138. Birthdays and Celebrations 🎉🎊

Tues 11/14 & Thursday 11/16- A few days ago Loren got a hold of Ramie and asked if he was up for some work on one of the houses that he manages. Ramie didn’t have anything going on and was always looking for a project, so he asked Loren what he needed help with. The owner of one of the houses on the mountain wanted 8 ceiling fans in his house replaced. Only a few really NEEDED replacing, but the owner wanted them all to match. Ramie said that he was up for the task and spent Tuesday and Thursday working on those projects. On Thursday while I was off work and he was working on the fans what did I do? Well, I did some continuing education for work and worked on the blog… nothing fun! Well, such is life!


Ramie doesn’t particularly like celebrating his birthday, “it’s just another day” to him, and I know for a fact he HATES surprise birthday parties. We don’t buy each other typical gifts because a) we buy everything we need when we need it, b) it’s not like in the US where every store has fun frivolous stuff that you would buy someone for their birthday, and c) I don’t drive, so anywhere I go, Ramie goes too, which means that he would be there with me when I would buy whatever it was, if, that is, there was something I wanted to buy. I told him that we should schedule a massage for him like he did for me since he has never had one before (he has the contact information for the people that did mine, I don’t have that contact info) but he didn’t particularly like that idea either, so I gave up. We would go out to dinner tonight and that would be all.

Mid-afternoon Ramie got a text from Val and Marshall, who he does his turtle walks with, saying that they would be having dinner at the wine bar tonight to celebrate Marshall’s birthday (which is actually next Monday) and invited us to go along. This sounded good to us, and we decided to join them for an evening of laughs and some good wine. It was a very low-key day, but I think that’s kind of how Ramie prefers it.

Happy Birthday Dad! I'll share my stingray with you!

Saturday 11/18- It seems like a birthday doesn’t go by without getting together with Geoff and Tracy. Ramie had checked in with them a few days earlier to see if they wanted to get together today for his birthday and they were all in. No plans were made other than that it would be sometime today after 1:00. Well, 12:30 came and we were still waiting for Ramie to make a decision as to where and when to go. We ultimately spent about an hour at Geoff & Tracy’s house, then headed to Fuego, the delicious craft brewery only about 20 minutes away from here. We had some good food and drinks with the fun company and once again had a nice low key birthday celebration for Ramie.

Sunday 11/19- For the third day in a row we would be celebrating a birthday. Today Val and Marshall were throwing Marshall’s birthday party at their house and invited us up for the afternoon pool party.

I worked in the morning, but when I was done we spent the afternoon at their house. Val is a great cook and she made a delicious taco bar with 3 different types of meats and all of the toppings and sides you could want to go with it (if I ever throw a party, I will hire her to come cook for me, she doesn’t know this yet, though. Hahaha!) There were only a few other people invited, so we felt special to be included in the celebration. We had some drinks, ate some food, although we didnt end up going in the pool, and ended the party playing dice games. We truly had another great afternoon with friends.

Thursday 11/23- Happy Thanksgiving 

From everything that we’ve heard, for years, Nancy has always made a Thanksgiving dinner and invited a few of their closest friends to get together for the holiday. The first year we lived down here we were back in Minnesota over Thanksgiving. Last year we got sick on the way back from our vacation in Mexico and weren’t able to make it. This year, we would finally get to participate in Nancy’s Costa Rican American Thanksgiving. We were invited over to Loren and Nancy’s house around 4:00 and were told that all we should bring were our preferred beverage and our appetite, and that they would be providing the rest of the dinner.

Before we went to celebrate Thanksgiving with our friends, though, we had to do some early Black Friday shopping.

Both Ramie and I spent several hours shopping online looking for all of the best deals. We weren’t shopping for ourselves, though, it would be far too long before we could get any of the stuff that we’d order. Today we were shopping for Christmas gifts for family back in MN, and we think we got everyone checked off of our list.

We headed to Loren and Nancy’s at 4 when they were expecting us, and we had to wait a little while for everyone else to show up. It turns out that there would be 8 of us having dinner tonight, the 4 of us Americans, as well as 4 Ticos, Randall, his wife and son, and Grettel, one of the girls that works for Geiner at the office at the mini-golf.

All I have to say about this dinner was that it was delicious!! It was the full traditional American Thanksgiving spread: turkey, mashed potatoes & gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberries (the canned variety which is Ramie’s favorite) squash, pumpkin pie and apple pie. And Nancy made it all homemade. I don’t know if it was just so delicious because it had been 2 years since we’ve had any of it or what, but we thoroughly enjoyed this dinner!! 

Turkey is not a big thing down here (Grettel has never even tasted turkey!) and they are really only imported during the holidays that Expats would typically want them. When you do find turkeys here, they are quite expensive. I can remember not too many years ago turkey being less than $1 per lb in MN. Nancy told us that this roughly 20 lb turkey cost them over $70, and the turkey wasn’t the only expensive part. Nancy put pecans on her sweet potatoes, and she paid over $20 for the bag of pecans (and this was not a large bag). I can only imagine how much the cranberries and canned pumpkin cost, since all of these pieces of the dinner are traditional North American and not traditional Costa Rican.

On top of the food that reminded us of being back home, we got another little taste of something you would never expect here in the tropical jungle of Uvita- Loren and Nancy have a fireplace! Well, if this didn’t bring us right back to our cold Minnesota roots, I don’t think there is much that could! Now, this fireplace was something that Loren ordered specially from the US when he was building his house. It is electric and doesn’t actually give off any heat. It does have the crackling sound that you’d expect from a fire, though. Loren is from the Northeast US and this reminded him of back home too, which is why it was just something he had to have when building his house.

