Milestone birthday

Really, every birthday is a milestone. But today, I’m 65. When you are a child, that seems VERY OLD. When you are a young adult, in your 20’s, it seems like forever away. When you reach your 40’s, and feel very wise, 65 starts becoming more real, but still, a long way off. In your 50’s, you start looking forward to when you can retire and get Medicare.

This year, my 65th year, has been a gift to myself. I quit my full time job and did a lot of traveling, including two 2 month travel nurse stints , the first in Chattanooga, and the second in Carson City. I loved Chattanooga, and basically hated Carson City. I learned that I missed being home with my husband, and I missed seeing my grandchildren. I learned that staying in an airbnb room in someone else’s house is not something I ever want to do again!

So, I came home, started working part time, took a road trip to see all my kids and went on a retreat in Costa Rica (and wrote about these trips on this blog, if you’re interested). I’m enjoying the holiday season, being with family, pondering all that I’ve experienced.

And, although I did sign up for Medicare, I’m not retiring and getting social security just yet. I’ve also learned that, although I do enjoy staycation for a while, I also like the structure that work offers, plus I can find meaning in my work. And yeah, the paycheck is a bit bigger than what SS offers.

So, in January, it’s back to being a full time acute care RN Case Manager in the hospital 10 minutes from home. For how long, I don’t know. I do know that I’m strong and healthy, and still have much to offer the world.

Last day in Costa Rica

I have a little downtown before my plane leaves this afternoon.

I’ve actually had a lot of downtime, but didn’t feel much like writing. This time in Costa Rica has been really great, a completely different experience than when I was here two years ago with Bamboo for two weeks working for turtle conservation. I have to admit, spending time in the cold and rainy cloudforest was a bit challenging. But here is a picture of me from yesterday morning when it cleared a little:

After this picture was taken, we started out on a guided walk, but it quickly became uncomfortable, and our young guide, pleasant as he was, stopped too many times along the way. It concluded with the Hummingbird Garden, and I left the group at that time, glad that I had found my way there the previous day, when I captured this picture of a hummingbird just sitting for a minute!

It took about twice as long as usual to get back to our homey casa in San Jose. Traffic was at a standstill due to construction and just – people! I was glad to be able to just chill in the bag of our small bus, and leave the driving to the driver! I actually dozed off for a bit!

We ate so late in the afternoon that we decided to just stay home and eat snacks.

Accompanied by wine, we enjoyed a long last sobramesa!

Rainy season is not over

Martes manana 6 am

temp around 68, overcast and rainy

Today I sit in the little nook next to the kitchen with my cafe con leche y azucar

Yesterday was not so fun – it was sunny in the morning but we drove up into the clouds to Parque National Volcan Irazu and it was cold! then it started to rain. Couldn’t see any volcanic craters.

Then we went to Hacienda Oriso where there are hot springs, but the rain kept coming, ceasing periodically but offering no sunshine. The warmth of the springs was nice, but overall, I don’t think I would want to do it again. I don’t really like getting into pools or springs or even the ocean, except to cool off when its hot, then only for a short time. It was very beautiful, though, and there is a large covered open air restaurant where we partook of food and a little wine. On the way back, in the dark and rain, I put a book in my ears and kept my eyes closed. Much more relaxing than worrying about the driving.

Words and phrases I have learned:

casadas – typical meal of rice, beans, picadillo, salad, plantains, protein

sobramesa – table time

que diche – so very good!

colocho pelo – curly hair

picadillo – tiny chopped up vegetables

cafe choreado – pourover coffee

I love Costa Rica

I am in San Jose, Costa Rica, a last minute opportunity to be here with a small group of women, on retreat so to speak. I visited CR in 2019 for 2 weeks, fell in love then, and continue to feel the draw to this beautiful country, full of beautiful people.

And I love my room here at Casa Alma. It lets the sunrise in so I wake with it. It is 6 am. I actually woke over an hour ago, but drifted in and out for a while. Now enjoying my coffee in the large front room that is probably the living room but has only a couch, a couple of tables, and some yoga mats. Great place for yoga, too. 

Yesterday we started the morning at the enormous farmers market, shopping for our cooking class scheduled for the evening. Local farmers come from miles around, every week, and the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables is amazing. We were looking for chayote for our dinner tonight, a new vegetable to me.

After that, we went to the coffee plantation La Chimba Hacienda. Let me mention here that our driver, Roberto, is amazing. I just have to not pay attention to the driving, it is very different here!

First we took a hike on the Mantra Trail to the Buddha. The coffee plants grow everywhere! Then lunch at the restaurant there – casadas, the typical lunch of rice/beans/salad/vegetables/plantains. And meat, but I had fried eggs, not so great. Next time I will get scrambled, or ask for extra beans.

Then we did the coffee experience tour, and I learned a few more things about coffee, and got to taste the difference in the five different ways of preparation. As a result, I bought two bags of the premium beans – so good that I could drink it black!

We stopped at the supermercado on the way home and bought some wine to go with dinner. Then Elsa came to do a cooking class. She is around my age, and speaks no English. I loved the whole experience. Not just the cooking, but the communicating with gestures and some interpretation, with my attempts at Spanish. And the food was delicioso! I can’t remember the name of the vegetable dish, but it is all cut up in tiny cubes, very savory. We made tortillas, and a passion fruit dessert. Que dicho! We drank wine during the cooking, and dinner, which I think we ate around 7:30, and sat at the table and talked until almost 10. They call it sobramesa – enjoying the table.

It was all so very lovely.

Today, we go to a volcano and hot springs, and won’t be home until super late.