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Crime in Costa Rica

January 6th, 2007

I get a fair number of emails asking about crime in Costa Rica… so maybe it is time to cover this topic once more.

Crime here, it is getting worse and I have no problem saying so. It is certainly different than when I first stepped off the boat. Saying that though, the crime is pretty well confined to two areas: San Jose (the city), and areas where tourists congregate. It is NOT country wide.

This is true for the US as well. A small town in Iowa is NOT the same as life in LA.

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La Luna Strikes Again

January 5th, 2007

With a full moon, I always wonder about change.

Last night, I went for a walk around the block after finally putting a terribly crabby 15 month old to bed. There is was, la luna, full and plump.

“It’s a rock,” my daughter said. Coco is a beautiful blend of concrete and mush. As I was getting dinner ready for my other child, my daughter came into the kitchen with tears streaming down her face. She held a dead humming bird in her hand.

“She’s dead!” she sobbed. She cupped the little bird in the palm of her hand. Continue reading »

Important Change in Immigration!

January 3rd, 2007

Just found out today that an ages old policy has changed… and pretty much without notice.

Before, if a person had applied for any form of legal residency and had been assigned a file number from immigration, they did not have to leave Costa Rica after 90 days for that 72 hour period in order to renew their tourist visa.

Now they do!

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My How Things Have Changed

December 18th, 2006

Five years ago, it was almost impossible to get a good espresso anywhere in Costa Rica. For a country that grows coffee, I was mystified why no one knew how to brew it.

I grew up with terrible coffee. That’s why I never drank it. The watery cup of java was acidic and bitter. I couldn’t see what my parents saw in it. Then, I discovered espresso. This is how the little bean that lifts us up was meant to be enjoyed. Unfortunately, a huge machine the price of a small car used to be needed to produce this wonderful brew. Only a few could afford it. Continue reading »

It Helps to Recover From All We’ve Learned

December 8th, 2006

Three months ago, my son’s blood test came back as anemic, but the doctor or the lab never called me with the results. I thought we were just testing for thyroid problems. I figured no news was good news.

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I’m Joining the Circus

December 5th, 2006

Around December, Costa Rica begins to vibrate. It’s not an earthquake or a storm. No, it’s the approaching holidays and the distribution of the aguinaldo – the end of the year bonus each employer must give to every employee. Basically, it’s an extra month of pay. Continue reading »

The Winds of December

December 3rd, 2006

How can you tell it’s December in Central Costa Rica? Well besides the obvious, the bamboo wind chimes on our patio do not stop chiming until Christmas and often much later.

December is the transition month from Winter to Summer. Kids are on vacation. Traffic truly sucks and just getting anywhere is a hassle. Holiday decorations went up weeks ago. The Festival of Lights is acomin’. And there is the wind.

Me? I love it! Nights are low to mid 60’s… breezy… blanket time… great sleeping weather! The days are high 70’s with a wind chill that makes it feel like maybe 72-73. Skies are mostly blue. Little or no rain now, even in the afternoons, though this can vary.

It is my favorite month. Christmas thoughts. Family thoughts. Comfy.

I wish you all the happiest of holidays. May you and your family be blessed. May your dreams come true.

Mine have.

Just a Little Bit About Myself

November 24th, 2006

If I may take a moment of your time, I’d like to properly introduce myself. My name is Susan Carmichael.  Tim said he erased the last introduction I did, but oh well, there’s always time for a second chance.

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Costa Rica Cell Phone Update

November 22nd, 2006

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) – our friendly local state-run telecommunications monopoly has decided to purchase an entirely new GSM cell phone network rather than expand the current network.

Why is this a big deal? Because with this announcement, we know that it will be at least another year… more likely two-three years before cell phone (telephone) numbers can again be purchased. Believe it or not, this is probably good news.

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You’ll Probably Find Me at the Mall

November 21st, 2006

I’ve lived in Costa Rica for eight years, and know exactly what I need from the U.S. when I travel back for visits. Tap shoes were high on my list one year. As I first time parent, I figured this is what we do: enroll our daughters in tap classes. I’d bought a pair at a used clothes store in the U.S. for $1 in anticipation that my daughter would want to take tap class. The shoes were too big.

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