To give a true sense of what it’s like living in Costa Rica -- and to dispel beliefs that we’re living some sort of dreamy tropical existence -- let me describe the “every-other” days when Luc and I don’t go with Pat to our property.
The days start a little later – usually 5:15 instead of 4:45 – with Luc springing out of bed and begging Patrick to bring him along. Luc is cajoled back into my bed with promises of 6 o’clock pancakes, and by 6:15, the maple syrup is flowing.
By 6:30, we’re fully awake, and the laundry is in the machine. Because there’s limited drying time these rainy days, clothes washing is the first order of business. As the cycles click through their rotation, Luc and I share a good hour of focused together-time. It’s my favorite time of the day, and I’m not sure which of us is having more fun face-painting, decorating the cardboard playhouse, playing hide-and-seek and reading books.
When the laundry is ready to be hung, a little puppy who has adopted us as his benefactors has usually arrived at our doorstep. We call him “Flacko”, which means skinny in Spanish, since when he first showed up he was a starving waif of a thing. Lucas and Flacko are fast friends, and the two of them spend hours amusing themselves and getting into endless amounts of trouble around the yard.
At 8:30, Dora the Explorer and her cousin Diego come on TV, and Luc is allowed to watch to get his ear accustomed to Spanish. This also gives me some time to do the remaining chores in peace. I wash the dishes with hot water from the shower (yes, we now have hot water – Horay!), sweep & mop the floor, and make the beds. I feel like a real “Tica” (Costa Rican woman) the way I’ve learned to wield a mop. Of course, I curse my way through the entire routine, but with amount of dust and the bugs in the house, cleaning really can’t be ignored.
After his shows are over, Luc is usually ready to call on the neighbor kids. Because the school-day is split and there is such a wide age-range of kids living up the hill, there’s usually always someone home to play with. Sometimes, if Lola, the neighbors’ cow, is in the road, Luc needs me to accompany him past her and her unusually long tongue with its sticky lick…
For the next hour and a half or so, I have some free time to work on the Internet. The connection is extremely SLOW, so it’s a good to have a chunk of time. It takes about 10 minutes to upload one photo to Flickr - Ugh!
At 11:30, it’s time to entice Luc back home for a bath (he’s inevitably covered with mud) and lunch. Patrick returns soon after, and by 12:00, we all feel like we’ve put in a full day’s work and are ready for siesta (all of us except Luc!).
After a good strong cup of Costa Rican coffee, we can usually rally for our afternoon business and errands in town. Luc usually crashes in the car, so I sit and read a book while Patrick runs every-which-way meeting with architects, lawyers, construction workers, and municipal officials. It’s a man’s world here, and combined with my shaky Spanish, I’m pretty much useless in these matters. It’s frustrating, but I’m trying not to let it get to me too much. I’ll find my niche eventually…
We’re home by 5:00 to get dinner ready and watch CNN. We’re all completely spent by 7:00, and while Luc drifts off, we try our darnedest to push through ‘til 9:00 – often unsuccessfully.
That’s our life in a nutshell! It’s no secret that I prefer our jungle days to my housewife days, but it’s all part of the bargain here. Thankfully, unlike a true Tica, I do have a break from household chores and I have managing a resort business to look forward to in my future. At the moment, though, I hear thunder in the distance, so if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to go take down the laundry.