60. Bringing in the New Year with a BANG

Monday 12/27- It’s been a little bit over a week since we spoke to Jose, our cabinet maker. He has had a chance to draw up plans and we’ve had a chance to think more in detail about what exactly it is that we want. We met with him at the house today to take some more measurements and finalize the plans. Once it was all discussed and agreed upon, Jose asked when we needed it ready by? We told him that Geiner said the house would be ready for the cabinets at the end of January. This would give him a month to get everything built. He looked kind of nervous, and said he would do everything he can to get it done by then, but with New Years in there and the possibility that he wouldn’t be able to get his supplies as quickly as he sometimes does, he said he might need until the first week in February. We told him that we could work with that. Since he was doing everything from cabinets and closets, to doors, beds, night stands, tables, and chairs, we asked him to focus first on the

40. Our Turn To Help Out A Friend


The next few days after returning from El Salvador we laid low, stayed home, gave Breeze some attention that she thought she was missing while we were gone, and worked on the regular things around the house. We were also coming due for another trip to San Isidro for the farmers market and some provisioning. One day when we were out for our daily walk Jorge stopped to let us know that he would be headed home to San Isidro for his long weekend coming up. (Jorge lives here on the property by himself but he has a wife and 2 adult kids that live in San Isidro.) About once a month he gets to go home for about 4-5 days for a long weekend. He doesn’t have a car here (we don’t know if he has one in San Isidro either) so he takes the bus there and back when he goes home. Quick tid bit, a lot of Ticos depend on the bus system, taxis, uber, etc. Owning a vehicle here is very expensive and since most Ticos on average only make $600 per month (that is not a typo). Owning a vehicle is not something that most can afford. He told us that he would be leaving here on Thursday afternoon and would be back on Monday evening. When he is gone there is always someone else that stays in his house. We have seen them there before, it’s usually a guy, his wife, and their son who looks to be about 7 or 8. Jorge told us today that Orlando would be here this time (at least now we know his name!!). Since we were planning to go to San Isidro on Thursday morning, we asked if Jorge would like to ride along with us. We could bring him home (which would probably be quicker than the bus) if he could leave in the morning instead of the afternoon. He told us that he would try to make arrangements to have Orlando come early and would let us know later if he would ride with us.

Later in the day he let us know that we were “on” for Thursday morning and he thanked us so much for our offer. He told us that he was going home for his daughter’s baby shower and that she is due in October. This would be his first grand baby. 

Thursday morning 9/2- We grabbed our shopping bags and headed down to Jorge’s house to pick him up and bring him to his home in San Isidro.

 

It’s a little over an hour drive to get there and I definitely don’t know enough Spanish to have conversations with him as we drive, so it would probably be a quiet car ride. That’s ok, he probably thinks the same thing. For the first 15 minutes or so of our drive we chatted in our broken Spanish and hand signal ways. He told us a little bit about his family and I told him a little bit about our families back in the US. He showed me some pictures of his pregnant daughter whose party he was going home for, and that about ended our conversation. The rest of the ride was pretty quiet, but it wasn’t one of those weird awkward silences. When we came into San Isidro Jorge asked if we could stop at a grocery store, so he could grab a few things, it would only take a few minutes. We told him that we could, but we didn’t know where there was one that he wanted to go to. By the time we had figured out where we were going, we had already passed the turn that we were supposed to make. Ramie was going to turn around and go back, but Jorge assured us that was no problem. We asked him how to get to his house and he seemed surprised and we think that he assumed we were just going to drop him off in town and he would find another way to his actual house. We told him we could take him to his house and he was very surprised and gracious! We asked which way and headed towards his house. We went through a new part of San Isidro that we had never driven before and saw some very nice mountain views from this area. He told us that Chirripo, which is the highest point in Costa Rica and the town of San Ramon were also in this direction. We have heard of these places before and there is supposed to be some very good hiking there. Maybe one day we’ll wake up super early and drive up there to hike in the morning before it gets too hot or rains.

We eventually got to Jorge’s house. It was a cute little house in a cute little neighborhood.

Fortunately it was easy enough to navigate to, and when it was time to head back into town we didn’t have any problems. We dropped him off, said “see you later” (one of the English phrases that Jorge has picked up) and started on our way back to town to start our chores. We started at the farmer’s market first like we have the last few times. We got all of our fruits and veggies taken care of, and then went to Walmart to get everything else that we needed. We didn’t make any extra stops this time, so as soon as we were done with our grocery shopping we headed back home.

While out shopping we received a message from Geiner saying that he was ready for us to come see him today to finalize the floor plan for the house too, and to let him know when we were available. We set up a meeting for later this afternoon and were excited to look at the plan one last time with him.

When we got to his office he had the latest drawing ready for us to go through. There were only very minor things that we still wanted changed, things that he said wouldn’t even need to be changed prior to sending in for permits (locations of windows and doors, lights, fans, etc.) We gave him the go-ahead and he would have the architect send this in to the places that it needed to go. And now—we just wait for these permit approvals and we are good to really get started. Another thing that we found out is that they may be able to start some of the excavation even before these permits come back. Anything below hip-height is kind of fair game for starting, so they could start flattening the yard, bringing in fill, and maybe even laying the first few layers of block and pouring the slab soon. I really can’t wait to see it all start moving along!!




