Saturday, January 30, 2010

Costa Rica Day 10 - no really!

I think I packed and ran to the storage place four or five times. I did NOT want to take more stuff than I needed. I did NOT want to over pack. Keep It Simple. Keep it Safe. I still left the bulk of my allergy medicine, shampoo, and notebook somewhere in Jersey. PFT.... I'll get it right. I just need to move in a suitcase a few more times.

So after enjoying myself in Jersey for a week. Attempting to sleep in a bed and not disturb Casey and Goldy (I nearly fell off the bed). Get caught up on True Blood (still missing the last 3 episodes as they were not on HBO onDemand) Visit everyone (crazy car problems, rain, and general laziness prevented me from getting to North Jersey and South Philly). I DID however eat pizza! Eat red velvet cupcakes and home made fudge. Eat home made Thai food! Play copious amounts of Metallica Guitar Hero! And drink mad quantities of Dr. Pepper (I'm so missing that now! ) I headed off to Costa Rica.

Why San Jose, Costa Rica?

Job.

LOL That simple. I had applied for and procured a job teaching drama in a private school in San Jose.

So Wednesday, I flew to San Jose. An hour delay in El Salvador. Being stalked by two of my newly acquired students whom I didn't know at the time; hence they were stalking me.... Showered. Crashed. And to work on Thursday! Thankfully, Thursday and Friday were teacher in service days. I stayed with the director who lives next door to the school. So it was just a short walk. Saturday I spent moving into my flat - shopping for kitchen supplies and food. Saturday evening unpacking. Sunday watching football and on the internet (as yes, it was installed less than 24 hours of my moving in) and then to work on Monday with the kids. LOL

So I really haven't had any "down" time for blogging. OK - so I've been online all week and chatting and wot nots - but not sitting down and really evaluating what exactly I'm doing in Costa Rica.

First off. The pay is one fourth what I was making in the UAE. And by USA standards; I'd be eligible to qualify for public assistance. It will be the least amount of money I've made since .... well.... I was 18-20 years old. back in the 80s.

How does that fare for my bills? T-mobile. Sallie Mae. Masters Degree. Storage. That's almost half the paycheck; but needs must when the devil drives. And I am still quite militant about sending money to the savings accounts and my stock portfolio. Hey, if the locals can live on $600 a month, why can't I??????

How does this fare for my Metallica obsession? One show - local. March 7th. Sold Out. Trying to get tickets. Can't make any of the other central american shows as it's over $400 for airfare. And I'm not quite sure where the shows are and very few people speak german here. and a majority of them are on a school nite. LOL

I'm aligning my duckets for flights back from knebworth and flights to and from Jersey in the spring and summer to catch said flights to and from knebworth. LOL It's truly a maths puzzle making everything fit just so!

Acclimatized? It took almost three days for me to get rid of the head ache. It was a deep pulsating drone inside my head and ears. Just trying to get used to the altitude and thinner air. I didn't take anything. I needed my body to regulate itself. I have kept up with the allergy meds. I need to or else I'm sure I'd die. Many of you have seen me on either the wrong allergy meds or none at all when I've been stupid enough to run out. It's not a pretty site. I can get by on one acrivastine a day and some flixonase; but I've been told that when the rainy season hits - I'll be allergic to a whole new host of pollens and molds. And I have to be especially careful of the black mold that is pervasive during the rainy season. AKA - stock up on allergy meds and keep taking them or you'll be a completely miserable sod.

Knees? I'm not sure. It's crazy. I've done tons of walking on grades 12% and more. Everything is on a windy bendy hill. There are stairs everywhere. I can't get away from stressing them out. Curiously, they don't hurt. I know I should wear the braces or buy the walking sticks. But - and I'm chancing it - right now there is no pain.

Still having fabulous hair days.

When you ride the city bus people think you have a command of the language.