This Thanksgiving we were thankful for good friends, delicious food, and reminders of home.

Friday 11/24- Black Friday and I had the day off work, what would we do since we didn’t have any more shopping to do? Well, Ramie was going on a deep-sea fishing trip with Val & Marshal and one of their friends who was visiting from the US. This would give me all day on my own, just me and Skye. I wasn’t super productive, I worked on the blog, I played with the puppy, and I spent some time on a video call with my parents, sister, niece & nephew. It was a much-needed relaxing day for me, these types of days are just so rare for me it seems!

Waking up to a beautiful sunrise!

What time is it? Ramie’s short story time… I just want to give you all a quick snippet of the fishing trip. It started out as an early morning for us all. I had to pick up the other fishers at 4:30am in order to be at the Marina at 5:30. The captain picked the early departure time to beat the rush of all the other boats that would also be heading out for the day. 

The goal today was to catch a marlin, a very elusive and hard to catch fish. Although if you happen to hook one, you're in for the fight of your life! We spent the first hour and a half making our way out about 30 miles off-shore. 

Beautiful morning sunrise for me as well!

The plan was laid out on the way to the fishing spot. The friend (whose name I can’t remember) would go first, when he was tired, it would pass off to me, when I was tired, Val would take over, and then Marshal. This may sound very strange, but it can take hours to land one of these fish. They can get up to 1,400lbs or more, but it is more common to catch fish in the range of 150-400 lbs. Within 5 minutes after putting the lines in the water we had hooked our first fish. The friend was up first. Fish number one turned out to be a small sailfish, maybe around 50lbs., Not what we were looking for, but still a fun fish to catch. We hung around in that general area for about another hour without catching anything else before the captain decided to move. There were other boats not too far away catching tuna, and catching something is better than nothing. On the way to that location we hooked into a small mahi mahi which the friend also brought in. Once we were at the spot where the other boats were catching the tuna we spotted the large pod of Spinner Dolphins that were following the bait fish.

That also meant the tuna were nearby too (as you can see the 1st mate casting into the tuna that are below the surface, in the video above) The next fish that we hooked into was a decent size tuna and I was up next. It took me about 20 minutes to bring it in and ended up being around 30lbs. 

This wasn’t a terrible size and it sure would be good eating! Over the next few hours we proceeded to catch 4 more tuna and 3 more mahi mahi. Sadly, the marlin eluded us today, I guess we will have to try again someday. Overall, this was by far the best offshore fishing trip I have ever been on. 

One of the Tuna Val caught
Mahi are cool fish as they can change their color. Here you can see its blue.
You can see the same fish is green in this picture

On our way back toward shore, we ran into a slight problem. At about 8 miles offshore the engine decided that it was going to overheat. The captain waited while it cooled down and then decided we would limp back to the marina at an idle once he got it started again. That would be a long 8 miles at a crawl! At one point, before we got going again, the sky decided that we needed to cool off as well and let out a fast downpour. There was nowhere to get away from the pouring rain and we were soaked, but at least it was a warm rain! When the captain started the engine again (after about a 20 minute wait), he put the boat in gear and started to make our slow way back.  The engine had other ideas, though, and it gave up completely.

With my mechanical knowledge, I knew that this engine was done for! There was no way it was going to get us back to shore, and it would likely require a full rebuild before it would ever run again. At this point the captain had no choice but to make a call to the marina and the other fishing boats in the area to ask for help. Two boats that had passed us earlier on their way back to the marina came back out to help. Out in the middle of the ocean the four of us had to transfer from our boat to another one that would take us back to land. The other boat that came out to rescue us was there to tow the broken down boat back. We made it back into the Marina at around 5pm, the towing boats would take longer. There was no reason for us to wait around, we had all of our stuff and the fish that we caught (already filleted and cleaned by the first mate on our boat while we were out at sea) and headed home. We made it back to Uvita around 6:30 since we were having some heavy rain causing slow traffic.

Despite having a big cooler full of fish, Val and Marshal only wanted one bag of mahi mahi and one bag of tuna. They told me to take the rest. I got home, lugged in the cooler into the house and told Dana that we’d be eating fish for a while. I opened it up for her to look and she was in shock at all the fish I had brought home. I told her about everything that happened today, but I was exhausted, hungry and tired so we put all the fish in the fridge to will deal with tomorrow.

Saturday 11/25- Alright, Saturday morning and it’s time to get this fish divided up into meals and put away. When we shipped our container of household goods down here, one of the things I brought with was a vacuum sealer. We don’t use it often, but this is a situation where it comes in VERY handy! We both like the mahi mahi, so we decided to keep all of that. I didn’t count before I put it into the freezer, but it was probably 7 meals worth. I don’t care for tuna too much, so Ramie would be the one eating all of this. There was no way he’d be able to eat all of this tuna, and I really didn’t want to take up THAT much of our limited freezer space, so he decided to keep about a dozen or so 1lb steaks. We had about 15 lbs. left so Ramie asked Geoff and Tracy, Ray and Wesley and Randall to see if they wanted some fresh tuna. All of them took him up on the offer and Ramie was able to share some of his catch with our friends. Each couple probably got 3-4 meals of fresh tuna, I sure hope they enjoy it! 😊

Pura Vida!