Saturday 9/4- As all of our old neighborhood and some of our other friends and family know, Ramie and I love to work in the yard and garden, have lots of plants and flowers, and do those types of things outside. We always had flowers and a vegetable garden at our old house in Oakdale and during the warm months we were always playing around with all of the plants. Since we’re in a rental house with a full time gardener right now, we aren’t getting to do a whole lot of that. We know, though, that soon we’ll have our own lot to start planting and getting to play around in, and are so excited to learn so many new things about the tropical plants that we can grow here. We fully plan to grow flowers and trees here that would only be considered house plants (or completely ungrowable) back in MN. We are learning how you can propagate new plants from cuttings of fully grown plants and how you are able to split “babies” off of certain types of plants as well.  

During our walks, and even our drives down the road and into town we’ve been noticing flowers that we really like and think that we would like to have in our yard at our new property. We’ll stop to look at the plant closer sometimes, and then do some research on them and how to grow them. We’ve also seen so many people taking cuttings of plants and taking them with them, presumably to start their own plants at home for their yard. So we started doing that too!! When we go for our daily walks in our neighborhood we’ve taken notice of many plants that we like, and we’ve started to take clippings of them to see if we can get them to root back at our house. Some of the trees have babies growing from the bottom, so we’ve started to dig out these babies and bring them home too! We have even found a few coconuts that have been left to sit long enough and started to sprout naturally where they dropped. Most of these offshoots and plant babies would just get chopped by Jorge the next time he did his landscaping in that area, so we might as well save them before they get cut off!! We’ve also started noticing that in the places that I throw my avocado seeds and other fruit and vegetable seeds from the kitchen that plants have started on their own. So far we for sure have 3 avocado trees that have started themselves and a couple of mamones plants that started growing!!

We started a little “garden” of trees and clippings along the driveway at our rental house with the thought that once there has been enough excavation done on our land that they won’t bulldoze our plants, that we will start transplanting them on our property! Just think of the variety of things we will have that we will have not paid anything for, well minus the potting soil and small pots! We follow a Facebook page specifically for Uvita and the nearby surrounding area and there was a Tico advertising that he was selling dwarf coconut trees for the equivalent of about $1.75 each. Ramie messaged him and told him we’d like to buy 6. He said he would be in our area in a couple of days and he would even deliver them to us at the end of our road! Heck yeah!! I mean, we realize that it will probably take quite a while for any of these fruit or coconut trees to start producing, but it’s fun to think about having our own trees that we can get our own fruit from! I fully intend to have a vegetable garden at our new property as well, but I can be sure that it will be very different from the gardening that I am used to in MN!

Original planting of flowers, palms, avocado and banana


Small coconut and more flowers

Real time as of 12/12/21 Pineapples, coconut, avocado, palms and flowers

Real time as of 12/12/21 Citrus trees, hibiscus and other fun plants
 

While we were down at the bottom of the hill, we decided to go drive past the mini golf course to see if anyone was down there. We found Loren and Geiner both down there doing some work to finish up the parking lot area. They just got approval that they can open in about 3 weeks. Needless to say, Loren is very excited about this! Now that they are down to crunch time, a lot of the last minute “get it ready” projects have to be completed. They want to spruce things up, make it look all nice, and make sure it’s functional. Without a doubt it won’t take long and they will have it ready to open to the public!

Loren mentioned that once they open up, he and Nancy will be quite busy getting things organized and figuring out how to manage it all. Before then they would like to take a shopping trip down to Panama to stock up their pantry again. They haven’t done this in quite a while, and it might be quite a while until they have the opportunity again once they open up. Loren has offered in the past, and again today, that if we wanted to come along with them to experience it for the first time with someone who has been there before, that they would be more than happy to take us down there. We asked him to let us know when they are headed down and we sure would tag along! I am actually looking quite forward to doing this!! I’ve heard from more than one person that you can get many things less expensive in Panama than in Costa Rica, and especially in Uvita. You can also find more “American” type items down there that you might not be able to find here. Oh and they also use the US dollar so we actually know what things cost with out a conversion calculator! BONUS!

It’s another one of those things that I want to go check out just because I’ve heard so much about it. If it doesn’t seem like a great deal or there aren’t things that we are particularly interested in, then I guess we checked it out once and just won’t go back! It will also be nice to go see the drive down to the border in case we ever decide to do a land border run to Panama instead of by air like we just did to El Salvador. I’m pretty sure not a week goes by where we don’t learn something new here, and when we learn something new that is also BIG, it really feels like an accomplishment!

Comments

  1. Good evening you two, glad to see you have continued with your blog. I am also happy too read that you have brought some Minnesota nice to that area. I am sure that the local inhabitants look upon you as wonderful gringos that have no problem with helping out. I know that Mexican people are very appreciative of nice things being done for them so I can only assume the rest of South America's population is the same. Treat everyone with respect and kindness and it will be returned to you.
    I hope you both experience a Merry Christmas with the locals and learned some of the local traditions. Are festivities in order for New Year's celebrations? If so I would advise staying away from the local fire water in order to keep from wandering off into the forest never to be seen again and we don't want that.
    I'm off to bed so stay safe, enjoy yourselves and keep up the good writing!
    Bye bye,
    Ken

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ken! You nailed it, treat everyone with respect is key! We had a nice laid back Christmas here and we did get to try some great traditional tamales. Our builders wife made some extra and let us try them. They were fantastic, but a whole lot of work to make from what we've read. Our New Years will also be pretty quite. We didn't really celebrate when we were back in the states so I'm sure we will be in bed long before the midnight hour. However another tradition here is fireworks on New Years so I'm sure with them going off all around us it will wake us anyways. I hope you have a great time in Mazatlan. Take care and say hello to Eddie for us.

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