In my case, this is sadly not so. I understand about 1/20 of what is said to me. I get the gist if the person slows down. No se *shrugs* Lo siento. My brain's default is still german. It comes out in german. I have to translate from german to spanish. It hurts my brain. Give me couple months and I'll be ok.

I can still watch my beloved football. It's only on one channel. I don't get all the games any more. I had to watch Spurs and Chelsea online today. But then the channel played the Chelsea game after the Liverpool game so I watched it again. Now they are playing the Villa game. Hopefully tomorrow I get to watch Arsenal beat Man Utd. I loath both red scums equally; but numerically I need Arse-ugh-nul to win tomorrow (sunday the 31) **** update: commercial says the evil red scums play at like either noon or 1330 - depending on if you are in mexico or somewhere whose initials I don't know*****

The views are gobsmackingly beautiful here! You are up in the mountains so everywhere you look is mountains and clouds and leafy things and pretty flowers and green and clouds and mountains and evil birds and pretty flowers and clouds and big leafy green things. LOL Sometimes I just stand and stare agape at it all. I mean, I lived in the mountains - Fairbanks. Loads of mountains and green and clouds. Heck, you were at the top of the world. But I think because this is some place new - I'm like a kid in a chocolate shoppe.

The weather is like perfect. The locals are saying it's cold during the day. I'm loving it. It's about 20C-ish/80F-ish. Breezy. Always the wind blows. Sometimes I'm sure it dips to 17 or so during the day (mid to high 70s). But it's great! The nights - it's only like 12-14 ish (in the 60s). But because my flat is cinder block and the windows don't close all the way, it does get a bit chilly some nights. But I have a nifty purple slanket (thank you sister!!!!) and gorgeous matching purple flowered green hand made booties (thank you T!!!!!!!!) so i'm good. Heck, when I fell asleep on the sofa last night (watching Gladiator and then Pirates 3) I got hot under my slanket! LOL

I haven't ventured far outside of flat and work - was going to do that today (on a football day, as if!) but never quite got around to it. but I know where to find the dead chicken slowly rotating on a spit over fire!!! I just need to find where they are getting this fresh hot tasty bread!!!! So tomorrow is a bust for exploring unless I get up ultra early before footy or in that hour and a half of daylight after footy. LOL

p.s. empanadas made by lunch ladies are really really tasty!!!!!!!

oh yeah. no hot water heaters. so the water only has one temperature and that's what it comes out of the tap at. so for me to shower, i have this weird contraption. the temperature depends on the water pressure coming out of the shower. the more i turn the water on, the colder it gets. if i keep it at a low pressure, the water warms up. only warm and luke warm. not hot. for hot water, you have to boil it. LOL for dishes they have this special dish soap especially for cold to not cold but not warm water. it's called axion and it's green and ?hard? *shrugs* i don't know. but it works.

ooohhhhhh the evil west ham is playing blackburn.... another 2 hours sitting in front of the TV!!!! Zola and Clark are on notice!!!! Traitors!

you can buy non american non name brand cigarettes here for like 500 colones. That's like a dollar. and i've seen adverts in shop windows for fags as low as like 50 cents. (250 colones) no lie.

Costa Rica Day 10

My mate T totally called me out on her vlog. LOL Other than the video of the flat, I hadn't blogged about life in Costa Rica. She wanted to know what it was like living here. I must admit. I've been busy and lazy. A strange mix.

I made my escape from the UAE on January 13th. I was supposed to leave on the 12th, but a mechanical problem with the plane delayed take off for 24 hours. I headed strait to London. I had to get my head together. I had to get hugs. I had to get a meal! LOL My mum Ms. Tsang cooked for me. But that was my second meal of the day. As the plane taxied to Heathrow terminal 5 I got giddly. Happy even. I was "home". Finally on familiar soil. Familiar people. No disrespect to my neighbours in the Easter Flats or my mate K from NYC - but there is something about having your mates in your home town or the real world that makes it a bit different. There is no desperately trying to make home in hell. Nothing to cling to out of necessity. I feel for BandV, P and K who are still navigating their way thru Dante's 8th Circle of hell. It was an interesting place to visit. But God - yes the One True God (whistles girl from ipanema waiting for the text or email from the first geek who gets that) knows you wouldn't want to live there.

