Blue Bird

Blue bird
Sing me a song
A song of the morning
A song of silence
A song of family

Blue bird
Fly
Fly me away
To a happier ending

Blue bird be
Just be you.
Be blue and a bird
And do what you do

January 2016
Anna

Appreciating the road in front of you

I enjoy running.

I enjoy

  • gaining a slower and different perspective of the world around me
  • having travelled a small corner of the world with my own two feet
  • appreciating the differences in terrain
  • pushing my body to improve my limits of uncomfortable – making me a stronger person
  • that each day and each run is different – sometime I am playing mental games to improve my fitness, sometimes I am jogging just a bit and enjoying the sunlight.

Each location where my feet hit the ground has its own benefits and drawbacks.  Running in the mountains in Colorado I enjoyed breathtaking trail views. I’ve run the road in the photo below a number of times. The challenge – at 9,000ft elevation there is considerably less oxygen in the air than what I am used to…

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Buena Vista – Colorado

 

In Costa Rica I enjoyed views of the ocean that looked like this. The challenge – it was approximately 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity…

Beach Waves

Tamarindo Beach – Costa Rica

In Washington I enjoy enormous mossy trees, green grass, colorful leaves…

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Dash Point State Park – Washington

Although I prefer trails, sometimes I enjoy the whir of city life.

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Federal Way – Washington

Washington is challenging for a few reasons. First, the average current temperature has been 44F. Then, within a single hour time frame we are likely to have any combination of sun, wind, clouds, rain, mist and a significant change in temperature.

My trail and the weather will change, but my perspective on the road I have in front of me and my choice of how to walk my own two feet along it are the elements within my control. I choose to try to enjoy them the best way that I can.

 

Airport smiles with an infant 

One thing I appreciate about living in Costa Rica is the value of family and babies. This morning we walked into the airport in Liberia with my two month old.. A bit clueless as to what exactly we had to do. All of the employees were more than helpful. They walked us to the immigration office to get his stamp so we could leave and walked us back,  checked our documents right when we walk in the door and discovered that I didn’t purchase a ticket, I only registered him as an infant in arms. (Note to self- he has to have a ticket for international flights). They started calling immediately to fix the problem and were all smiles. We get to go in the short line, with an adorable 5 month old baby girl and her family.

Then there is security… The gal who checks his ID, smiles and asks his name, age and shares and anecdote about her babies and travel. The carry on check crew assist us through the checkpoint. 

At the gate an employee comes up to put the tag on the stroller before we even had to go check it ourselves. 

The flight crew was fantastic- very helpful! 

Then we arrive at LAX. Seriously- no more smiles, no more help, just grouchy people waiting in the regular line with everyone else. 

There are some things I really appreciate about Costa Rica.

  
He also was an angel and slept and nursed happily the entire trip and the five and a half hour flight! 

Unanticipated cultural challenges – how to wait

How to wait

In our area of Costa Rica, the Pura Vida lifestyle means you should expect to wait more than I ever would in the US. Primarily because there is just no reason to be that rushed. Planning on running errands? Expect to accomplish one, it is a big day if you get 2. 3… is record breaking. 

I’ve learned a thing or two about how to wait in lines. 

That’s not in your “moving to Costa Rica” handbook. 

At the phone store you sit in the chairs in order of who is next, at the bank you take a number and wait your turn wherever you want to sit. At the immigration office you somehow keep track of who is next and jockey for position (I think), at the social security office you remember who is in front of you and go in order. Make sure you know, because everyone else does. 

I have no idea how the hospital waiting lines were supposed to go, I just walked my newborn to the front. Then they called us into the office. Here, being pregnant or having a baby gets you to the front right away. (Most of the time)

Once you know – you know… But when you don’t… You can wait a LOT longer than you should or have a room full of disgruntled people because you cut in line. 

It is the same in the US – how do you wait to watch a movie, at the DMV, at the bank…? They are different, it’s just when you don’t know the rules of the game that it gets interesting. 

