Focus On Jesus

No comments »

I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned that I’m a delicate tundra flower. Now that I live in Costa Rica, this delicate tundra flower is becoming a delicate tropical flower.

My most delicate part is my stomach, or is it my inner ear? In any case, I am prone to rather bad motion sickness.

No.1 Sis and I met a group of ex-pat women who live around Lake Arenal. They meet for lunch once a month, on one side of the lake or the other.

This month, lunch was on the opposite side of the lake from where we live. Renee, an ex-pat who lives near us, volunteered to drive us to the lunch. Very nice.

I applied a motion sickness patch before we left, and I figured that would keep me on an even keel. No such luck. We live in a mountainous area, and I’m not sure which was worse, the ups and downs, or all the curves. I just tried to focus straight ahead.

The conversation didn’t help at all either. No.1 Sis asked Renee about earthquakes, and Renee described in great detail (the shaking, bouncing, inability to stand up…) a 6.8 Richter scale earthquake she had experienced.

Yes, even talking about motion can make me queasy.

Because my patch had not protected me from feeling sick on the trip around the lake, I added another one for the trip to the airport a couple of days later. I double-patched.

Roberto, the driver, picked me up at 9:00 for the 90 minute trip to the Liberia airport. I sat directly behind him, so it was difficult to focus on the horizon. Instead, I focused on the picture clipped to his visor. It was a picture of Jesus.

JESUS

JESUS

It would have made me happier to focus on a picture of George Clooney, but alas, only Jesus was available.

Every time I started to feel queasy, I’d tell myself, focus on Jesus. Focus on Jesus.

When we were nearly to the airport, I notice the rear view mirror perfectly framed my neck wattle. Good Lord! Focus on Jesus! Look away from the mirror and focus on Jesus.

Thank Goddess, the double patch got me safely and comfortably to the airport, and through the bumpy flight itself (no thanks to hurricane Otto).

And I never thought I’d say this, but thank you Jesus.

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

Entering Adulthood

No comments »

Costa Rica, like many Latin American countries, has a quaint custom called a quinceanera. It’s a lavish party with extravagant gifts to celebrate a young person’s fifteenth birthday. The girls wear ball gowns and tiaras and the boys wear tuxedos. It is a rite of passage into adulthood.

QUINCEANERA

QUINCEANERA

 

My family celebrated my transition into adulthood in a similar way, albeit without the party, gown, tiara or gifts. And I was thirteen.

My mother called me into her bedroom on my thirteenth birthday and told me, “You’re an adult now. You can go out drinking and partying all you want, but it’s your job to get yourself home safely”.

Harrumph. I thought to myself, what’s different? I’ve always felt as though I’ve been on my own.

I soon found out what the difference was, the next time I asked Mom for a dollar so I could go to the movies with my friends.

“You’re an adult now”, Mom growled, “make your own money”.

I had already bombed as a babysitter. I had an unfortunate tendency to only keep track of one child at a time. This was a problem living in a neighborhood where the average family had five kids. I should have asked the parents in the beginning which child was their favorite.

I asked Mom how I could make some money and she told me to get a job. But I was only thirteen and businesses couldn’t hire anyone under the age of sixteen. Mom’s advice? Lie.

I went to every business downtown, asking for a job while lying about my age. Of course, nobody believed I was sixteen, and I remained a sad little “adult” without a job for the next three years.

I would get an occasional babysitting gig, usually for a family with only one child (they didn’t know that’s all I could handle).

When I turned sixteen, I returned to the downtown movie theater and again applied for a job. The manager remembered me and asked how I could be sixteen now, when I was sixteen then. Um, I lied.

I got the job (that’s how desperate they were) and soon I was selling popcorn and candy and making $15 per week. And the best part of it all was that I could see movies for free.

Finally, adulting like an adult.

Stay tuned…

 

Wherever You Go, There You Are

No comments »

Like everyone else who undertakes a geographical cure for all their problems, I believed moving to Costa Rica would make me into a new person. A better, more ideal version of myself.

And like everyone else who’s tried it, I found that to be utterly and indisputably false.

I was going to begin every day with an early morning walk. No.1 Sis has been doing this, by the way, so I wouldn’t even have to walk by myself. Instead, I start every day with an early morning nap. After the first light wakes me up, I put a pillow over my eyes and go back to sleep for another hour or so.

I was going to eat healthy, and cook for myself. My eating improved a great deal when No.2 Sis was here to help cook, and I’ve lost 20 pounds and cut my blood sugar in half.

But I’m slipping. I’m partial to Elvis sandwiches. That’s peanut butter and bananas on bread. And when No.1 Sis tried to throw away a package of vanilla Oreo cookies, I almost dove into the garbage to get them.

When I told people I was retiring to Costa Rica, they asked what I was going to do with myself. I had planned to take on-line courses. Spanish, of course, and painting and photography.

My Spanish course expired before I finished it (still procrastinating, harrumph). I had to sign up to take it again.

The cute waiter at the local restaurant has been giving us some tips, though. I told him, in Spanish, that his Spanish was very good. He looked confused for a moment (as he often does when I speak Spanish). Then he laughed and complimented my English.

At the end of the meal, he gave us our check, and a list of Spanish phrases to practice. I gave him my payment for the meal, and a generous tip. Did I mention that he’s very cute?

I’m taking a watercolor course, too. I’m almost through with that. Through watching it, that is. I haven’t picked up a brush since I started (watching) the course.

As far as photography goes, I haven’t signed up for a course yet. I think I’ll finish watching my watercolor class before I start watching a photography class.

Speaking of photography, No.1 Sis called me early one morning to tell me there was a troop of howler monkeys in the trees across the street from her house. I went outside and took a few pictures of them from my porch, but they just looked like black blobs in the trees.

I walked down the hill to Sis’ house (still in my pajamas) to see if I could get some good shots from the balcony off of her Queen bedroom. The monkeys were just a little bit bigger black blobs. But look at her view!

NO.1 SIS' VIEW

NO.1 SIS’ VIEW

 

And that’s an 180 degree view, unobstructed by the three-story apartment building  (affectionately known as “The Monstrosity”) that’s next to me.

Hell, if I’m going to be an under-achieving lie-about, I might as well be an under-achieving lie-about in Costa Rica. You can’t find a nicer geographical cure than this.

Stay tuned…