Sunday, July 19, 2009

Home Stretch

We just returned from a summer break back to the States, which served a variety of different purposes. In addition to allowing us to reconnect with family and friends and restock our supplies of familiar over the counter remedies (Who can explain why Jiff peanut butter and Pepperidge Farm cookies are readily available here, but Pepto Bismol and Advil are not?), this trip unexpectedly launched the pre~operation phase of our new business. With some time away from the daily diversions on the worksite, the reality began to set in that in just four months, the doors of Morphose should be officially open for business.

One indication of our evolution in thinking was the contents of our suitcases on our flight back to San Jose. This time, instead of exclusively packing khaki colored clothing and waterproof wear, I returned with a few dresses and skirts, appropriate to my future role as Hostess~With~The~Mostest. One entire suitcase was filled with Ikea feather pillows, comforters and mattress pads (impossible to find here), in anticipation of live bodies actually inhabiting our guesthouse. We also managed to fit in a few sets of curtains, a selection of chopping knives, and special hardware to build our own McMorphose playground. (As a side note to the previous post, another very large suitcase was crammed with light fixtures. Go figure!).

Our stateside book purchases are additional evidence of the mental shift that has occurred. Patrick has been pouring over Daniel Boulud’s new cookbook, and I am now the proud owner of “How to Open and Operate a Bed & Breakfast”. While Pat has been pondering how to prepare sugar cane grilled shrimp with peanut sauce without the authentic Asian fish sauce the recipe calls for, I’m taking quizzes on how often our shower curtain gets changed and the microwave gets cleaned (Good thing there’s still time to improve my score!).

Since returning to Costa Rica, we’ve taken some important steps toward readying ourselves for opening day. We’ve met with a CPA who has walked us through the intricacies of the Costa Rican tax system (including an explanation of the annual “culture tax”), and we now know how to identify an illegitimate sales receipt. We have also hired a graphic designer friend to start working on a logo and marketing materials, including developing our new website.

So, ready or not, the time has come to stop thinking of our place as a construction project and start thinking of it as a restaurant and guesthouse. Our adrenaline levels are cranked up, and with a mixture of both excitement and absolute panic, we’ve started mentally preparing for the arrival of our first curious customers.

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