My advice – ask politely and correctly. Don’t ask a yes or no question- ask an open ended question of where you should be or how the lines work. Ask someone who knows. 

Even better, find a friend who has done it before and bring them. The best option; bring a pregnant lady, or someone with a baby- they get priority. (Yes, it’s been nice!) 

Cheers to waiting. 

Back At The Beach!

After a month in the city, an emergency c section, a slightly extended hospital stay and moving everything 2 days after being released from the hospital, we are happy to be home, happy and healthy. We are so thankful for my parents visiting and helping for the first week. We spent this morning at one of our favorite places:)… We met playing beach volleyball in Santa Cruz, CA. We finally got a photo of the 3 of us at the beach! 2 weeks 4 days. 

  
Local wildlife   

 Near Las Catalinas – breathtaking views!

  
What my little monkey did the entire time at the beach! 

 I will be working on learning how to use my fancy camera! 

A woman of many hats

No… Literally… 
 

Penguin Safari Hat

  

prepared for the next ice age


  

a night on the town!

  

The fedora began as a hat worn by Princess Fédora, the heroine of a French playwright Victorien Sardou’s drama titled Fédora.  Eventually it became a women’s rights symbol and then “the hallmark of movie tough guys, Chicago gangsters, private eyes, newspaper reporters”. Edgy. 

Thanks Oxford English Dictionary and The Village Hats. Now I will have to go look up the history of my other headpieces. 

for a day at the Devon horse show… it is an original

  

caught red handed with my husband’s fedora

  

ready for some beach volley

 

You say Greneda, I say Grenada

We’ve been busy with baby! In the meantime, this is a great read by my good friend Damon about our trip to Granada.

Living In Vacationland

I accept the facts. I’ve fallen out of love. Not with Cristina, don’t be absurd, but with being in love with our lives as immigrants. The romance of being an expat has officially acquiesced into teeth brushing and other daily business. I couldn’t think of a better place to feel grounded.

Two and a half years ago everything we did was worth telling you about. I don’t think I picked my nose without sharing it here. Since the last time you read this blog we’ve traveled Nicaragua, Costa Rica’s northern noman’s land, and twice I even flew to San Jose on business. My life is so fancy these days my nose practically picks itself.

At some point, I became too preoccupied with life’s minutia to blog. I could blame the recession of green season’s early rainfalls and the effect it’s had on the canopy, but that’s all so much bullshit…

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On being brave 

I am doing something that would have been terrifying to me in the past. I silently applaud myself. Not because I’m not afraid, but because I am doing it. 

I like to be in control of my situation and I like to be “the best”. The best athlete, smartest student, hardest worker… You name it. Reality check – you will quickly learn how not “the best” and not “in control” you are when you move abroad. 

Examples of items that qualified as terrifying: 

Continuing to have conversations in the local language- with a good attitude after a failed attempt. It is humbling to consistently end conversations with “I’m sorry, I don’t understand” or to ask multiple times in a conversation for clarity. There are people who are less kind- I experienced two “accidental disconnections” trying to order pizza over the phone. There are those that are more kind- I asked the gym manager if they had “suitcases”, instead of “equipment” and he didn’t miss a beat. 

 I called 3 times to order that pizza to get delivery. Choosing not to quit… Win! 

Making mistakes because of language barriers: I generally understand between 50 and 95 percent of a conversation depending on the topic and the speaker. I often just go with my best guess… 

The process of obtaining and filling out paperwork for residency. Bureaucracy is tough in our own culture. Add another culture, country, rules, and language. 

Learning to drive manual. I’m still fighting this one, but I’ve had a few lessons.

Having my firstborn in a foreign country, finding a hospital, a doctor, a pediatrician, figuring out the paperwork… 

Nearly everything is as big of a “deal” as you choose to make it. I would have never thought I’d be this “brave”. 

I’m not. Sometimes I’m terrified. I sometimes freak out, but in the end, I usually choose to complete the task at hand. Why? Sometimes because it’s worth it and sometimes because I don’t have a “choice” because I already chose the path I am on. 

I realize later, little by little- I am getting braver.