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You Want to Put a Chair on My Back?

February 13th, 2007

As I lay on the bed, careful not to move so I wouldn’t disrupt the eight needles sticking in my chest and legs, my acupuncturist played his flute for the crowd in the waiting room. It had been awhile since I’d been pinned, but with my immune system a wreck and cysts growing on the back of my neck, I decided I better get re-adjusted.

The doctor’s flute playing has improved. The first time he played for me, I was visiting him Continue reading »

Join Me Here Out on the Edge

January 30th, 2007

I’ve gotten quite used to this Down Syndrome thing, but sometimes the simplest things catch me off guard. Addison doesn’t walk yet, though all the kids his age do. In fact, they run, climb rocks, and stairs. I’ve gotten used to the little mile markers. Life happens slowly around our house, and we’ve grown to like it. When Addison sat up, I thought: Well, it will only be a few weeks, and he won’t need pillows around him anymore. That was 9 months ago. I’ve gotten used to hauling him around, though my muscles beg to differ. At 4 a.m. a few nights ago, I reached over to put Addison back in his crib after he woke up in the wee hours of the morning. When I tried to pull my arm away from his back, a nerve or a muscle snapped or pinched. It went deep. I couldn’t move.

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Blowin’ In The Wind

January 19th, 2007

The windy season gets on my nerves. Anywhere in the Central Valley, from December to February, the wind blows hard, very hard. It’s as though the wind becomes this evil stepmother lurking around and making my life miserable.

I yell at the wind: just stop for a minute, will ya! Here in the Central Valley, it doesn’t stop – day or night. It blows, and it blows. The air is dry; pools are chilly. Step outside and watch hairstyles go frizzy.

I’ve heard that skin drinks in the luscious humid tropic air – it keeps us supple. Take cover in the dry season. My son has breathing problems. His little nose just cannot manage major shifts in humidity. When it rains, I know Continue reading »

A Few Key Words You Must Know

January 11th, 2007

I learn Spanish from the people around me. I quit lessons awhile ago because time went to the kids. But, I continued to learn so much in a day from the children and the people in my life.
There’s a list of words you must know, of course, before traveling. Water – agua; bathroom – baño; those two are a cinch. But consider learning this word too…. Continue reading »

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 »

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 »

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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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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