ok people. so we're not exactly bloggers, but we're having a great time and enjoying life.

CR is possibly the definition of easy, simple living. Maybe that's why we haven't been saying anything. That, and it's hard to write anything when you go to bed at 830.

Pool day

One of our favorite (among many) things about Costa Rica is our swimming pool. We spent some time here this afternoon:

The town is a little bit sleepy, but we love almost everything about our new life here so far. Another of my favorite things? Right now, our fridge is stuffed to the gills with mango, papaya, avocado, watermelon, and other fresh fruits and veggies from the farmer's market. Boost!

this and that

There have been many highlights of the past couple weeks. The first one is for Meredith: remember in San Diego how we liked to say hello to people on the street, make up fake names for them (e.g., "Hey Jimmy!") and get them to talk to us? (Real mature, I know.) Turns out that in Escazu this is a common practice. I just thought that this was a small town and that everyone thus knows one another and says hello at every stop sign. That is, until today... I was driving around with a maintenance guy from work and, as always, he was saying hello, beeping the horn and waving to several people as we drove by. He hollered out, "Muy buenas, Zorro, como estas?" I looked at him and asked if that man's name really was Zorro. Then he explained that in Escazu, you can say hello to anyone on the street, make up a name for them, even ask about their family, and they will not only answer you with a huge smile, but also, in turn ask about you and your family. We proceeded to do just that for the next 15 minutes back and forth from the windows of the car giggling, smiling and living the Pura Vida.

This next highlight is for my dad, in spirit at least since he doesn't read this: we were invited to lunch at a high ranking official's home last week with about 10 other folks. Everyone dressed up and were on their best, polite behavior. There was a bucket of beer that no one even touched because we were all being so proper. (Everyone: Me? Beer? At Noon? Of course not!) The official tried to lighten up the mood and so we started playing games, turned on some music and made polite conversations. All the sudden I realized that we were listening to Jimmy Buffet. Nice! The next moment I realized that not only were we listening to the Parrotheads but that the song was "Why don't we get drunk, and screw". I turned to Cyn, (who had no idea) and declared that we were experiencing my favorite moment since arriving to CR. She looked surprised and a little proud, I imagine since I usually don't enjoy those types of occasions too much, then she glanced at my beverage. Lemonade only, like I said.

Last weekend, speaking of beverages, we were invited to a party at a friend's home. It was wonderful: beautiful home, delicious food, great company and...tequila shots. Not just any tequila either - the good stuff. The kind that you don't need a lemon after because it tastes so good. Needless to say, I enjoyed this very much. Cyn got to show off her dance moves, we did the Cuban Shuffle (friend: why is everyone line dancing all the sudden?), watched some very impressive father-daughter salsa dancing and managed to stay up past our usual 9pm bedtime. Might as well make the assimilation splash quickly instead of drawing it out.

Tonight we will go out with some family that Cyn didn't know she has that live in CR. Impressive, no? But first they want to come over and see our house. Entonces, I will get to cleaning right away, make sure the orchids are watered ($7 btw) and wash the fruit for after dinner. We are truly living the good life.

we made it!

We finally landed in the verdant, lush, mountainous wonderland yesterday at about 4 and were met by three helpers to expedite the travel through all the necessary channels of the airport. I never even IMAGINED that it could be so fast and easy and I think I will manage to get used to this lifestyle. After we finally retrieved our ridiculous amount of luggage and enjoyed some awkward, friendly spanish conversations we met yet another person who was to drive us to our new, much anticipated home. All the while one of the escorts is our sponsor who has been an officer in CR for about a year. She is wonderful. She told us just enough information about the surrounding area, what to expect, what needed to be done pronto, etc in order to be helpful but not overwhelming all at once. She bought us a few groceries and helped to set up the welcome kit so we could settle in more easily. Did I mention that I am loving this?

Anyway, the driving was almost as crazy as I expected. I guess we had the most aggressive Embassy driver but it still wasn't that bad. There were some close calls, quick lane changes, screeching halts and I was definitely carsick by the end of the 30 minute ride but kinda seemed like par for the course. The thing that will be really hard to get used to is all the people walking on the sides of the road: crossing the street, walking with kids or just milling around. It already seemed a little dangerous and then the sponsor told us that the night before she had seen a person die on the side of the road after an accident. I think I will take to driving like an old lady just fine.

On to our house...it's amazing. It has a beautiful lobby with leather couches, a bar, a large pool and all open air hallways and courtyard. We heard that there had been some complaints about the size of the unit and were shocked to find that the place iiiissss sufficiently huge. Even the government furniture wasn't nearly as bad as we anticipated. It's really bright and airy, quiet and modern. We can't even hear each other if we are in opposite sides of the place (blessing? jk). I can't wait to get the rest of our stuff and really settle in. Seems we will have to coexist with an army of little ants, but I guess it could be much worse. I did drink a few in my water last night and freaked out but have since proposed a truce.

