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.

The pursuit of happiness

When I was looking for happiness and fulfillment outside of myself, I was unhappy. I couldn’t find real, deep, lasting joy in other people (husbands), my children, friends, or religion. This all began to change about a decade ago, when I started going to Alanon, in an attempt to save my marriage. A couple of years later I began discovering a different spiritual path which included meditation. Learning to explore the inner world rather than focusing on outer people, circumstances, and events changed everything.

The question came to me via the writing course I’m taking; what is missing from my life right now?  Hmm. Most of the time I don’t think anything is missing except for having an infinite passive source of money so I could quit working a job entirely.  I’d like to just explore my own interests and help people be well. I don’t want stuff. Stuff requires too much attention.  I have enough to live a good life.

A connected question: Do you feel like you are simply destined not to have some of the things you may want out of life?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!
We create our reality — but if you don’t realize or believe this is true, you won’t actively create. I can look back on my life, and now see that I was a participant in making it the way it was – and some of it wasn’t so great, but I learned from it.

Only other thing, and it’s not really missing because I’m working on it, is more friendships When you move to a new area, it takes time to find your tribe. I joined the UU church here, but hadn’t been a member that long when the pandemic showed up. We’ve just opened up again, I’m working on being more involved in some of the smaller groups. I’ve signed up for a couple of meetups, and, I have returned to work. I need people in my life.

I haven’t always felt connected to people and life, but of late I am more aware that sometimes my energy is open, and other times I seem to close myself off. And that it is ok.

I may have felt more connected to people, particularly other mothers, when I was having babies, was a La Leche League Leader, involved in the old church. But those are old interests. I was busy with children and trying to figure out life.

Another question: Do I hold the same values I was taught as a child? Another hmmm. Some of the values I was taught as I child are the same – although when I think about it, I don’t really feel that I was “taught” values. My parents’ life was the example to me of what I thought life looked like, or should look like – Husband went to work, provided a good living. Wife stayed home, took care of kids, shopped and cooked, sewed and pursued her own interests. Great camping vacations. Basically, be honest, work hard, take time off, retire early with lots of money. I started out my adult life with all that in mind, but found that my husband was not like my father at all. Turns out, I’m not like my mother in many ways either. So yeah – be honest, work hard — but I eventually divorced twice, went to work, and definitely will not “retire young with lots of money”!

I used to believe that each person has a path they have to find – a “right” path. Now I know that is hogwash!

We can be unhappy with our life and want something different, especially when we don’t feel fulfilled in any way. It doesn’t mean it is “wrong”, but it probably means it is time for a change.