Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Spending the Night in Hospital

Hospital San Rafael de Alajuela
More commonly known as "Hospital Alajuela"
Alajuela, Costa Rica

I spent a couple hours here today (Wednesday) with my translator Jason Quesada with the admissions director telling us at the exact time of our appointment that he was going to lunch.  :-)   Pura vida! We visited and waited an hour with many other persons I assume also wanted admission to the hospital. All along I expected to just get paperwork from this, my home hospital, to take with me to San Jose's Hospital Mexico Friday morning for my angiogram. I was wrong! Lorenzo said that I would be admitted to an available bed in Alajuela and be considered a patient there for the angiogram. When time for the actual test they will transport me to Hospital Mexico (instead of down the hall) for the test because that is where the equipment is. (14.2 km or 8.79 miles or 21 minutes) Then I would be "transported" back to Alajuela Hospital where my doctor will say when I am dismissed, possibly Friday afternoon, though it could be Saturday.

That was all new and a surprise to me, as Jason said my face showed! Then Lorenzo (Admissions Office) said I will check you in today at 3:00 (it was 2:15) if we have any available rooms. Otherwise I will guarantee you a room at 3:00 tomorrow. ("Please God, don't let there be an available room today!" I had no toiletries, extra clothing or phone charger with me.) Soon Lorenzo came out to tell me through Jason that they had no rooms left and he would see me tomorrow at 3:00. Yaay!

We got a taxi in the rain to the bus station and headed back to Atenas where I treated Jason to a late lunch or early dinner of patacones con carne machada. Delicioso! And now I'm back home wondering what it will be like for my first Costa Rica hospital experience. 

NOTE: I will not risk taking my laptop to a hospital and not sure I will have wifi anyway. So you can expect the full report by Saturday or Sunday. Another great Costa Rica adventure!  :-)

Hospital San Rafael de Alajuela

Hospital Mexico de San Jose

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Grasshopper & ESL Class

Grasshopper in my Garden
Atenas, Costa Rica

This is one of more than 11,000 species of grasshoppers in Costa Rica. I have yet found a good source of identification of grasshoppers, thus in my gallery only one has a name.

My Photo Gallery:  Other Insects


I was asked by a friend and English teacher at Colegio Liceo to lead an after-school "club" of 10 students going on a student exchange program for two weeks in the USA, to a Virginia suburb of DC. It is basically a conversational English class or group to help them be able to talk to people better on their trip. Last night was our first weekly hour meeting over the next three months and my neighbor George has agreed to help. He was a 5th-6th grade teacher in Arizona and is ESL Certified. He will have the class by himself Sept. 4 when I'm in the Caribe.

Last night we got introduced and learned the names, grade levels and interests of the 8 students that showed up (Grades 8-11). I had learning games on greetings, travel problem phrases, and restaurant phrases. For many of them their English vocabulary is worse than my Spanish vocabulary (which is minimal), so we quickly learned that we have a long ways to go for them to have normal conversations in the states. I'm creating my own lesson plans by researching online - not easy, but it worked out okay last night! As they left they each got a list of "76 English Phrases for Traveling with Ease," which they are to study for next week. I also asked them to write down one American/English singer or band they liked to listen to. Next week I will put a piece of masking tape on each kid's forehead with a singer/band name and they will have to figure out which one they have with yes/no questions. Then we will dive into the travel phrases. That lesson plan is not made yet. Next Monday I will try to get a group photo to share in my blog post.

Never a dull moment!  Pura Vida!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Surveyor as a Home Business

He will survey your property, providing different reports
Atenas, Costa Rica

See my photo gallery of Home Business Signs in Atenas

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Add-On Business: Phone Minutes

  All you need is one to three little signs telling the public you sell their phone minutes:

Phone company only, with widest call coverage
My cellphone is with kolbi
Atenas, Costa Rica

Cellphone AND  Dish Television
Atenas, Costa Rica

Cellphone AND  Dish Television
Atenas, Costa Rica

Most people in Costa Rica have a cellphone and no landline and most simply add minutes every month or whenever they think they are low. It is theoretically cheaper if you don't talk too much or download too much data. I was required to do that as a newcomer. Later I switched to a monthly plan with an automatic debit of my bill to my local bank account. The easy or lazy way! And I use a different company for my cable TV and Internet WiFi in my house. They also debit my local bank with the monthly bill which again is a real convenience for me!

But if you have a phone with minutes added as needed you can get them at the grocery store or just about any other shop, even a home business. So easy to get a dollar's worth of minutes just about anywhere! The two phone companies that also sell dish TV sell the TV plans separate from the phone minutes.

See my photo gallery of Home Business Signs in Atenas

Friday, August 18, 2017

Home Businesses: Ropa Americano (interesting phenomenon)

Interesting because nearly all of the home businesses AND store fronts advertising "Ropa Americano" or "American Clothing" are selling used clothing that they buy by the kilo from Goodwill Industries in the states. Goodwill simply has too much clothing for the demand in a rich country, so they sell surpluses to entrepreneurs in other countries. We had this same phenomenon in The Gambia also. It meets a real need for more affordable clothing and especially younger people world-wide like to dress like Americans or what they see on TV and in movies. 

And yes, the second photo is a home too. They just took the curtains off the windows in two rooms to give them essentially display windows on a street I regularly walk down to my favorite Supermercado. We have two kinds of clothing store fronts, ones that sell this used clothing and more who sell brand new clothing at much higher prices. The new clothing stores are not all American clothing with lots of Central American manufacturers and even new clothing from the Orient and Europe. 

But Goodwill has helped some women maintain successful home businesses that depend more on word of mouth than signs. 

See more photos of Atenas in several of my photo galleries. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Orange-chinned Parakeets

Orange-chinned Parakeets
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

Orange-chinned Parakeets
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

Fly-away Orange-chinned Parakeets
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

Orange-chinned Parakeets
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

These parakeets and some red-lored parrots fly over my house every afternoon going up the mountain, but seldom stop at my house. The Orange-chinned Parakeets did stop briefly today in a tree in my yard and a dead tree across the street. They were in the tops of the trees and very difficult to photograph with little good light. So this is my feeble attempt to capture them.

The orange chin is seldom seen unless in very good light, but I am sure of the ID because of the prominent brown shoulders and the little yellow dash below the shoulder in the bottom photo. Bird ID in bad photos is real detective work!  :-)

My BIRDS Photo Galleries

“A prayer for the wild at heart kept in cages.” 

― Tennessee WilliamsStairs to the Roof


Anyone considering a move to Costa Rica should read this article by someone who decided it was not for them. Why We are Leaving Costa Rica.  As I have said before, living here is not for everyone and this is only one example. There are many other reasons people try it and decide it is not for them, like impatience with the slow culture, language, lack of infrastructure, "its not the way we do it back home," missing family, and many more. But this article relates to something else I have always believed, that life is not about being happy but about having purpose and meaning in life. Only you can determine that and whether living in Costa Rica would help fulfill it. And certainly several long visits here before you make a move would help you find your place, both here and in life!