Here in Costa Rica, challenges arise almost daily that can become overwhelming if you don’t learn to look on the bright side (and put into action your sharpest problem-solving skills!). We’ve had plenty of opportunity recently to practice seeking out the silver lining.
A week ago, we took a trip to the capitol, San Jose, to purchase a car we had found in the newspaper. We had planned to take the “short” route over the mountains, which would have taken about 6 hours. The night before we left, we received a call from friends telling us that there had been a landslide across the mountain road, and it had been closed to traffic. Fortunately, there is another road to San Jose along the coast which we were able to take. We spent about three hours longer driving, but on the bright side, we were able to stop to show Luc his first wild crocodiles, and we also caught glimpses of sloths, monkeys, and scarlet macaws. Also, when we finally rolled into San Jose, the city had emptied of cars for the day, and we found our hotel relatively effortlessly. Driving in San Jose is never easy because there are absolutely no street signs, but the key is to speak enough Spanish to be able to ask taxi drivers for directions.
The next day when we went to inspect the new car, we found that it was in worse condition than we had expected. For the amount of money the guy was asking, we decided not to take it. Of course, I was disappointed, but on the bright side, the lawyer who was going to do the car transfer papers was also an immigration lawyer. We kept our appointment with him and discussed our different options for gaining Costa Rican residency.
We resumed our search for our car the next day in Grecia, a suburb of San Jose also known as Used Car Central. After a few hours of searching, we found a Mitsubishi Montero in good condition and low miles for about 5K less than the first car (Bright, Very Bright!!). We thought we would be able to pay by credit card, but between Visa’s security measures for large purchases and Costa Rican inexperience obtaining authorization codes, the transaction was just too difficult. Fortunately, the dealer said he would hold the car for us until we can get a wire transfer into our Costa Rican account. On the bright side, a second trip next week (by plane without Lucas) will allow us some extra time in the city to purchase some furniture we desperately need.
We left San Jose by way of the mountain road which was open, albeit a little messy. When we arrived home, we found that our water had been cut off. That happens around here rather frequently for one reason or another, so we just assumed it would be back on the following day. Pat left for work and stayed later than usual because we had been gone a few days. In the meantime, I had figured out that the water was cut because we had forgotten to pay the bill (which goes directly to the landlord’s house). By the time Pat came home, the water office was closed (no paying by phone here!), and we were facing a three day weekend -- who knew Mother’s Day was a national holiday?!
We’re now in our fifth day without potable water in the house. Living without hot water was one thing, but no water at all is a different ballgame altogether. On the bright side, I finally have a good excuse not to wash the floor, do the dishes, or cook rice and beans! Thankfully, we live next to a river in a tropical country at the beginning of rainy season. With a tank borrowed from friends to collect rain water from the roof, and a supply of drinking water donated from friendly neighbors, we’re muddling through. On the brightest side -- and one of the reasons we’re able to find any bright side at all, wine comes from a bottle and not the tap…