended up with a meal that rivaled any of our previous Thanksgiving dinners.  And we have had some really good dinners.  Thanks guys.

My grandchildren are becoming such accomplished and amazing people.  I haven’t gotten to see Terry Michael yet, but he is working and in Louisville this week for classes. Plus he plays semi pro football for the Warriors and they seem to be doing very well,  great season.    Trevor, is in college and doing great, he has a mind like a sponge. He soaks up facts and information much like my Jim does.  I hope he will get the chance to come visit us in Costa Rica he seems to be very interested in doing this.  Marcy got her learners permit while I was home and I let her drive some, she is really quite good.  Terah is so very good at gymnastics and cheerleading and the Greenup squad is winning many awards and competing in cheering meets.  I wish I could see her at some of them.  Maybe when we get back.  They are taking orders now to pay for a trip to the nationals in Florida in February.  Maybe we can be back in time for that.  Derek and Haley brought their report cards up to show me and both are doing very well.  Derek is such an amazing athelete, he shines on the baseball field, and he worked very hard this summer for extra money.  I am glad to see they don’t expect the world to hand them things on a platter,  and understand you have to work for what you want.  All of them seem to be good at sports, I know they didn’t get this from me, but am very glad they are.  I think sports is a good way to learn how to work as a team, and how to interact with others.  It also teaches the concept of working to obtain a goal, and that while you may not always win, doing your best and giving it a good try gives a sense of self worth and accomplishment.  Haley is cheering now too, I am sorry to take her away from that but i think the trip will be good for her in other ways and maybe she can go back to it when she returns.

Dylan, he has had a rough time with my being gone so much and I hope we can provide a stable home for him now.  Since he has a passport he can go wherever we do, but it is our most fervent wish that we can come back to Kentucky and build a home close to all of the family.  His grandma Debbie and papa Cheyenne love him dearly as do all of his Moore relatives and I thank them all for stepping up to the plate for him.  Another awesome and ardent sportsman, he amazes me at how flexible he is in the sports he can play and play well.  He shines at football, basketball, soccer, and video games.  He is looking forward to going to watch soccer at a premier game in Costa Rica. The stadium for these games can be seen from our front porch.  It is in the distance, but we can see it.  Jim is an ardent fan of soccer/fotball too so they both should really enjoy this, and i have a feeling Haley and I might get a kick out of it too.

Well, all the things are in place for us to start a new chapter in our lives in a new place,  Costa Rica.  It is an amazingly diverse place and we are excited about exloring it’s places and getting to know the people.  Please keep us in your prayers and know that our hearts are always with our family both here in the US and in the UK.  Jim’s Mum fell and broke her pelvis so he is very worried about her, but she is a tough lady and I hope she heals well and quickly.  Please include her and his sisters in your prayers.  I still haven’t written about our stay in Scotland or our return to the lake district but i will soon.  Wishing the best for all our loved ones  Di