We had dinner at our sponsor's house last night with her daughter. It was such a nice way to ease into the new life – to chill in someone's home, eat a delicious home cooked meal, listen to music, look at pictures and make some new friends. Today we received our first shipment of belongings and will hopefully get the cable/internet hooked up this weekend.

I'm a vegetarian; I eat vegetables.

I'm not going to lie, I've gained some weight. (Corey, if you're reading this - I promise to lose it before I see you next time so you don't have to go through the trouble of socking me in the gut.) Anyway, I decided on the Duken Diet which is a series of varying phases of basically high-protein, low-carb. Simple, right? Yes and no. For me to eat nothing but protein means that I only eat about 400 calories a day. On an average week I may eat fish/seafood once. The past two days I've been eating it at every meal. The thought of eating it again makes me feel ill and something's got to give. I've decided to go back to the rigamarole of Mark's Daily Apple and do something a little more sustainable for myself. When all one thinks about is brussel sprouts and bell peppers, there's a problem.

Today is the beginning of the third day and I've had it. I just savagely cut into a red pepper, paired it with a quarter cup of sunflower seeds and am raising my middle finger in the direction of Dr Duken all the way from Rosslyn, VA. Wish me luck and as my mom says - this red pepper tastes just like flowers.

Yep, we're gay.

Sooo we have known for some time that we were going to need to trade in the beloved Prius (we love you, Glenda!) and get an SUV for Costa Rica. After much ado, we set our sights on the Subaru Forester and finally purchased a 2011 Forester in dark grey last weekend. I. Love. It.

It's masculine but sleek so of course the name has to reflect these characteristics: Shakiro. Homage to Shakira but this sexy beast is all man for these two ladies. I'm ready to indulge in many new adventures with this new beau and proud to rep a company that supports the gay-genda.

Also, we bought the car from a sweet as pie Thai-American Marine who was raised by his lesbian auntie. awww.

happy birthday, grandma

In other news, happy birthday to my Puo Puo (grandma on mom's side). She turned 90 last weekend and is one of my personal heroes. Puo lived through the brutal Japanese invasion of China and the violent Communist revolution that followed. She then rebuilt a life with my grandpa in Taiwan. Only two years ago, at age 88, she climbed to the top of Lu Mountain (LuShan) on foot. At the summit, a middle-aged man asked to take a photo with her because he had never seen a woman at her age scale a mountain before. She taught me my multiplication tables and how to spell in English (despite not knowing English herself). Here's the two of us on her bday. Love you, Puo!

the return

I miss the blog. But unless you want to hear me complain about how hard it is to learn Spanish (the easiest language taught at FSI?), I figured that I should just keep my mouth shut. But I'm ready to be positive again - Mom, can I come out of my room now?

So yes, we've been in Spanish for 18.5 weeks now and have a mere 5.5 to go. (How many months are women pregnant? 36? Wow. That is some perspective for sure.) The studies have been truly wonderful; I have learned things that I never anticipated like history lessons, how to prepare and deliver a presentation, we've studied the economy, political, judicial, health and school systems both in the US, Central and South America. Not only that but I've learned all, or nearly all, my weaknesses in English (and life?) that are magically carried over to the new language, highlighted magnificently under the painfully bright spotlight of adept professors and a keen-eyed-ever-watching wife. (I love you more!)

The move is drawing closer and closer as well. It's almost palpable at this point. It's drawing on time to start eating all the food reserves (my personal favorite), separating clothes, books and kitchen items to go to storage or post, and lots of good old-fashioned lists. I love lists. At any moment I have lists of books I want to read, exercise plans, songs I want to sing at karaoke, restaurants to try, store lists - you name it, I list it. Buuut, the lists to get ready to move abroad leave a little to be desired. When I see "prepare last will and testament" on a list I immediately put the list down and begin online shopping. Seems healthy and perfectly normal to me.

Anyway, I applied for a job at the Embassy in San Jose - cross your fingers for me! I'll detail more later if I'm so lucky as to nab it.

For now, I need to prepare my presentation for class this afternoon. I'm thinking something special and hardly political: Zombie Ants.

Former Secretary Albright: on being a woman and a diplomat

Like all nerds, I appreciate a good TED talk.   In this one, former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright "talks bluntly about politics and diplomacy, making the case that women's issues deserve a place at the center of foreign policy."    A girl after my own feminist heart. :)

When I graduated from Smith College in 2003, Secretary Albright was my Commencement speaker.   Que suerte!



We CA girls met up with some of my best lady friends at Smith for some winter fun.