I flounced my way thru the airport. Terminal 5 is not as bad as I had envisioned it. Before I had even gathered my luggage (two moderately heavy large pieces) I had sent several texts and a petulant phone call inquiring about my breakfast plans. Yes, I AM a little princess and my needs had to be met! Pronto!!!! I stored all my luggage and carry ons in Terminal 1's left luggage offices. L8 per piece per 24 hour cycle - word of warning. THEY DO NOT PRORATE. SO EVEN IF YOU ARE LIKE 10 MINUTES INTO THE SECOND DAY YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY THE FULL PRICE!!!! I took a taxi from Terminal 5 to Terminal 1. The first time in like 15 years of traipsing thru London I've taken a taxi! What an experience! LOL They are quite spacious inside! I took a picture. LOL

Anyways. I soon slunk back to more familiar undergrounds. I was headed to way North London. A place with loads of trees and not much traffic sound. A place with rolling hills. A place called Enfield (cue scary music) But hell, promises of sausages and bacon and eggs and proper tea awaited me and I was willing to go anywhere for a free meal! First true - *sigh* moment... So when you get out of the tube at Hammersmith and have to change lines, you actually have to go outside (oooohhhhh) and cross the street. I don't know what it is about his intersection Hammersmith Road/King St/Shepards Bush: It's like a psychic centre or something. But I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. Yes, at 8 in the morning, rush hour, on a busy main street/tube stop in London.... a sense of peace and serenity. I've only had call to cross this street maybe 4 or 5x in my life. It's on the "wrong" side of town. LOL So there is very little call to be there. But every time I AM there; I get this weird peaceful feeling. Peace in a cacophonous din of movement and life.

I savored it for a light change and plunged headlong into the throng. I had food waiting on me! Another tube ride and a private train carrier later and I was deposited somewhere ... north... yeah.... with trees and a creek .... and geese poo on the sidewalk. Quaint. But hell, there was a Tesco's and Tesco's carries sausage and bacon and bounty bars and DR. PEPPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so I was a happy camper! And my almost but quite totally unlike chef companion was a happy sight as well. That is, until, he announced, he was not. I emphatically repeat. NOT. cooking me breakfast. . . . . I let him live. He owes me money.

My NEW chef - and bestest friend (hey, I CAN be bought) was an older and more groovy version of my almost but not quite totally unlike chef. The one who CAN cook. And quite well. I don't know if it was because I was back in the promised land near "my" city or because it was real and true pork or if it was the sofa! All I know is that was the best breakfast I had eaten in six months. I'm not sure I breathed. After gorging myself on pork product and proper tea, I settled on the sofa and did not leave until it was almost 5pm. It was the mixture of what happens when you bring a stray dog out of the rain and feed them and the cute and lovable house guest that won't leave - because you keep feeding them or just being around groovy people and comfy sofas and loads and loads of Metallica music..... I.WAS.HOME.

My day only got better as I took the A train (not really, but I wanted to plant that song in your head) to Liverpool St. to meet the other half of myself and then make the long trek east to a place with even more trees and rolling hills (where old soap stars go to die) and another great meal by a great person!

Essex. Mama Tsang. And an endless bowl of rice and dead animal!!!!!!!!!!! OMG this is food made with motherly love. And I can not stress the importance of having a mother that pours her heart into her cooking. It makes you do the happy chair dance. Did I mention that I was home? By this time of the night all the craziness and vileness of the past six months had melted away. Unlike the snow and ice on the ground. It is calming and warm to know when you are where you are supposed to be with people with whom you are supposed to be with.

Tomorrow - back to Jersey. Back to my nephew. Back to the twins. Back to Goldy and Casey. Welcome Back.....

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